Martin Luther and Monasticism in the Later Middle Ages
Summary and Keywords
When Martin Luther entered the Order of Hermits of St. Augustine in July of 1505, he entered a world that had been shaped by the diverse and varied monastic culture of the later Middle Ages. Luther became a new man in Christ by donning his monastic habit and very quickly rose to positions of responsibility within the order, first as a doctor of theology and then as district vicar. As professor of the Bible at Wittenberg, Luther was also the pastor of the parish church and, in this context, initiated a pastoral concern with the practice and theology of indulgences that was to set off what has become known as the Reformation. His critique was that of a late medieval Augustinian Hermit. Yet Luther had not been inculcated with the theological or spiritual traditions of his order. Consequently, his early theological development was conditioned by the Franciscan tradition (e.g., Ockham) more than by the Augustinian, even as he eagerly studied the works of Augustine himself. Nevertheless, when Luther came into conflict with the papacy, he remained an obedient friar. The origins of his Reformation, therefore, must be analyzed in the context of his monastic life and the monastic culture of his world.
Unfortunately, scholarship has devoted little attention to the monastic world Luther entered. While there has been much debate for over a century over the extent to which Luther inherited his Augustinian theology from members of his order, the order as such has receded into the background, with the focus being on abstract theological positions. Further research on Luther and the late medieval monastic world has the opportunity to shed new light on the development of Luther’s theology, going beyond the debate over continuity. When Luther stood before Emperor Charles V at Worms in 1521, he did so as Brother Martin Luther, a faithful, obedient, observant Augustinian Hermit. He remained such even as he published his harsh critique of the compulsory nature of monastic vows, while he nevertheless still gave validity to living the monastic life, providing one did so freely. He broke from his monastic past only in 1524 when he finally took off his habit and then, less than a year later, married Katharina von Bora. With Luther’s marriage to Katie, he put his monastic life behind him. To understand Luther’s early development, therefore, we cannot rely on his own later reflections but must return to analyze anew the historical context of that development, and that context was his monastic life and the culture of late medieval monasticism.
Luther and the Monastic World of the Later Middle Ages
Martin Luther lived as an Augustinian Hermit for eighteen years, from July 2, 1505, when he entered the Order of Hermits of St. Augustine (Ordo Eremitarum Sancti Augustini; OESA) as a novice, until October 9, 1524, when he finally took off his habit. Luther thus developed his theology within his monastic context, and it was the monastic context that was formative for the young Luther. To understand Luther’s early development, we cannot read back into his early period what he was later to become, seeking the origins of his mature Reformation theology or the point at which he become a “Protestant.” We need to begin with Luther’s own understanding of himself as an Augustinian Hermit within the monastic world of the later Middle Ages.1
The Late Medieval Monastic Context
In the later Middle Ages, there were five basic categories of monastic life that shaped the religious world: the Benedictine tradition, the regular canons, the mendicant tradition, the “semireligious,” and the Observants. The Benedictines were the oldest monastic family, having their origins in the early Middle Ages and becoming by the time of Charlemagne the standard form of monastic life.2 The monastic reforms, beginning with Cluny in 910 and continuing with the foundation of the Cistercians and Carthusians in the 12th century, were part of the Benedictine tradition. The Benedictines, based on the ideals of stability and enclosure (stabilitas loci) and work and worship (opus dei), were the purest form of monks, serving as the basis for the legal definition in the 12th century of the “monastic order” (ordo monasticus), as distinct from the clergy (ordo clericus) and the laity (ordo laicus), even as the Benedictines were, as such, lay by definition, needing dispensation to receive ordination.
The reforms of the 12th century, which Giles Constable referred to as a genuine reformation, representing “a watershed in the history of the church and of Christian society as well as of monasticism and religious life,”3 brought a new form of monasticism into being. Cathedral canons (priests attached to a cathedral) began to live according to a monastic rule themselves, the model for which they found in the Rule of St. Augustine.4 The Regular Canons, or the Augustinian Canons, soon developed into independent religious orders themselves, such as the Praemonstratentians. Canons were ordained priests, who were, unlike the Benedictines, by definition involved in the care of souls (cura animarum), or pastoral care. Technically they were not monks (ordo monasticus), but canons (ordo canonicus), yet they took vows, wore a monastic habit, and lived a common life. They were, however, directly involved with their community in preaching, teaching, and performing the sacraments. Whereas the Benedictines were fleeing society, establishing monasteries outside city walls, and seeking their own salvation while praying for society, Regular Canons were directly involved in pastoral ministry to the people.5
The same pastoral mission was the basis for another new group of monastics arising in the early 13th century. These were the new mendicant orders, namely, the Franciscans, or Order of Friars Minor (OFM); the Dominicans, or Order of Preachers (OP); the Carmelites, or the Hermits of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel (OCarm.); and the Augustinians, or the Order of Hermits of St. Augustine (OESA). The mendicant orders, based on their vows of individual and corporate poverty whereby they would receive their sustenance from “begging,” were established by the papacy explicitly for pastoral care, to preach and teach the people and to combat heresy, and they were directed to the cities. They were as such technically neither monks nor canons, though the Dominicans did follow the Rule of St. Augustine and were very closely related to the ordo canonicus. They were not monks but friars, or hermits, living the “mixed life,” combining the contemplative life of monks with the active life of secular priests. They soon became the leading scholars at the new universities of the 13th century, as seen in the Dominicans Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas and the Franciscans Alexander of Hales and Bonaventure at Paris. This caused tensions in the faculty of theology at Paris between the seculars, those scholars not members of a religious order, and the new mendicants, or regulars. There was, moreover, competition between the various mendicant orders for privilege, prestige, and position. Whereas in the early Middle Ages a city would be served by the parish priests, with the Benedictine monastery outside the walls, in the later Middle Ages within the city walls in addition to the parish clergy there could be as well several mendicant monasteries and churches, each serving the people, each trying to win souls (lucra animarum). The mendicants were seen as undermining the parish clergy, and in the mid-14th century there was a concerted effort, lead by the bishop of Armaugh, Richard Fitzralph, to disband all mendicant orders. The mendicants survived, with strong support from the papacy, and became the dominant social, cultural, political, and intellectual force in the later Middle Ages.
