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date: 19 August 2017

Martin Luther in the Eyes of His Roman Catholic Opponents

Summary and Keywords

From late 1517 into early 1521 Catholic theologians and church officials examined Luther’s publications for erroneous doctrines and to weigh the gravity of his heterodoxies. Pope Leo X issued on June 15, 1520, the official censure, in Exsurge Domine, of forty-one positions Luther had advanced, under qualifications as “dangerous,” “erroneous,” or “heretical.” The ranking academic body of Europe, the University of Paris, added on April 15, 1521, its Determinatio that Luther was advancing erroneous or heretical positions in 104 positions lifted from his works.

On the way to these judgments, the Dominicans Johann Tetzel, Sylvester Prierias, and Cardinal Cajetan played roles, as did the university theologians of Louvain and Cologne, while Johann Eck contributed significantly to Exsurge Domine. The censures, however, lacked clarity in presenting Luther and his doctrine, since they listed his errant propositions unsystematically and with little precision on their gravity. From them remained the fact of Luther’s condemnation.

German Catholic pamphleteers of 1518–1530 sketched Luther as subverting authorities, both civil and ecclesial. Eck’s handbook of Catholic defenses (1525) added traits of Luther’s revival of Manichaean heresies and opening the doctrinal field to the frenzied Karlstadt, Zwingli, and Anabaptists. Johannes Cochlaeus chronicled Luther’s life and works amply, with readings in the worst light, from which Catholics for centuries were schooled to perceive Luther as ever-changing but thoroughly pestilential in his impact on both church and world.

Keywords: Martin Luther, indulgences, Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses, papal authority, Johann Eck, Johannes Cochlaeus, Tommaso de Vio Cardinal Cajetan

Official Catholic reactions to Luther began after he sent three Latin texts to the archbishop of Mainz and Magdeburg, Albrecht of Brandenburg, a prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire and the sponsor of indulgences for contributions to building St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The texts were (1) a letter, dated October 31, 1517, urging Albrecht to correct the Dominican Johann Tetzel’s preaching on indulgences, (2) the Ninety-Five Theses on indulgences in relation to the life and death of a Christian, and (3) a theological treatise explaining how by indulgences the church’s intercession helps deceased souls. Some of the texts went also to Bishop Hieronymus Schulze of the Brandenburg diocese, which included Wittenberg, and news of them also reached Adolph of Anhalt, bishop of Merseburg.

Bishop Schulze reacted by advising Luther to drop this matter because he was attacking church authority and would get into trouble. Bishop Adolph, however, wanted Luther’s theses to spread so that the offer of the St. Peter’s indulgence would cease in his diocese, but this had to be decided by Archbishop Albrecht, head of the church province of Magdeburg.1 Albrecht did not answer Luther’s letter, but instead asked the theologians of the University of Mainz to assess the orthodoxy of the texts that “a presumptuous monk in Wittenberg” had sent him. Before the theologians gave an answer, Albrecht sensed the matter was urgent, and he sent the documents to Pope Leo X to gain an authoritative silencing of Luther on indulgences.2

Luther’s Early Dominican Opponents: Tetzel and Prierias

Luther had wanted to exchange ideas with others so as to clarify his positions on issues addressed in the Ninety-Five Theses, but they became a sensation when they were printed without Luther’s knowledge in Leipzig, Nurnberg, and Basel. A copy came to Frankfurt/Oder, where Konrad Wimpina wrote theses against Luther which Johann Tetzel, O.P, defended in the Frankfurt University on January 20, 1518.

The Wimpina-Tetzel anti-theses censured many of Luther’s theses as errors—but did not brand them heretical. The anti-theses affirmed the power of the keys in forgiving sins, while adding that satisfactory and/or medicinal penances are required by church law and by divine justice after absolution from sin, but indulgences can remit such penances and abbreviate the purgatorial suffering of departed souls.3 At the end Wimpina-Tetzel called for approval of the anti-theses’ orthodoxy by both the pope and the Inquisition, along with the ranking universities of Italy, France, and Germany—which would imply a censure of Luther.4

Because Luther heard that Dominican preachers were declaring him heretical from their pulpits, he wrote for the laity a German pamphlet, A Sermon on Indulgences and Grace (March 1518), to which Tetzel quickly replied in German.5 Without charging Luther with heresy, Tetzel’s Rebuttal introduces accusations soon to become common in Catholic attacks on Luther. He is espousing ideas on confession and satisfaction once held by the heretics John Wycliffe and Jan Hus and condemned by the Council of Constance. Luther scorns scholastic theologians, especially St. Thomas Aquinas, whose orthodoxy the church approves. Luther derogates from the pope’s power of the keys based on Matthew 16:19 and goes against doctrines that church practice endorses on penance and on aids to the souls in purgatory. Tetzel foretells a breakdown of good order sure to come from Luther’s positions:

Many people will hold the primacy and power of His Papal Holiness and the holy Roman See in contempt. The works of sacramental satisfaction will also cease. People will no longer believe preachers and theologians. Everyone will want to interpret Holy Scripture according to his own whim. Through this, all of holy Christendom must come into great spiritual danger, since each person will believe what best pleases him.6

Tetzel’s Rebuttal stung Luther when it claimed that God’s justice (gottis gerechtigkeit) requires the satisfactory penance that indulgences remit, and that Luther was wrong in denying this.7 Tetzel’s final attack on Luther came out in early May 1518 in Fifty Positions, in Latin, modeled on Luther’s theses 42 to 51, beginning, “Christians are to be taught that . . . .” The Positions assert the pope’s authority in rule and teaching, from which Tetzel, with Luther in mind but not named, describes fourteen dissenting positions deserving censure as heresy.8

Through Archbishop Albrecht, the Ninety-Five Theses had come to Rome, where the Dominican theologian Sylvester Prierias examined them in view of a possible canonical action against Luther as suspect of heresy.9 Prierias brought an escalation in Catholic judgments on Luther after he examined the Ninety-Five Theses and published his Dialogue on the Presumptuous Conclusions of Martin Luther concerning Papal Authority.10 To ground his demonstration of errors in Luther’s theses, Prierias posited fundamental criteria centered on the pope’s headship of the church under Christ and on papal infallibility in official teaching, so that dissent makes one a heretic. Fatefully, to papal teaching of doctrine Prierias added Roman practices as also normative. The consequence, aimed at Luther: “Whoever says regarding indulgences that the Roman Church cannot do what it in fact does, is a heretic.”11 The Dialogue then cites each of Luther’s theses and judges its truth or falsity. On three points Luther “thinks wrongly” about church practice, on six he derogates from papal authority, and on five he teaches or implies heretical positions.12

Based on Prierias’s Dialogue, the pope opened a canonical trial against Luther as suspect of heresy, ordering him to Rome to defend himself against charges. On August 7, 1518, the summons and a copy of the Dialogue arrived in Wittenberg, which spurred Luther to answer Prierias in a work based on foundations in scripture, the Church Fathers, and canon law.13

Luther’s overlord, Prince-Elector Friedrich, intervened to have the case against Luther transferred to Germany, but the charge against Luther changed as a consequence of Emperor Maximilian’s letter to the pope on August 5, 1518, denouncing Luther for holding obstinately to the subversive views Prierias had singled out. Worse, it was said, Luther was gaining defenders and high-placed patrons of his ideas. This charge led, by complex maneuvering, to involving another Dominican, Cardinal Cajetan, whom Pope Leo X commissioned to assess Luther’s teaching and to meet him in Augsburg to try to reach a settlement.14

