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Chemnitz, Martin

(Chemnitius; Chemnicius; Kemnitz; Kemnitius; Kemnicius; 1522–86). B. Treuenbrietzen, Brandenburg; weaver's apprentice 1538; educ. Magdeburg 1539–42, U. Frankfurt an der Oder 1543–44. U. Wittenberg 1545–47, U. Königsberg (Kaliningrad) 1547–48; taught school Calbe 1542–43, Wriezen an der Oder 1544–45, Kneiphof school (Königsberg) 1548–49. At Wittenberg and Königsberg assoc. with a relative, Georg Sabinus (1508–60), son-in-law of Melanchthon. Melanchthon impressed on him the importance of the proper distinction bet. Law and Gospel. With Sabinus to Salfeld during pestilence 1549; studied Peter* the Lombard and M. Luther*; to Königsberg 1550; castle librarian under Albert* of Prussia 1550 to 1552; interest shifted increasingly from astrology, which he began to study at Magdeburg, to theology; opposed A. Osiander in justification controversy; in intricacies of this controversy he resigned post at end of 1552; to Wittenberg April 1553; guest at Melanchthon's table; mem. U. Wittenberg faculty January 1554; lectured on Melanchthon's Loci till October 20; ordained by Bugenhagen November 25; to Brunswick as coadjutor of J. Mörlin* December 1554; conducted public disputations twice a yr.; continued lecturing on Melanchthon's Loci; 1557 with Mörlin to Wittenberg in connection with adiaphoristic and synergistic controversies, and to Worms, where RCs and Luths. met; wrote widely accepted De Coena Domini 1561. Other works include Enchiridion.

Struggles with Jesuits began 1562 when Chemnitz attacked Cologne Jesuits in Theologiae Jesuitarum praecipua capita; D. de P. de Andrada* answered with Orthodoxarum explicationum de controversiis religionibus capitibus libri decem. Chemnitz replied with Examen Concilii Tridentini (see Trent, Council of). Concentrating on dogmatic decrees, Chemitz spared himself the effort of discussing decrees of reform. He canonized for his readers the extreme conservative interpretation of Trent's decrees by taking Andrada's work as his commentary on the council's decrees. The theol. of Examen is that of a disciple of Luther and Melanchthon; its methodology is that of Biblical theol. somewhat suspicious of scholastic philos.; but there is wide use of patristic evidence.

Chemnitz returned with Mörlin 1567 to Prussia to prepare a collection of symbolic books for the Luth. Ch. in Albert's domain; supt. Brunswick 1567; aided in claiming predominantly RC Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel for Lutheranism beginning 1568; issued theol. opinion regarding Majoristic* controversy 1568. With Chytraeus* reworked Jakob Andreä's* Swabian Concordia 1574–75 to produce Swabian-Saxon Concordia; participated in Torgau Conf. 1576, and in Bergen Abbey Conf. 1577, in which FC was produced; with N. Selnecker* and T. Kirchner* prepared Apologia oder Verantwortung des christlichen Concordienbuchs, pub. 1582. Helped Julius* of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel organize U. Helmstedt 1575–76. Rift in friendship occurred 1578 when Julius had his 14-yr.-old son made bp. of Helberstadt and 2 other sons tonsured according to RC ritual. Chemnitz urged cautious adoption of Gregorian calendar 1582. His Loci theologici quibus Ph. Melanchthonis communes loci perspicue explicantur pub. 1591 by P. Leyser*; other works include De duabus naturis in Christo (1570). A popular adage runs: “If Martin [Chemnitz] had not come along, Martin [Luther] would hardly have survived” (Lat. Si Martinus non fuisset, Martinus vix stetisset). ACP

See also Lutheran Confessions, C 2; Neostadiensium admonitio.

The Doctrine of Man in Classical Lutheran Theology, ed. H. A. Preus and E. Smits (Minneapolis, 1962); A. G[räbner], “An Autobiography of Martin Kemnitz, Translated from the German and Latin,” TQ, III (October 1899), 472–487; R. Mumm, Die Polemik des Martin Chemnitz gegen das Konzil von Trent (Leipzig, 1905); A. C. Piepkorn, “Martin Chemnitz' Views on Trent: The Genesis and the Genius of the Examen Concilii Tridentini,” CTM, XXXVII (January 1966), 5–37; T. Pressel, Martin Chemnitz, in Leben und ausgewählte Schriften der Väter trod Begründer der lutherischen Kirche, ed. J. Hartmann et al., VIII, in vol. 4 (Elberfeld, 1862); P. J. Rehtmeyer, Antiquitates ecclesiasticae inclytae urbis Brunsvigae, III (Brunswick, 1710), 273–536 and supplement 118–464; Vita Martini Chemnicii in Examen concilii Tridentini per Martinum Chemnicium scriptum, ed. E. Preuss (Berlin, 1861). pp. 925–958.


Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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