Satirist and vigorous foe of Luther; b. Oberehnheim, Alsace, Dec. 24, 1475; d. Oberehnheim, Aug. 22, 1537. Murner entered the Order of Friars Minor Conventual at the age of 15 and was ordained when he was 19. Between 1495 and 1502 he traveled in France, Germany, and Poland, studying at Freiburg, and receiving the M.A. degree at Paris, and the Th.B. at Cracow. He returned to Strassburg in 1502. In 1506 Emperor Maximilian I made him poet laureate. He criticized in satire the abuses of the Church, and welcomed the reformers until they attacked dogmas and tradition. From this time he became the champion of Catholicism at Strassburg against Lutheranism and at Lucerne against Zwinglianism. The Peace of Zurich in 1529 stipulated that Murner be brought to trial before judges of the Protestant cantons, but he fled to the Palatinate. In 1530 he returned to Oberehnheim, where he remained until his death. Murner represents the contrasts of his age. He was ardent for reform, yet crude in his writings; passionate for novelties, but an advocate of tradition; frivolous and grave, restless and tormented with the contradictions of the time.
Murner's works include Chartiludium logicae (Cracow 1507); Ludus studentum Friburgensium (Frankfort 1512); Arma patientiae, Germania nova, Narrenbeschwörung (Strassburg, 1519); Der lutherischen evangelischen Kirchendieb und Ketzerkalender (Lucerne 1526); translation of the Defense of the Seven Sacraments by Henry VIII (Strassburg 1522); and Causa helvetica orthodoxae fidei (Lucerne 1528).
Bibliography: l. gaus, "Thomas Murner," in German Writers of the Renaissance and Reformation 1280–1580 (Detroit 1997) 184–97, bibliography. i. backus, "Augustine and Jerome in Thomas Murner's De Augustiniana Hieronymianaque Refomatione Peotarum," in Autoritas Patrum II (Mainz 1998) 13–25. a. berger, Satirische Feldzuge wider die Reformation: Thomas Murner, Daniel von Soest (Darmstadt 1967).
[r. j. bartman]