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He was born in Waiblingen, in the Duchy of Württemberg. He studied at the University of Tübingen from 1541. He attended the diets of Regensburg (1557) and Augsburg (1559), became professor of theology in the University of Tübingen (1562), and provost of the church of St. George. He was active in Protestant discussions and movements, particularly in the adoption of a common declaration of faith by the two parties.
He was a signatory of the 1577 Formula of Concord, and editor with Martin Chemnitz of the 1580 Book of Concord. In the latter part of his life he traveled in Bohemia and Germany, working for the consolidation of the Reformation, conferring with pastors, magistrates, and princes. He was the author of more than 150 works, nearly all polemical and vigorously written, for the most part directed against Calvinism.
Andreae represented the Lutheran side in the 1586 Mompelgard Colloquium with Theodore Beza representing the Reformed side. Another name for this event is the Colloquy of Montbéliard. They discussed the doctrines of the Lord's Supper, the person of Christ, predestination, the use of pictures, and ceremonies.
He died in Tübingen, in the Duchy of Württemberg.
He was the father of Johannes Andreae (1554-1601) and the grandfather of Johann Valentin Andreae.
- Friedrich Wilhelm Bautz (1975). "Andreae, Jakob". In Bautz, Friedrich Wilhelm (ed.). Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German). 1. Hamm: Bautz. cols. 165–166. ISBN 3-88309-013-1.
- Brecht, Martin. "Andreae, Jakob". In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie (TRE) vol. 2, pp. 672–680.
- Ehmer, Hermann. Leben des Jakob Andreae, Doktor der Theologie, von ihm selbst mit grober Treue und Aufrichtigkeit beschriben, bis auf das Jahr 1562. Stuttgart 1991, ISBN 3-7668-3036-8.
- Ernst Henke (1875), "Andreae, Jakob", Allgemeine Deutsche Biographie (ADB) (in German), 1, Leipzig: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 436–441
- Kolb, Robert. Andreae and the Formula of Concord: Six Sermons on the Way to Lutheran Unity. St. Louis, 1977.
- Kolb, Robert. "Jakob Andreae." Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation. (Oxford, 1996). vol. 1. pp. 36–38.
- Jungkuntz, Theodore R. Formulators of the Formula of Concord: Four Architects of Lutheran unity. St. Louis: Concordia Pub. House, 1977. ISBN 0-570-03740-9
- Peter Meinhold (1953), "Andreae, Jakob", Neue Deutsche Biographie (in German), 1, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, p. 277