EBER, ê'ber, PAUL: German theologian and Reformer; b. at Kitzingen (11 m. e.s.e. of Würzburg) Nov. 8, 1511; d. at Wittenberg Dec. 10, 1569. He received his first education at home, and attended the schools of Nuremberg, then entered the University of Wittenberg on June 1, 1532, where his teachers were Luther and Melanchthon, and in 1537 was made a member of the faculty, being appointed regular professor four years later, first of Latin and then of physics. His lectures comprised the wide range of the liberal arts, although his chief attention was devoted to Latin, history, natural agents, and even to anatomy. A versatile literary activity was the result. With the aid of Melanchthon he wrote his Contexta populi Judaici historia a reditu ex Babylonico exilio usque ad ultimum ex cidium Hierosolymæ (Wittenberg, 1548), and with Kasper Peucer he prepared his Vocabula rei nummariæ . .. volucrum et piscium appellationes (1549). His most famous work is his Calendarium historicum (1550), written in collaboration with Melanchthon and containing a reformed calendar of the saints with a historical calendar.
Eber's firm attitude during the Schmalkald War of 1546-47 won him the admiration of his colleagues, and on June 21, 1557, he succeeded Johann Forster as professor of the Old Testament and preacher at the Schlosskirche. He accompanied Melanchthon to the Colloquy of Worms and acted as secretary, but returned from Worms at Christmas, and succeeded Bugenhagen as municipal preacher and general superintendent of the electoral circuit, Sept. 4, 1558. When Melanchthon died in 1560, his course of lectures was completed by Eber, who, as professor of the Old Testament, was invited by the Elector August to revise the Vulgate of the Old Testament for the Biblia Germanico-Latina (1565). He was obliged, however, to complete his work in a year and a half, and he was little pleased with his results. As a preacher he is best known by two volumes published after his death by his pupils, the Evangeliorum dominicalium explicatio (ed. J. Cellarius, Frankfort, 1576) and the Katechismuspredigten (ed. T. Feurelius, Nuremberg, 1577). His most bitter struggles were connected with the controversies on the nature of the Eucharist. Like Melanchthon, he rejected the ubiquitarianism of Brenz, and frequently approximated the Calvinistic view. Peucer later said in reproach of him that he had been convinced of the truth of the Swiss doctrine as early as 1561, but had suddenly become an opponent of the crypto-Calvinists of Wittenberg after the Dresden conference of Mar. 25, 1561. It is indisputable that on that occasion he advocated a confession which harked back to the Wittenberg Concordia, and henceforth taught a modified Lutheranism which he regarded as the true interpretation of the Augsburg Confession, defending his views in his Vom heiligen Sakrament des Leibs und Bluts unsers Herrn Jesu Christi (Wittenberg, 1562), although his course contented neither the Lutherans nor the Reformed. Eber is also famous as an author of hymns, of which the best-known are Herr Jesu Christ, wahr'r Mensch und Gott (" Lord Jesus Christ, true Man and God") and Wenn wir in höchsten Nöthen sein (" When in the hour of utmost need").
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Sources of value for a life are in CR, iii.- ix., and in J. Voigt, Briefwechsel der berühmtesten Gelehrten mit Herzog Albrecht, pp. 234 sqq., Königsberg, 1841. Consult also: C. H. Sixt, Dr. Paul Eber, Heidelberg, 1843; idem, Paul Eber. Ein Stück Wittenberger Lebens, Ansbach, 1857; T. Pressel, in Leben and ausgewählte Schritten der vater ... der lutherischen Kirche, vol. viii., Elberfeld, 1862; G. Buchwald, Paul Eber, Leipsic, 1897; J. W. Richard, Philip Melanchthon, passim, New York, 1898; Julian, Hymnology, 318, 9.