Humanist and literary adversary of Martin luther;b. Weidenstetten, near Ulm, March 26, 1478; d. Dresden, Nov. 11, 1527. He studied humanities at the University of Tübingen in 1493 and law at the University of Basel in 1497. At this time he became secretary to Cardinal Raimondo Peraudi, who was papal delegate in Germany for the preaching of the jubilee indulgence for a crusade against the Turks. In 1504 he lectured at the University of Erfurt on the comedy of Johann Reuchlin, Sergius, sive capitis caput, with Luther as one of his listeners. He was employed in 1509 as secretary to Duke George of Saxony, who sent him to Rome the next year to plead for the canonization of Benno, Bishop of Meissen (d. 1066). On his return Emser wrote the Vita Bennonis (1512), claiming that it was based on sources; however, it is unreliable. About 1512 he was ordained and received a benefice at Dresden and at Meissen. Present at the Leipzig disputations of 1519, he became the opponent of Luther, whom he had earlier admired for his courage. To Luther's publicized Ad aegrocerotem Emserianum M. Lutheri additio he replied with the harsh A venatione aegrocerotis assertio. He was also the adversary of Karlstadt on images, and Zwingli on the Canon of the Mass. Between 1520 and 1527 he wrote eight polemical works. When Luther burned the bull of excommunication at Wittenberg in 1520, he also consigned some of Emser's writings to the flames.
Bibliography: e. l. enders, Luther und Emser, Ihre Streitschriften aus dem Jahre 1521, 2 v. (Halle 1890–92). f. lau, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart (Tübingen 1957–65) 2:462. e. iserloh, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche 2 3:855–856. a. humbert, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique 4.2:2499–2500.
[e. d. mcshane]