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Andreas Osiander
Born 19 December 1498
Died 17 October 1552 in Königsberg
Church Lutheran
Education University of Ingolstadt
Ordained 1520
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Andreas Osiander (19 December 1498 ‚Äď 17 October 1552) was a German Lutheran theologian.



Born at Gunzenhausen in Franconia, Osiander studied at the University of Ingolstadt before being ordained as a priest in 1520. In the same year he began work at an Augustinian convent in Nuremberg as a Hebrew tutor. In 1522, he was appointed to the church of St. Lorenz in Nuremberg, and at the same time publicly declared himself to be a Lutheran. During the First Diet of Nuremberg (1522), he met Albert of Prussia, Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, and played an important role in converting him to Lutheranism. He also played a prominent role in the debate which led to the city of Nuremberg's adoption of the Reformation in 1525, and in the same year Osiander married.

Osiander attended the Marburg Colloquy (1529), the Diet of Augsburg (1530) and the signing of the Schmalkalden articles (1531). The Augsburg Interim of 1548 made it necessary for him to leave Nuremberg, settling first at Breslau, then, in 1549, at K√∂nigsberg as professor of the newly founded K√∂nigsberg University, appointed by Albert of Prussia. Osiander lived and worked in K√∂nigsberg until his death in 1552. Osiander's son Lukas (1534‚Äď1604), and grandsons Andreas (1562‚Äď1617) and Lukas (1571‚Äď1638) also worked as theologians. His niece married the future Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer.


Title Page of Brandenburg-Nuernbergishe Kirchenordnung, 1533.
Title Page of an edition of the Vulgate from 1523.

Osiander published a corrected edition of the Vulgate Bible, with notes, in 1522 and a Harmony of the Gospels in 1537. In 1533, Brandenburg-Nuernbergishe Kirchenordnung vom Jahre 1533 was published, with Osiander assisting in both the source material the final editing. This combined order of worship and catechism was the first work to include the Keys section of Luther's Small Catechism, of which Osiander is a suspected author.[1]

In 1543, Osiander oversaw the publication of the book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the revolution of the celestial spheres) by Copernicus. He added a preface suggesting that the model described in the book was not necessarily true, or even probable, but was useful for computational purposes. This was certainly not the opinion of Copernicus, who was probably unaware of the addition. As a result, many readers, unaware that Osiander was the author of the preface, believed that Copernicus himself had not believed that his hypothesis was actually true.[1]

In 1550 Osiander published two controversial disputations, De Lege et Evangelio and De Justficatione. In these, he set out his view that justification by faith was instilled in (rather than ascribed to) humanity by Christ's divinity, a view contrary to those of Martin Luther and John Calvin [2] although he agreed with Lutheranism's fundamental opposition to Roman Catholicism and Calvinism. These beliefs were maintained after his death by Johann Funck (his son-in-law) but disappeared after 1566.


Osiander was a Christian mystic and his theology incorporated the idea of mystical union with Christ and the Word of God.[3] He believed that justification for a Christian believer resulted by Christ dwelling in a person. Contrary to Luther's belief that justification was imputed by God's grace, Osiander believed that the righteousness of a believer was accomplished by the indwelling of God; thus, God finds one righteous because Christ is in that person. [3] Calvin rejected these views of Osiander, as did Melanchthon and Flacius. Flacius' opposing view was that God justifies us by Christ's work of obedience on the cross, not by his presence in us.[4]


  1. ^ John David North, Cosmos: An Illustrated History, (University of Chicago Press, 2008) page 309-310; Gribbin, John, Science: A History, Penguin Books Ltd, ISBN 0-14-029741-3, 2003
  2. ^ Calvin, John The Institutes of the Christian Religion Book III, Chapter XI
  3. ^ a b Gonzales, J. "A History of Christian Thought" Abingdon Press (1975) p. 114‚Äď115
  4. ^ Gonzalez, J, "A History of Christian Thought" Abingdon Press (1975) p. 116‚Äď117


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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

ANDREAS OSIANDER (1498-1552), German reformer, was born at Gunzenhausen, near Nuremberg, on the 19th of December 1498. His German name was Heiligmann, or, according to others, Hosemann. After studying at Leipzig, Altenburg and Ingolstadt, he was ordained priest in 1520 and appointed Hebrew tutor in the Augustinian convent at Nuremberg. Two years afterwards he was appointed preacher in the St Lorenz Kirche, and about the same time he publicly joined the Lutheran party, taking a prominent part in the discussion which ultimately led to the adoption of the Reformation by the city. He married in 1525. He was present at the Marburg conference in 1529, at the Augsburg diet in 1530 and at the signing of the Schmalkald articles in 1537, and took part in other public transactions of importance in the history of the Reformation; that he had an exceptionally large number of personal enemies was due to his vehemence, coarseness and arrogance in controversy. The introduction of the Augsburg Interim in 1548 necessitated his departure from Nuremberg; he went first to Breslau, and afterwards settled at Konigsberg as professor in its new university at the call of Duke Albert of Prussia. Here in 1550 he published two disputations, the one De lege et evangelio and the other De justifications, which aroused a controversy still unclosed at his death on the 17th of October 1552. While he was fundamentally at one with Luther in opposing both Romanism and Calvinism, his mysticism led him to interpret justification by faith as not an imputation but an infusion of the essential righteousness or divine nature of Christ. His party was afterwards led by his son-in-law Johann Funck, but disappeared after the latter's execution for high treason in 1566. Osiander's son Lukas (1534-1604), and grandsons Andreas (1562-1617) and Lukas (1571-1638), were well-known theologians.

Osiander, besides a number of controversial writings, published a corrected edition of the Vulgate, with notes, in 1522, and a Harmony of the Gospels - the first work of its kind - in 1537. The best-known work of his son Lukas was an Epitome of the Magdeburg Centuries. See the Life by W. Moller (Elberfeld, 1870).

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