Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Correspondence of Wolfgang Capito, Volume 1: 1507-1523

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Correspondence of Wolfgang Capito, Volume 1: 1507-1523

Article excerpt

The Correspondence of Wolfgang Capito, Volume 1: 1507-1523. Edited and translated by ErUca Rummel, with the assistance of Milton Kooistra. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 2005. Pp. XEi, 285. $95.00.)

This is the first volume (of three) of an exceptionally valuable project. Wolfgang Capito was a protagonist of many of the most crucial events of the first years of the Reformation. As a member of the circle of Basel humanists, he was an eager admirer of Erasmus, sharing the older man's ambivalent attitude to Luther. WhUe he admired the Wittenberg reformer he had misgivings about his radicaËsm and the schismatic tendency of his teaching, and he was consequently cautious about committing himself wholeheartedly to the evangelical cause. This cautious, and many would argue equivocating, nature, became an enduring characteristic of Capito 's career, earning him Luther's contempt and a measure of distrust among colleagues and collaborators even after he had definitively chosen for the Reformation. This reputation for deviousness was only reinforced when Capito accepted a position with Albrecht of Brandenburg, Luther's adversary in the Indulgences controversy, but a thoughtful patron of scholarship and the arts. In Mainz Capito made much of his role in pointing Albrecht toward restraint in his responses to Luther; yet he also seems not to have decided whether his interests were best served by pursuing patronage opportunities within the old church or throwing in his lot with the reformers. In the event he did both, first securing a benefice in Strassburg through Albrecht's intervention, then defending it against other claimants by converting to the Reformation. Capito was a considerable scholar, and seemed destined for a leadership role in Strassburg. But indecisiveness proved his undoing. It is hard to decide whether this reflected a principled rejection of narrow partisanship, or an innate desire to conform his views to those of interlocutors of very polarized views. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.