THE GERMAN REFORMATION TILL THE DIET OF
AUGSBURG, a.d. 1530.
LUTHER’S TRAINING FOR THE REFORMATION, a.d. l483–1517.
§ 15. Literature of the German Reformation.
I. Protestant Sources:
(1) The Works of the Reformers, especially Luther and Melanchthon. See § § 17, 32. The reformatory writings of Luther, from 1517–1524, are in vol. XV. of Walch’s ed., those from 1525–1537 in vol. XVI., those from 1538–1546 in vol. XVII. See also the Erlangen ed., vols. 24–32 (issued separately in a second ed. 1883 sqq.), and the Weimar ed., vol. I. sqq.
(2) Contemporary writers:
G. Spalatin (Chaplain of Frederick the Wise and Superintendent in Altenburg, d. 1545): Annales Reformationis oder Jahrbücher von der Reform. Lutheri (to 1543). Ed. by Cyprian, Leipz., 1718.
Frid. Myconius (or Mekum, Superintendent at Gotha, d. 1546): Historia Reformationis vom Jahr Christi 1518–1542. Ed. by Cyprian, Leipzig, 1718.
M. Ratzeberger (a physician, and friend of Luther, d. 1559): Luther und seine Zeit. Ed. from MS. in Gotha by Neudecker, Jena, 1850 (284 pp.).
(3) Documentary collections:
V. E. Löscher (d. 1749): Vollständige Reformations=Acta und Documenta (for the years 1517–’19). Leipzig, 1720–’29, 3 vols.
Ch. G. Neudecker: Urkunden aus der Reformationszeit, Cassel, 1836; Actenstücke aus der Zeit der Reform., Nürnberg, 1838; Neue Beiträge, Leipzig, 1841.
C. E. Förstemann: Archiv. f. d. Gesch. der Reform., Halle, 1831 sqq.; Neues Urkundenbuch, Hamburg, 1842.
Th. Brieger: Quellen und Forschungen zur Geschichte der Reformation. Gotha, 1884 sqq. (Part I. Aleander und Luther, 1521.)
II. Roman Catholic Sources . See § 14, p. 89.
I. Protestant Historians :
Lud. A Seckendorf (a statesman of thorough education and exemplary integrity, d. 1692): Commentarius historicus et apologeticus de Lutheranismo. Francof. et Lips., 1688; Lipsiae, 1694, fol. Against the Jesuit Maimbourg.
Chr. A. Salig (d. 1738): Vollständige Historie der Augsburger Confession (from 1517–1562). Halle, 1730–’35. 3 vols.
G. J. Planck (d. 1833): Geschichte der Entstehung, der Veränderungen und der Bildung unseres protest. Lehrbegriffs bis zur Einführung der Concordienformel. Leipzig, 2d ed., 1791–1800, 6 vols. Important for the doctrinal controversies in the Luth. Church. Followed by the Geschichte der protest. Theologie von der Konkordienformel an his in die Mitte des achtzehnten Jahrh. Göttingen, 1831, 1 vol.
H. G. Kreussler: D. Mart. Luthers Andenken in Münzen nebst Lebensbeschreibungen merkwürdiger Zeitgenossen desselben. Mit 47 Kupfern und der Ansicht Wittenbergs und Eisenachs zu Luthers Zeit. Leipzig, 1818. Chiefly interesting for the numerous illustrations.
Phil. Marheinecke (d. 1846): Geschichte der teutschen Reformation. Berlin, 2d ed., 1831, 4 vols. One of the best books, written in Luther-like popularity of style.
K. Hagen: Deutschlands literar. und relig. Verhältnisse im Reformationszeitalter. Erlangen, 1841–’44, sqq., 3 vols.
CH. G. Neudecker: Gesch. des evang. Protestantismus in Deutschland. Leipzig, 1844, sq., 2 vols.
C. Hundeshagen (d. 1873): Der deutsche Protestantismus. Frankfurt, 1846, 3d ed. 1850. Discusses the genius of the Reformation as well as modern church questions.
