Emser studied from 1493 in Tübingen and from 1497 in Basel jurisprudence and theology. 1504 he held lectures at the University of Erfurt, which were also heard from Martin Luther. The following year his doctorate Emser for bachelor of theology and later became the secretary and chaplain of Duke George the Bearded of Saxony.
The Duchess Barbara of Saxony in 1505, he devoted a German-language poem in defense of the dignity of the married state ( Eyn German Satyra VND firm of Eebruchs ) with many antique Exempeln and learned notes. The term satire is used here in the sense of " denunciation of a vice ."
From 1519 led Emser a passionate, literary dispute with Luther. Since Emser Luther errors and lies accused in his translation of the Bible, such as the Leipzig polemic AUß what reason vnnd vrsach Luther dolmatschung / VBER the nawe testament / the common one has been vorbotten Billich sey of 1523, he translated on behalf of Duke George of Saxony, in turn, the New Testament into German. In this work he revised the Luther version with recourse to the Latin Vulgate, because the church rejected Luther's neologisms and its direct translation from the Hebrew and Greek original texts older. In 1527 this work was testament under the title The naw after lawt review of the Christian churches text / corrects / widerumb and brought cope printed in Dresden and already a year later came a second edition. This translation became widespread in the Catholic population and was used in 1537 by Johannes Eck as the basis for the Upper German translation of the New and Old Testament. Already in 1530 had appeared a rating based on Emser Low German transmission in Rostock.
Emser died in 1527 and was buried in the churchyard woman in Dresden.
- As translators: The gantz New Testament / edited by Johann Dieterich Berger - Cologne: Quentel / Tübingen: Morhart, 1532 Digitized edition of the University and State Library Dusseldorf.
- Eyn German Satyra VND firm of Eebruchs, Leipzig: Melchior Lotter, 1505 Digitized edition of the Munich Digitization Center.