It was, perhaps, due to the impact of the mendicants that in the later Middle Ages monastic piety and spirituality began being preached and practiced beyond the walls of the monastery. The 14th-century Augustinian Hermit Jordan of Quedlinburg preached that all Christians, not just the monastics, were to be religious and saints, expanding here the legal definition of religion, whereby previously being a religious was legally equated with entering a monastic order, with entering the state of being a religious (in statu religionis). Now, according to Jordan, all Christians were to be religious, all Christians were to be in the state of religion.6 Moreover, Jordan redefined the traditional distinction between the contemplative life and the active life, considering all activities concerned with the soul, including preaching and teaching, as part of the contemplative life, whereas the active life concerned the body. This new understanding of religion and the contemplative life was reflected as well in a new movement in the later 14th century that became known as the new, or modern, devotion, the Devotio Moderna, embodied in the Brothers and Sisters of the Common Life.7 The Devotio Moderna included a monastic branch, the Windesheim Congregation, as well as lay groups of men and women, who led the common life but did not take vows and remained active in society. Such lay groups posed the problem of how to categorize their way of life legally. They were religious who were not technically living in the state of religion. Thus modern scholars have struggled as well to label such groups of religious men and women, which included not only the Devotio Moderna but also heterodox groups such as the Beguines and Beghards, which predated the Devotio Moderna. They have been deemed “semireligious” (Semireligiosentum), which is not a completely satisfactory solution, and, as mentioned, Jordan of Quedlinburg considered them indeed to be religious, as every Christian was supposed to be. The preaching of the mendicants and the increase in attention given to catechetical works8 resulted in a new desire to be truly religious, which the Devotio Moderna evidences, as does the contemporary Observant Movement within the monastic orders themselves.
The Observant Movement in the broad sense can be seen as the general late medieval upsurge in piety and devotion that included the Devotio Moderna and the “semireligious,” though in a technical sense the observance comprised attempts within the religious orders to return to the original ideals, to truly live the religious life as represented in the orders’ Rules And Constitutions.9 Beginning in the later 14th century, within the mendicant orders and then with the Bursfeld Congregation of the Benedictines, groups of monastics sought to pursue their religious life independently of the rest of their respective orders, leading to an administrative split within the orders between the Observants and the Conventuals. The Observants were the reformed group, seeking to effect a true reformation of religious life. Thus in 1504, Johannes von Staupitz, vicar general of the Saxon Congregation of Observant Augustinian Hermits, issued new Constitutions for the Augustinian Observants in Germany “for the Reformation of Germany.”10 While the Augustinian Observants did not break away from the OESA as such, the Franciscan Observants did and established a new, separate order in 1516. The Observants felt themselves to be the last hope for the church and indeed, for society as such, within the context of the late medieval crisis of famine, plague, war, and schism. Apocalyptic speculation was on the rise, and the last days were at hand, or seemed to be. Only a return to the foundational ideas, only a true Reformation in head and members offered any hope.
Living the religious life as a monastic was generally considered to be living a more perfect Christian life than the run-of-the-mill Christian. Life in the Middle Ages was categorized into various states, rather than classes, arranged hierarchically in degrees of perfection. A parish priest thus lived a more perfect Christian life than did a layman, including the nobility, but a monk or a friar lived at a higher state of perfection than did the parish clergy. In the later Middle Ages there was debate concerning which form of monastic life was the most perfect, with the Franciscans arguing that based on their life lived in imitation of Christ, theirs was the most perfect form of Christian life. The Augustinian Hermit Augustinus of Ancona, however, disagreed, arguing that the Augustinian Rule and way of life (religio) was the most perfect, as it combined the contemplative life of the monk with the active life of the priest. The pope was at the pinnacle, for even if the Franciscans more perfectly imitated Christ, the pope represented Christ.11 The pope, though, likewise had more responsibility, and Augustinus asserted that there had been and could be “bad popes.” Indeed, Augustinus wrote his Comprehensive Treatment of Ecclesiastical Power (Summa de potestate ecclesiastica) for Pope John XXII, essentially warning John of the limits and boundaries of papal power.12
Living in a higher state of Christian perfection did not mean that any given individual in that state was more perfect than any given individual living in a lower state of Christian perfection. The Augustinian Hermit James of Viterbo addressed this issue explicitly, claiming that a layman who thoroughly lived the Christian life according to his state lived more perfectly than a priest or a monk who did not live up to the state of his more perfect life.13 Monasticism was not an “easier” path to heaven but in many ways was more difficult, for more was required and expected. Entering a religious order offered one the opportunity to live a more perfect Christian life than the laity but did not mean that by doing so alone one automatically was more holy. The habit, after all—as is frequently repeated—did not make the monk. That was the point of the observance. One needed to be truly religious and to be so in the midst of competition, vying for power, privilege, and position. Some monastics abused their state; some were indeed truly holy. The abuse was recognized, and anticlericalism was on the rise. Criticizing monks became commonplace, while some sincerely and devoutly strove to bring about true reformation, even in conditions that seemed unpropitious, with apocalyptic warnings ever increasing. The world was indeed coming to an end. This was the monastic world Martin Luther entered.
The OESA in the Later Middle Ages
The Order of Hermits of St. Augustine was founded in 1256, some twenty years after the Franciscans and Dominicans. Unlike the Franciscans and Dominicans, the Augustinian Hermits were not founded by a charismatic figure, but by Pope Alexander IV, who brought together several disparate eremitical groups, forming one order. The early years of the OESA were ones during which the new order struggled to find its identity, which did not fully come about until the early 14th century when the Hermits were granted joint custody with the Augustinian Canons of Augustine’s tomb in Pavia by Pope John XXII, who proclaimed the Hermits as the true sons of their father, teacher, leader, and head, their founder St. Augustine himself.14 Augustine became the mythic founder of the OESA, giving the order its identity as well as the Augustinian Rule and religion.
