Belgian controversialist; born at Hoogstraeten, Belgium, about 1460; died at Cologne Jan. 21, 1527. He studied at Louvain and Cologne, and became prior of a Dominican convent, professor of theology at Cologne University, and inquisitor (censor et quœstor fidei) in the archbishoprics of Cologne, Mayence, and Treves. A fanatical opponent of the humanists and of the Reformation, he exercised a strong influence in the councils of the Church. He took under his protection the baptized Jew John Pfefferkorn, and assisted him in his attacks upon his former coreligionists and upon Reuchlin. In his ambition to emulate the example of his Spanish predecessors, Torquemada and Ximenes, he attacked the Talmud and other Jewish books, with their defenders. With his assistance, Pfefferkorn, on Aug. 19, 1509, secured from the emperor Maximilian authority to confiscate and examine all Jewish writings and to destroy those directed against the Christian faith. When these plans failed, Pfefferkorn turned upon Reuchlin, who had given a formal opinion against the suppression of the Jewish books. Attacked by Pfefferkorn (1511) in a gross libel under the title of "Handspiegel," Reuchlin retorted in his "Augenspiegel." Hoogstraten and the other members of the Cologne faculty declared the "Augenspiegel" a dangerous book, and called upon its author to recant. Reuchlin successfully refuted their accusations in "Defensio Contra Calumniatores Suos Colonienses" (Tübingen, 1513).

Notwithstanding an imperial edict imposing silence upon both parties, the Dominicans continued the controversy. In his capacity as inquisitor, and without authorization from his provincial, Hoogstraten summoned Reuchlin (Sept. 15, 1513) to appear within six days before the ecclesiastical court of Mayence to be tried on the charges of favoring the Jews and of heresy. On Sept. 20, with a number of Dominicans, Hoogstraten arrived at Mayence, and opened the session as accuser and judge. He was encouraged in his procedure by the universities of Cologne, Louvain, and Erfurt, which had declared against Reuchlin. At this point Archbishop Uriel of Mayence interfered; and Pope Leo X. authorized the Bishop of Speyer to decide the question. Meanwhile Hoogstraten had Reuchlin's "Augenspiegel" publicly burned at Cologne. On March 29, 1514, the Bishop of Speyer pronounced judgment in favor of Reuchlin, and condemned Hoogstraten to pay the expenses incurred (111 guilders).

Against this decision Hoogstraten appealed to the pope, founding his hope of success upon the venality of the court of Rome. "At Rome everything can be had for money," he used to say. At Rome he made use of all the means at his disposal, but he had to content himself with a decision of the pope indefinitely postponing the trial (July, 1516). The Dominicans, intimidated by Knight Franz von Sickingen, divested Hoogstraten of the offices of prior and inquisitor. But four years later, Jan. 23, 1520, the pope reversed the judgment of the Bishop of Speyer, condemned Reuchlin's "Augenspiegel," and reinstated Hoogstraten.

During these four years Hoogstraten and Ortuin Gratius were the butt of satirical attacks in the "Epistolæ Obscurorum Virorum." In an "Apologia" (Cologne, 1518), addressed to the pope, Hoogstraten defended himself against such attacks, and especially against George Benignus, a warm defender of Reuchlin, and stigmatized the latter as a heretic and a champion of the Jews. Against this pamphlet Reuchlin, Busch, and Hutten addressed letters to Hermann von Neuenaar, who published them under the title "Epistolæ Trium Illustrium Virorum." Neuenaar, who, in a letter to Emperor Maximilian, had called Hoogstraten "the pestilence of Germany," also published an apology of Reuchlin's entitled "Defensio Nuper ex Urbe Roma Allata," which Hoogstraten answered in "Apologia Secunda" (Cologne, 1519), In the same year he wrote "Destructio Cabalæ," in which he endeavored to refute Reuchlin's cabalistic works, but showed his own ignorance of this literature.

In Luther Hoogstraten saw the most dangerous enemy of the Church. Chiefly at his instigation, Luther's writings were burned at Cologne (Nov. 27, 1519). Hoogstraten's "Colloquia cum Divo Augustino" (1521), "De Christiana Libertate Tractatus V Contra Lutherum" (1526), and "Disputationes Contra Lutherum Aliquot" were directed against Luther. In these and in other polemical writings he defended the worship of saints, the celibacy of priests, and other institutions of the Church, and justified the burning of two heretics for which he was mainly responsible.

  • Allg. Deutsche Biog.;
  • Grätz, Gesch. ix. 68-213;
  • Herzog-Hauck, Real-Encyc. s.v. Reuchlin;
  • Meyerhoff, Reuchlin und Seine Zeit, Leipsic, 1831;
  • Ludwig Geiger, Reuchlin, Sein Leben und Seine Werke, ib. 1871;
  • Wetzer and Welte's Kirchenlexikon.
D. S. Man.
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