Cajetan’s 1518 Judgments on Luther

Cajetan brought competence to assessing Luther’s orthodoxy.15 He carefully sifted the contents of Luther’s recently published Explanations of the Ninety-Five Theses and Sermon on [the Sacrament of] Penance. Cajetan worked out judgments on Luther’s texts in fourteen treatises completed between September 25 and October 17, 1518, before, during, and just after three face-to-face meetings with Luther October 12–14. Later, Luther’s Sermon on Excommunication came into Cajetan’s hands, on which he added a fifteenth treatise completed October 29, 1518. Cajetan’s treatises totaled 21,000 words, including fifty-five exact citations of Luther in accounts of his positions, before Cajetan gave reasons against them. He found in Luther’s works innovations; departures from common, normative teaching or papal documents; and errors—but not heresy.16

When he met Luther, Cajetan demanded that Luther retract or correct two positions. First, Luther claimed that indulgences have their foundation not in the merits of Christ and the saints but in the power of the keys, for binding and loosing on earth, given by Christ to Peter and his successors (Matthew 16:19). As backing against Luther, Cajetan cited a declaration by Pope Clement VI in 1343 on indulgences being based on “the treasury of merits.”17 Second, Cajetan said Luther taught an innovative but unacceptable manner of receiving absolution from sins, for he insisted so much on “faith in the sacrament” (fides sacramenti), that is, taking hold of peace of conscience and certitude of forgiveness and grace, that he dismissed contrition for one’s sin.18

Scholars of Luther’s development admire Cajetan’s perspicacity in touching two underlying nerves of Luther’s development: the reshaping of norms of binding doctrine, and the centrality of faith in receiving the saving word one hears. Luther responded to the two objections in a sharply argued response,19 and appealed to the pope over Cajetan’s charges. But less known is Cajetan’s revision of his charges against Luther communicated orally after their third meeting. This granted that the second charge on faith in the sacrament could remain open, because with a slight redefinition Luther’s point could stand.20 Luther held to his position on the keys, and Prince-Elector Friedrich’s protection saved him from any canonical punishments in late 1518 and through 1519.

University Censures of Luther: Louvain and Cologne

Johann Froben’s Basel printing house brought out in October 1518 a 500-page volume that included eight works by Luther in Latin.21 A copy came to Louvain, where theologians of the university examined the volume and wrote notes in the margins of passages they judged heterodox. They listed twenty-one “Excerpted Errors” of Luther, qualified variously as offensive to pious ears, scandalous, erroneous, redolent of or suspect of heresy (nine times), and heretical (seven times).22 The list and the annotated volume went to Cologne with a request that the university theologians there also examine it, so that Louvain and Cologne might condemn Luther in a joint action.

In May 1519 Cardinal Cajetan was in Koblenz, Germany, where a Cologne theologian came to gain his endorsement of the action against Luther. When Cajetan looked over the copy of Luther’s works annotated in Louvain, he observed tartly that the censures, especially several claiming heresy, were exaggerated, because with small modifications most of Luther’s positions could stand as orthodox; and while Luther may advance errors, his works did not contain heresies as the theologians were claiming.23

Influenced by Cajetan’s observation, the Cologne theologians, after their examination, stated that they found in Luther’s published texts both various errors and assertions alien to the “holy doctors.” But they named just six points, qualifying none as heresy. The topics were the sin Luther has infecting any human good work, Luther’s twisting of texts of scripture and the Church Fathers, his pernicious marginalization of contrition and abolition of satisfactory penance after confession, his annulling the “treasury of merits” underlying indulgences, a cluster of errors about purgatory, and assertions contrary to the primacy and authority of the Roman Church and the pope.24

Jacob von Hoogstraten, O.P., brought the Cologne list to Louvain, where it contributed to the Acta Academiae Lovaniensis contra Lutherum, censuring fourteen points, completed November 7, 1519. The final Louvain text does not give each article a specific censure, but it introduces the list as taken from a volume containing Luther’s “many assertions that are false, scandalous, heretical, and redolent of heresy,” such as the fourteen then listed.25 Before publication in Louvain, the Acta went to a former Louvainian, Cardinal Adrian of Utrecht, then serving in Spain, who responded with a letter endorsing the Acta and severely attacking Luther’s pernicious errors and heresies—providing thereby the Preface to the combined publication in February 1520 of the Louvain and Cologne doctrinal judgments against Luther.26 Of major consequence was Adrian’s sending a copy of the condemned articles to the pope, with a letter strongly urging action against Luther’s errors, which however should rest on Luther’s own texts exactly cited.

Eck in Debate with Luther

In early 1518 the Ninety-Five Theses had come into the hands of the Ingolstadt professor Johann Eck, soon to become Luther’s tenacious and productive adversary.27 Eck composed brief objections to several of Luther’s theses on indulgences and sacramental penance, to which Luther composed incisive rebuttals and later complained that Eck’s objections labeled him “a Bohemian [Hussite], a heretic, an inciter of tumult, and a contemptuous opponent of the Pope.”28

After Eck and Luther’s colleague Andreas Karlstadt exchanged polemical publications on the disputed points, Eck proposed a face-to-face disputation on their different positions, which the ranking universities could assess—leading to the Leipzig Disputation of June 27 to July 16, 1519. But Eck proposed theses which clearly targeted Luther and so brought him into the second part of the disputation, to argue not only about sin, purgatory, and indulgences, but as well about a topic added by Eck, the primacy of the bishop of Rome over the other churches of the world.29 Shortly after the disputation, Eck listed substantial positions Luther had dared to deny at Leipzig: that Peter was head of the Apostles, that obedience in the church is of divine institution, and that the church is built on Peter—as Eck had shown from Augustine, Jerome, and other Fathers. Luther had defended the schismatic Greeks, in spite of their refusal to obey the pope, and he claimed some of the articles of Hus condemned by the Council of Constance were Christian and evangelical. The latter point was sensitive in Leipzig in Albertine Saxony, which bordered on Bohemia, and it gained Luther the deep hostility of Duke Georg, Hieronymus Emser, and others in attendance at the disputation. At one point, Luther opined that the church would be better without the mendicant orders, which exist by papal approval. Among his other scandalous and absurd views were that a council, being human, could err, and that purgatory has no biblical basis. Moreover, Luther preached on June 29, when Duke Georg was absent, a sermon filled with Hussite errors, to which Eck responded on July 2 and 3, exhorting the people to reject the Lutheran errors.30

The universities of Erfurt and Paris were to judge the Leipzig Disputation, and for them notarized stenographic accounts of the positions and arguments of the debaters were prepared. At Erfurt the theologians fell into an impasse and withdrew at the end of 1519, while in Paris the preparation of a judgment took time.