In the early 14th century, the Augustinian Hermits became embroiled in papal-princely conflict with James of Viterbo and Giles of Rome, supporting Pope Boniface VIII against King Philip IV of France to the point that Boniface used Giles’ treatise On Ecclesiastical Power for his Bull Unam Sanctam (1302). The Augustinians became the architects of papal hierocratic theory, with the Hermit Augustinus of Ancona having composed his Comprehensive Treatment of Ecclesiastical Power for Pope John XXII in the context of John’s bitter conflict with Emperor Lewis of Bavaria and his theorist, Marsilius of Padua. John’s support for the Augustinians led to conflict between the Hermits and the Canons over which order was originally and most authentically the Order of St. Augustine, a controversy that led the Hermits to develop their own identity as Augustine’s true sons and heirs. In their attempts to prove their origins, Hermits turned to a renewed study of the works of Augustine himself, initiating what has been called the Augustinian Renaissance of the later Middle Ages.15 It was in this context that Augustinians such as Gregory of Rimini, Alfonsus Vargas, and Hugolin of Orvieto developed a new Augustinian theology, drawing on Giles of Rome’s definition of theology as affective knowledge, as distinct from the Dominican position of theology as speculative knowledge and the Franciscan understanding of theology as practical knowledge. The Augustinian theology was based on love, grace, and God’s predestination before foreseen merits. In the works of Gregory and Hugolin, this theology was directed against a renewed perceived threat from the “modern Pelagians,” a concern that was also present independently in the work of the secular theologian Thomas Bradwardine. The Augustinians’ academic theology was expressed in the order’s pastoral mission and pastoral theology, as evidenced in the works of Jordan of Quedlinburg. The general decline of academic standards after the Great Schism resulted in an increasing emphasis on pastoral concerns and the emergence of a general theology of piety (Frommigkeitstheologie), which, however, did not entail a lack of order-specific identity, as seen in the works of the Hermits Johannes Stauptiz and Johannes Paltz in the later 15th and early 16th centuries. The conflict with the Canons over the true heirs of Augustine had continued, despite papal attempts to put an end to the debate, and Luther was well aware of the need to defend the priority of the Hermits, defending the authenticity of the Pseudo-Augustinian Sermons to His Brothers in the Hermitage (Sermones ad fratres in eremo), which proved the case of the Hermits.16
The conflict with the Canons, which has been called a late medieval cause célèbre, was not the only controversy Augustine’s true sons faced. While the OESA was a much smaller order than the Franciscans or Dominicans, they certainly made their impact on late medieval religious, social, political, and intellectual culture, and they did so in fierce competition with the other mendicant orders, especially the Franciscans. There had been conflict between the OFM and the OESA since the late 13th century, and it simply continued, extending into the early 16th century. Moreover, there was the conflict within the order itself over the observance of its Rule and Constitutions. As Prior General of the Order in the mid-14th century, Gregory of Rimini worked indefatigably to enforce observance, including prescribing prison sentences for renegade brothers.17 The lack of observance can be well understood, as Gregory was Prior General in the wake of the plague, when standards in general were in decline in the attempt to gain members in light of the plague’s decimation. Though the Observant movement within the OESA dates to the later 14th century, with the establishment of the monastery at Lecceto put directly under the authority of the Prior General for the purpose of an observant way of life and thus removed from normal provincial administration,18 the “grassroots” of the Observance can be seen to have begun with Gregory, evidenced, too, in the Figura Bibliorum of the Augustinian Antonius Rampegolus, who argued that the truly religious should be kept separate from the brothers leading a depraved life.19 This desire for administrative separation to pursue a more rigorous understanding of the Rule and Constitutions led then to the administrative designation of the observance as such. The Conventuals, those monasteries that were not reformed according to the regular observance, felt that the Observants were self-righteous hypocrites, whereas the Observants felt the Conventuals were unruly and lax.
Staupitz devised a plan to help end the tensions within the order, at least in Germany, between the Observants and the Conventuals by combining both under his leadership as provincial prior. The Observants, however, strongly objected and sought to go over Stauptiz’s head to appeal directly to the prior general in Rome. A delegation was sent to Rome in 1510, which included a relatively new brother from Erfurt, Brother Martin Luther. The prior general, Giles of Viterbo, did not meet with the delegation, but Luther returned as a strong supporter of Staupitz, who was able to finesse the situation politically to, in his view, the advantage of all. Giles was concerned for the situation in Germany but also had other problems to deal with, including continued efforts to bring about a genuine reformation within the order, which had been Giles’s primary goal since being elected in 1506. The Turks were threatening Christendom again, and calls for a General Council were rising, leading to a potential schism in 1511/1512, until Pope Julius II was able to corral opposition with the opening of the Fifth Lateran Council, saving the church, as Giles put it, from war and schism. The mendicant orders were again under threat, to the point that Giles told his order that the situation was dire, to the boiling point, but was able again to politically maneuver successfully, based on his assurance to the council that he would himself lead a true reformation of his order.20 Politics, internal and international; privilege; and the state of Christendom were concerns for the order, and as Luther wrote in his Commentary on Romans of 1516, there was never a better time to become a monk, for monks were so despised.21 Yet Brother Martin had already done so, having entered the state of religion in 1505 as a novice of the Observant Augustinians in Erfurt.
Luther as Monk
Why Luther chose the Augustinian Hermits can never really be known. He had had contact with the Devotio Moderna as a student in Mansfeld, and he later, in his Commentary on Romans, referred to Gerard Groote, one of the leading theologians of the Devotio Moderna, as the author of the best description of original sin he had seen: “I have found in no author so clear an explanation of this privation of original sin as in Gerard Groote’s little treatise, Blessed is the Man, where he spoke not as a pompous philosopher, but as a healthily grounded theologian.”22 Luther was also acquainted with the Franciscan tradition, having studied the works of the Franciscan William of Ockham, and later, in 1519, Luther presided at the Franciscan Disputation in Wittenberg.23 The Augustinian Hermits in Erfurt had an outstanding reputation, going back even before the founding of the university in 1392 to the earlier 14th century and the three great theologians in the order’s studium at Erfurt, Henry of Friemar, Jordan of Quedlinburg, and Hermann of Schildesche. In Luther’s day, the Augustinians Bartholomew von Usingen, Johannes Nathin, and Johannes von Paltz carried the torch, and it may have been their reputation, which Luther would have known as a student of arts in Erfurt, that led him to the door of the Augustinian monastery in the summer of 1505 when he had vowed to become a monk, rather than continuing on in law school.
Joining a monastic order was a life-changing event. It was not like joining a club. One became a new person, a new being in Christ. For a year and a day, Brother Martin lived the life of the Augustinian Hermit, learning the ways of the OESA, studying under the master of novices, Brother Greffenstein. He may have studied the order’s “handbook,” for being an Augustinian, Jordan of Quedlinburg’s Life of the Brothers (Liber Vitasfratrum), completed by 1358, though the evidence here is inconclusive.24 During his time as a novice, Brother Martin was free to leave at any time. That would change once he took his formal vows, which he did in the summer of 1506. Now he was committed, and he would not be allowed to leave; he would be compelled to remain, and we already saw that the order, at least from the time of Gregory of Rimini in the mid-14th century, had its own prisons for disciplining grievously errant brothers. Luther had made a solemn vow, and he intended to keep it.
