Sturm was born in Schleiden. In 1521 or 1522 he started studies at the school of St. Jerome at Liège, and went on to the University of Leuven. There he had a share in a printing press and issued several Greek works. Visiting Paris in 1529 to sell books, he was asked to teach and give lectures on Cicero and Demosthenes. Influenced by the writings of Martin Bucer he adopted the principles of the Protestant Reformation. He participated in the attempt to reconcile Protestant and Roman Catholic parties in 1534.
He was called to Strassburg (where he joined, among others, the unrelated statesman Jacob Sturm von Sturmeck) in 1537, and in 1538 he set up the Protestant Gymnasium there. He directed the school for 43 years, and the school attained a wide celebrity.
He undertook diplomatic missions on behalf of Strassburg, the Protestant estates and the king of France. He attended the conferences at Hagenau and Worms in 1540, and at Regensburg in 1541; and went with Bucer to meet the elector of Cologne, in 1542. After helping to negotiate peace between England and Francei 1545, he again went to France in 1546, at the outbreak of the War of the Schmalkaldic League, to seek the help of François I. He asked for German aid to the Huguenots, which made him suspect in the eyes of Lutherans.
After the death of Jacob Sturm and with the stricter enforcement of the Lutheran confession after 1555, Sturm became involved in ongoing con-troversies. He upheld the broader views of Bucer, and was influenced by his Biblical and humanistic views towards a non-dogmatic Christianity. A consensus in 1563 on the basis of the Wittenberg Concord did not last long. Sturm was asked to schools on the Strassburg model of his, among which was the gymnasium at Lauingen (1564). But the theological complaints against his views, and those of his staff, persisted. complaint of tho theologians against the Reformed. Johann Marbach brought a complaint, adjudicated in favour of Sturm in 1575. But the Formula of Concord at Strassburg reopened the conflict. Johannes Pappus renewed the assault, supported by Andreas Osiander and Jakob Andrea, in a pamphlet war, Sturm was relieved of his position in 1581 and retired to Northeim. He died in Strassburg.
Sturm was generally regarded as the greatest educator connected with the Reformed Church. The school he directed and his art of teaching were a humanist model for a century all over Europe. His ideal in education was “to direct the aspiration of the scholars toward God, to develop their intelligence, and to render them useful citizens by teaching them the skill to communicate their thoughts and sentiments with persuasive effect.”
Sturm implemented a gradation of the course of study, and novel methods of instruction. His system of classes (practically the same that still prevailed in all gymnasia some centuries later), his classification of literary material for use in schools, his writing of textbooks, and his organization of school management shaped the practice of secondary education, not only in the German schools, but also in secondary schools of England and France.
In addition to the Gymnasium, Foyer Jean-Sturm, a modern student dormitory in Strasbourg, also bears his name.
- "Sturm, Johannes". New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
- "Gymnasia". New International Encyclopedia. 1905.
- Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Sturm, Johannes". Encyclopedia Americana.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Jackson, Samuel Macauley, ed. (1914). "article name needed". New Schaff–Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (third ed.). London and New York: Funk and Wagnalls.