Judgments on Luther in Pope Leo X’s Exsurge Domine and the Determinatio from Paris

At the urging of Cardinal Adrian, Pope Leo X appointed in 1520 Roman commissions of cardinals and theologians to prepare an action against Luther. The first plan was to use the Cologne and Louvain list of errors circulating under Luther’s name, with each error censured precisely at its level of heterodoxy, as Cardinal Cajetan proposed. A turning point was the arrival in Rome around April 1, 1520, of Johann Eck to assist in Luther’s condemnation. Eck brought with him for presentation to Pope Leo X a manuscript of his just completed defense of the Roman primacy.31 Eck brought as well his own list of twenty-seven errors held by Luther, which included new heterodoxies embraced by Luther at the Heidelberg Disputation of April 26, 1518, and the Leipzig Disputation.32 As the papal condemnation took shape, the drafting commission set aside Cajetan’s proposal as time-consuming and beyond the drafters’ abilities, with the result that Exsurge Domine censures forty-one articles from Luther’s works globally, that is, “as respectively heretical or scandalous or false or offensive to pious ears or seductive of simple minds, and in opposition to Catholic truth.”33 The topics, listed unsystematically, are sacramental efficacy, sin remaining in the righteous, contrition and confession, the “treasury” and indulgences, papal primacy, free choice, and purgatory. On these, Luther’s teaching is in some sense unacceptable to the Roman Catholic Church,

Pope Leo X issued Exsurge Domine on June 15, 1520, threatening excommunication if Luther did not within sixty days of receiving the bull retract his errors—to which Luther responded by burning the bull on December 10, 1520.

The bull Exsurge Domine met considerable opposition, not only by adherents of Luther but by Catholics as well. Eck’s commission to promulgate Exsurge in Germany proved difficult, with even the Bavarian dukes preferring not to publish it before the coming Diet at Worms.34 Because of murmuring against the bull in Rome, the pope had Cajetan compose in June 1521 a response to questions about Exsurge.35 At the May 12, 1521, promulgation of the bull in England, Bishop John Fisher’s discourse did not follow the disparate articles of Exsurge, but argued against Luther’s three central positions: the denial of papal primacy, justification by faith alone, and the restriction of doctrinal authority to scripture alone, of which the last two are not mentioned in Exsurge.36 Eck testified to Pope Adrian VI in 1523 about the bull’s shortcomings: recent works by Luther are spreading new heterodoxies, evidencing his arrogant vehemence; some of Exsurge’s articles treat obscure points on which good people differ; and the bull fails to give reasons why it rejects Luther’s articles. A new document is needed which treats only the major issues and makes clear the seriousness of Luther’s errors. An official text to reaffirm and expand Exsurge has to be laced with biblical and especially Pauline passages, for which people hunger.37

In the Faculty of Theology of the University of Paris, which for many was “an arbiter of the faith and a guardian of doctrine,” twenty copies of the Leipzig Disputation were distributed in January 1520 to the doctors assigned to prepare a judgment in the name of the faculty.38 But the Parisians’ measured pace of work was overtaken by Luther’s disturbing works To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation Concerning the Reform of the Christian Estate (August 1520) and The Babylonian Captivity of the Church (October 1520). The faculty of Paris shifted from declaring who had won at Leipzig to censuring, in a Determinatio of April 15, 1521, 104 articles held by Luther.39 This casts Luther as one more heretic in the line from Marcion, Sabellius, and Arius, through Wycliffe and Hus more recently. These “refuse to listen even to the church” (Matthew 18:17), while twisting scripture as they like and thinking that they alone walk in the way of truth. The Babylonian Captivity gave the Determinatio its initial twenty-five erroneous articles on the sacraments, church laws, the value of human works before God, religious vows, and God’s essence. Of these the Parisians branded twelve heretical, while censuring the others as false, erroneous, contrary to the right understanding of scripture, schismatic, rash, scandalous, undercutting obedience to prelates, and contrary to councils’ teaching. After these varied qualifications of Luther’s positions, the Determinatio leveled charges of heresy against Articles 92 and 93, in which Luther denied free choice in human actions and in cooperating with God’s grace.

Official Catholic responses to Luther reached an intermediate conclusion with Exsurge Domine and the Determinatio from Paris.40 But other perceptions of Luther had already begun circulating in works of individual Catholics trying to answer Luther’s exploding production with refutations of his errors and portrayals of his threats to church and society.

Luther Portrayed by Catholic Pamphlet Warriors of the 1520s

During the raucous doctrinal warfare of early anti-Reformation pamphleteering, two repeated perceptions of Luther came to the fore in pamphlets by his German Catholic opponents.41

Luther’s poisonous vernacular works are rousing the commoners to disobedience and rebellion against the authorities (Augustin von Alveld, 1520). Princely rulers must be ready to put down the subversion he is spreading (Johann Eck, 1521). Luther misuses the Bible, like Hus before him, to set people against their rulers (Paul Bachmann, 1522). Rome addresses her beloved German daughter with a pained remonstrance over violence incited by Luther against churches, monks, and rightful rulers (Johannes Cochlaeus, 1523). Luther bears guilt for the Peasants’ Revolt and its bloody suppression and ought to be executed like Thomas Müntzer (Hieronymus Emser and Kilian Leib, 1525). The Turks advance steadily because Germany is weakened by religious divisions and the popular revolts stirred up by Luther (Petrus Sylvius, 1527).42

In mid-1522 Luther unleashed a furious tirade, Against the Spiritual Estate of the Pope and the Bishops, Falsely So Called, which took 2 Peter 2:1–22 as an attack on the greedy and tyrannical Catholic hierarchs of the day.43 In Albertine Saxony, ruled by the staunch Catholic Duke Georg until 1539, Hieronymus Emser responded angrily while sounding a common Catholic theme. Emser waves off objections that Luther’s polemic is valid because the churchmen he attacks lead immoral lives. Emser admits this is true, but beside the point, since church leaders serve through the doctrine they teach.44 In the midst of treating 2 Peter 2 in a verse-by-verse rebuttal of Luther’s applications, Emser states a central point of the Catholic pamphleteers: the church, led by the Holy Spirit, offers by councils and decrees a normative biblical interpretation from which Luther has departed. For Emser, scripture was born from the womb of the church, which for interpreting the biblical word offers guidance that Luther rejects. Emser agrees that scripture is normative, but Luther’s “scripture alone” has cut him off from the developed and binding way to understand scripture’s meaning.45

Argument over properly understanding and applying of scriptural texts recurred in Catholic pamphlets: for example, that good works merit the reward of entry into the kingdom of heaven (Johann Dietenberger, 1523); that with everyone citing Bible passages it is urgent to recognize the church’s office of judging interpretations (Wolfgang Redorffer, 1524); that just as wheat grains are ground and baked to become nourishing bread, so the literal biblical texts are made nourishing by the Church Fathers’ interpretations (Paul Bachmann, 1527); and that scripture requires not only its basic confirmation by the church, but also a binding interpretation by church teaching because of its obscurities and inner tensions (Johannes Buchstab, 1528).46 For Catholics in the pamphlet battles, on crucial points Luther was an idiosyncratic biblical interpreter, lacking docility toward the established ecclesial means of deriving true doctrine and norms from the scriptures.

The German Catholic pamphlets had few reprints and little long-term effect in shaping wider Catholic perceptions of the Reformer. But two Latin works had enormous influence.

Lasting Catholic Perceptions of Luther from Eck and Cochlaeus

In late 1524, the Cardinal Legate Lorenzo Campeggio suggested to Johann Eck that he could serve the greater good by withdrawing from confrontational responses to Luther on particular doctrines, to compose for Catholics an orderly account of the major points they had to defend against Protestant rejections and attacks. Acting on this, Eck in effect supplied what was lacking in Exsurge Domine, in the form of his Handbook of Commonplaces against Luther and Other Enemies of the Church, which rose above the battleground of pamphlet skirmishes to give all of Catholic Europe instruction on the warrants for church doctrine and practice, along with responses to Lutheran arguments. In the half-century 1525–1575, Eck’s manual saw 116 printings, mainly in Latin but also in German, French, and Flemish. The first printings treated twenty-eight topics of doctrine and practice, with eleven further topics added in 1529.47 The work is systematic in beginning with the church and its magisterium in councils and papal teaching (Articles 1–3), then passing on to the doctrine of salvation, on faith and works and the sacraments (Articles 5–12), before defending normative Catholic practices (Articles 13–28).48 The 1529 additions include the eucharistic real presence (Article 29), infant baptism (Article 30), and a vigorous Catholic case for free choice in doing good under influence by God’s grace (Article 31). On each topic, Eck states Catholic positions in propositions with their warrants in scripture and in the Church Fathers who secure Catholic understandings of the biblical passages.

