December 16, 1518

The Dean and Doctors of the Theological Faculty of the University of Leipzig write to their sovereign, Duke George of Saxony,[1] declining to get involved in the proposed debate between Johannes Eck and Andreas Karlstadt (and involving Martin Luther): We send your Grace certain letters of Dr. Eck.[2] We surmise that he is trying to…

December 14, 1518

Luther writes to Johannes Reuchlin,[1] the great German humanist, who was the first to spread the knowledge of the Hebrew language in Germany. In 1510, Reuchlin had objected to the burning of Jewish literature,[2] which had been advocated by the Dominicans in Cologne and the faculty of the university there. Many humanists took Reuchlin's side…

December 11, 1518

Brother Martin Luther's appeal to a general council of the church is printed by Johan Rhau-Grünenberg in Wittenberg. Luther later complained that he had given the text to the printer, but intended to have the copies returned to him for safekeeping and to be distributed only after news of his formal excommunication arrived.[1] Instead, Rhau-Grünenberg sold them as…

December 9, 1518 (Part 3)

Luther continues his second series of lectures on the Psalms. Quotation: Digression "Concerning Hope and Sufferings" in the Commentary on Psalm 5:11. But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. [continued from post "December…

December 9, 1518 (Part 2)

Luther writes a second letter to George Spalatin on this date. This letter describes the changes being made in the University curriculum.[1] These changes included eliminating courses based on the writings of Thomas Aquinas (called the "Angelic Doctor", 1225-1274) and Duns Scotus (the "Subtle Doctor", c. 1264-1308). Luther's goal was that "in this way, the…

December 9, 1518 (Part 1)

Luther writes to George Spalatin, telling him that the Proceedings at Augsburg have been printed (contrary to the Elector's wishes), that a new papal representative has been dispatched to Wittenberg, and how Luther had alerted his congregation that he might leave suddenly. Meanwhile, preparations for the planned debate between Johannes Eck and Luther's colleague Andreas…

December 2, 1518

Luther writes to George Spalatin in Altenburg regarding some unexpected news. Before this, Luther had apparently (finally) decided that he should leave Saxony and had given hints to his congregation that he might leave without notice. On the evening of Dec 1, he was celebrating his impending departure with friends when a letter from Spalatin…

November 29, 1518

Luther, expecting any day to be excommunicated by Rome and uncertain whether to expect protection or banishment from his prince, writes to Elector Frederick the Wise. Quotation: Most Serene and Gracious Lord! I have received with great joy a pamphlet from my dear friend, George Spalatin, along with a copy of the esteemed Cardinal's letter…

November 28, 1518 (Part 3)

In the third excerpt from his appeal to a general council of the church, Luther describes the meeting with Cajetan in Augsburg, what has followed, and how that has driven him to this appeal. [The conclusion of the Appellatio will be quoted in the post for Dec 11, 1518.] Quotation: ... I could not accomplish…

November 28, 1518 (Part 2)

In the second part of his appeal to a general council of the church, Luther lays out the case against the indulgence trade and the reaction that led to his being cited to Rome. Quotation: … Therefore I also, brother Martin Luther aforesaid, having recourse to the manner and intention already mentioned, affirm and declare…