Jonas, Justus

, an eminent German divine, and one of the first reformers, was born at Northausen, in Thuringia, June 5, 1493, where his father was chief magistrate. He first made considerable progress in the study of civil law, but relinquishing that, devoted his whole attention to theology, in which faculty he took his doctor’s degree. This was about the time that the reformation was begun and Jonas having been present at various disputations on the subject, espoused the principles of the reformers with great zeal, and, from his knowledge of civil law as well as divinity, was enabled to contribute very important assistance to their efforts, particularly Luther and Melancthon, with whom he became early acquainted. In 1521 he was made a canon of the collegiate church at Wittemberg, and appointed principal of the college and professor; and, with Spalatinus and Amsdorff, was employed by the elector of Saxony to reform the church in Misnia and Thuringia.


This book is a refutation of one printed at Leyden in 1607, entitled “Islandia, seu descriptio populorum et memorabilmm hujns irisulae.

| From thence he was called to Halle in Saxony, where he greatly promoted the reformation. Luther sometimes resorted thither to him, and took him with him in his last journey to Isleben, where he died in his arms. After Luther’s death he continued for some time in the duke of Saxony’s court, and was at length appointed pastor of the church at Eisfield, where he died Oct. 9, 1555. Jonas has been ranked among the moderate reformers, being desirous of making no further alteration in the established modes of worship and even doctrine, than he thought absolutely necessary for the introduction of piety and truth. His death was therefore a serious loss to his brethren, whose cause suffered by the intemperate zeal of some of its supporters. Among his writings are enumerated a treatise in. defence of the marriage of priests, against Faber printed at Helmstadt, 1651, fol. another uponthe study of divinity and notes upon the Acts" of the Apostles; but of these his biographers have given very imperfect accounts. 1

Melchior Adam, Verheiden Effigies. —Saxii Onomast.