Eck’s Handbook gives thirty-four sections listing how “The Heretics Object,” in which Luther is broadly but anonymously present.49 The volume mentions Luther forty-nine times and “Lutherans” forty-one times. In a prominently placed account, Eck says Luther was reviving the already condemned errors of the Manicheans and Albigenses, of Wycliffe and Hus, and so fell under university censures in France, Spain, and England, along with those of Louvain and Cologne.50 Beginning his added articles, Eck attributes “new diseases” to what Luther began when he annulled the authority of councils, the judgments of popes, the positions of the Fathers, and censures by the universities. After this, frenzied and stupid brains began mixing their wild fantasies with the sacred mysteries of faith.51

Eck’s added Article 31 slams Luther’s doctrine of the enslaved will and its claim of support in a thesis on cosmic necessity. “The heretics have revived the once extinct heresy of the Manicheans. First they denied that free choice is active in a good work, ‘for it is done wholly and completely (totum et totaliter) by God.’ Then Luther, becoming insane, totally denied free will, ‘because all things happen out of absolute necessity’—something the stupid Stoics, Empedocles, Critolaus, Diodorus and others in error used to say.”52 Eck cites 1 Corinthians 7:37, on standing firm in one’s resolve, not being compelled but having power of will, adding, “The madman Luther imposes necessity. Paul denies it. Whom shall we believe?”53 The polemic extends into the following Article 32, on prayer, where Eck claims many Lutherans oppose prayer, being taught by Luther that everything happens by absolute necessity.54

In 1529 Eck dedicated the expanded Handbook to the bishop of Würzburg, beginning with a brief account of Luther. His indocility exposed him to being deceived and falling headlong into horrid errors—inevitably so when one departs from agreed beliefs of the Church Fathers and the councils’ unanimous teaching. Luther’s disputatious drive began with small matters, like indulgences, to become a great blast of errant teaching, which spawned sects of iconoclasts, Capharnaite opponents of Christ’s real presence, and the Anabaptists.55

While Eck portrayed Luther as an unhinged theologian, Johannes Cochlaeus, court chaplain from 1527 to 1539 of Duke Georg of Albertine Saxony, gave Catholics a rapidly written but many-sided hostile perception of Luther’s life and works that resonated even into the 20th century.56 In his 1529 Seven-Headed Luther Cochlaeus ventured into portraying Luther through a collage of his texts rife with shifts, reversals, and inconsistencies—being prompted by the Lutheran visitations of inspection to introduce norms, like teaching the Commandments and the Creed, into the parishes of Electoral Saxony.57 After the Diet of Augsburg in 1530, Cochlaeus set to work on a full chronicle of Luther’s life and publications, which reached Luther’s present activities in 1534. But this remained in manuscript until Luther’s death in 1546, when Cochlaeus rapidly completed the work and published it in September 1549.

In the Cochlaean depiction, Luther is a colossal figure, out to wreak havoc in church and society. Luther began well as an Augustinian friar, in spite of peculiar outbreaks during gospel readings of Jesus’ exorcisms, when he fell over and cried out, “It’s not me!” Cochlaeus connects this with Luther’s later claims of knowing the Devil well and having disputed with him.58 Cochlaeus offers this account of Luther’s 1520 call to the nobility to reform Christendom: “He first subjected the pope and the bishops to the sword of the emperor . . . . Then he took away the authority of the pope both to interpret the sacred scripture and to appoint a general council. Having tried these things by varied deceit, drawn from scriptures and reason, he then began to inveigh bitterly against the morals and practices of the Roman curia, criticizing each matter separately and, through slanders, presenting everything in the worst light.”59 On Luther’s appearance before Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521, Cochlaeus relates exactly both Luther’s refusal to recant his condemned teachings and the emperor’s resolve to fulfill his duty at a time when “one single monk is hallucinating and is deceived by a certain opinion of his own, which is contrary to all Christendom.”60

Cochlaeus’s chronicle of 1525 is ample on Luther’s doctrinal decimation of his onetime colleague Karlstadt, on the Reformer’s successive reactions to the Peasants’ Revolt put down ruthlessly by the authorities, and, when “all Germany was pitiably consumed with grief, confusion, and mourning, Luther disregarded all these things and married a nun . . . which was a sacrilegious form of incest and vow-breaking, and was polluted by the deaths of so many thousands.”61 Inter-Lutheran discord was so great that Luther’s catechisms of 1529 gave accounts of the Decalogue, Lord’s Prayer, and Apostles’ Creed, but “very differently than he had done ten years previously”—after which a storm of discordant catechisms rained down on Protestant lands.62 Cochlaeus, living in distant Breslau, had no special news about Luther’s death, so he noted that on February 17, 1546, he had eaten a hearty supper extended by bantering jokes but took sick after midnight and died attended by his disciple Justus Jonas. From Jonas’s account of Luther’s funeral Cochlaeus has the facts, but he adds derogatory comments, for example on how Luther’s heresy had left much of Germany bereft of monastic houses where God is praised day and night by the canonical hours.63

Cochlaeus’s account of Luther’s life and works saw only four printings in Latin and four in German, but its influence spread all over Catholic Europe through two widely reprinted histories, by Simon Fontaine and Laurentius Surius, who copied and further embellished with insulting remarks what Cochlaeus told of Luther.64 Through them Cochlaeus even contributed to basic lore of the Jesuit order, by an extensive contrast drawn out in 1572 by Ignatius Loyola’s official biographer, Pedro de Ribadeneira, who contrasts Luther’s calamitous and pestilential impact with the providential remedy for the defense and spread of the Catholic faith that God gave through Ignatius and the Society of Jesus.65

Luther’s negative image among Catholics thus had deep roots, in both official measures of 1520–1521 and in influential works by individuals, from which blanket rejections sprang repeatedly. These were not countered until the mid-20th century by Catholic revisionists like Joseph Lortz, Erwin Iserloh, and Otto Hermann Pesch.

