Evangelical preacher and popular writer; b. Kleinkötz, near Günzburg, c. 1470; d. Leutershausen, before Oct. 13, 1533. He studied at Basel in 1490 and Freiburg in 1493 and entered a Franciscan monastery in Heilsbronn. He lived thereafter in Tübingen, Ulm, and Freiburg, where in 1520 he encountered Luther's writings. On returning to Ulm, he was expelled from the order. In 1521 he published his famous work, Die 15 Bundgenossen (The Fifteen Confederates), combining in a folkish way socio-political and religious demands for reform, and describing a utopian state called Wolfaria. He spent a year in Wittenberg and then traveled as an evangelist to Basel, Rheinfelden, Rottenburg, and Ulm. He married, was called to Erfurt, and at the end of 1525, to Wertheim by Count Georg II. Dismissed on May 6, 1530, he ended his days in Leutershausen, near Ansbach. His greatest importance was his authorship of several volumes of folkish reform tracts and religious treatises.
Bibliography: j. eberlin von gÜnzburg, Ausgewählte (sämtliche ) Schriften, ed. l. enders, 3 v. (Halle 1896–1900). b. riggenbach, Johann Eberlin von Günzburg und sein Reformprogramm (Tübingen 1874). m. radlkofer, Johann Eberlin von Günzburg and sein Vetter Hans Jakob Wehe von Leipheim (Nördlingen 1887). j. werner, Johann Eberlin von Günzburg, der evangelisch-soziale Volksfreund (Heidelberg 1889). g. bebermeyer, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart 3 2:297.
[l. w. spitz]