H. Heppe (German Reformed, d. 1879): Gesch. des deutschen Protestantismus in den Jahren 1555–’85. Marburg, 1852 sqq., 4 vols., 2d ed., 1865 sq. He wrote, also, a number of other books on the Reformation, especially in Hesse.
Merle d’Aubigné’s History of the Reformation, see § 14. The first division treats of the German Reformation and is translated into German by Runkel, Stuttgart, 1848–1854, 5 vols., republ. by the American Tract society. Several English editions; London and New York.
Wilh. Gass: Geschichte der protestantischen Dogmatik. Berlin, 1854–’67, 4 vols.
G. Plitt: Geschichte der evang. Kirche bis 1530. Erlangen, 1867.
Is. A. Dorner (d. 1884): Geschichte. der protestantischen Theologie, besonders in Deutschland. München, 1867. The first Book, pp. 1–420, treats of the Reformation period of Germany and Switzerland. English translation, Edinburgh, 1871, 2 vols.
Ch. P. Krauth (d. 1882): The Conservative Reformation. Philadelphia, 1872. A dogmatico-historical vindication of Lutheranism.
K. F. A. Kahnis (d. 1888): Die deutsche Reformation. Leipzig, vol. I. 1872 (till 1520, unfinished).
G. Weber: Zur Geschichte des Reformationszeitalters. Leipzig, 1874.
Fr. v. Bezold: Gesch. der deutschen Reformation. Berlin, 1886.
The Elberfeld series of biographies of the Lutheran Reformers, with extracts from their writings, 1861–1875. It begins with C. Schmidt’s Melanchthon, and ends with Köstlin’s Luther (the large work in 2 vols., revised 1883).
Schriften des Vereins für Reformationsgeschichte. Halle, 1883 sqq. A series of monographs on special topics in the Reformation history, especially that of Germany, published by a Society formed in the year of the Luther celebration for the literary defence of Protestantism against Romanism. Kolde, Benrath, Holdewey, Bossert, Walther, are among the contributors. The series includes also an essay on Wiclif by Buddensieg (1885), one on the Revocation of the edict of Nantes by Theod. Schott (1885), and one on Ignatius of Loyola by E. Gothein (1885).
Of Secular histories of Germany during the Reformation period, comp. especially, Leopold von Ranke: Deutsche Gesch. im Zeitalter der Reformation (6th ed., 1881, 6 vols.), a most important work, see § 14. Also, Karl Ad. Menzel (d. 1855): Neuere Geschichte der Deutschen seit der Reformation. Berlin, 2d ed., 1854 sq., 6 vols. Wolfgang Menzel (d. 1873): Geschichte der Deutschen, 6th ed., 1872 sq., 3 vols. L. Stacke: Deutsche Geschichte. Bielefeld u. Leipzig, 1881, 2 vols. (Vol. II. by W. Boehm, pp. 37–182.) Gottlob Egelhaaf (Dr. Phil., Prof. in the Karls-Gymnasium at Heilbronn): Deutsche Geschichte im Zeitalter der Reformation. Gekrönte Preisschrift des Allgemeinen Vereins für Deutsche Literatur. Berlin, 1885. In the spirit of Ranke’s great work on the same topic, with polemic reference to Janssen. It extends from 1517 to the Peace of Augsburg, 1555. (450 pages.)
II. Roman Catholic Historians. See the Lit. in § 14.
Ignatius Döllinger (Prof. of Ch. Hist. in Munich, since 1870 Old Catholic): Die Reformation, ihre innere Entwicklung und ihre Wirkung im Umfange des Luther. Bekenntnisses. Regensburg, 1846–’48, 3 vols.; 2d ed., 1853. A learned collection of testimonies against the Reformation and its effects from contemporary apostates, humanists, and the Reformers themselves (Luther and Melanchthon), and those of their followers who complain bitterly of the decay of morals and the dissensions in the Lutheran church. The author has, nevertheless, after he seceded from the Roman communion, passed a striking judgment in favor of Luther’s greatness.