Review of the Literature

Around 1970, two popular publications treated the official Catholic reactions to Luther in the earliest years of the Reformation. An English Protestant, James Atkinson, told the story with admiration for Luther. A French Catholic disciple of Joseph Lortz, Daniel Olivier, examined the legal and theological dossier of the clash between two intransigents, the pope with his curia and Luther, with sympathy for the latter as a prophet who went beyond settled convictions to enrich the tradition with novel insights. But the scholarly Tübingen dissertation of Wilhelm Borth focused on juridical norms operative in the German empire to illumine the legal and political dimensions of the “Luther-case,” especially the protection given Luther by the prince-elector of Saxony and how the case got interwoven with the developed set of complaints (gravamina) against Rome already formulated by German authorities at earlier diets of the empire.66 The present article’s first section treats the “Luther-case” in dependence on the more recent thousand-page publication of the original theological and ecclesiastical sources by Peter Fabish and Erwin Iserloh.67

This article’s section on Luther as portrayed in the Catholic vernacular pamphlets of the 1520s stands in the context of the recent turn by Reformation historians to study and publication of pamphlets as the era’s “mass media.”68 It rests on the ample volumes of texts brought out by Adolph Laube and Ullman Weiss.69

The third part of this article selects Johann Eck and Johannes Cochlaeus out of the many Reformation-era Catholics who met Luther with theological and historical counterarguments. While the critical editing of works by these writers, especially in the series Corpus Catholicorum, made good advances in the later 20th century, vast numbers of their works must still be consulted in 16th-century printings. Succinct accounts of the careers and works of forty-five such writers are given in a series coordinated in the 1980s by Erwin Iserloh.70 A decade later Jared Wicks contributed a survey with theological assessments of the Catholic controversialists.71

Further Reading

Bagchi, David V. N.Luther’s Earliest Opponents: Catholic Controversialists, 1518–1525. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991.Find this resource:

Fabish, Peter, and Erwin Iserloh, eds. Dokumente zur Causa Lutheri. 2 vol. Münster: Aschendorff, 1988–1991.Find this resource:

Ganzer, Klaus, and Bruno Steimer, eds. Dictionary of the Reformation. New York: Crossroad, 2004.Find this resource:

Iserloh, Erwin, ed. Katholische Theologen der Reformationszeit. 5 vols. Münster: Aschendorff, 1984–1988.Find this resource:

Klaiber, Wilbirgis. Katholische Kontroverstheologen und Reformer des 16. Jahrhunderts: Ein Werkverzeichnis. Münster: Aschendorff, 1978.Find this resource:

Laube, Adolf, and Ulmal Weiss, eds. Flugschriften gegen die Reformation (1518–1524). Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1997.Find this resource:

Laube, Adolf, and Ulmal Weiss, eds. Flugschriften gegen die Reformation (1525–1530). 2 vols. Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2000.Find this resource:


(1.) Martin Brecht, Martin Luther, trans. James L. Schaff (3 vols.; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1985–1993), 1:205.

(2.) Albrecht to the Mainz theologians (Dec. 1 and 11, 1517) and to his counsellors in Halle (Dec. 13), in Dokumente zur Causa Lutheri (1517–1521), eds. Peter Fabish and Erwin Iserloh (2 vols.; Münster: Aschendorff, 1988–1991), 1:299–300, 300, 305–309. The theologians answered on December 17 that the topic was for them “off limits” by the canonical prohibition of disputations over the extent of papal authority (Dokumente zur Causa Lutheri, 1:301–303). To his counsellors in Halle, for the diocese of Magdeburg, who had first received Luther’s texts, he acknowledged their communication “mit zcugesanten tractat und Conclusion [theses] eins vermessen Monichs zcw Wittenburg [Luther], das heylig negotium Indulgenciarum und unsere Subcommissarien [Tetzel] betreffend” (Dokumente zur Causa Lutheri, 1:305). On Luther’s tractat see Jared Wicks, “Martin Luther’s Treatise on Indulgences, 1517,” Theological Studies 28 (1967): 481–518, reprinted in Jared Wicks, Luther’s Reform: Studies on Conversion and the Church (Mainz: von Zabern, 1992), 87–116. Its main points are given in Dokumente zur Causa Lutheri, 2:139–140.

(3.) Konrad Wimpina and Johann Tetzel, Frankfurt Theses, in Dokumente zur Causa Lutheri, 1:321–337, declaring that seventy of Luther’s theses state or imply erroneous doctrine. Post-confession penance can be required by iustitia divina (Wimpina-Tetzel, theses 4, 7, and 41), which engaged Luther considerably in his Explanations of the Ninety-Five Theses, on thesis 5 (WA 1:536–537; LW 31:93–94), before he treated, on thesis 7, faith in Christ’s promise and in the confessor’s word of absolution (WA 1:541–545; LW 31:100–107). (Martin Luther, Luther’s Works, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan et al. (St. Louis: Concordia, 1955–2015), is cited here and hereafter as LW. Martin Luther, D. Martin Luthers Werke: Kritische Gesamtausgabe (Weimar: Böhlau, 1883–2009) is cited as WA).

(4.) Wimpina-Tetzel, Frankfurt Theses, in Dokumente zur Causa Lutheri, 1:337. Consequently, Luther prefaced his Explanations with a submissive letter to Pope Leo X, explaining the original inner-theological purpose of the Ninety-Five Theses as spurs to discussion, “not doctrine, not dogma,” for they aimed to clarify obscurities about the effects of sin and about indulgences (WA 1:527–529).

(5.) Luther’s Sermon and Tetzel’s Vorlegung are given together as Tetzel printed them, in Dokumente zur Causa Lutheri, 1:340–363 and in Flugschriften gegen die Reformation (1518–1524), eds. Adolf Laube and Ulman Weiß (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1997), 51–71; in English, trans. Dewey Weiss Kramer, in Johann Tetzel’s Rebuttal against Luther’s Sermon on Indulgences and Grace (Atlanta: Pitts Theological Library, 2012).

(6.) Tetzel, Vorlegung, in Dokumente zur Causa Lutheri, 1:342, 347–348, 355 (Wycliffe and Hus), 342, 361 (approved scholastics), 360 (Aquinas), 348, 360 (keys and inerrancy of Pope), 350, 354–355 (teaching implied in practices), and 361 (coming disorder), cited, with corrections, from Kramer, Johann Tetzel’s Rebuttal, 30.

(7.) Tetzel, Vorlegung, in Dokumente zur Causa Lutheri, 1:346, 349, 350, 351, 352, and 353. Luther replied pointedly as noted in note 3, above. Tetzel concluded each of his twenty rebuttals of the parts of Luther’s Sermon by requesting evaluations of his case by the Roman See and all Christian universities.

(8.) Tetzel, Vorlegung, in Dokumente zur Causa Lutheri, 1:368–375. Positions 25–26, 28, 34–38, and 40–46 all sketch cases of heresy. Tetzel also brought in Luther’s civil overlord, the prince-elector of Saxony, in Positions 47–48, by calling for excommunication of rulers who protect from the church’s discipline persons disseminating heresy.

(9.) Prierias was the papal “house theologian,” as Magister Sacri Palatii. On him see Carter Lindberg, “Prierias and His Significance for Luther’s Development,” Sixteenth Century Journal 3 (1972): 45–64; Ulrich Horst, Zwischen Konziliarismus und Reformation: Studien zur Ekklesiologie im Dominikanerorden (Rome: Istituto Storico Domenicano, 1985), 127–162; and Michael Tavuzzi, Prierias: The Life and Works of Silvestro Mazzolino da Prierio (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1997).

(10.) Prierias, Dialogue, in Dokumente zur Causa Lutheri, 1:52–107. After the Dialogue came out in Rome in June 1518, seven reprints appeared in 1518–1520 in Leipzig (sponsored by Luther), Augsburg, Basel, and Strasbourg. The reprints aimed to promote the Reformation cause by showing the inept methods of Luther’s first Roman adversary.

(11.) Prierias, Dialogue, in Dokumente zur Causa Lutheri, 1:56. This agrees with Prierias’s theological dictionary, printed in Bologna in 1514 and frequently reprinted, where he says on indulgences that while neither scripture nor the early Fathers teach on them, they have a normative basis in the fact that the church offers them for the living and the deceased, to which belief is due, because the church is ruled by the Holy Spirit (credendum est ita esse, quia [ecclesia] regitur spiritu sancto). Silvestrinae Summae . . . pars prima (Bologna, 1546), fol. 19v.

