From A HISTORY OF UNITARIANISM : Socinianism etc., 1945 by Earl Morse Wilbur
Of all these interesting academic hot-beds of Socinians, one . . . deserves more than casual mention. At Altdorf, a few miles distant from Nuremberg, there was early in the seventeenth century a flourishing academy (given the rank of a university in 1623, and eventually absorbed by Erlangen in 1809), which was patronized by Nuremberg as its own, and had an able faculty and attracted many foreign students, especially from Poland.14 Among its earlier graduates was one Ernst Soner, who in the course of his post-graduate studies abroad spent some time at Leiden, at the very time when Ostorodt and his companion [Wojdowski] arrived there, (etc).15 He formed a close intimacy with them, and became a ready convert to their faith. In due time Soner became a professor at Altdorf, where he was one of the most popular teachers. He maintained a secret correspondence with his Socinian friends in Poland, and cultivated confidential relations with such students as came thence to Altdorf, often bringing books fresh from the Raków press, and cautiously spreading their views among susceptible fellow-students. While exercising the greatest caution as to what he did, Soner embraced the opportunity which his most private courses gave him, to rouse debatable questions in the minds of susceptible students, and to direct the course of their thought ; and all this so inoffensively that when he met premature death by an incurable disease no one had entertained serious doubts of his orthodoxy. As the movement quietly spread, it developed into what was in effect a secret religious fraternity, whose members held meetings in one another's rooms (etc). About twenty students in all were concerned in the movement, and they were known for heir devout piety and their exemplary lives.
Page created 18 December 2003
W. Paul Tabaka