JONAS, JUSTUS: German Reformer, close friend and associate of Luther; b. at Nordhausen (38 m. w.n.w. of Erfurt), Saxony, June 5,1493; d. in Eisfeld (40 m. s. of Erfurt), Saxe-Meiningen, Oct. 9, 1555. His real name was Jodocus Koch, but he adopted his father's Christian name as a surname during his university career. In 1506 he matriculated at Erfurt, where he entered into close friendship with Eobanus Hess, whom he emulated in his devotion to humanistic studies and the practise of verse-writing. Having chosen jurisprudence as his special field, he followed the celebrated teacher Henning Göde to Wittenberg in 1511, but returned about three years later to Erfurt, received ordination, and became prebend in the Church of St. Severus" and professor in law at the university. A member of the circle of enthusiastic humanists who acknowledged Eobanus as their " king " and wor shiped Erasmus as their idol, Jonas took advan tage of a pilgrimage made by Eobanus in 1518 to enter into communication with the great scholar. In the following year he made his personal acquaintance, and Erasmus conceived a liking for his young admirer, and subsequently exerted himself to prevent his conversion to the party of Luther. Jonas in return spoke of Erasmus as his "father in Christ," his instructor and guide in the way of right living.

In 1519, while absent in the Netherlands, Jonas was chosen rector of the university, and at the same time comprehensive reforms were enacted whereby the study of Hebrew and Greek together with the "true" philosophy and theology was made a part of the curriculum. On his return Jonas began a series of Bible-readings, in the spirit still of Erasmus and not of Luther. His adhesion to the cause of the great Reformer dates from about the time of the Leipsic Disputation, shortly before which event Luther, through Johann Lang, offered his friendship to Jonas; the latter's first letter bears the date of June, 1520. Upon the death of Henning Göde at Wittenberg in Jan., 1521, Spalatin recommended Jonas as his successor. The elector offered the vacant professorship to Mutianus, who declined, and likewise recommended Jonas. The latter received the appointment at Worms, whither he had accompanied Luther. In June of the same year he removed to Wittenberg, and, embracing with enthusiasm the doctrines of the theologians there, devoted himself to an active championship of the Protestant cause. With some difficulty he succeeded in obtaining his transfer to the theological faculty, in order more freely to devote himself to the religious propaganda.

In the controversies concerning the reform of worship at the court church during Luther's sojourn at the Wartburg, Jonas was one of the most earnest advocates of Protestant innovations. From 1523 to 1533 he was dean of the theological faculty and delivered lectures on the Old and New Testaments, but gradually his professional duties were abandoned for literary labors in the great cause. For Luther he carried on a polemic against Jqhannes Faber over the celibacy of the clergy (1523) and later came into conflict with his fellow student at Erfurt, Georg Witzel. His gifts revealed themselves, especially, however, in his translations from the works of Luther and Melanchthon, from German into Latin and vice versa, gifts of which the two men gladly availed themselves, allowing him full liberty in the handling of their writings; among such translations were the German versions of Luther's De servo arbitrio and Melanchthon's Loci. At the same time Jonas played an active part in the great events of the Reformation, such as the Marburg Conference and the Diet of Augsburg. In 1532 he became adviser to the three Anhalt principalities and in 1538 drew up a set of church ordinances for the city of Zerbst. Preeminent, however, were his services as visitator during the introduction of the Protestant faith into the duchy of Saxony, and as author of the new church ordinances there enacted. In the establishment of the Reformation in Halle he also played a leading part. In 1541, while passing through that city, he was invited by some of the councilors to remain with them for some time and to instruct them in the Gospel. Jonas began his work under the protection of the elector of Saxony who made use of his long neglected power as burgrave of Halle to further the establishment of the Reformed faith in that town. In 1541-42 the new ritual was introduced into the various churches, and in the summer of the latter year Jonas was made superintendent. In 1543 he drew up the church ordinances for the town. With the aid of the Wittenberg jurist Kilian Goldstein, who had been summoned to Halle as syndic, Jonas carried on the organization of the Protestant Church with a resolute energy that left him little time for literary labors. In 1546 he accompanied Luther on his last journey to Eisleben, stood beside his death-bed, and delivered his funeral oration. Their friendship had never known any interruption and the "Table Talk" and correspondence of the Reformer testify to the intimate relations that prevailed between the two.

Upon the outbreak of the Schmalkald War, Jonas vigorously assailed the emperor and Maurice of Saxony, and on the capture of Halle by the latter in November, 1546, he was compelled to flee. He returned in January, 1547, and made use of the situation to drive the monks and nuns from the city and to wipe out all traces of Roman practise in the church system. But Halle fell a second time into the hands of Maurice, and Jonas was once more a fugitive. His exile seems to have aged him rapidly and to have weakened his powers, but he longed nevertheless for active employment. Through petitions and the intercession of others he sought to appease the anger of Maurice, but it was not until 1548 and after a humiliating submission that he was permitted to return to Halle. There, however, disappointment awaited him; the town council, reluctant to place at the head of affairs a weak old man who numbered among his opponents the powerful elector and the new archbishop of Magdeburg, declined to restore him to his pulpit and restricted him to a lectureship in Latin. In


1550 he became court preacher at Coburg. His friendship with Melanchthon had cooled and on the subject of the Interim Jonas appears as his opponent. Melanchthon, in return, spoke of him as an old man unfit for the performance of active pastoral duties. After a short activity in Regensburg, in 1553 Jonas became superintendent at Eisfeld, where he remained till his death, occupied partially with his old labors as a translator. The picture of a zealous champion of the Reformation, devoting his great gifts and capacity for effort to the cause of the faith, is somewhat tarnished by the unsparing wrath of his polemic and an avarice that was notorious.


BIBLIOGRAPY: His letters were published by G. Kawerau, 2 vols., Halle, 1884-85; additions have been made, e.g., by C. A. H. Burkhardt, in Zeitschrift für kirchliche Wissenschaft und Leben, 1889, pp. 430 sqq. His life has been written by L. Reinhard, Altenburg, 1731; G. C. Knapp , Halle, 1817; H. G. Hasse, Leipsic, 1862; T. Pressel, Elberfeld, 1862; while the Festschrift of his four hundredth anniversary was edited by K. Meyer, Nordhausen, 1893. Different phases of his life are treated in: W. Beste, Kanzelredner der lutherischen Kirche des Reformations-Zeitalters, i. 149 sqq., Leipsic, 1856; K. Krause, H. E. Hessus, vol. i., Gotha, 1879; F. Kropatschek, J. Dölsch aus Feldkirch, Greifswald, 1898; G. Bauch, Die Einführung der melanchthonischen Deklamationen, Breslau, 1900. Consult also the literature on Luther and on the Reformation.


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