(12.) Prierias, Dialogue, in Dokumente zur Causa Lutheri, 1:60, 61, and 70 (wrong on Roman practice), 1:70, 74, 78, 81, 84, and 100 (diminishing papal authority), and 1:61, 70, 75, 78, and 104–105 (heretical positions present or implied in Luther’s theses 5, 22, 28, 34, and 87).

(13.) Luther, Responsio ad Silvestri Prieritatis Dialogum, in WA 1: 647–686. Prierias’s further works against Luther are in Dokumente zur Causa Lutheri, 1:116–128 and 138–187. They led Luther to conclude that if such a theology finds favor in Rome, this shows that the Antichrist now occupies the papal throne (text of June 26, 1520, introducing a reprint of Prierias’s Epitoma responsionis ad Martinum Lutherum, in Dokumente zur Causa Lutheri, 1:145–147).

(14.) On the developments leading to Cajetan’s commission, see Jared Wicks, “Roman Reactions to Luther: the First Year (1518),” Catholic Historical Review 69 (1983): 521–562, reprinted in Luther’s Reform (as in n. 2, above), 149–187, at 160–165. Cajetan, in Augsburg as papal legate to the Imperial Diet, had to gain the cooperation of Prince-Elector Friedrich to have Luther excused from his university duties in Wittenberg to come to Augsburg. To obtain this, Cajetan engineered a revised mandate, no longer assuming Luther was a notorious and obstinate heretic—following Maximilian’s denunciation—but stating that Cajetan would examine and assess Luther’s publications, so that any errors might be corrected, while agreeing with Friedrich’s insistence that after the hearing Luther was to return to Wittenberg.

(15.) On Cajetan see Jared Wicks, Cajetan und die Anfänge der Reformation (Münster: Aschendorff, 1983); Barbara Hallensleben, “Thomas de Vio Cajetan,” in Katholische Theologen der Reformationszeit, ed. Erwin Iserloh (Münster: Aschendorff, 1984–88), vol. 1, 11–25; B. A. R. Felmberg, Die Ablasstheologie Kardinal Cajetans (Leiden: Brill, 1998); and Jared Wicks, “Thomas de Vio Cajetan,” in The Reformation Theologians, ed. Carter Lindberg (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002), 269–283. Cajetan had written, before he heard of Luther, a systematic account of indulgences, completed December 8, 1517, given in Dokumente zur Causa Lutheri, 2:142–168, and studied by Felmberg, Die Ablasstheologie, 72–186.

(16.) Cajetan first published his fifteen Augsburg Treatises as additions, with other short works, to his Commentary on Part III of the Summa theologiae of Thomas Aquinas (Venice, 1523), followed by inclusion of them in editions of Opuscula from his whole theological career (Bologna, 1529; Paris, 1530; Venice, 1531). After Cajetan died in 1534, the Opuscula, with the Augsburg Treatises, came out in at least nineteen printings between 1541 and 1612. Charles Morerod critically edited the Treatises in Cajetan et Luther en 1518: Édition, traduction et commentaire des opuscules d’Augsbourg de Cajetan (2 vols.; Fribourg: Éditions Universitaires, 1994), vol. 1, 181–423, giving the texts with facing French translation, in a systematic order going back to Cajetan. Jared Wicks presents them in English in Cajetan Responds: A Reader in Reformation Controversy (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1978; reprint, Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2011), 47–98, in chronological order, translating seven and summarizing eight of the Treatises.

(17.) Luther’s account is his Acta Augustana, WA 2:6–26; LW 31:259–292. The first censure rests on Cajetan’s treatise of October 7, 1518, which cites and rebuts nineteen statements in Luther’s Explanations of the Ninety-Five Theses, on thesis 58 on indulgences (LW 31:212–228). For Cajetan’s text see Morerod, Cajetan et Luther en 1518, vol. 1, 182–245, trans. Wicks, Cajetan Responds, 68–85.

(18.) Cajetan’s censure rests on his treatises of September 26 and October 1, against Luther’s thesis 7 on indulgences (LW 31:98–107) and “Sermo de poenitentia” (WA 1:319–324). For Cajetan’s texts see Morerod, Cajetan et Luther en 1518, vol. 1, 318–329 and 346, trans. Wicks, Cajetan Responds, 49–55 and 66.

(19.) Luther, “Proceedings at Augsburg,” LW 31:259–291, especially 264–275; WA 2:6–26, especially 9–16.

(20.) See Wicks, “Roman Reactions to Luther (1518),” 175–176, after which, on pp. 176–184, what followed is sketched, both in Luther’s development and in Pope Leo X’s binding clarification on the basis of indulgences (“Cum postquam,” November 9, 1518).

(21.) Hans Volz, “Die ersten Sammelausgaben von Lutherschriften und ihre Drucker (1518–1520),” Gutenberg Jahrbuch 1960, 185–203, listing the contents of the 1518 edition on p. 191. Three works studied by Cajetan, on the indulgence theses, sacramental penance, and excommunication, were included, while Froben also printed Prierias’s Dialogue, Luther’s Responsio to Prierias, and a work of Andreas Karlstadt against Johann Eck.

(22.) Karel Blockx, De veroordeling van Maarten Luther door de theologische faculteit te Leuven in 1519 (Brussels: Flemish Academy of Sciences, 1958), 39–66, giving in Latin the excerpted erroneous texts. They came from Luther’s Explanations of the Ninety-Five Theses (10 censures), Response to the Dialogue of Prierias (6 censures), On the Ten Commandments, Preached at Wittenberg (3 censures), and “Sermon on Worthy Preparation for the Sacrament of the Eucharist” (2 censures). Blockx ’s condensed survey is “The Faculty of Theology in Conflict with Erasmus and Luther,” Louvain Studies 5 (1975): 252–263. On two Louvain theologians involved against Luther, see Iserloh, Katholische Theologen der Reformationszeit, vol. 2, 6–26 (Jacobus Latomus), and vol. 3, 33–47 (Johannes Driedo).

(23.) Martin Bucer reported this in a letter of July 30, 1519, to Beatus Rhenanus, given in Correspondance de Martin Bucer, ed. Jean Rott (Leiden: Brill, 1979–), 1:80.

(24.) Texts given in Latin by Blockx, De veroordeling van Maarten Luther, 72–77, and WA 6:178–180. Beyond the Luther texts censured at Louvain, the Cologne list draws on Luther’s 1518 Sermo de poenitentia, to which Cajetan had objected.

(25.) Texts given in Latin by Blockx, De veroordeling van Maarten Luther, 102–113, with the cited introduction in Blockx, p. 119, n. 94. Luther’s counter-arguments are in WA 6:174–195.

(26.) Jacobus Latomus published Articulorum Doctrinae Fratris Martini Lutheri per theologos lovanienses damnatorum ratio (1521), justifying on biblical and traditional grounds the Louvain action against Luther, which led to Luther’s Against Latomus (LW 32:131–260; WA 8:43–128).

(27.) On Eck see Erwin Iserloh, Johannes Eck (1486–1543): Scholastiker, Humanist, Kontroverstheologe (Münster: Aschendorff, 1981); Erwin Iserloh, “Johannes Eck,” in Katholische Theologen der Reformationszeit, vol. 1, 65–71; Erwin Iserloh, ed., Johannes Eck im Streit der Jahrhuderte (Münster: Aschendorff, 1988); and David Bagchi, Luther’s Earliest Opponents, Catholic Controversialists 1518–1515 (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991).

