Nicholas of Dinkelsbühl

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German theologian; b. Dinkelsbühl, Germany, c. 1360; d. Vienna, Austria, March 17, 1433. He attended a good Latin school, probably in the Carmelite monastery of his native town, and in 1385 he went to the University of Vienna, which had only the preceding year been staffed with a theology faculty. He was awarded the master of arts degree and the licentiate in 1389 and began theological studies while lecturing in the arts faculty. From 1392 to 1393 and again in 1397, he was dean of the arts faculty. He received his licentiate in theology in 1408 and the degree of master of theology in 1409. For more than 40 years he lectured in Vienna; he was made rector of the university from 1405 to 1406 and was dean of the faculty of theology in 1418, 1425, and 1427. He continued brilliantly, if with little originality, the tradition of his more famous teachers henry heinbuche of langenstein and Henry of Oyta. Nicholas was celebrated as the lux ex Suevia, and Peter of Pirchenwart (d. 1436) called him in his obituary "a veritable second founder of our University." In 1405 he became canon of St. Stephen's and in 1425, confessor to Duke Albrecht V (d. 1439) of Austria, whose ecclesiastical policy he had successfully supported. As an ambassador of the duke, Nicholas was active from 1414 to 1418 at the Council of constance, where he greeted Emperor sigismund upon his entry into the city on Dec. 24, 1414. He represented the German nation at the assembly that elected martin v pope in 1417, ending the western schism. In an oration addressed to Martin V, he begged especially for Martin's support of the reform movement initiated by the Abbey of melk, a reform of which Nicholas was one of the founders and pioneers. As a member of the Holy Office, he was especially involved in the trial of jerome of prague. The testimonial he compiled on the "scandalous tenets" of the Dominican John of falkenberg nevertheless reveals Nicholas's natural disposition to be a mediator. In 1427 he was commissioned by Martin V to preach to the hussites. Nicholas not only came out in favor of conciliarism, as his class and rank would dictate, but he was a voluminous writer of important sermons on the subject, aside from his academic lecturing and research activity. His manuscripts have been preserved in Vienna, Munich, Melk, Klosterneuburg, Graz, and Vorau; and although they number more than 1,000, only a few have been edited. He wrote the usual commentaries on the Sentences, among which the Quaestiones Mellicenses are outstanding, and also commentaries on the Scriptures. Here he was following the scholastic tradition, which likewise set the style for his general sermons. He showed an original talent in his treatises and sermons on the ecclesiastical policy questions of his time, the Hussite heresy, and conciliarism. His Avisamenta vel Reformationis methodus deals with monastic reform; and another group of manuscripts includes various works, such as De praeparatione ad missam. Nicholas's remains are buried in the Cathedral of St. Stephen in Vienna.

Bibliography: a. madre, Nikolaus von Dinkelsbühl: Leben und Schriften (Beiträge zur Geschichte der Philosophie und Theologie des Mittelalters 40.4; 1965), important work for any serious study. k. binder, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rahner, 10 v. (2d, new ed. Frieburg 195765) 7:984985. a. lhotsky, Quellenkunde zur mittelalterlichen Geschichte Österreichs (Graz 1963) 331335. g. koller, Princeps in ecclesia (Graz-Vienna-Cologne 1964). p. uiblein, Mitteilungen des Institutes für österreichische Geschichtsforschung 73 (1965).

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Nicholas of Dinkelsbühl

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