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Melanchthon, Philipp (1497–1560)

  1. Alvin J. Schmidt

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc0883

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Schmidt, A. J. 2011. Melanchthon, Philipp (1497–1560). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Born in Bretten, Germany in 1497, as Philipp Schwartzerd (black earth), the Reformer later adopted the Greek equivalent “Melanchthon” at the urging of his great-uncle Johann Reuchlin, a renowned scholar. As a prodigy, not yet 13 years of age, he entered Heidelberg University and obtained his baccalaureate only two years later. At age 17, Tübingen University conferred a master's degree on him, and he lectured there in the classics. In 1518, at the age of 21, he met Martin Luther who persuaded him to join him and the faculty at the university in Wittenberg. Here he initially taught Greek, and under Luther's guidance, earned the baccalaureus biblicus in 1519 and soon became a prominent theologian, although he was never ordained.


  • Melanchthon, Philipp (1497–1560);
  • loci communes theologici;
  • praeceptor germaniae (Germany's teacher);
  • leipzig interim