The vows Luther took were rather simple and straightforward. He vowed to live in chastity, without personal possessions, and in obedience to God, to Mary, and to Brother Winand, the prior of the monastery in Erfurt, as the representative of the order’s prior general.25 He did not vow obedience to the pope or to the church. Before he made his solemn vows, he had been ritually dressed in the professed habit of an Augustinian. While the dictum that the habit did not make the monk was a recognized truism, in so many ways it did. The habit represented the new man in Christ Luther had become, signifying the passion of Christ itself. The habit was what had demarcated the Augustinian Hermits from the Augustinian Canons and all other monastic orders, and for the Hermits their habit was the same habit as worn by Augustine himself and his original hermits.26 It was not something to be taken off lightly; indeed, as late as December of 1521, when Luther heard of monks leaving the monastery to get married, he exclaimed: “I will remain in this habit and way of life until the world completely changes.”27 Two years later, the world had indeed changed. Luther took off his habit on October 9, 1524. He had been an Augustinian Hermit for eighteen years. He had been a faithful, observant friar. And it was as such that Brother Martin had developed an Augustinian theology and initiated a pastoral campaign against the abuses of indulgences that was to bring him in conflict with the institutional hierarchy.
Living the life of an Augustinian Hermit was not a life of repose. Jordan of Quedlinburg had included preaching, teaching, and pastoral care within the contemplative life, defining the most perfect life of the Augustinians as being alone with God in contemplation and then bringing the fruits of that contemplation to the people.28 Luther was to become a priest and theologian, and in obedience to his superior, Staupitz, Luther strove to do his best. He studied the Exposition of the Canon of the Mass of Gabriel Biel, who had been part of the Devotio Moderna, and read a number of works of Augustine, some of the Cistercian Bernard of Clairvaux, some of the Augustinian Canon Hugh of St. Victor, some of the Franciscans Bonaventure and Ockham, and a few others scholastic works.29 He may have known Gregory of Rimini’s Sentences Commentary, but there is no evidence he studied any other late medieval Augustinian theologian.30 While Luther lived as an Augustinian Hermit, there is no evidence he was imbued with his order’s theological or pastoral traditions. Yet he was ordained as priest in 1507 and received his doctorate in theology from the University of Wittenberg in 1512, which itself was the source of controversy between Wittenberg and Erfurt.31 Luther was elected district vicar in 1515. He was now, as he put it, eleven times prior. His administrative duties were taxing indeed, especially when combined with his teaching and preaching responsibilities, to the point that he complained that he often did not have the time even to complete the required monastic office, the very foundation of the monastic common life.32 His later assertions of his exemplary life as a monk, to the point that if anyone could have earned salvation through fasting and prayer he would have done so,33 are called into question by his letters as district vicar, which reveal a regimen of administrative overload, and they are given a later “Protestant” spin, since no one had claimed that one could merit salvation by such means. While Luther’s discovery of passive righteousness was certainly significant for his own understanding, it was not a discovery that was unknown within the Augustinian Hermits, whose theology of justification had all along been based on the insufficiency of works, God’s grace, and God’s predestination.34 Luther brought new insights in a new context to be sure, but the theology against which he railed in his Disputation against Scholastic Theology of 1517, based on the principle that God will not deny his grace to one who does his best (facientibus quod in se est deus non denegrat gratiam), was not the traditional theology of the OESA. This is not to say, however, that Luther’s theology, and particularly his doctrine of justification, was the same as, for example, Bernard of Clairvaux’s, as Franz Posset has argued,35 or that it was simply an Augustinian version of a late medieval monastic, or mendicant, theology.36 It was an Augustinian theology, though an Augustinian theology not informed by the theological tradition of the Augustinians, even if it had been influenced by Staupitz.37 It was not, in any case, Luther’s theology that brought him into conflict with Rome, but his political views of the papacy,38 even as he wrote to Pope Leo X in 1519 beseeching him to judge his theses on indulgences and to know that he, Luther, saw in Leo the voice of Christ himself, asserting his loyalty to Mother Church and its authority, which surpassed all other authority except that of Christ alone.39 Yet even as Luther broke from Rome in 1520, having come to see the papacy as the very seat of the Antichrist, he remained loyal to his vows, he remained an Observant Augustinian Hermit, even though Staupitz had already removed him from his vows in 1519. Even after he was excommunicated and condemned at the Diet of Worms in 1521, Luther was still in 1523 portrayed as an Augustinian Hermit by Hans Holbein in his woodcut The German Hercules and complete with nimbus by Hans Baldung Grien. It was not the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther, but the Augustinian Hermit Brother Martin Luther, who served as the catalyst for what has become known as the Reformation.
