Writers

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Philip Melanchthon

1497-1560

Philip Melanchthon (1497 – 1560) was a German Lutheran reformer, collaborator with Martin Luther, the first systematic theologian of the Protestant Reformation, intellectual leader of the Lutheran Reformation, and an influential designer of educational systems. Philip Melanchthon was born Philipp Schwartzerdt in Bretten, southwest Germany to pious parents, Barbara Reuter and Georg Schwartzerd. In 1508, Philip’s father and maternal grandfather died. After consultation with relatives, Barbara sent her three sons to Pforzheim—12 miles south of Bretten—and a Latin school there run by Georg Simler. While in Pforzheim, the children lived with a relative, Elisabeth Reuchlin. Twelve months later, when he was 12, Philip began his university education at the University of Heidelberg, where he lived with Pallas Spangel and studied rhetoric and astronomy. The boy obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1511 and applied to do a masters in theology but was rejected.

From the University of Heidelberg, Philip studied philosophy and jurisprudence, Latin, maths, astronomy and astrology at the University of Tubingen and began teaching there at the age of 17. In 1518, at the age of 21, Melanchthon became a professor of Greek at the University of Wittenberg. Melanchthon continued his studies in theology at Wittenberg and in 1519 graduated with a Bachelor of Theology. He worked as an academic at Wittenberg for 42 years.