Jesuit theologian, liturgist, polemicist, patristic scholar, philologist, and playwright; b. Markdorf, Baden, March 27, 1562; d. Ingolstadt, Jan. 29, 1625. Gretser entered the Jesuit novitiate at Landsberg (1578), studied humanities at Fribourg (1584–86), and attended the University of Ingolstadt, where he became a professor of metaphysics (1589–92). He succeeded his teacher, Gregory of Valencia, to the chair of scholastic theology (1592–1605) and then taught moral theology (1609–16). During these years, his erudition appeared in a great variety of writings. As a polemicist, Gretser wrote against the Protestants Franciscus Junnius (1545–1602), Aegidius Hunnius (1550–1603), Johannes Pappus (1549–1610), and others. He also defended Robert Bellarmine [Controversiarum Roberti Bellarmini…amplissima defensio (2 v. Ingolstadt 1607–09)], the Index published by Philip II of Spain [De jure et more prohibendi…libros hereticos et noxios (Ingolstadt 1603)], pilgrimages, the lives of the saints, the Society of Jesus, ecclesiastical feasts and rites, relics, and the Roman pontiffs. Gretser's De cruce Christi (3 v. Ingolstadt 1598–1605) contains a wealth of learning that treats not only Christ's cross, but images of the cross, cross-bearing coins, eulogies of the cross, a defense of veneration of the cross, and the Crusades. Other works include: Rudimenta linguae graecae (Inglostadt 1593); Institutiones graecae (Ingolstadt 1593); D. Gregorii episcopi Nysseni commentarius duplex in psalmorum inscriptiones (Ingolstadt 1600); Vetera monumenta contra schismaticos (Ingolstadt 1600). His works total 234 printed books (including 23 dramas) and 46 MSS. The printed works have been edited by P. G. Kolb, Opera omnia (17 v. Regensburg 1734–41).
Bibliography: b. duhr, Geschichte der Jesuiten in den Ländern deutscher Zunge, 4 v. in 6 (Freiburg 1907–28), v. 1. c. sommervogel et al., Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jesus (Brussels-Paris 1890–1932) 3:1743–1809. p. bernard, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al. (Paris 1903–50) 6.2:1866–71. h. liebing, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, (Tübingen 1957–65) 2:1856. t. kurrus, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner (Freiburg 1957–65) 4:1223.
[e. d. mcshane]