The Revolt of Martin Luther

By Robert Herndon Fife | Go to book overview

33
MARTIN BEFORE THE DIET

THE effect of the edict seems to have been slight. A month after its issuance Lazarus Spengler, the Nuremberg delegate at Worms, reports that the placards were torn down and that books were not being turned in, but continued to be offered for sale.1 To the diplomatic heads in the Rhenish city this was now of far less importance than the cloud arising beyond the Thuringian Mountains. The citation of Luther had been drawn up, as we have seen, at the end of the first week in March, and, after some hedging on the part of the imperial councilors, it was finally dispatched on March 15 or 16.2 The bearer of the summons was no ordinary messenger but an imperial official of high dignity, Kaspar Sturm, the herald of the empire. It had been conceded by the emperor that Luther should have protection on the way,3 but the pomp and dignity with which the summons was carried out implied an imperial recognition of the importance of the offender that aroused bitter protest on the part of the papal envoys.4 Sturm was a sturdy representative of the Rhenish gentry, and had already given evidence that he shared the hostility of this class toward Rome. His anti-clerical attitude was well known to Aleander, who decorates him with a few choice Italian terms of abuse.5 He regarded him as just the man to set in motion miraculous legends about Luther.

In about ten days Sturm rode into Wittenberg and delivered the document, formidable with its imperial seals, at the Augustinian Cloister.6 The

____________________
1
DRA, II, 891.
2
See Kalkoff, Depeschen, p. 121, n. 1; Brieger, "Alcander und Luther, 1521", Quellen und Forschungen zur Geschichte der Reformation, I, 279, n. 1; DRA, II, 825, n. 2.
3
The safe-conduct read, ". . . mit freiem, sicherm glait hin und wider". DRA, II, 520.
4
See letter from Aleander to Medici, April 13 or 15, Brieger, "Aleander", pp. 134f., and Kalkoff, Depeschen, p. 159.
5
For example, "un matto protervo . . . sbajaffone". Brieger, "Aleander", p. 139, and Kalkoff, Depeschen, p. 164.
6
The dates in the sources are given as March 23, 26, or 29. All three appear in the Table Talk. See TR, IV, No. 5123 and notes. The latest date seems the most probable. See Luthers Tischreden in der Mathesischen Sammlung, ed. by Ernst Kroker, p. 168, n. 5.

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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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