November 28, 1520 (Part 1)

Emperor Charles V writes to Elector Frederick of Saxony, directing him to bring his professor, Martin Luther, to the Imperial Diet that will meet in Worms: Highborn, dear Uncle [1] and Elector: We have been frequently and urgently requested by the nuncio of the Pope's Holiness, to guard against farther damage from Dr. Martin Luther's…

By November 20, 1520

The Freedom of a Christian is printed by Johann Rhau-Grunenberg in Wittenberg. The booklet will become a bestseller, with thirty printings by the end of 1526, including versions in German, Latin, Plattdeutsch, and English. [1] Quotation: [continued from "Nov 6, 1520 (Part 2)"] ... From this any one can clearly see how a Christian is free…

November 17, 1520

Martin Luther writes to Lazarus Spengler [1] in Nürnberg (Quotation 1) regarding Erasmus's reaction to being mentioned in one of Luther's recent pamphlets. In the meanwhile, The Freedom of a Christian (excerpt as Quotation 2) is in press. Quotation 1: My service, etc., [is always available to you] Honorable, wise, dear Sir and Friend! I…

November 13, 1520

Luther writes to George Spalatin concerning his response to the bull Exsurge Domine and other developments. Quotation: Greeting. I have received the "Bull" [1] you sent, Spalatin, and we daily expect your happy return [2] with many new things to tell us and one old thing, namely, that there is no hope in the court…

November 12, 1520

The papal legate Jerome Aleander supervises the public burning of Luther's books in Cologne. Meanwhile, elsewhere in Germany, Luther is being widely read, including his Prelude on the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, from which our Quotation is excerpted. Quotation: [1] ... Therefore, let us open our eyes and learn to give more heed to…

November 6, 1520 (Part 2)

In Cologne, Elector Frederick meets for a second time with the papal legates. He rejects their demand that Luther either be punished by the Elector or handed over to Rome and insists that Luther's case be heard by an impartial tribunal. Meanwhile, in Wittenberg, Luther's The Freedom of a Christian, from which our Quotation is…

November 6, 1520 (Part 1)

In Cologne, Elector Frederick meets for the second time with the papal legates (including Jerome Aleander) who had delivered the demand that Luther's books be burned and that Luther either be punished by Frederick or handed over to Rome. Frederick refuses these demands and insists on Luther's case being heard by an impartial tribunal of…

November 5, 1520

In Cologne (Köln), after having met with the papal legates the day before, Elector Frederick consults with Erasmus of Rotterdam, who happens to be in the city. Frederick asks him if Luther has erred. "For answer he received the winged word, which flew to the farthest ends of Germany: 'Yes. He has erred in two…

November 4, 1520 (Event 3, Part 2)

In a letter to George Spalatin, Luther explains that rather than responding to the papal bull Exsuge Domine by recanting, he is publishing two short manifestoes: Against the New Bull forged by Eck and Against the Execrable Bull of Antichrist. Quotation: [continued from yesterday] ... Duke George [1] rages against me with his sophists and the Bishop of Merseburg.…

November 4, 1520 (Event 3, Part 1)

With grateful thanks to Hannah Benton Eidsath, special guest editor for the month of June, we resume our timeline of Luther events and related quotations.       §  §  §  §  §  §  §   Martin Luther writes to George Spalatin, explaining that, rather than responding to the papal bull Exsuge Domine by recanting as…