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Kirchengeschichte: Reformationszeit


Arnold, Matthieu [Hrsg.]


Johannes Sturm (1507–1589). Rhetor, Pädagoge und Diplomat.


Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck 2009. IX, 435 S. gr.8° = Spätmittelalter, Humanismus, Reformation, 46. Lw. EUR 99,00. ISBN 978-3-16-149917-3.


Robert Kolb

Celebrations of the 500th anniversaries of the birth of key figures in the Reformation era have stimulated scholarship in the past three decades. Born in 1507, Straßburg rector Johannes Sturm looms over 16th century pedagogical landscape and related scholarly areas and also played significant roles in ecclesiastical and political life far beyond Straßburg. His anniversary occasioned the conference that produced this volume. It succeeds in presenting a multi-faceted, penetrating portrayal of Sturm’s contributions and methods of attaining his objectives.
23 essays grouped into four sections convey a well-rounded im­age of Sturm’s setting, methods, and pursuit of his goals for the causes for which he fought. Three masters of Straßburg historiography, Francis Rapp, Thomas Brady, and Bernhard Vogler sketch elements of the immediate setting. Rapp surveys intellectual and ecclesiastical developments in the city. Brady compares and contrasts the contributions of four civic leaders in sharply focused mini-biographies. Political leaders Claus Kniebis and Jacob Sturm, and the scholars Sturm and his long-time friend Johannes Sleidanus played differing roles in shaping the city’s mindset, policies, and alliances in their time. Brady shows how each in his own way contributed to the tone and direction of municipal life. Vogler examines Sturm’s relationship to various parties among the go­-vern­ing authorities as he pursued his institutional and ecclesias­tical goals; he concludes with a brief analysis of the political ma­-neuvering by Sturm and his opponents that led to his dismissal from of­fice in 1581. Stephen Buckwalter assesses the mutual influences of Sturm and Bucer, concluding that Sturm’s understanding of the Lord’s Supper did not follow Bucer’s at least partial rapprochement with Wittenberg’s sacramental formulations after 1532. Irena Backus and James Hirstein analyze Sturm’s biography of Beatus Rhenanus, Backus focusing on its significance as an assault on the separation of biography as an ethico-rhetorical exercise from his­-tor­ical writing, Hirstein on the »disappointing« nature of this hurried effort that »distorts« its subject’s image.
Four essays evaluating the influence of Sturm’s rhetoric and its methods deepen the reader’s understanding of precisely how humanist learning functioned through the use of freshly devel­oped rhetorical tools. Alexandra Trachsel assesses his methods of translating, following a Ciceronian model, on the basis of his work on Aristotle’s Rhetoric and the De Inventione ascribed to Hermognes. Olivier Millet examines the role of Sturm’s own concerns and context in his composing commentaries on the writings of the ancients. Philippe Büttgen focuses on his use of the concepts of eloquentia and doctrina in his strategy of persuasion and presentation in his writings.
Eight essays examine Sturm’s influence on pedagogy. Through his students from many corners of Europe his concept of education and his execution of the concept shaped the thinking of students, for example, from Poland-Lithuania, Bohemian lands, and the Baltics. Though relatively few students came from eastern Europe to Sturm’s Academy, some who did subsequently played significant roles in education in their homelands. Within Germany, Anton Schindling shows, his models and his own assistance in forming curriculum placed his personal stamp on the Gymnasium illustre of Pfalz-Neuburg in Lauingen and its sister institution in Hornbach. In Lauingen the nearby Jesuits schools in Dillingen and Ingolstadt provided a stimulating challenge to Sturm’s humanistic pedagogy because they had recognized the value and effectiveness it pos- sessed.
The final section presents four studies of Sturm’s involvement in the city’s relationships with those outside its confines, especially as they related to municipal religious policy. Hugues Daussy rehearses Sturm’s tireless efforts to build relationships with the French government and to seek support for the French Protestant party within both France and German lands. Annie Noblesse-Rocher assesses the exchanges Sturm conducted with Jacopo Sadoleto and Johannes Cochlaeus as these Roman Catholic leaders furthered the efforts of Pope Paul III and the commission that authored the concilium de emendanda ecclesia for the reform of the church. Irene Dingel places the rivalry between Sturm and the superintendent of the church in Straßburg, Johannes Pappus, in the context of the larger development of Confessionalization in the 1570s and 1580s, a rivalry that led to Sturm’s forced retirement by municipal officials. The issue dividing them most critically, the acceptance of the Book of Concord as the standard for the city’s doctrine, revealed Sturm’s unwavering commitment to his understanding of caritas christiana of his earlier years, a viewpoint that, Dingel shows, no longer found a place in the categories of the new Confessional era. Al­-though Sturm’s De Bello Adversus Turcas Perpetuo Administrando, composed in parts over more than a decade in the 1570s and 1580, was published posthumously, Nicole de Laharpe demonstrates that its emphasis on the need for the emperor to help resolve religious conflict and preserve the empire’s internal peace illuminates Sturm’s approach to imperial politics. To this foundation he added proposals for the reorganization of military forces, with due attention to both the financing of the army and the moral standards of its soldiers and their commanders.
The concluding résumé by another veteran Straßburg scholar, Marc Lienhard, places critical questions raised by these essays into the context of the historiography of the city. In so doing he points the way to further research.
Biographical studies of members of elites are becoming more popular again because our historical search for the common people has too often found sources only for the unusual people rather than the typical. As important as such research is, the world we have inherited arises to a significant extent from the lives of the gifted and the powerful. With his own, rare, combination of the streams of what modern scholars have labeled »civic humanism« and »biblical humanism«, Sturm exemplifies a seldom-encoun­tered type of public leader who determined the shape of public institutions and policies along with the tone of civic life, projecting a model and influencing courses of action across the Empire and beyond. Yet he was also one of those who outlived their own time, and his bitter experiences with a new generation of municipal and ecclesiastical leadership tell much about the interaction between personal histories and the ever-changing environment. Although not a biography as such, and despite a few areas left uncovered, this well-conceived, effectively-executed series of in-depth studies of aspects of Sturm’s life aid readers in assessing the thought, career, and impact of an individual whose legacy lived well beyond his own ability to find his place in the evolving society of the city to which he had dedicated his life. The volume certainly fulfills Arnold’s hope that it will generate more study of Sturm’s legacy and impact (7).