Busche, Hermann von dem

(Hermannus Buschius, ca. 1468-1534)
   German humanist. Descended from a noble Westphalian family, he studied at Münster and at the famous school at Deventer directed by Alexander Hegius, then briefly under Rudolf Agricola at Heidelberg before a period of study in Italy under Pomponius Laetus at Rome and the elder Filippo Beroaldo at Bologna. Thus his education was directed by some of the most distinguished humanists of the day. Although he entered the University of Cologne in 1495 intending to study law, he became an itinerant teacher of Latin grammar, rhetoric, and poetry for brief periods at a number of German schools and universities. He also published poems and other writings. Busche agitated for a sweeping reform of the liberal arts curriculum of the German universities in order to increase attention to humanistic studies.
   In 1502 he became one of the original faculty of the new University of Wittenberg, and the following year he lectured at the University of Leipzig, where he received a baccalaureate in law. Busche's open disdain for traditional academic studies led to his expulsion from Leipzig and later from the University of Erfurt. While teaching at Erfurt he established a lasting connection with the influential humanist Mutianus Rufus and the latter's Erfurt disciples, Ulrich von Hutten and Crotus Rubianus. Between 1506 and 1516 Busche again taught at Cologne, where he became one of a circle of outspoken humanist critics of scholastic learning and engaged in a bitter feud with a more conservative humanist, Ortwin Gratius. During the famous controversy between the humanist Johann Reuchlin and the theological faculty and Dominican friars of Cologne, Busche became an outspoken defender of Reuchlin. Although he was only marginally involved in composition of the satirical attack on the Cologne theologians, Epistolae obscurorum virorum, he probably contributed a number of authentic local details to Crotus and Hutten, the principal authors. The selection of Ortwin Gratius as the butt of the satire may well be an echo of Busche's earlier conflict with him. In 1518 Busche published an influential defense of humanist learning, Vallum humanitatis /The Fortress of the Humanities.
   By 1521, when he attended the Diet of Worms, Busche had become an outspoken defender of Martin Luther. While at Basel in 1522, he joined a group of pro-Lutherans in publicly breaking the Lenten fast. When the new Lutheran University of Marburg opened in 1527, he became professor of poetry and classical literature. In 1533 he debated for the Lutheran cause against the revolutionary Anabaptists in his native region at Münster.

Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. . 2004.

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