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1482-1531. German Reformer. A native of the Palatinate whose original name was Hussgen or Hauschein, he became the leading Protestant Reformer of Basle. A brilliant philologist in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, he began his university studies in law at Bologna, but transferred to theology at Heidelberg. Employed for a time as a tutor, he later secured a prebend at Weinberg (1503-12). Further studies at Tübingen and Stuttgart led to his contact with Reuchlin* and Melanchthon.* In 1515 he was called as minister to Basle, where he met Erasmus* and assisted him in the publication of the Greek NT. Later (1518) Oecolampadius became a pastor at Augsburg, where he was deeply affected by Luther's teachings. Then the pressure of his work caused him to enter a monastery (1520), only to withdraw after a short while.

In 1522 he accepted the position of court chaplain to Franz von Sickingen,* but returned to Basle, becoming lecturer on Holy Scripture at the university in 1523. Later he became a minister in the city, and his influence through lectures and sermons led to the establishment of the Reformed Church. He also promoted the evangelical cause throughout Switzerland by his writings and participation in disputations such as those held at Baden (1526) and Bern (1528). He attended the Colloquy at Marburg* (1529) where he defended the eucharistic teaching of his friend Ulrich Zwingli.* When the city council of Basle ordered the removal of images from the church and abolished the Mass, he supervised the work. He also introduced the ban and organized a board of ministers and laymen to see that discipline was executed.

See G. Rupp, Patterns of Reformation (1969), pp. 1-46.