German Church historian; b. Lichtwehr in the Tyrol, May 24, 1721; d. Munich, March 18, 1786. He entered the Theatines in 1740 and taught moral theology, canon law, and church history in various houses of that order. In 1759 Sterzinger went to Munich to teach and remained there until his death. In 1776 he produced his continuation of the work of Christian Pfeffel, the Chronologische Einleitung in die Kirchengeschichte, which he nevertheless opposed in 1780 in his Nothwendige Beiträge zur chronologischen Einleitung (Necessary Contribution to the Chronological Introduction ). He is noteworthy for his opposition to the witchcraft trials so numerous in his time in southern Germany. He wrote the academic discourse Von dem gemeinen Vorurtheile der thätigen und wirkenden Hexerei (On Common Prejudice Concerning the Effectiveness of Witchcraft ; Munich 1766) against them. His book met with much opposition, even from his own colleagues, e.g., Agnellus März, OSB. Sterzinger defended his discourse in 1767 and wrote other works on the subject. The majority of his writings lie unedited in the State Library at Munich.
Bibliography: h. hurter, Nomenclator literarius theologiae catholicae, 5 v. (3rd ed. Innsbruck 1903–13) 5.1:397–400. e. freys, Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche, ed. j. hofer and k. rah ner, 10 v. (2d new ed. Freiburg 1957–65) 9:816–817. É. amann, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al., 15 v. (Paris 1903–50) 14:2612. reusch, Allgemeine deutsche Biographie, (Leipzig 1875–1910) 36: 124–125.
[g. j. donnelly]