January 14, 1519

Martin Luther (in Wittenberg) writes to George Spalatin (in Altenburg) to explain an "ambush" staged in Dresden in July 1518, possibly because it had recently come to his attention that an account of the meeting was circulating or because he had been reminded of the event by meeting Jerome Emser in Leipzig the week before.…

January 16, 1519

On the second Sunday after Epiphany, the Gospel lesson being John 2:1-11 (the wedding at Cana), Luther preaches a sermon on marriage. Someone in the congregation takes notes and the sermon is quickly (and without Luther's knowledge or approval) published.[1] Luther was not satisfied with that version and wrote a "revised and corrected" version, which…

January 12, 1519

Emperor Maximilian I dies in Wels in Upper Austria. Frederick the Wise receives the news of the emperor's death on Jan 24. The election of a new emperor is set for Jun 17. Until the election of the new emperor, Elector Frederick will serve as imperial vicar (acting emperor). From the election until the coronation…

January 7, 1519

Luther writes to Frederick the Wise, reporting on the outcome of the second day of negiotiations with Karl von Miltitz (Quotation 1). Luther and Philip Melanchthon then travel on to Leipzig, where they stay for a few days, visiting friends and attempting to make arrangements for the planned debate with Johann Eck (Quotation 2). Quotation…

January 5-6, 1519

In George Spalatin's house in Altenburg,[1] Luther meets with the special nuncio Karl von Miltitz, who held minor positions in the Roman Curia, but was the son of Saxon nobility and had family connections to Frederick the Wise. Miltitz came equipped with both positive and negative tools to influence Frederick: indulgences, new papal privileges for…

January 1, 1519

At the Grossmünster in Zurich, Ulrich Zwingli [1] begins sermons on the New Testament. This event is generally credited as the birth of the Swiss Reformation.[2] Meanwhile in Wittenberg, Prof. Luther may have squeezed in a lecture or two on the Psalms before heading to Altenburg to meet with the pope's chamberlain, Karl von Miltitz.…

1518

Luther publishes (in German) A Brief Explanation of the Ten Commandments (Eine Kurze Erklärung der Zehn Gebote). It contains the Decalogue with brief explanations of each commandment, their transgression, and their fulfillment.[1] It is development of medieval confessional manuals, but Luther replaces their catalogs of virtues and vices with a confessional preparation and instruction based on…

By the end of 1518

Elector Fredrick’s inventory of relics in lists 17,443 items, including a twig from Moses' burning bush, hay of the holy manger, and milk from the Virgin Mary. Money was paid in order to venerate these relics in the Church of All Saints (the Wittenberg Castle Church) and thus escape years in purgatory. Two years later,…

December 31, 1518

Apparently, Duke George's intervention with the Leipzig University Theology Faculty (see post "December 30, 1518") got the desired result — or he decided that he did not need the faculty's permission regarding the proposed debate. Whatever the case, the Duke writes to Johannes Eck: Dear and trustworthy Sir! We have received your request to hold…

December 30, 1518

Duke George of Saxony replies to the Dean and Doctors of the Theological Faculty of the University of Leipzig, urging them to reconsider their decision not to host the disputation between Johannes Eck and Andreas Karlstadt (and Martin Luther): Honorable, learned, dear and trustworthy Gentlemen! We have received your letter and one from our dear…