The Revolt of Martin Luther

By Robert Herndon Fife | Go to book overview

9
THE YOUNG LECTURER

DEEPLY immersed in his studies and bound to the requirements of the daily choir service, with its liturgical exercises and canonical devotions, Martin watched the church year roll around. On the cold, dark North German winter followed the Lenten season with its "quadrigesimal food" and other sacrifices, and on this the joys of Easter and the anniversary of his first Mass. Already the summer semester had opened at the university and if, as seems most likely, his studies were now in the faculty of theology rather than at the cloister, he continued to hear lectures on the Sentences and to attend disputations in the hall of the faculty, and perhaps also entered on a magisterial course in Bible exegesis. So the fall approached and now he might look forward to the attainment of his first degree in theology, that of bachelor in the Bible, when the winter semester should come to its end. At this moment an order arrived which opened a new episode in his life. Sometime in the autumn of 1508, probably before the opening of the winter semester, the cloister authorities directed him to leave Erfurt and go to the cloister of his order at Wittenberg. So unexpected was the command and so prompt the fulfillment that his most intimate friends scarcely knew of it, as he says in an apologetic letter the following March in answer to the complaints of his old friend Vicar Braun at Eisenach1.

In this letter Martin gives no hint of why he was transferred. It is probable that the cause had to do with the development of the university at Wittenberg. This had been founded six years earlier and was still in process of first growth. In connection with it the Augustinian cloister, hitherto of no great significance in the Saxon-Thuringian province of the order, was seeking to develop a "general study" similar to that in the Erfurt house. The relation of the university to the cloister in Wittenberg was, however, quite

____________________
1
Letter from Luther to Johann Braun, March 17, 1509, W AB, I, 16 f. The letter is replete with unctuous monastic formulas and is marked in general by the same youthful preciositá as that to Vicar Braun two years before.

-128-

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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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