Johannes Faber (1478-1541)

Johannes Faber
Works of Johannes Faber

Johannes Faber

Johannes Faber (1478-1541) Originally Johannes Heigerlin.

German-Roman Catholic bishop and theologian, born at Leutkirch. Educated at the universities of Tübingen and Freiburg in Breisgau. In 1518 he became vicar-general to the Bishop of Constance, and papal prothonotary under Pope Leo X. In common with several of his friends, including the Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus, the German scholar Melanchthon and the Swiss theologian Huldreich Zwingli, he was at first a supporter of church reform. When the movement for reform developed into the Lutheran schism, however, Faber became one of its most formidable opponents.

According to A Short History of Christianity, Martin E. Marty, p. 219 on a section titled, "Zwingli," which discusses both Zwingli and Luther,

"Reform was a gradual development; it is difficult to date. His debate with Johann Faber in 1523 placed him clearly with Luther in defense of the Bible as the document of apostolic authority. Much of his career centered in the abolition of the Mass and formation of his teaching on the sacraments in opposition to Catholicism and Lutheranism. He interpreted the sacraments symbolically; bread, wine and water were but signs of grace, representation."

In 1522, in the treatise Opus Adversus Nova Quœdamn Dogmata Lutheri, he expressed his opposition to Lutheran doctrines, renewing the attack two years later in Malleus in Hœreticorum, "The Hammer of Heretics". Emperor Ferdinand appointed him court preacher in 1526, and during the two succeeding years he represented the emperor in Spain and England. Faber played an important role in organizing the resistance to the invasions of the Turks, and in 1531 was consecrated Bishop of Vienna.


  • Funk and Wagnall's Encyclopedia, ©1950
  • A Short History of Christianity, Martin E. Marty ©1975
  • Johannes Faber
  • Pitts-Emory University, Theology Library
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