(28.) Eck’s critical “swords” (Obelisci) and Luther’s defensive “stars” (Asterisci) came out in the Wittenberg edition of Luther’s Latin works, vol. 1 (1545), with a recent edition, introduced and annotated, in Dokumente zur Causa Lutheri, 1:401–447. Luther’s complaint comes from a letter of March 24, 1518 (WABr 1:158).

(29.) Eck’s study of Luther’s “Explanations of the Ninety-Five Theses,” thesis 22, led him to attack Luther not for a thesis but for an aside, “Consider the Roman Church as it was in the time of St. Gregory, when it had no jurisdiction over other churches, at least not over the Greek church” (LW 31:152; WA 1:571).

(30.) Letter of Eck to Hoogstraten, from Leipzig, July 24, 1519, in Dokumente zur Causa Lutheri, 2: 262–265, with references to Luther’s positions and arguments recorded in the WA 2 and WA 59 records of the Disputation. Iserloh describes the progression of arguments during the Disputation in Johannes Eck (1486–1543), 31–46.

(31.) De primatu Petri adversus Ludderum, published in Paris in 1521. The work amasses patristic comments on the New Testament passages on Peter, to show by an early and lasting history of reception that Luther is departing from an established consensus that Christ founded the primacy.

(32.) The annotated edition of Exsurge Domine, both in Latin and German, in Dokumente zur Causa Lutheri, 2: 370–387, indicates both the works of Luther cited in the articles and the intermediate documentation from the censures by the Cologne and Louvain theologians, along with articles listed by Eck in his work after the Leipzig Disputation, Contra Martini Ludder obtrusum propugnatorem (1519).

(33.) Compendium of Creeds, Definitions, and Declarations on Matters of Faith and Morals, compiled by Heinrich Denzinger, 43rd edition, ed. Peter Hünermann, trans. Robert Fastiggi and Anne Englund Nash (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2012), 367, at the end of the articles given on pp. 363–367.

(34.) Klaus Rischar, Johann Eck auf dem Reichstag zu Augsburg 1530 (Münster: Aschendorff, 1968), 11.

(35.) Cajetan, “Five Articles of Luther—Justification for Their Condemnation,” completed June 6, 1521, defending the censure of five articles in Exsurge, in Wicks, Cajetan Responds, 145–152.

(36.) Richard Rex, The Theology of John Fisher (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 80. Fisher had begun work on his Assertionis Lutheranae Confutatio (Antwerp, 1523), which was “the first polemic to present Luther’s teaching as a coherent body of theology erected upon a firm doctrinal foundation” (Rex, 117).

(37.) “Totus enim orbis solidam scripturam audire desiderat.” Johann Eck, Memorandum IX for Pope Adrian VI (1523), in Acta Reformationis Catholicae, ed. Georg Pfeilschifter (6 vols.; Regensburg: Pustet, 1959–1974), vol. 1, 143.

(38.) On the process and decision in Paris see David Hempsall, “Martin Luther and the Sorbonne, 1519–21,” Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research 46 (1973): 28–40; Frans Tobias Bos, Luther in het oordeel van de Sorbonne (Amsterdam: Graduate Press, 1974); and James K. Farge, Orthodoxy and Reform in Early Reformation France. The Faculty of Theology of Paris, 1500–1543 (Leiden: Brill, 1985), 125–130 and 165–169. The cited words on the Faculty are from Farge, 1.

(39.) Bos gives the Latin articles, with references to their places in Luther’s works, in Luther in het oordeel van de Sorbonne, 63–102. A German translation is in Laube and Weiss, Flugschriften gegen die Reformation (1518–1524), 270–289.

(40.) The fact of Luther’s condemnation by Exsurge Domine was widely known during the three following centuries, but the contents of the censures only became accessible for theology teachers and students after the publication of Heinrich Denzinger’s Enchiridion Symbolorum, beginning in 1854 and persisting through subsequent further editions—down to recent bilingual publications of Catholic teaching documents in the original with modern language translations.

(41.) Laube and Weiss, Flugschriften gegen die Reformation (1518–1524), as in n. 5, above, and Flugschriften gegen die Reformation (1525–1530), eds. Adolf Laube and Ulman Weiss (2 vols.; Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 2000). The volumes contain, after introductions of the field and of the works presented, ninety-nine annotated German texts, some with omissions, from forty-nine Catholic authors. Fifty works target Luther himself, while fifteen others attack persons and events of Lutheran provenance. Earlier studies include Marc Lienhard, “Held oder Ungeheuer? Luthers Gestalt und Tat im Lichte der zeitgenössischen Flugschriftenliteratur,” Lutherjahrbuch 45 (1978): 56–79; and David Bagchi, Luther’s Earliest Opponents: Catholic Controversialists, 1518–1525 (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1991), especially 183–264 and in the indexed passages on Johannes Cochläus, Johann Eck, Hieronymus Emser, and Thomas Murner. On early Catholic pamphlets in Albertine Saxony, see Christoph Voklmar, “Turning Luther’s Weapons against Him: the Birth of Catholic Propaganda in Saxony in the 1520s,” in The Book Triumphant: Print in Transition in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, eds. Malcolm Walsby and Graeme Kemp (Leiden: Brill, 2011), 115–131.

(42.) Laube and Weiss, Flugschriften gegen die Reformation (1518–1524), 91–109 (Alveld, “Ein Sermon, darin er sich über die Schmähungen Martin Luthers beklagt”), 127–141 (Eck, “Des heiligen Konzils zu Konstanz Entschuldigung, daß ihnen Bruder Martin Luther mit Unwahrheit aufgelegt, sie haben Johannes Hus und Hieronymus von Prag wider Geleit und Eid verbrannt”), 362–384 (Bachmann, “Martin Luther, wie es ein Mann sein und was er führt im Schilde”), and 614–645 (Cochlaeus, “Eine christliche Vermahnung der heiligen Stadt Rom an Deutschland”); and Laube and Weiss, Flugschriften gegen die Reformation (1525–1530), vol. 1, 136–148 (Emser, “Der Bock tritt frei auf diesen Plan,” and Leib, “Vom Ende und der Frucht der Aufruhre und Empörungen des Pobels und gemeinen Volks wider der Obrigkeit”), vol. 1, 429–453 (Sylvius, “Eine klare Beweisung, wie Luther würde sein eine Ursache des steten Einzugs der Türken, des unchristlichen Irrtums, Zwietracht, Aufruhr und Empörung des gemeinen Volkes”).

(43.) LW 39:247–299, especially 256–268, applying 2 Peter 2, and WA 10/III, 105–158.

(44.) Hieronymus Emser, “Wider den falsch gennanten Ecclesiasten und wahrhaftigen Erzketzer Martin Luther,” in Flugschriften gegen die Reformation (1518–1524), 456–483, 459, with backing from Mt 23:1–3.

(45.) Emser, “Wider den falsch gennanten Ecclesiasten,” 469, and in a passage omitted from that source but cited by Heribert Smolinsky, in Augustin von Alveldt und Hieronymus Emser: Eine Untersuchung zur Kontroverstheologie der frühen Reformationszeit im Herzogtum Sachsen (Münster: Aschendorff, 1983), 285.

