The Revolt of Martin Luther

By Robert Herndon Fife | Go to book overview

16
THE HEARING AT AUGSBURG

"LET the will of the Lord be done. In Augsburg, even in the midst of his enemies, Jesus Christ rules. May Christ live even though Martin and every sinner perish."1 To the Wittenberg friends, many of whom had tried to dissuade him from the journey, the professor sends this solemn greeting from the road, perhaps from Nuremberg. He was facing a great crisis in a career rich in dramatic moments. The appearance before Cajetan lacks, to be sure, the theatrical interest of the climax attained three years later in his appearance before the emperor and the Diet at Worms. In some ways also it does not awaken the deep psychological interest of his memorable journey to South Germany in 1530, when, forbidden as a public outlaw to approach Augsburg, he dwelt for months among the jackdaws on the eerie heights of Castle Coburg and followed with tense anxiety the efforts of the Wittenberg group to consolidate Church reform in conference with representatives of the old faith and the reformers from southern and eastern Germany. Nevertheless, the interview with Cardinal Cajetan opened the rift with the authority of Rome and thus put to a more severe test than any later occasion his resolution to accept no compromise affecting his theological position.

The interview with the papal legate was, in another respect as well, a great milestone in his career. Here, in an imperial city, the friar and cloister teacher made his entry on the world stage. A little more than seven years earlier he had paused in Augsburg, an unknown young monk returning from his journey to Rome, his mind filled with veneration for the Church, its traditions, and its hierarchy. Now, a widely known scholar, supported by a powerful prince and bearing the sympathies and hopes of many hearts, but suspected or hated by many others, he saw himself an object of universal attention. He knew that emperor and Pope had made him the subject of

____________________
1
Letter from Luther to Wittenberg friends, Oct. 3 or 4, 1518, W AB, I, 208.

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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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