Martin Eisengrein: German theologian (1535 - 1578) | Biography
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Martin Eisengrein
German theologian

Martin Eisengrein

Martin Eisengrein
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro German theologian
Was Religious scholar Theologian Educator
From Germany
Field Academia Religion
Gender male
Birth 28 December 1535, Stuttgart
Death 4 May 1578, Ingolstadt (aged 42 years)
The details (from wikipedia)


Martin Eisengrein (28 December 1535 – 4 May 1578) was a German Catholic theologian and polemical writer.


He was born of Lutheran parents at Stuttgart. He studied the humanities at the Latin school of Stuttgart, and the liberal arts and philosophy at the University of Tübingen. To please his father, who was burgomaster of Stuttgart, Eisengrein matriculated as student of jurisprudence at the University of Ingolstadt, 25 May 1553, but before a year had passed he was at the University of Vienna, where he took the degree of Master of Arts in May, 1554.

During the tolerant rule of Ferdinand I, Eisengrein, though still a Protestant, became in 1555 professor of oratory and, two years later, of physics at the University of Vienna, a Catholic institution. Though his Catholic surroundings and especially his frequent intercourse with the Jesuits of Vienna may have had great influence in bringing about his acceptance of the Catholic faith, still his conversion was one of conviction, as is apparent from his numerous controversial writings and his scrupulous solicitude for the integrity of Catholic Faith and morals at the University of Ingolstadt. His conversion took place about 1558. In 1559 he received a canonry at St. Stephen's in Vienna, and a year later he was ordained priest. In 1562 he went to the University of Ingolstadt whither he had been invited by the superintendent of the university, Frederick Staphylus. He was appointed pastor of the church of St. Maurice, which was incorporated with the university, and in April of the same year he was elected rector of the university.

Besides being professor, he devoted much of his time to the study of theology and, after receiving the degree of licentiate in this science on 11 November 1563, he began to teach it in January, 1564. Duke Albert V of Bavaria chose him as councillor, appointed him provost of the collegiate church of Moosburg, and shortly afterwards of the collegiate church of Altötting and the cathedral church of Passau. In 1563 and 1564 he took part in the politico-religious conferences at the imperial court of Vienna; in 1566 Duke Albert sent him to Pope Pius V to advocate the appointment of Prince Ernest as Prince-Bishop of Freising, and in 1568-9 he was imperial court chaplain at Vienna. In 1570 he was appointed superintendent of the University of Ingolstadt, and henceforth he turned his whole attention to the advancement of the university.

Just at this time the friction between the lay professors and the Jesuits, which dated from the time when the latter began to hold professorial chairs at the university in 1556, threatened to become serious. In 1568 Eisengrein and Peter Canisius had peacefully settled certain differences between the two factions, but when in 1571 Duke Albert decided to put the pœdagogium and the philosophical course into the hands of the Jesuits, the other professors loudly protested. By his tact Eisengrein succeeded in temporarily reconciling the non-Jesuit professors to the new arrangement. Soon, however, hostilities began anew, and in order to put an end to these quarrels, the Jesuits transferred the Pœdagogium and philosophical course to Munich in 1573. It seems that the Jesuits were indispensable to the University of Ingolstadt, for two years later they were urgently requested by the university to return, and in 1576 they moved into the newly built Jesuit College of Ingolstadt. Eisengrein always had the welfare of the university at heart. He publicly acknowledged the efficiency of the Jesuits as educators in an oration on 19 February 1571. There were, indeed, some differences between Eisengrein and the Jesuits in 1572, but the estrangement was only temporary, as is apparent from the fact that he bequeathed 100 florins to the Jesuit library. He died at Ingolstadt.

The greatest service which Eisengrein rendered the University of Ingolstadt was his organization of its library. It was owing to his efforts that the valuable private libraries of Johann Egolph, Bishop of Augsburg, Thaddeus Eck, chancellor of Duke Albert, and Rudolph Clenek, professor of theology at Ingolstadt, were added to the university library.


Eisengrein's activities were not confined to the university. By numerous controversial sermons, some of which are masterpieces of oratory, he contributed to the suppression of Lutheranism in Bavaria. Many of his sermons were published separately and collectively in German and Latin during his lifetime. Some have been edited by Johann Nepomuk Brischar in "Die kathol. Kanzelredner Deutschlands" (Schaffhausen, 1867–70), I, 434-545.

He is also the author of a frequently reprinted history of the shrine of the Blessed Virgin at Altötting (Ingolstadt, 1571) and a few other works of minor importance.


Friedrich Wilhelm Bautz: iron Grein, Martin. In: Biographic-bibliographic church encyclopedia (BBKL). Volume 1, Bautz, Hamm 1975. 2, unchanged edition Hamm, 1990, ISBN 3-88309-013-1, Sp 1481st.

Hermann Tüchle: Iron Grein, Martin . In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 4 Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, 1959, ISBN 3-428-00185-0, pp. 412 f (digitized).

Karl Werner: Eisengrin, Martin . In: General German Biography (ADB). Volume 5, Duncker & Humblot, Leipzig, 1877, p 765 Michael Denis : Vienna printers History to 1560 (Vienna, 1782).

Martin Iron Grein, entry in the Catholic Encyclopedia Itemization

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