From Beza to Eck
Alphabetum Graecum: addita sunt Theodori Bezae Scholia, in quibus de Germana Graecae linguae pronuntiatione disseritur [Greek Alphabet, to which are added Theodore Beza’s explanatory comments on the German pronunciation of the Greek language]. [Geneva]: Robertus Stephanus, 1554.
This impressive example of Greek typography was printed by Robert Estienne (“Stephanus” in Latin) and includes the explanatory comments of the renowned Calvinist theologian and philologist Theodore Beza. Beza and Estienne both contributed significantly to the study of the New Testament. In 1565, Beza produced an important critical edition of the Greek New Testament, and Estienne’s Greek New Testament of 1551 introduced the system of division into verse still in use today.
Grammatices latinae elementa. [Grammatical Elements of Latin]. Magdeburg: Michael Lottherus, 1552.
Melanchthon was professor of Greek at Wittenberg and, some would say, the theological organizer of Luther's thought. His Loci communes (1521) represent an early formulation of Protestant doctrine, and he was largely responsible for the important Lutheran Augsburg Confession (1530). Melanchthon was also much influenced by the Humanist movement with its emphasis on education and on the classical languages. Here we have an example of one of Melanchthon's influential textbooks, his Grammatical Elements of Latin, opened to the section on the "Adverb." As the underscoring suggests, some previous owner studied this book with care, that is carefully.
Paraphrasis in Evangelium Marci per Erasmum Roterodamum nunc recens & nata, & formulis excusa. [Cologne: Eucharius Cervicornus, 1524].
Erasmus, the “prince of Humanists,” shared many Protestant positions, notably a disdain for medieval scholastic theology and a biting rejection of ecclesiastical worldliness and hypocrisy. However, Erasmus and Luther, erstwhile allies, famously split over the doctrine of free will (Erasmus endorsed it; Luther denied it). Their rupture symbolizes a key difference between Humanists and Reformers. Still, Erasmus’s work as a textual critic, Bible expositor, and satirist of church abuses certainly influenced Luther and other Protestant reformers. Displayed here is his Paraphrasis on the Gospel of Mark, a work notable for its mingling of the classical and the Biblical.
An den christlichen Adel deutscher Nation... [To the Christian nobility of the German Nation...]. Wittenberg, 1520.
One of Luther’s three acclaimed “Reformation” tracts of 1520, this address to the German nobility encourages the princes to adopt various reform measures such as the abolition of tribute payments to Rome. It was written in response to the papal bull (Exsurge, Domine) excommunicating Luther. As indicated on the title page shown here, Luther expanded and corrected (gemehret und corrigirt) this edition himself.
Ein sermon von dem heyligen hochwirdigen sacrament der Tauffe doctoris Martini Luther Augustiner zu Wittenburgh. [A sermon on the holy and most venerable sacrament of Baptism by Doctor Martin Luther, Augustinian from Wittenberg]. [Nuremberg: Jobst Gutknecht, 1520].
A fine example of a Reformation Flugschrift or pamphlet, this sermon reminds us that Luther began his career as an Augustinian monk. This copy is notable for the extensive marginal notes on the title page (displayed here). Interestingly, while Luther’s sermon is in the vernacular, the marginalia are in Latin and occasionally refer to the Canon Law of baptism.
Kurtz bekentnis d. Mart. Luthers vom heiligen Sacrament. [Short Confession of the holy Sacrament by Doctor Martin Luther]. Wittenberg: Hans Lufft, 1544.
Another of the several Luther Flugschriften included in the exhibit, this work was printed just two years before Luther's death. Here we have a good example of Luther's talent for insults (for additional examples, see the amusing website: http://ergofabulous.org/luther/) Reflecting on the famed Colloquy of Marburg (1529), where Luther and Melanchthon had met with Zwingli, Oecolampadius, and Bucer but failed to reach agreement on the doctrine of the Eucharist, Luther refers to his Protestant interlocutors as Brotfresser ("bread gluttons" ) and Weinseuffer ("wine guzzlers"). Some others he calls Schwermer or "fanatics." And, as was his wont, he singles out the Silesian reformer, Caspar Schwenckfeld, for special abuse, calling him Stenckfeld ("stink-field").
Wider den falsch genanten gaystlichen Stand des Bapsts und der Bischofe. [Against the spiritual estate of the Pope and the Bishops falsely so called]. N. p., 1522.
In this polemical tract, Luther rejects the doctrine of “holy orders.” Behind this work was Luther’s conflict with Archbishop Albrecht of Mainz. With intentional irony, Luther refers to himself here as an “ecclesiastic of Wittenberg,” although he had been stripped of his clerical state as a consequence of his excommunication in 1520.
Enchiridion locorvm communium adversus Lutteranos... [Handbook of Commonplaces against the Lutherans...]. Ingolstadt, 1527.
One of Luther’s principal Roman Catholic adversaries, Johann Eck was a professor of Theology at the University of Ingolstadt in Germany. At Leipzig in 1519, Eck and Luther debated over grace, free will, ecclesiastical authority and other issues. Eck was subsequently instrumental in having Luther excommunicated. Included here is Eck’s Enchiridion or Handbook of Commonplaces, a popular genre in the 16th century. The Table of Contents shown here lists many of the key controversial issues that divided Protestants and Catholics. Especially noteworthy is Eck’s list of “Catholic authors,” which includes the anti-Protestant polemicists Johannes Cochlaeus and Jerome Esmer as well as King Henry VIII who, in 1527, had not yet broken with Rome.
Index of Prohibited Books
Index librorum prohibitorum. [Index of Prohibited Books]. Cologne: apud Gosninum Cholinum, 1597.
First issued by the Congregation of the Inquisition under Pope Paul IV in 1557, the Index librorum prohibitorum was the official list of books which Roman Catholics were forbidden, except under certain circumstances, to read or own on pain of excommunication. The Index illustrates how print technology created new mechanisms of censorship as a response to the new technology. Displayed here is the 1597 edition of the Index which incorporates the changes ordered by Pope Clement VIII in 1596. It is alphabetically arranged by author. Under “M” we find several Protestant luminaries: Martin Bucer, Martin Luther, Matthias Flacius, and Melanchthon. The Index was officially discontinued in 1966.