The Revolt of Martin Luther

By Robert Herndon Fife | Go to book overview
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20
THE LEIPZIG DISPUTATION THE AFTERMATH

THE great disputation was past, but its echoes continued to reverberate throughout the theological world and beyond. Martin came back to Wittenberg smarting under a sense of unfair treatment and determined to put his case before a less prejudiced audience than that which had faced him in when Eck scored a point, all are set forth in detail. Throughout the letter to Spalatin which Martin wrote on July 20, within a day or two after his o return to his cell, a letter in which moods of sarcastic humor, anger and firm determination succeed each other.1 Eck's blustering and unfairness, the breach of contract which forced the Wittenbergers to submit a sacred cause to judges for decision, the mocking exultation of the Leipzig crew when Eck scored a point, all are set forth in detail. Throughout the letter there sounds a tone of frustration. An occasion which was intended to establish truth and bring about harmony between Wittenberg and Leipzig had turned out to be a noisy academic fracas. For Duke George, Martin brought away a certain feeling of respect, although he grieved to see him lend an ear to the violent ideas of others; but for his opponent and especially for the representatives of the rival university, who tittered when Eck denounced him as a heretic and a friend of the Bohemians and who grudged him an opportunity to preach in their city, he nourished the deepest resentment. "Although I put a certain restraint on myself, I can not [refrain from] vomiting out all of my dissatisfaction, because I am a man of flesh and blood and the shameless hatred and malignant injustice were too great in so sacred and divine a matter."2 Nothing, he declares, was discussed in a worthy manner except his thesis on the papal power. He is therefore determined to issue to the world a new series of "Explanations" covering

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1
W AB, I, 420 ff.
2
Ibid., p. 424, ll. 149 ff. The sentence is incomplete, probably because of the writer's excitement.

-368-

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