AURIFABER (the latinized form of Goldschmidt), a surname borne by three prominent men of the Reformation period in Germany.
1. Andreas (1514-1559) was a physician of some repute, but through his influence with Albert of Brandenburg, last grand-master of the Teutonic order, and first Protestant duke of Prussia, became an outstanding figure in the controversy associated with Andreas Osiander (q.v.) whose daughter he had married.
2. Joannes (Vratislaviensis; 1517-1568), the younger brother of Andreas, was born at Breslau on the 30th of January 1517, and educated at Wittenberg, where he formed a close and lasting friendship with Melanchthon. After graduating in 1538 he spent twelve years as docent at the university, and having then received his doctorate of divinity, was appointed professor of divinity and pastor of the church of St Nicholas at Rostock. He distinguished himself by his conciliatory disposition, earned the special confidence of Duke John Albert of Mecklenburg, and took a leading part in 1552 in drawing up the constitution of the Mecklenburg church. He also settled some religious disputes in the town of Lübeck. In 1553 Duke Albert of Prussia, anxious to heal the differences in the Prussian church caused by the discussion of Osiander’s doctrines, invited him to Königsberg, and in the following year appointed him professor of divinity and president of the Samland diocese. Joannes, however, found it impossible to conciliate all parties, and in 1565 returned to Breslau, where, in 1567, he became pastor in the church of St Elizabeth and inspector of the Lutheran churches and schools. He died on the 19th of October 1568.
3. Joannes (Vinariensis; 1519-1575), was born in the county of Mansfeldt in 1519. He studied at Wittenberg where he heard the lectures of Luther, and afterwards became tutor to Count Mansfeldt. In the war of 1544-45 he accompanied the army as field-preacher, and then lived with Luther as his famulus or private secretary, being present at his death in 1546. In the following year he spent six months in prison with John Frederick, elector of Saxony, who had been captured by the emperor, Charles V. He held for some years the office of court-preacher at Weimar, but owing to theological disputes was compelled to resign this office in 1561. In 1566 he was appointed to the Lutheran church at Erfurt, and there remained till his death 926 in November 1575. Besides taking a share in the first collected or Jena edition of Luther’s works (1556), Aurifaber sought out and published at Eisleben in 1564-1565 several writings not included in that edition. He also published Luther’s Letters (1556, 1565), and Table Talk (1566). This popular work, which has given him most of his fame, is unfortunately but a second or third hand compilation.
See G. Kawerau’s art. in Herzog-Hauck’s Realencyk. für prot. Theologie, and the literature there cited.
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