Luther’s Rejection of the Monastic Vows
Luther’s reluctance to take the final step and remove his habit was slow in coming. In the Wartburg, in 1521, Luther had begun his treatise against monastic vows, but he had done so still in his habit. Luther’s De votis monasticis iudicium has been seen as his final, radical break from his medieval, monastic past.40 Yet less often recognized is that Luther did not reject the monastic life as such. His argument was that the compulsory nature of the monastic vows was against Christian freedom, not that the monastic life was unchristian. Even after his judgment, he could still assert that he would remain in the habit and monastic life unless the world was to completely change.41 For Luther, monastic vows, monastic ritual, and monastic life itself were, as the authority of the pope, in the realm of externals and therefore not binding on Christians as such. This was a position he had developed from early on, already evident in his Commentary on Romans.42 As he wrote in his commentary on the Magnificat, composed shortly before his De votis monasticis: “When the spirit is no longer holy, then nothing else is holy … Focus on the external work and knowledge, and think that you can become pious thereby, so simultaneously is faith lost, and the spirit is dead before God.”43 Luther was clear that he was not condemning the monastic life as such, but rather the vows: “We do not, therefore, condemn the substance of the vows, if someone desires to follow it, but we condemn the teaching and the command of the vows.”44 The compulsory nature of the vows Luther saw as being against faith: “Everything that is not of faith, is sin (Rom. 14:23), from which we infer that the monastic vows, if they are not from faith, are sin. Nothing, however, is from faith if it is perpetual and necessary, not free to follow or reject.”45 Here he did not claim that the monastic vows were sinful, and he allows that they could be made in faith, which would entail their being free and open, so that one could follow the vows or not, as one wished, without compulsion. Thus St. Anthony, the father of monks and the founder of the monastic life (monasticae uitae princeps), understood and taught most wisely and most Christianly and knew nothing of monastic ceremony, but followed the eremitical life freely and willingly, according to the Gospel. Only thereafter did the vows develop, corrupting the monastic life itself and the Rule of St. Anthony, which was the Rule of Christ.46 Though St. Francis was admirable and fervent in spirit,47 as a man he erred in establishing his rule, claiming that it was the Gospel.48 Here Luther was arguing against the Franciscans with essentially the same argument his order had used since the early 14th century. It is perhaps this context that led Luther then to use the Rule of St. Augustine as a positive example. Vows could be made piously, and thus Luther gave the example: “The vow of chastity, and all the monastic vows, if it is pious, ought necessarily to include freedom within it, leaving aside all else and to interpret the meaning thus: I vow to you freely to observe obedience, chastity, and poverty in keeping with the entire Rule of St. Augustine until my death, that is, so that I would be able to change my mind when it seemed fitting.”49 Making such a vow could be useful, for in the early church, youth were to submit themselves to the authority and guidance of elders. Such was the first Christian school, which also included girls, as St. Agnes witnesses.50 Yet from this free, educational structure, vows were instituted, making it compulsory, so that free Christian schools became servile Jewish monasteries, true synagogues of impiety. This early Christian model of the Christian school, however, was a contemporary possibility for Luther, and there would be nothing dangerous to one’s soul, he affirmed, in making such vows, providing they were freely made and included the opportunity to leave, living such a life freely when deemed sufficient.51 The monastery was to be a school for educating youth. Luther here was drawing, even if he was unaware of it, on the Rule of St. Benedict, which advocated the monastery as being a school of servitude (scola servitii), while transforming that Benedictine idea into the monastery as a Christian school of freedom.52 While Luther harshly condemned the coercive, compulsory nature of monastic vows in the fiercest of terms, he did not reject monastic life as such, but transformed it into something new, which can be understood only in the context of his own monastic experience.
Luther’s De votis monasticis was the product of this experience, for Luther wrote it while he himself still wore his order’s habit. This was soon to change. On October 24, 1524, Luther ascended his pulpit in Wittenberg without his monastic habit. He was no longer a monk. Doing so had been a long process for him, one that was difficult.53 Eight months later, on June 13, 1525, Luther married the ex-nun Katharina von Bora. Arguing against the vow of chastity had been one of the main emphases in Luther’s critique of monastic vows, and saying that that, too, should be free and open.54 In marrying Katie, Luther had definitively put monasticism behind him. In the course of twenty years, Luther domesticated monasticism, transforming the school of Christ into church, school, and family, the three institutions that were to form and shape the morals and faith of the new religion.
Review of the Literature and Points of Departure
The topic of “Luther and Monasticism” has not been at the forefront of Luther research. While virtually every biography of Luther has dealt with his life as an Augustinian Hermit,55 the only modern study that has focused explicitly on Luther’s monastic life is Heinz-Heinhoff Stamm’s Luthers Stellung zum Ordensleben.56 Even Adolar Zumkeller’s “Luther und Sein Orden” focuses more on the extent to which the late medieval Augustinians did, or did not, contribute to Luther’s developing theology.57 More recently, I have tried to address this gap in scholarship in my High Way to Heaven and Luther and the Reformation of the Later Middle Ages.58 Yet, in general, Protestant scholarship has seen Luther as having rejected monasticism in his becoming the Reformer standing against the papal church, whereas Catholic scholarship has shied away from focusing on the renegade monk’s critique. Both confessional positions thus fail to recognize that monasticism was the context of Luther’s developing theology. It was the faithful, observant Augustinian Hermit, Brother Martin Luther, who developed his theology of passive righteousness and stood up against indulgences. This needs to be recognized and factored into our understanding of Luther’s early development, which then reveals that there is still much work to be done.
Fortunately there has been foundational work on the late medieval Augustinian Order. Hellmut Zschoch has studied the spirituality of the late medieval Augustinian Observance as seen in the Liber de vita monastica of the Augustinian Conrad of Zenn,59 and Ralph Weinbrenner has provided the point of departure for further research on the late medieval Observance in his study of Andreas Proles.60 Adolarbero Kunzelmann’s comprehensive history of the order, and particularly his volume on the Saxon-Thuringian Congregation,61 remains foundational, while Adolar Zumkeller’s and Damasus Trapp’s works are still fundamental for all further research on the theology of the order in the later Middle Ages,62 with Zumkeller’s manuscript catalogue offering the potential for an outstanding PhD dissertation on almost every page.63 Berndt Hamm has provided the standard work on Johannes von Paltz,64 and the scholarship on Staupitz from Theodore Kolde to David Steinmetz and Markus Wriedt offers foundational interpretations of Luther’s immediate theological context.65
Yet there are still opportunities for much fruitful research with regard to the following four areas, which are by no means exhaustive:
1. The impact of monastic life on Luther’s developing understanding of vocation. If late medieval piety has been seen as monastic piety breaking over the walls of the monastery, Luther’s early Reformation understanding of Christian life can be seen as monastic life transformed in the world beyond the monastic walls.
2. The religionization program within the OESA. Late medieval religionization laid the foundation for Luther’s own religionization program in society, focused on how to make Christians truly religious, whereby, in the words of Jordan of Quedlinburg, all Christians were to be religious, all Christians were to be saints. This is particularly relevant in light of the late medieval catechetical endeavor that paved the way for Reformation catechesis.
3. Late medieval pastoral theology. While scholarship has focused on issues of justification, the late medieval pastoral theology, particularly within the OESA, conditioned Luther’s own developing pastoral endeavor. More research is needed to interpret historically Luther’s treatments of, for example, the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the Passion of Christ in light of late medieval contributions.
4. The spiritual, theological, and institutional history of the Order of Hermits of St. Augustine. While foundational work has been done, Luther’s Augustinian colleagues have received scant attention, with the exception of Giles of Viterbo, who has been studied but not in relationship to Luther.66 Eduard Stakemeier’s thesis that the late medieval Augustinian tradition found its culmination not in Luther but in Jerome Seripando and the Council of Trent67 bears further investigation, which could shed important new light on Luther’s own monastic life.
