STURM, Jacob

(1489-1553)
Jacob Sturm was an influential politician in sixteenth-century Europe. He was born in 1489 in Strasbourg. Educated at Heidelberg and Freiburg, he was des­tined for a career in the church. Shaped first by the humanism of Jakob Wimp-feling,* he later came under the influence of Desiderius Erasmus* and other reforming currents in sixteenth-century Europe. In the early 1520s he converted to what became Protestantism. He was married in the 1520s; his wife died by 1529.
Sturm became one of the most important political figures of the first half of the sixteenth century in the Holy Roman Empire. In 1526 he became a member of Strasbourg's Privy Council, which dealt with foreign affairs. He worked to promote understanding and cooperation between two branches of the nascent Protestant movement, the Lutheran reform of northern Germany and the Zwing-lian reform of southern Germany and Switzerland. In this regard, he played a role at both the Colloquy of Marburg (1529) and the Diet of Augsburg (1530). In the 1530s he was important in the formation of the Schmalkaldic League, a league of Protestant princes and cities, and in both the 1530s and 1540s he sought continuing influence over its structure and policy. After the Schmalkaldic War and the defeat of the Protestant league, he sought reconciliation with Em­peror Charles V.* He did not give up his own Protestant views, but saw Cath­olics as truly Christian.
While primarily concerned with foreign affairs in these decades, Sturm also worked for the reform of the church in Strasbourg. He was also a member of the school board there from 1526 until his death and was particularly concerned with the reform of secondary education. A lessened engagement with the politics of the empire and a greater concern with local issues marked his last years. Sturm died in Strasbourg in 1553.
Bibliography
T. A. Brady, Jr., The Politics of the Reformation in Germany: Jacob Sturm (1489-1553) ofStrasbourg, 1997.
Mary Jane Haemig

Renaissance and Reformation 1500-1620: A Biographical Dictionary. . 2001.

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