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Johann Bugenhagen

1485-1558. German Reformer. Born at Wollin near Stettin in Pomerania, he studied at the University of Greifswald, and through the writings of Erasmus* and the Humanists came to see the need for a reform of the corruptions of the Roman Catholic Church. In 1504 he became rector of the town school of Treptow, where his outstanding organizing ability became apparent in the school's success. In 1509 he was ordained, and in 1517 became a lecturer on the Bible and the Fathers in the monastery school at Belbuck. It was in 1520 that Luther's Concerning the Babylonian Captivity of the Church led him to realize that a much more radical reform of the church was needed and that the root of the corruptions of the Roman Church was its erroneous doctrine. Convinced by Luther's argument, he became an enthusiastic Reformer. In 1521 he went to Wittenberg and became closely associated with Luther and Melanchthon. He became minister of the collegiate church in Wittenberg in 1522 and served as preacher there for the rest of his life. His organizing ability found an outlet in the establishment of Reformed churches in Brunswick, Hamburg, and Lübeck. In 1537 he went to Copenhagen at the invitation of Christian III and remained there in Denmark for five years, reconstituting the Danish Church and reorganizing the country's education. Bugenhagen gave valuable assistance to Luther in his translation of the Bible; his best-known book was a commentary on the Psalms, highly praised by Luther. He also wrote a history of Pomerania, which was not published until 1728.