BRENZ, JOHANN (1499–1570), Lutheran divine, eldest son of Martin Brenz, was born at Weil, Württemberg, on the 24th of June 1499. In 1514 he entered the university of Heidelberg, where Oecolampadius was one of his teachers, and where in 1518 he heard Luther discuss. Ordained priest in 1520, and appointed preacher (1522) at Hall in Swabia, he gave himself to biblical exposition. He ceased to celebrate mass in 1523, and reorganized his church in 1524. Successful in resisting the peasant insurrection (1525), his fortunes were affected by the Schmalkaldic War. From Hall, when taken by the imperial forces, he fled on his birthday in 1548. Protected by Duke Ulrich of Württemberg, he was appointed (January 1553) provost of the collegiate church of Stuttgart. As organizer of the reformation in Württemberg he did much fruitful work. A strong advocate of Lutheran doctrine, and author of the Syngramma Suevicum (October 21, 1525), which set forth Luther’s doctrine of the Eucharist, he was free from the persecuting tendencies of the age. He is praised and quoted (as Joannes Witlingius) for his judgment against applying the death penalty to anabaptists or other heretics in the De Haereticis, an sint persequendi (1554), issued by Sebastian Castellio under the pseudonym of Martinus Bellius. An incomplete edition of his works (largely expository) appeared at Tübingen, 1576–1590. Several of his sermons were reproduced in contemporary English versions. A volume of Anecdota Brentiana was edited by Pressel in 1868. He died on the 11th of September 1570, and was buried in his church at Stuttgart; his grave was subsequently violated. He was twice married, and his eldest son, Johann Brenz, was appointed (1562) professor of theology in Tübingen at the early age of twenty-two.
See Hartmann and Jäger, Johann Brenz (1840–1842); Bossert, in Hauck’s Realencyklop. (1897). (A. Go.*)