These, then, are the primary areas of future research that have the possibility of shedding important new light on Luther’s life as a monastic and the impact thereof on his theological and religious development. Rather than seeking the origins of Luther the Reformer, we must recognize that the Reformation, in its historical context and early development, began as a monastic movement.
Brecht, Martin. Luther: Shaping and Defining the Reformation, 1521–1532. Translated by James L. Schaff. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990.Find this resource:
Bynum, Caroline. Docere verbo et exemplo: An Aspect of Twelfth-Century Spirituality. Harvard Theological Studies 31. Missoula, Montana: Scholars Press, 1979.Find this resource:
Clark, Francis. The Pseudo-Gregorian Dialogues, Studies in the History of Christian Traditions 37. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers, 1987.Find this resource:
Clark, Francis. The “Gregorian Dialogues” and the Origins of Benedictine Monasticism, Studies in the History of Christian Traditions 108. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers, 2003.Find this resource:
Constable, Giles. The Reformation of the Twelfth Century. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1996.Find this resource:
Hamm, Berndt. Frömmigkeitstheologie am Anfang des 16. Jahrhunderts: Studien zu Johannes von Paltz und seinem Umkreis. Beiträge zur historischen Theologie 65. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 1982.Find this resource:
Hamm, Berndt. Der frühe Luther: Etappen reformatorischer Neuorientierung. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2010.Find this resource:
Hendrix, Scott H.Martin Luther: Visionary Reformer. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2015.Find this resource:
Kolde, Theodore. Die deutsche Augustiner-Congregation und Johann von Staupitz: Ein Beitrag zur Ordens-undReformationsgeschichte. Gotha, Germany: F. A. Perthes, 1879.Find this resource:
Kunzelmann, Adalbero. Geschichte der Deutschen Augustiner-Eremiten. Vol 5, Die Sächische-Thüringische Provinz unde die Sächische Reeformkongregation bis zum Untergang der Beiden. Würzburg, Germany: Augustinus Verlag, 1974.Find this resource:
Leyser, Conrad. “Augustine in the Latin West, 430–ca.900.” In A Companion to Augustine, edited by Mark Vessey, 450–464. Oxford, NY: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012.Find this resource:
Mixon, James, and Bert Roest, eds. A Companion to Observant Reform in the Late Middle Ages and Beyond. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers, 2015.Find this resource:
Oberman, Heiko A.Luther. Man between God and the Devil. Translated by Eileen Walliser-Schwarzbart. New York: Double Day, 1992.Find this resource:
Oberman, Heiko A.The Two Reformations. The Journey from the Last Days to the New World. Edited by Donald Weinstein. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003.Find this resource:
Ponesse, Matthew. “Regula,” in The Oxford Guide to the Historical Reception of Augustine. 3 vols. Edited by Karla Pollmann, et al., 462–467. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.Find this resource:
Saak, Eric Leland. High Way to Heaven. The Augustinian Platform between Reform and Reformation, 1292–1524. Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions 89. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers, 2002.Find this resource:
Saak, Eric Leland. “In Search of Origins: The Foundation(s) of the OESA.” Analecta Augustiniana 75 (2012): 5–24.Find this resource:
Saak, Eric Leland. Creating Augustine. Interpreting Augustine and Augustinianism in the Later Middle Ages. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.Find this resource:
Saak, Eric Leland. Catechesis in the Later Middle Ages I: The Exposition of the Lord’s Prayer of Jordan of Quedlingburg, OESA (d. 1380). Introduction, Text, and Translation. Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions 188/T&S 6. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers, 2015.Find this resource:
Saak, Eric Leland. “The Augustinian Renaissance: Textual Scholarship and Religious Identity in the Later Middle Ages.” OGHRA 1: 58–68.Find this resource:
Saak, Eric Leland. Luther and the Reformation of the Later Middle Ages. Forthcoming, Cambridge, U.K.Find this resource:
Stakemeier, Eduard. Der Kampf um Augustin auf dem Tridentinum. Paderborn, Germany: Bonifacius-Druckerei, 1937.Find this resource:
Stamm, Heinz-Heinhoff. Luthers Stellung zum Ordensleben, Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Europäische Geschichte Mainz 101. Wiesbaden, Germany, 1980.Find this resource:
Steinmetz, David. Misericordia Dei: The Theology of Johannes von Staupitz in Its Late Medieval Setting. Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions 4. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers, 1968.Find this resource:
Steinmetz, David. Luther and Staupitz. An Essay in the Intellectual Origins of the Protestant Reformation. Duke Monographs in Medieval and Renaissance Studies 4. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1980.Find this resource:
Trapp, Damasus. “Augustinian Theology of the Fourteenth Century. Notes on Editions, Marginalia, Opinions and Booklore,” Augustiniana 6 (1956): 146–274.Find this resource:
Van Engen, John. The Sisters and Brothers of the Common Life: The Devotio Moderna and the World of the Later Middle Ages. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008.Find this resource:
Weinbrenner, Ralph, Klosterreform im 15: Jahrhundert zwischen Ideal und Praxis. Der Augustinereremit Andreas Proles (1429–1503) und die privilegierte Observanz. Spätmittelalter und Reformation. Neue Reihe 7. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr-Siebeck, 1996.Find this resource:
Wriedt, Markus. Gnade und Erwählung. Eine Untersuchung zu Johann von Staupitz und Martin Luther. VIEG 141. Mainz, Germany, 1991.Find this resource:
Zschoch, Hellmut, Klosterreform und monastische Spiritualiteit in 15. Jahrhundert: Conrad von Zenn, OESA (d. 1460) und sein Liber de vita monastica. Beiträge zur historischen Theologie 75. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr-Siebeck, 1988.Find this resource:
Zumkeller, Adolar. “Martin Luther und sein Orden.” Analecta Augustiniana 25 (1962): 254–290.Find this resource:
Zumkeller, Adolar. Manuskripte von Werken der Autoren des Augustiner-Eremitenordens in mitteleuropäischen Bibliotheken. Cassiciacum 20. Würzburg, Germany: Augustinus Verlag, 1966.Find this resource:
Zumkeller, Adolar. Erbsünde, Gnade, Rechtfertigung und Verdienst nach der Lehre der Erfurter Augustinertheologen des Spätmittelalters. Würzburg, Germany: Augustinus Verlag, 1984.Find this resource:
(1.) See Heinz-Heinhoff Stamm, Luthers Stellung zum Ordensleben, Veröffentlichungen des Instituts für Europäische Geschichte Mainz 101 (Wiesbaden, Germany, 1980); Eric Leland Saak, Luther and the Reformation of the Later Middle Ages (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2017).
