Jonas, Justus (Jodocus Koch)

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Lutheran theologian at Wittenberg and reformer of Halle; b. Nordhausen, Germany, June 5 or 6, 1493; d. Eisfeld, Oct. 9, 1555. Jonas studied in Erfurt (Bachelor of Arts 1507, Master of Arts 1510) and at Wittenberg. In 1518 he returned to Erfurt as lecturer in law. In 1521 he became professor of Canon Law at Wittenberg and accompanied Martin Luther to Worms. An Erasmian humanist, he was won over to theology and scriptural studies. His activity as a theologian included collaboration on Luther's Bible translation, a commentary on the Acts, a translation of Melanchthon's Loci and of Luther's De servo arbitrio, a contribution to the Augsburg Confession, participation in the Marburg Colloquy with Ulrich Zwingli, and the composition of an influential church order for Zerbst. His activity as a reformer included the introduction of the Reformation in Naumburg and service as visitor in Ducal Saxony after the death of Duke George (1539), Protestant leader in Halle (154146), evangelical preacher in Hildesheim (1547), court preacher for Duke Ernest in Coburg (1552), organizer of the Lutheran Church in Regensburg (1552), and superintendent at Eisfeld (155355).

Bibliography: Der Briefweschel der Justus Jonas, ed. g. kawerau, 2 v. (Halle 188485). w. delius, Justus Jonas, 14931555 (Berlin 1952). Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart 3, 7 v. (3d ed. Tübingen 195765) 3:856. m. e. lehmann, Justus Jonas, Loyal Reformer (Minneapolis 1963).

[l. w. spitz]