Henry Heinbuche of Langenstein

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Conciliarist and theologian; b. Marburg, Germany, c. 1330; d. Vienna, Austria, Feb. 11, 1397. Entering the University of Paris in 1358, he became a master of arts in 1363 and taught and wrote on astronomy until he joined the theological faculty, subsequently becoming doctor of theology in 1375. He remained as a professor of Holy Scripture and became vice chancellor in 1378, the year the western schism began. His Epistola pacis [ed. Von der Hardt, Magnum oecumenicum Constantiense concilium (Frankfurt 1697) 2:260] of May 1379 appears to be the first treatise to recommend the convocation of a general council either by both popes or the cardinals, or by the whole episcopate. During the indecision of the new French monarch, Charles VI (d.1422), the doctors of the university in a solemn session of May 20, 1384, declared for a general council and may have directed Henry to address all secular princes through his Epistola concilii pacis [ed. E. du Pin, Opera Gersonii (Anvers 1706) 2:809840]. He then argued that the plight of the Church passed the norms in Canon Law and required extraordinary measures, for the Church in its totality must make its voice heard in a general council even if it must be summoned, not by papal authority, but by secular princes. The requirement was added, perhaps from the work of another German doctor, conrad of gelnhausen, that the Church must be reformed in capite et in membris, or totally and completely. The French political pressure that invaded the university sent Henry into exile, along with others of his fellow doctors, and he settled in a monastery at eberbach, from which he was summoned in 1380 by Albert III (d. 1395) to reconstitute the University of Vienna. Henry drew up the constitution of the university, which was established in 1384 by a ducal charter and a bull of urban vi. He was its most celebrated professor of theology and also served as its rector (139394). Three more works from his Vienna years show his continuing devotion to the cause of the Church and the papacy: Contra Telesphorum (1392, in b. pez, Thesaurus anecdotorum novissimus 26:505564) against a propaganda prophecy by a Calabrian hermit; a poem Carmen pro pace (1393, ed. A. Kneer, Römische Quartalschrift für christliche Altertumskunde und für Kirchengeschichte, 1 suppl., 1893, 127129) against the Avignonese pope; and Epistola de cathedra Petri (1395, ed. A. Kneer, op. cit. 134145). Only a portion of Henry's varied and penetrating works has been printed as indicated (see bibliog.) by Pastor, Valois, and Heilig. He was an exegete and commented on Genesis (still unpublished). Some of his writings on ascetical theology and the Immaculate Conception have been printed only in part. He was an early translator of hymns and Psalms into German, and left the first Hebrew grammar known to be composed by a German. He can certainly be counted among the Christian humanists of the dawning Renaissance, and may yet receive other laurels as his work on the natural sciences becomes better known.

Bibliography: c. j. jellouschek, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Freiburg 195765) 5:190191. j. zemb, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 190350; Tables Générales 1951) 8.2:257476. k. j. heilig, Römische Quartalschrift für christliche Altertumskunde und für Kirchengeschichte 40 (1932) 105176. n. valois, Le France et le grand schisme d'Occident, 4 v. (Paris 18961902). k. hirsch, Die Ausbildung der konziliaren Theorie im XIV. Jahrhundert (Vienna 1903) 5576. j.c. didier, Catholicisme 5:617618.

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Henry Heinbuche of Langenstein

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