Karl Werner: Geschichte der kathol. Theologie in Deutschland. München, 1866.
Joh. Janssen: Geschichte des deutschen Volkes seit dem Ausgang des Mittelalters. Freiburg, i. B. 1876–’88, 6 vols. (down to 1618). This masterpiece of Ultramontane historiography is written with great learning and ability from a variety of sources (especially the archives of Frankfurt, Mainz, Trier, Zürich, and the Vatican), and soon passed through twelve editions. It called out able defences of the Reformation by Kawerau (five articles in Luthardt’s "Zeitschrift für kirchliche Wissenschaft und Kirchl. Leben," 1882 and 1883), Köstlin, Lenz, Schweizer, Ebrard, Baumgarten, and others, to whom Janssen calmly replied in An meine Kritiker, Freiburg, i. B., tenth thousand, 1883 (227 pp.), and Ein Wort an meine Kritiker, Freib. i. B., twelfth thousand, 1883 (144 pp.). He disclaims all "tendency," and professes to aim only at the historical truth. Admitted, but his standpoint is false, because he views the main current of modern history as an apostasy and failure; while it is an onward and progressive movement of Christianity under the guidance of Divine providence and the ever present spirit of its Founder. He reads history through the mirror of Vatican Romanism, and we need not wonder that Pope Leo XIII. has praised Janssen as "a light of historic science and a man of profound learning."
Janssen gives in each volume, in alphabetical order, very full lists of books and pamphlets, Catholic and Protestant, on the different departments of the history of Germany from the close of the fifteenth to the close of the sixteenth century. See vol. I. xxvii.-xliv.; vol. II. xvii.-xxviii.; vol. III. xxv.-xxxix.; vol. IV. xviii.-xxxi.; vol. V. xxv.-xliii.
For political history: Fr. v. Buchholz: Ferdinand I. Wien, 1832 sqq., 9 vols. Hurter: Ferdinand II. Schaffhausen, 1850 sqq.
§ 16. Germany and the Reformation.
Germany invented the art of printing and produced the Reformation. These are the two greatest levers of modern civilization. While other nations sent expeditions in quest of empires beyond the sea, the Germans, true to their genius of inwardness, descended into the depths of the human soul and brought to light new ideas and principles. Providence, it has been said, gave to France the dominion of the land, to England the dominion of the sea, to Germany the dominion of the air. The air is the region of speculation, but also the necessary condition of life on the land and the sea.
The characteristic traits which Tacitus ascribes to the heathen Germans, contain already the germ of Protestantism. The love of personal freedom was as strong in them as the love of authority was in the Roman race. They considered it unworthy of the gods to confine them within walls, or to represent them by images; they preferred an inward spiritual worship which communes directly with the Deity, to an outward worship which appeals to the senses through forms and ceremonies, and throws visible media between the finite and the infinite mind. They resisted the aggression of heathen Rome, and they refused to submit to Christian Rome when it was forced upon them by Charlemagne.
But Christianity as a religion was congenial to their instincts. They were finally Christianized, and even thoroughly Romanized by Boniface and his disciples. Yet they never felt quite at home under the rule of the papacy. The mediaeval conflict of the emperor with the pope kept up a political antagonism against foreign rule; the mysticism of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries nursed the love for a piety of less form and more heart, and undermined the prevailing mechanical legalism; dissatisfaction with the pope increased with his exactions and abuses, until at last, under the lead of a Saxon monk and priest, all the national forces combined against the anti-christian tyranny and shook it of forever. He carried with him the heart of Germany. No less than one hundred grievances against Roman misrule were brought before the Diet of Nürnberg in 1522.107 Erasmus says that when Luther published his Theses all the world applauded him.108 It is not impossible that all Germany would have embraced the Reformation if its force had not been weakened and its progress arrested by excesses and internal dissensions, which gave mighty aid to the Romanist reaction.