(2.) Traditionally the Benedictines, or the Order of St. Benedict, were founded by St. Benedict in the early 6th century. Francis Clark has questioned the authenticity of St. Benedict, offering substantial evidence that the Rule of St. Benedict was unknown until the mid-7th century. The debate hinges on the authenticity of the Dialogues of Gregory the Great, which Clark sees as a forgery; Francis Clark, The Pseudo-Gregorian Dialogues, Studies in the History of Christian Traditions 37 (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers, 1997); Francis Clark, The “Gregorian Dialogues” and the Origins of Benedictine Monasticism, Studies in the History of Christian Traditions 108 (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers, 2003). While Clark’s position has not been widely accepted, the evidence he presents requires consideration and has, in my opinion, not been refuted. Nevertheless, the Rule of St. Benedict and Benedictine monasticism was well established by the Carolingians, and the medieval history of the Benedictines is by and large otherwise unaffected by the debate over the original foundations.
(3.) Giles Constable, The Reformation of the Twelfth Century (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 325.
(4.) See Matthew Ponesse, “Regula,” in The Oxford Guide to the Historical Reception of Augustine. 3 vols. ed. Karla Pollmann, et al., 462–467 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013); Conrad Leyser, “Augustine in the Latin West, 430–ca.900,” in A Companion to Augustine, ed. Mark Vessey (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012), 450–464; 460–464.
(5.) Caroline Bynum, Docere verbo et exemplo: An Aspect of Twelfth-Century Spirituality. Harvard Theological Studies 31 (Missoula, Montana: Scholars Press, 1979).
(6.) Eric Leland Saak, High Way to Heaven: The Augustinian Platform between Reform and Reformation, 1292–1524, Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions 89 (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers, 2002), 710–735.
(7.) John Van Engen, The Sisters and Brothers of the Common Life: The Devotio Moderna and the World of the Later Middle Ages (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008).
(8.) Eric Leland Saak, Catechesis in the Later Middle Ages I. The Exposition of the Lord’s Prayer of Jordan of Quedlingburg, OESA (d. 1380). Introduction, Text, and Translation. Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions 188/T&S 6 (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers, 2015).
(9.) See James Mixon and Bert Roest, eds., A Companion to Observant Reform in the Late Middle Ages and Beyond (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers, 2015).
(10.) Johann von Staupitz, Constitutiones OESA Pro Reformatione Alemanniae, ed. Wolfgang Günter, in Johann von Staupitz, Sämtliche Schriften, Abhandlungen, Predigten, Zeugnisse, ed. Lothan Graf zu Dohna and Richard Wetzel, vol. 5, Gutachen und Satzungen, Spätmittelalter und Reformation 17 (Berlin: Walter De Gruyter, 2001), 103–360.
(11.) Saak, High Way to Heaven, 142–153.
(13.) James of Viterbo, Quodlibet III, q. 24; E. Ypma, ed., James of Viterbo, Disputationes de quolibet, 4 vols. (Würzburg, Germany: Augustinus Verlag, 1968–1975), vol. 3, 233–238; 237, 142–155.
(14.) Eric Leland Saak, “In Search of Origins: The Foundation(s) of the OESA.” Analecta Augustiniana 75 (2012): 5–24.
(15.) Eric Leland Saak, “The Augustinian Renaissance: Textual Scholarship and Religious Identity in the Later Middle Ages.” Oxford Guide to the Historical Reception of Augustine 1: 58–68.
(16.) Eric Leland Saak, Creating Augustine. Interpreting Augustine and Augustinianism in the Later Middle Ages (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), 81–137.
(17.) Saak, High Way to Heaven, 315–344.
(18.) Katherin Walsh, “Papal Policy and Local Reform: A) The Beginning of the Augustinian Observance in Tuscany, B) Congregatio Ilicetana: The Augustinian Observant Movement in Tuscany and the Humanist Ideal,” Romische Historische Mitteilungen 21 (1979): 35–57; 22 (1980): 105–145.
(19.) Saak, High Way to Heaven, 594–618.
(20.) Giles of Viterbo, OESA, Lettere Familiari, ed. Anna Maria Voci Roth, 2, 338 (Rome: Instituto Storico Agostiniano, 1992), 220, 101–105.
(21.) WA 56:497, 19–498, 12.
(22.) “Hanc originalis pecati apud nullum Inueni tam claram resolutionem quam apud Gerardum Groot in tractatulo suo ‘Beatus Vir,’ Vbi loquitur non vt temerarius philosophus, Sed vt sanus theologus.” WA 56:313, 13–16. All translations are my own.
(23.) WA 59:678ff.
(24.) Saak, High Way to Heaven, 633.
(27.) “Nam et ego in habitu et ritu isto manebo, nisi mundus alius fiat.” WA BR 2:415, 25–26.
(28.) Saak, High Way to Heaven, 283–284.
(29.) Martin Luther, Erfurter Annotationen 1509–1511, ed. Jun Matsura, Archiv zur Weimarer Ausgabe 9 (Cologne, Germany: Böhlau Verlag, 2009); Saak, Luther and the Reformation of the Later Middle Ages.
(30.) Saak, Luther and the Reformation of the Later Middle Ages; Saak, “Martin Luther,” Oxford Guide to the Historical Reception of Augustine 3: 1341–1346.
(31.) Saak, Luther and the Reformation of the Later Middle Ages.
(32.) WA BR 1:72, 4–13.
(33.) See Robert Fife, The Revolt of Martin Luther (New York: Columbia University Press, 1957), 92–93.
(34.) Saak, Brother Martin Luther, Augustinian.
(35.) Franz Posset, The Real Luther. A Friar at Erfurt and Wittenberg (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2011), 127.
(36.) See Saak, High Way to Heaven, 347–368.
(37.) David Steinmetz, Luther and Staupitz. An Essay in the Intellectual Origins of the Protestant Reformation, Duke Monographs in Medieval and Renaissance Studies 4 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1980); Markus Wriedt, Gnade und Erwählung. Eine Untersuchung zu Johann von Staupitz und Martin Luther, VIEG 141 (Mainz, Germany, 1991).
(38.) Saak, Luther and the Reformation of the Later Middle Ages.
