« Aurifaber, Johannes, of Breslau Aurifaber, Johannes, of Weimar Auso´nius, Decimus Magnus »

Aurifaber, Johannes, of Weimar

AURIFABER, JOHANNES, OF WEIMAR (Vinariensis): German Lutheran divine, best known as a collector and editor of the writings of Luther; b. probably in the county of Mansfeld in 1519; d. at Erfurt Nov. 18, 1575. He began his studies at the University of Wittenberg in 1537, where he attached himself closely to Luther. From 1540 to 1544 he acted as tutor to the young count of Mansfeld and in the following year made the campaign against the French as field chaplain. In 1545 he went to live with Luther as his famulus and remained with him till the great reformer’s death in the following year. In 1550 he became court preacher at Weimar and for the next ten years took a very prominent part in the internal quarrels of the followers of Luther, distinguishing himself as a zealous adherent of the so-called Gnesio-Lutheran faction. His extreme views caused his dismissal from the court of Weimar in 1561 and he removed to Eisleben where he began his series of Luther publications. In 1566 he became pastor at Erfurt, where he passed the rest of his life engaged in almost incessant strife with his colleagues. Aurifaber began collecting Lutherana, as early as 1540 and by 1553 he claimed to be in possession of 2,000 letters of the master. From 1553 to 1556 he was coeditor on the Jena edition of the works of Luther. In the latter year he published a volume of Latin letters by Luther and followed this with a second volume in 1565. In 1566 appeared his celebrated Tischreden und Colloquia D. M. Luthers, of which part only, that dealing with the last days of the reformer, was based on notes taken by Aurifaber. The great mass of the work followed closely a collection of Luther’s Table Talk prepared by Lauterbach as early as 1538 and subsequently revised by him. With Lauterbach’s material Aurifaber incorporated much from other sources, displaying, however, little care in the collation of his texts or even in the logical arrangement of the sources. His compilation, therefore, has the value only of a secondary authority except for the memoranda of his own preservation. Without attempting deliberate falsification of his texts Aurifaber showed little hesitation in modifying the tone of Luther’s discourse, so that his work should not be read without caution. It is more than probable that in many places he has sought to intensify Luther’s characteristic homeliness of expression, with the result of lending to the book a spirit of gratuitous coarseness. Aurifaber derived great profit from the sale of collections of Luther’s writings to the Protestant princes of Germany.

G. Kawerau.


Bibliography: On the Table Talk consult W. Meyer, Ueber Lauterbachs und Aurifabers Sammlungen der Tischreden Luthers, Göttingen,1896. Consult further Von Popowsky, Kritik der handschriftlichen Sammlung des Johann Aurifaber, Königsberg, 1880.

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