Next to Germany, little Switzerland, Holland, Scandinavia, England and Scotland, inhabited by kindred races, were most active in completing that great act of emancipation from popery and inaugurating an era of freedom and independence.
Nationality has much to do with the type of Christianity. The Oriental church is identified with the Greek and Slavonic races, and was not affected by the Reformation of the sixteenth century; hence she is not directly committed for or against it, and is less hostile to evangelical Protestantism than to Romanism, although she agrees, in doctrine, discipline and worship, far more with the latter. The Roman Catholic Church retained her hold upon the Latin races, which were, it first superficially touched by the Reformation, but reacted, and have ever since been vacillating between popery and infidelity, or between despotism and revolution. Even the French, who under Henry IV. were on the very verge of becoming Protestant, are as a nation more inclined to swing from Bossuet to Voltaire than to Calvin; although they will always have a respectable minority of intelligent Protestants. The Celtic races are divided; the Welsh and Scotch became intensely Protestant, the Irish as intensely Romanist. The Teutonic or Germanic nations produced the Reformation chiefly, but not exclusively; for the French Calvin was the greatest theologian among the Reformers, and has exerted a stronger influence in shaping the doctrine and discipline of Protestantism outside of Germany than any of them.
§ 17. The Luther Literature.
The Luther literature is immense and has received large additions since 1883. The richest collections are in the Royal Library at Berlin (including Dr. Knaake’s); in the public libraries of Dresden, Weimar, Wittenberg, Wolfenbüttel, München; in America, in the Theol. Seminary at Hartford (Congregationalist), which purchased the Beck collection of over 1,200 works, and in the Union Theol. Sem., New York, which has the oldest editions.
For the Luther literature comp. J. A. Fabricius: Centifolium Lutheranum, Hamburg, 1728 and 1730, 2 Parts; Vogel: Bibliotheca biographica Lutherana, Halle, 1851, 145 pages; John Edmands: Reading Notes on Luther, Philada., 1883; Beck (publisher): Bibliotheca Lutherana, Nördlingen, 1883; (185 pages, with titles of 1236 books, now at Hartford), 1884: Bibliographie der Luther-Literatur des J. 1883, Frankf. a. M. 1884, enlarged ed. 1887 (52 and 24 pages, incomplete).
Oldest editions: Wittenberg, 12 German vols., 1539–’59,and 7 Latin, 1545–’58; Jena, 8 German and 4 Latin vols., 1555–’58, with 2 supplements by Aurifaber, 1564–’65; Altenburg, 10 vols., 1661–’64; Leipzig, 22 vols., 1729–’40, fol.—The three best editions are:
(1) The Halle edition by Johann Georg Walch, Halle, 1740–1750, in 24 vols., 4to. Republished with corrections and additions by Dr. Walther, Stöckhardt, Kähler, etc., Concordia College, St. Louis, 1880 sqq., 25 vols.
(2) The Erlangen-Frankfurt ed. by Plochmann, Irmischer, and Enders, etc., Erlangen, and Frankfurt a. M., 1827 sqq., 2d ed., 1862–1883, 101 vols. 8vo. (not yet finished). German writings, 67 vols.; Opera Latina, 25 vols.; Com. in Ep. and Gal., 3 vols.; Opera Latina varii argumenti ad reformationis Hist. pertinentia, 7 vols. The most important for our purpose are the Reformations-historische Schriften (9 vols., second ed., 1883–’85), and the Briefwechsel (of which the first vol. appeared in 1884; 6 vols. are promised).
(3) The Weimar edition (the fourth centennial memorial ed., patronized by the Emperor of Germany), by Drs. Knaake, Kawerau, Bertheau, and other Luther scholars, Weimar, 1883 sqq. This, when completed, will be the critical standard edition. It gives the works in chronological order and strict reproduction of the first prints, with the variations of later edd., even the antiquated and inconsistent spelling, which greatly embarrasses the reader not thoroughly familiar with German. The first volume contains Luther’s writings from 1512–1518; the second (1884), the writings from 1518–1519; vols. III. and IV. (1885–’6), the Commentaries on the Psalms; vol. VI. (1888), the continuation of the reformatory writings till 1520; several other vols. are in press.
