Reuchlin was no less learned than Pico; Melanchthon no less humane than Ficino; Erasmus no less witty, and far more trenchant, than Petrarch; Ulrich von Hutten no less humorous than Folengo; Paracelsus no less fantastically learned than Cardano.
The De Ecclesia was published by Ulrich von Hutten in 1520; other controversial writings by Otto Brumfels in 1524; and Luther wrote an interesting preface to Epistolae Quaedam, which were published in 1537.
It had all been said before in the various protests of which we have spoken, and very recently by Ulrich von Hutten in his Dialogues, but no one had put the case so strongly, or so clearly, before.
At the same time that the Neo-Platonists, like Ficino and Pico de la Mirandola, and the pantheists, whose God was little more than a reverential conception of the universe at large, and the purely worldly humanists, like Celtes and Bebel, were widely diverging each by his own particular path from the ecclesiastical Weltanschauung of the middle ages, Ulrich von Hutten was busy attacking the Curia in his witty Dialogues, in the name of German patriotism.
Johann Reuchlin, a well-known scholar, who had been charged by the Dominicans with heresy, not only received the support of the newer type of scholars, who wrote him encouraging letters which he published under the title Epistolae clarorum virorum, but this collection suggested to Crotus Rubianus and Ulrich von Hutten one of the most successful satires of the ages, the Epistolae obscurorum virorum.