Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Manuscript

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Manuscript

Article excerpt

The eighty-page manuscript of Martin Luther's tract Wider Hans Worst, a screed against the papacy, written in the Reformer's own hand in 1541, has been returned to Germany by the Concordia Historial Institute in St. Louis. Joseph Lortz called this composition "the supreme example of crudeness," in which Luther's "reveling in abuse and in subumbilical imagery reaches an absurdity of immoderation. Luther's craze for exaggeration, his frequent lack of sober judgment and of balance are particularly crudely exemplified in this work." The manuscript, which had been preserved in the Museum of Cultural History in Magdeburg until World War II and then stored in a salt mine for protection from Allied bombing, was found in a factory by an American soldier at the end of the war and eventually came into the possession of a Lutheran minister in New Jersey, who in 1950 turned it over to the Institute for safekeeping until such time as Magdeburg would no longer be under Soviet domination. On February 20, 1996, the director of the Institute, Daniel Preus, handed it over to Matthias Puhle, director of the museum in Magdeburg, at a transfer ceremony in St. …

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