I have usually indicated, from which of these three editions the quotations are made. The last was used most as far as it goes, and is quoted as the "Weimar ed."
The first collected ed. of Luther’s German works appeared in 1539 with a preface, in which he expresses a wish that all his books might be forgotten and perish, and the Bible read more instead. (See Erl. Frkf. ed. I., pp. 1–6.)
Selections of Luther’s Works by Pfizer (Frankf., 1837, sqq.); Zimmermann (Frankf., 1846 sq.); Otto von Gerlach (Berlin, 1848, 10 vols., containing the Reformatorische Schriften).
The Letters of Luther were separately edited by De Wette, Berlin, 1825, sqq., 5 vols.; vol. VI. by J. C. Seidemann, 1856 (716 pp., with an addition of Lutherbriefe, 1859); supplemented by C. A. H. Burkhardt, Leipz., 1866 (524 pp.); a revised ed. with comments by Dr. E. L. Enders (pastor at Oberrad near Frankfurt a. M.), 1884 sqq. (in the Erl. Frankf ed.). The first volume contains the letters from 1507 to March, 1519. For selection see C. Alfred Hase: Lutherbriefe in Auswahl und Uebersetzung, Leipzig, 1867 (420 pages). Th. Kolde: Analecta Lutherana, Briefe und Actenstücke zur Geschichte Luther’s. Gotha, 1883. Contains letters of Luther and to Luther, gathered with great industry from German and Swiss archives and libraries.
Additional Works of Luther:
The Table Talk of Luther is best edited by Aurifaber, 1566, etc. (reprinted in Walch’s ed. vol. xxii.); by Förstemann and Bindseil, Leipzig, 1844–’48, 4 vols. (the German Table Talk); by Bindseil: Martini Lutheri Colloquia, Latina, etc., Lemgoviae et Detmoldae, 1863–’66, 3 vols.; and in the Frankf. Erl. ed., vols. 57–62. Dr. Conr. Cordatus: Tagebuch über Dr. Luther geführt, 1537, first edited by Dr. Wrampelmeyer, Halle, 1885, 521 pages. Last and best edition by Hoppe, St. Louis, 1887 (vol. xxii. of Am. ed. of Walch).
Georg Buchwald: Andreas Poach’s handschriftl. Sammlung ungedruckter Predigten D. Martin Luthers aus den Jahren 1528 bis 1546. Aus dem Originale zum ersten Mal herausgegeben. Leipzig, 1884, to embrace 3 vols. (Only the first half of the first vol., published 1884, and the first half of the third vol., 1885; very few copies sold.) The MS. collection of Andreas Poach in the public library at Zwickau embraces nine volumes of Luther’s sermons from 1528–1546. They are based on stenographic reports of Diaconus Georg Rörer of Wittenberg (ordained by Luther 1525, d. at Halle, 1557), who took full Latin notes of Luther’s German sermons, retaining, however, in strange medley a number of German words and phrases.
P. Tschackert: Unbekannte Predigten u. Scholien Luthers, Berlin, 1888. MSS. of sermons from Oct. 23, 1519, to April 2, 1521, discovered in the University Library at Königsberg. They will be publ. in the Weimar edition.
II. Biographies of Luther :
(1) By contemporaries, who may be included in the sources.