(46.) Laube and Weiss, Flugschriften gegen die Reformation (1518–1524), 564–581 (Dietenberger, “Ob die Christen durch ihre guten Werke das Himmelreich verdienen mögen”) and 837–858 (Redorffer, “Von der heiligen gemeinen christlichen Kirche”); and Laube and Weiss, Flugschriften gegen die Reformation (1525–1530), vol. 1, 464–483, especially 464–468 (Bachman, “Ein Sermon des Abts zu Alzelle in Aufnehmung der Reliquien St. Bennos”) and vol. 2, 861–886 (Buchstab, “Daß die biblischen Schriften eine geistliche Auslegung haben müssen”).

(47.) Johannes Eck, Enchiridion locorum communium adversus Lutherum et alios hostes ecclesiae, ed. Pierre Fraenkel (Corpus Catholicorum 34; Münster: Aschendorff, 1979); compactly in German as Enchiridion: Handbüchlein gemainer stell unnd Artickel der jetzt schwebeden Neuwen leeren (facsimile reprint of the Augsburg 1533 edition), ed. Erwin Iserloh (Corpus Catholicorum 35; (Münster: Aschendorff, 1980). In English, Enchiridion of Commonplaces Against Luther and Other Enemies of the Church, trans. Ford Lewis Battles (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1979). Although the critical and fully annotated edition by P. Fraenkel and the Battles translation appeared in the same year, the latter did not include information from the abundant apparatus of the former.

(48.) However, Eck’s defense of communion under one form is in Art. 10, while Art. 17 defends the Mass as sacrifice.

(49.) The sources of the 216 particular objections were documented only with the Fraenkel edition of 1979, but Luther’s prominence in the Handbook’s title would lead readers to assume they were Luther’s objections. In three variations on the usual heading, “Obiiciunt haeretici,” Eck introduced the objections in Art. 9 on satisfaction for sin, Art. 36 on the sacramental “character,” and Art. 36 on transubstantiation, by the heading “Obiicit Lutherus.”

(50.) Eck, Enchiridion, ed. Fraenkel, 280 and 281–282; Enchiridion, trans. Battles, 186–187, a passage opening Art. 28, with which the early editions concluded. The English universities were Oxford and Cambridge, of which assenting representatives were present in London on May 12, 1521, at the promulgation of ExsurgeDomine by Henry VIII.

(51.) Eck, Enchiridion, ed. Fraenkel, 286; Enchiridion, trans. Battles, 190.

(52.) Eck, Enchiridion, ed. Fraenkel, 313 (translation, J. Wicks), citing Karlstadt from the Leipzig Disputation (totum et totaliter) and then Luther from Assertio omnium articulorum, defending against Art. 36 of Exsurge Domine, WA 7:146.

(53.) Eck, Enchiridion, ed. Fraenkel, 316; Enchiridion, trans. Battles, 212.

(54.) Eck, Enchiridion, ed. Fraenkel, 326; Enchiridion, trans. Battles, 220.

(55.) Eck, Enchiridion, ed. Fraenkel, 7–10; Enchiridion, trans. Battles, 2–5.

(56.) Johannes Cochlaeus, Commentaria de actis et scriptis Martini Lutheri ex ordine ab Anno Domini MDXVII usque ad Annum MDXLVI inclusive, fideliter conscripta (Mainz: Franz Behem, 1549; reprints Basel 1565, Paris 1565, Cologne 1568; German translations, Ingolstadt 1580 and 1582 and Dillingen 1611 and 1622). In English: The Deeds and Writings of Martin Luther from the Year of Our Lord 1517 to the Year 1546 Related Chronologically to all Posterity, in Luther’s Lives: Two Contemporary Accounts of Martin Luther, trans. and annotated by Elizabeth Vandiver, Ralph Keen, and Thomas D. Frazel (Manchester: Manchester University Press, and New York: Palgrave, 2002), 53–351.

(57.) Cochlaeus gives an account of his Seven-Headed Luther, on the Reformer’s self-contradictory turn, in Deeds and Writings of Martin Luther, 224–226 and 239–240.

(58.) Cochlaeus, Deeds and Writings of Martin Luther, 55, from a flashback Cochlaeus included in the chronicle of 1517.

(59.) Ibid., 75.

(60.) Ibid., 82–88, citing p. 87.

(61.) Ibid., 153–167, citing p. 166.

(62.) Ibid., 246.

(63.) Ibid., 346–351.

(64.) Simon Fontaine, Histoire catholique de nostre temps, touchant l’estat de la religion chrestienne (Paris: Fremy, 1558), followed by reprints in Antwerp (1558) and Paris (1560 and 1562), and translations into Italian (Venice, 1563) and partially into Latin, for 1517–1525 (Cologne 1558). Laurentius Surius, Commentarius brevis rerum in orbe gestarum: ab anno Salutis millesimmo quingentesimo usque ad annum LXVI, ex optimis quibusque scriptoribus congestus (Cologne: Quentel & Calenius, 1566), followed by reprints (Cologne, 1574 and 1602), with translations into French and German, and new Latin editions with additional materials on the following years in ten further printings. On these two works, see Adolph Herte, Das katholische Lutherbild im Bann der Lutherkommentare des Cochläus (3 vols.; Münster: Aschendorff, 1943), vol. 1, 8–11 (Fontaine) and 17–23 (Surius).

(65.) Pedro de Ribadeneira, S.J., The Life of Ignatius Loyola, trans. Claude Pavur, S.J. (St. Louis: Institute of Jesuit Sources, 2014), a wide-ranging account of Ignatius’s life and times, commissioned by the third Jesuit general superior, first published in Latin (Naples 1572) and then amplified in Spanish (1583) and Latin (1586). Ribadeneira’s chapter 18, “God’s Plan in Founding the Society,” contrasts Ignatius with Luther the raging enemy of the pope and the Catholic Church (pp. 117–137), referencing as his sources Fontaine three times and Surius seven times.

(66.) James Atkinson, The Trial of Luther (London: Batsford, 1971); Daniel Olivier, Le procès Luther, 1517–1524 (Paris: Fayard, 1971), trans. John Tonkin as The Trial of Luther (St. Louis: Concordia, 1974); and Wilhelm Borth, Die Luthersache: Die Anfänge der Reformation als Frage der Politik und Recht (Causa Lutheri) (Lübeck and Hamburg: Matthiesen, 1970).

(67.) Fabish and Iserloh, Dokumente zur Causa Lutheri (see n. 2 above).

(68.) See these general accounts: Bernd Moeller, “Flugschriften der Reformationzeit,” Theologische Realanzyklopädie 11 (1983): 240–246; Ernst Walter Zeeden, “Pamphlets,” in Dictionary of the Reformation, eds. Klaus Ganzer and Bruno Steimer (New York: Crossroad, 2004), 231–232; and Johannes Schilling, “Pamphlets of the Reformation,” in Religion Past and Present: Encyclopedia of Theology and Religion, ed. Hans Dieter Betz et al. (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2007–2013), vol. 9, 477–478.

(69.) Laube and Weiss, Flugschriften gegen die Reformation (1518–1524) (see n. 5 above), and Laube and Weiss, Flugschriften gegen die Reformation (1525–1530) (see n. 41 above).

(70.) Iserloh, Katholische Theologen der Reformationszeit (Münster: Aschendorff, 1984–1988). A sixth volume, eds. Heribert Smolinsky and Peter Walter (Münster: Aschendorff, 2004), adds accounts of seven more Catholic controversialists.

(71.) Jared Wicks, “Controversial Theologians,” in Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation, ed. Hans Hillerbrand (4 vols.; New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), vol. 1, 420–423.