The Revolt of Martin Luther

By Robert Herndon Fife | Go to book overview

8
STUDENT OF THEOLOGY

MARTIN was now a priest, qualified for the service of the Mass and soon to be charged with the duties of a confessor of souls. If we may trust estatements made after he had broken with the Church, he plunged into the new duties at the altar with ardent enthusiasm and performed them with more than usual zeal, becoming, he declares, a"slave of the Mass."1 Thus he ministered at the chapels served by the Eremites in the country around Erfurt and in the convent church, and his heart swelled with pride when he had carried through the service to his satisfaction.2 Still other duties of an absorbing nature came to fill the long convent day to overflowing. Even during the preparation for his ordination he may have entered on studies in theology; at any event, these must have begun no later than the fall of 1507. The statutes of the order required that the prior of the convent should constrain the brothers so far as possible to such studies.3 The story of Martin's marvelous conversion had shed an unusual light on him; indeed, brothers from the convent carried reports of it to distant seats of the order.4 Furthermore, his reputation as a gifted student at the university marked him as one who might well become a successful teacher among the Augustinians. Under such circumstances the prior can hardly have failed to enlist Martin for the study of theology at the earliest moment that accorded with cloister practice. In this case there could have been no necessity to "constrain" the candidate.

The convent at Erfurt was well equipped for theological training. The rules of the Observant Augustinians declared that "the order was founded

____________________
1
Ein Ertzpapist und viel hefftiger Messe knecht (one of Luther pet expressions, Von seinem Buch der Winkelmessen, W A, XXXVIII, 267 ( 1534).
2
Lecture on Isaiah, perhaps Nov. 1528, W A, XXXI, 11, 154.
3
Const., para. 36.
4
At least as far as the Rhine. See the report which his teacher of theology, Johann Nathin, took to the cloister at Méhlenhausen, in Dungersheim von Ochsenfurt Dadelung des obgesatzten bekenntnus oder untuchtigen Lutherischen Testaments (1530), cited by BÖhmer, Romfahrt, p. 57, n. 2.

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The Revolt of Martin Luther
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Introduction vii
  • Contents xi
  • 1 - Early Days at Home and School 3
  • 2 - The Schoolboy Abroad 20
  • 3 - Early Years at the University 32
  • 4 - The Scholastic Learning 47
  • 5 - Entrance into the Cloister 66
  • 6 - The Novitiate Year 79
  • 7 - Brother Martin of the Eremites 91
  • 8 - Student of Theology 104
  • 9 - The Young Lecturer 128
  • 10 - The Journey to Rome 161
  • 11 - Professor and Preacher at Wittenberg 179
  • 12 - Interpreter of Augustine and Paul 203
  • 13 - The Final Break with Scholasticism 224
  • 14 - The Attack on Indulgences 245
  • 15 - In Battle with the Dominicans 272
  • 16 - The Hearing at Augsburg 288
  • 17 - An Attempt at Compromise 305
  • 18 - The Leipzig Disputation the Prelude 327
  • 19 - The Leipzig Disputation the Combat 349
  • 20 - The Leipzig Disputation the Aftermath 368
  • 21 - A Battle of Polemics 395
  • 22 - Humanistic Friends and Allies 415
  • 23 - Growth as Teacher and Preacher 436
  • 24 - The Rising Tide of Revolt 463
  • 25 - The Attack on the Sacraments 479
  • 26 - The Break with Rome 491
  • 27 - Appeal to the Secular Classes 507
  • 28 - The Final Break with Church Tradition 524
  • 29 - The Bull and the Counterattack 539
  • 30 - Book-Burning on Rhine and Elbe 562
  • 31 - Prelude to the Diet at Worms 587
  • 32 - The Diet in Session 614
  • 33 - Martin before the Diet 649
  • 34 - Refusal to Compromise 670
  • Conclusion 693
  • List of Abbreviations 694
  • Selected Bibliography 695
  • Index 715
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