Melanchthon wrote Vita Lutheri, a brief but weighty sketch, 1546, often reprinted, translated into German by Matthias Ritter, 1555, with Melanchthon’s account of Luther’s death to the students in the lecture room, the funeral orations of Bugenhagen and Cruciger (157 pages); a new transl. by Zimmermann, with preface by G. J. Planck, Göttingen, 1813; ed. of the original in Vitae quatuor Reformatorum., Lutheri a Melanchthone, Melanchthonis a Camerario, Zwinglii a Myconio, Calvini a Beza, prefaced by Neander, Berlin, 1841. Justus Jonas gives an account of Luther’s last sickness and death as an eye-witness, 1546. Mathesius (Luther’s pupil and friend, d. 1561) preached seventeen sermons on Luther’s life, first published 1565, and very often since, though mostly abridged, e.g., an illustrated popular ed. with preface by G. H. v. Schubert, Stuttgart, 1846; jubilee edition, St. Louis and Dresden, 1883. Joh. Cochlaeus, a Roman Cath. antagonist of Luther, wrote Commentaria de actis et scriptis Martini Lutheri Saxonis, chronographica, ex ordine ab anno Dom. 1517 usque ad annum 1546 (inclusive), fideliter conscripta. Mayence, 1549 fol.
(2) Later Biographies till 1875 (the best marked *) by
*Walch (in his ed. of L.’s Works, vol. XXIV. pp. 3–875); Keil (4 parts in 1 vol., Leipz., 1764); Schröckh (Leipz., 1778); Ukert (Gotha, 2 vols., 1817); Pfizer (Stuttgart, 1836); Stang (with illustrations, Stuttg., 1836); Jaekel (Leipz., 1841, new ed. Elberfeld, 1871); *Meurer (Dresden, 1843–’46, 3 vols. with illustrations, abridged in 1 vol., 1850, 3d ed., 1870, mostly in Luther’s own words); *Juergens (Leipz., 1846–’47, 3 vols., reaching to 1517, very thorough, but unfinished); J. M. Audin (Rom. Cath., Hist. de la vie, des ouvrages et des doctrines de M. Luth., Paris, 1839, 7th ed., revue et corrigée, 1856, 3 vols.—a storehouse of calumnies, also in German and English);109 * M. Michelet (Mémoirs de L., écrits par lui-mème, traduits et mis en ordre, Paris, 1835, also Brussels, 1845, 2 vols.; the best biography in French; Eng. transl. by Hazlitt, London, 1846, and by G. H. Smith, London and N. Y., 1846);110 Ledderhose (Karlsruh, 3d ed., 1883; French transl. of the first ed., Strassburg, 1837); Genthe (Leipz., 1842, with seventeen steel engravings); Westermann (Halle, 1845); Weydmann (Luther, ein Charakter—und Spiegelbild für unsere Zeit, Hamburg, 1850); B. Sears (English, publ. by the Am. Sunday School Union, Philada., 1850, with special reference to the youth of L.); Jgn. Döllinger (R. C., Luther, eine Skizze, Freiburg i. B., 1851); König and Gelzer (with 48 fine illustrations, Hamb. u. Gotha, 1851; Engl. ed. with transl. of the text by Archdeacon Hare and Cath. Winkworth, Lond. and N. Y., 1856); * Jul. Hare (Vindication of Luther against his English Assailants, first publ. as a note in his The Mission of the Comforter, London, 1846, vol. II., 656–878, then separately, 2d ed., 1855, the best English appreciation of L.); II. Woersley (Life of Luther, London, 1856, 2 vols.); Wildenhahn (Leipz., 1861); Müller (Nürnberg, 1867); Henke (Luther u. Melanchthon, Marburg, 1867); H. W. J. Thiersch (Luther, Gustav Adolf und Maximilian I. von Bayern, Nördlingen, 1869, pp. 3–66); Vilmar (Luther, Melanchthon und Zwingli, Frankf. a. M., 1869); H. Lang (Berlin, 1870, rationalistic); Ackermann (Jena, 1871); Gasparin (Luther et la réforme ait XVe . siècle, Paris, 1873); Schaff (a sketch in Appleton’s "Cyclopaedia," 1858, revised 1874); Rietschel (Martin Luther und Ignatius Loyola, Wittenberg, 1879).