(39.) WA 1:529, 22–25; WA BR 1:292, 31–293, 37; Saak, High Way to Heaven, 3, 623–625.
(40.) See Heiko Oberman, The Two Reformations. The Journey from the Last Days to the New World, ed. Donald Weinstein (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003), 48–61.
(41.) Letter to Link, WA BR 2:415, 25–26, dated December 18, 1521.
(42.) Saak, Luther and the Reformation of the Later Middle Ages.
(43.) “Wenn der geist nit mehr heilig ist, szo ist nichts mehr heilig … Kumpt auff die eusserlichen werck und weissen, menet da mit frum zu werden: szo bald ist der glawb vorlorenn und der geist todt fur got.” Luther, Das Magnificat verdeutschet und ausgelegt (1520/21), WA 7:551, 28–552, 4.
(44.) “Non autem damnamus rem votorum, si quis eam cupiat sequi, sed doctrinam et praeceptum eiusdem damnamus.” Luther, De votis monasticis 3, WA 8:616, 36–38.
(45.) “Omne, quod non est ex fide, peccatum est. Ex quo inferimus, monastica vota, si ex fide non sint, esse peccata. Ex fide autem non sunt, si perpetua, necessaria et non libera sunt, potentia tum servari tum dimitti.” Luther, De votis monasticis 2, WA 8:591, 9–12.
(46.) “Sanctus Antonius, ipsissimus monachorum pater et monasticae vitae princeps, sapientissime et Christianissime censuit et docuit, nihil prorsus esse tentandum, quod autoritatem scripturae non haberet. Et ipse devotarium hoc et cerimoniale monachorum genus prorsus ignoravit, sed libere incoluit Eremum et libere coelebs vixit, iuxta formam Euangelii. Posteri eius votum, necessitatem et servitutem ex illius instituto fecerunt, nihil nisi speciem et fallacem aemulationem Antonianae regulae, quae Christi regula est, secuti, humana tantum sapientes.” Luther, De votis monasticis 1, WA 8:578, 16–23.
(47.) “Sed et S. Franciscus, vir admirabilis et spiritu ferventissimus …” Luther, De votis monasticis 1, WA 8:579, 26.
(48.) “Vides ergo demonstratum esse, Franciscum ut hominem errasse in condenda regula sua. Quid enim est dicere: ‘Regula fratrum minorum est Euangelium,’ quam statuere, solos fratres minores esse Christianos? Si enim Euangelium eorum proprium est, nulli sunt Christiani praeter Minores, cum Euangelium sine controversia et solius et totius sit populi Christiani.” Ibid., WA 8:580, 12–17.
(49.) “Votum castitatis et totius monasticae, si pium est, debet necessario secum involvere liberatatem rursus omittendi et in hanc ferme sententiam interpretari: Voveo tibi obedientiam, castitatem, paupertatem servandam cum tota regula S. Augustini usque ad mortem libere, hoc est, ut mutare possim, quando visum fuerit.” Luther, De votis monasticis 3, WA 8:614, 10–14.
(52.) Cf. Luther, De votis monasticis 5, WA 8:640, 24–641, 22.
(53.) Saak, High Way to Heaven, 637–670.
(54.) E.g., Luther, De votis monasticis 5, WA 8:636–640.
(55.) E.g., Scott H. Hendrix, Martin Luther: Visionary Reformer (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2015); Berndt Hamm, Der frühe Luther: Etappen reformatorischer Neuorientierung (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2010); Heiko A. Oberman, Luther: Man between God and the Devil, trans. Eileen Walliser-Schwarzbart (New York: Double Day, 1992); Martin Brecht, Luther: Shaping and Defining the Reformation, 1521–1532, trans. James L. Schaff (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990).
(56.) As in note 1.
(57.) Adolar Zumkeller, “Martin Luther und sein Orden,” Analecta Augustinian 25 (1962): 254–290.
(58.) Saak, High Way to Heaven; Saak, Brother Martin Luther, Augustinian.
(59.) Hellmut Zschoch, Klosterreform und monastische Spiritualiteit in 15. Jahrhundert: Conrad von Zenn, OESA (d. 1460) und sein Liber de vita monastica, Beiträge zur historischen Theologie 75 (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr-Siebeck, 1988).
(60.) Ralph Weinbrenner, Klosterreform im 15. Jahrhundert zwischen Ideal und Praxis: Der Augustinereremit Andreas Proles (1429–1503) und die privilegierte Observanz, Spätmittelalter und Reformation. Neue Reihe 7 (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr-Siebeck, 1996).
(61.) Adalbero Kunzelmann, Die Sächische-Thüringische Provinz unde die Sächische Reeformkongregation bis zum Untergang der Beiden, vol. 5 of Geschichte der Deutschen Augustiner-Eremiten (Würzburg, Germany: Augustinus Verlag, 1974).
(62.) Adolar Zumkeller, Erbsünde, Gnade, Rechtfertigung und Verdienst nach der Lehre der Erfurter Augustinertheologen des Spätmittelalters (Würzburg, Germany: Augustinus Verlag, 1984); Damasus Trapp, “Augustinian Theology of the Fourteenth Century. Notes on Editions, Marginalia, Opinions and Booklore,” Augustiniana 6 (1956): 146–274
(63.) Adolar Zumkeller, Manuskripte von Werken der Autoren des Augustiner-Eremitenordens in mitteleuropäischen Bibliotheken, Cassiciacum 20 (Würzburg, Germany: Augustinus Verlag, 1966).
(64.) Berndt Hamm, Frömmigkeitstheologie am Anfang des 16. Jahrhunderts. Studien zu Johannes von Paltz und seinem Umkreis. Beiträge zur historischen Theologie 65 (Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 1982).
(65.) Theodore Kolde, Die deutsche Augustiner-Congregation und Johann von Staupitz: Ein Beitrag zur Ordens-undReformationsgeschichte (Gotha, Germany: F. A. Perthes, 1879); David Steinmetz, Misericordia Dei: The Theology of Johannes von Staupitz in Its Late Medieval Setting, Studies in Medieval and Reformation Traditions 4 (Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill Academic Publishers, 1968); David Steinmetz, Luther and Staupitz; Wriedt, Gnade und Erwählung.
(66.) Saak, Luther and the Reformation of the Later Middle Ages.
(67.) Eduard Stakemeier, Der Kampf um Augustin auf dem Tridentinum (Paderborn, Germany: Bonifacius-Druckerei, 1937).