Ulrich von Hutten -- By: Edward Ulback

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 093:369 (Jan 1936)
Article: Ulrich von Hutten
Author: Edward Ulback


Ulrich von Hutten

Edward Ulback

Member of the Archaeological Institute of America

More than four centuries have rolled away since a noble Franconian knight was buried in the green island of Uffnau, which lies at the extremity of the Lake of Zurich, almost within the shadow of the lofty Alps. That knight was Ulrich von Hutten, who died at the early age of thirty-six, forsaken by his friends, persecuted, destitute; but who, in the course of his short and brilliant career, did more than any man of his time, with the single exception of Luther, to liberate Germany from the tyranny of the Papal yoke. He also took a prominent part in forwarding the cause of classical learning, and in emancipating the world of mind from the iron bondage in which it had for ages been bound, by the false teaching and useless subtleties of the scholastic system. All this he did, in spite of poverty, persecution, and disease, by the power of his eloquent and spirit-stirring writings, which, in a literary point of view, are honorable to the age in which they appeared; which produced an unparalleled effect upon the German mind, and which-even at the present day-are deeply interesting; not only as exhibiting noble and liberal views of politics and religion, far in advance of their age, and as containing the most cutting and effective satires that have ever been penned against the vices and corruptions of the monastic system and of the court of Rome; but, also, as presenting the most vivid and faithful pictures of the age in which they appeared, in its varied forms of life and action.

Few historical characters exhibit more originality than that of Hutten. One of the representative men of his age and

nation, he unites in himself some of their noblest features. Born at a crisis when the European mind, stirred to its foundations, was straining after a better and freer life, but a life as yet imperfectly conceived and comprehended, he became one of the most energetic exponents of the wants and aspirations of his time, and one of the most powerful agents in giving these aspirations a definite form, and removing the obstacles that prevented their fulfillment. A worthy fellow-worker with Luther, he seconded him in all his efforts for religious freedom; inspired with the warmest and most disinterested love of liberty, he was, throughout life, her most eloquent defender, and, at last, died a martyr in her cause. Seldom, indeed, has she had a nobler champion; he offered her no mere lip-homage, but acts and those burning words that rouse others to action. His exertions were unceasing; his activity of thought prodigious, and his productiveness no less remarkable. During his short life he composed not fewer than fifty separate works, one of ...

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