The Life of the Reformer and Universal Scholar


His Studies

Phillipp was prepared for the Latin School in Pforzheim by his private tutor Johannes Unger. In his class he was by far the best student. He was given the opportunity to learn Greek by the rector Georg Simler and the instructor Johannes Hiltebrant.
On March 15, 1509 the humanist Johannes Reuchlin conferred upon him the humanist name "Melanchthon." Reuchlin is said to have told Melanchthon:

"Your name is Schwarzerdt [German for "black soil"], you are a Greek, and so your new name shall be Greek. Thus I will call you Melanchthon, which means black soil [in Greek]."

The good relations between Reuchlin and scholars at Heidelberg University allowed Melanchthon to be admitted to university at the age of twelve. During his studies at Heidelberg, Phillip lived with the theologian Pallas Spangel. Melanchthon completed his studies as early as possible on June 10, 1511, receiving the degree of baccalaureus artium.
Heidelberg around 1620

Heidelberg around 1620
Copperplate, Matthaes Merian d. -.

When Melanchthon wanted to take his master's exams in 1512, his professors refused to admit him since they did not believe that the frail fifteen-year old could already represent the authority of an academic teacher.
After continuing his studies in Tübingen, Melanchthon was eventually permitted in January 1514 to take the master's exam at the age of seventeen at the Philosphical Faculty. Afterwards, Melanchthon began his intensive teaching career at the university. During this time, he wrote his first important works which were influenced by humanist ideas.


Copyright© KDG Wittenberg.