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Chapter 13

HIST 1003 Chapter Notes - Chapter 13: Johann Eck, Religious Ecstasy, Infant Baptism

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HIST 1003

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Erasmus and Katharina von Bora Leave Monastacism Behind
Erasmus, prince of humanists, was a self-made man. Born Herasmus Gerritszoon, he later
took the first name of Desiderius and dropped the last name, which identified him as
Gead’s so. As the illegitiate so of a oug a ho had aadoed hi ad his
mother, Erasmus had little social standing and few worldly prospects, and so his family
pushed him toward a religious life. After some training in the new devotion promoted by the
Brothers of the Common Life, which was the rage in the Netherlands at the time, Erasmus
was compelled to enter the monastic life. He had wanted to go to a university, but became
instead an Augustinian monk (canon), and was often resentful, bored, and restless
The medieval church had rested on a set of fundamental beliefs and practices, at the heart
of which lay the celebration of the Mass (as the reenactmet of Chist’s last suppe. The
Catholic faithful met in the physical and spiritual church under the supervision of a priest
who acted as an essential intermediary between humans and God. The priest administered
the granting of the sacraments to the faithful, for humans were regarded as deformed and
sinful as a result of the Fall and so in need of sacramental remedies. Moreover, Christians
required a priest to serve as an agent intervening with God to secure forgiveness and favor
for them.
To treat the period as a re-formation, remaking, or refounding of Christian institutions and
beliefs is not, we hope, just to play with words, but an attempt to capture something of the
active restructuring and fundamental reordering of Christianity that took place in the
siteeth etu. Fo if to efo is to eise, oet, ad ipoe soethig hile
leaig the thig itself still itat, to e-fo is to shape soethig ae, to egi agai
from the ground up and put aside the old, which may legitimately be said of the Protestant
approach to the establishment of new churches and new forms of Christianity based on the
apostolic or early Christian church. The first formation of the church had taken place in that
eal peiod stethig fo Chist’s life to the
Luther and the Indulgence Controversy
While he was earning a reputation at the university as a stirring teacher, Luther continued to
worry about his own salvation. He discussed with his students the Catholic doctrine of
salvation, which taught that faith, good works, and the confession of sins led to divine
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fogieess. I a effot to ase his studets’ uestios aout the sujet, Luthe looked
to early church teachings and the New Testament for guidance. He slowly came to believe
that faith was a gift feel estoed  God ad that it ight e a sig of salatio. Luthe’s
ideas about salvation were not fully developed in 1517, but he was heading in a dangerous
direction, for, according to the Catholic Church, faith alone was not sufficient for salvation.
The believer also needed the Catholic Church and all that went with it (pope and priests,
church and custom, sacraments and intercession). The matter soon came to a head.
Within Catholic theology, the sale of indulgences made perfect sense, for the sinner by
purchasing an indulgence was performing a penitential act of repentance and restitution for
his crimes, and Christ as a fount of limitless power could save whomever he wished, indeed
the whole world if he so chose. Even if the sinner fell short of deserving to be saved, she
might appeal to the intercession of Mary and the saints, who were believed to have done so
much good in the world that their merits constituted a vast treasury of credits that could be
expended on behalf of the penitent.
In 1517, the church enlisted a Dominican friar named Johann Tetzel to sell indulgences in
Germany. Frederick the Wise, however, was himself a great collector of relics and saw the
indulgence campaign as a competition to his own fundraising plans. He banned the sale of
indulgences in his territory, but students and citizens from Wittenberg were soon leaving
the eleto of “ao’s lads to puhase idulgees aoss the lie. The pupose of this
indulgence campaign was to help the pope finish his expensive renovations of papal Rome
and to assist the Hohenzollerns, an ambitious noble family from Brandenburg, to secure the
important archbishopric of Mainz for one of their own, Albrecht, who was already the
archbishop of Magdeburg. The archbishopric of Mainz was a great prize since Mainz
occupied a critical place in the selection and election of the Holy Roman emperor.
Moreover, Albrecht was already deeply in debt to the Fugger banking family that was
bankrolling his bid for the Mainz see and various other enterprises. The powerful players
promoting the sale of indulgences in 1517were not, however, crass hypocrites, since they
also remained confident that the purchasers of indulgences would still obtain an earlier
entry to heaven through their pious act.
On October 31, 1517, he (Luther) issued a list of Ninety-Five Theses against the sale of
indulgences and other church abuses. WE can no longer be sure that he posted these
statements on the door of the cathedral in Wittenberg or that he expected a debate to
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follow, but the theses soon spread in printed form in both German and Latin versions. He
also sent a copy to Archbishop Albrecht, who sent the contentious propositions to Rome for
eie. Withi eeks, opies of Luthe’s Niet-Five Theses had reached a wide audience in
Euope, spakig a paphlet a of ods…
Struggling with Rome
I Otoe i Augsug, Luthe did eet ith the pope’s epesetatie, Cadial Thoas
Cajetan, a Dominican scholar, who found the professor brash and stubborn. At about this
time, not finding a sympathetic ear within the official church, Luther came to his most
itial theologial isight afte eadig the lettes of “ait Paul, that it as  faith aloe
(sola fide), as a pure gift of God, that believers live and are righteous. Christians can do
nothing to achieve salvation by their own merit, he thought; no good work could win them
their way to heaven. At this point, Luther turned away from the authority of the church and
its doctrine of good works to the primacy of faith as encountered i the Bile. B “iptue
aloe sola scriptura), he concluded, and not from church tradition or through its priests,
as the od of God to e ko. B gae aloe sola gratia), which was a pure gift of
God, was the believer saved. Luther and his followers held that humankind was so fallen, so
sinful, that it could do nothing to achieve salvation on its own. The human will was simply
too eak to ahiee salatio; ol God’s iteeig gae ould sae huas. These oe
insights were to undermine the Catholi Chuh ad its dotial foudatios. Luthe’s
radical theology made the church unnecessary and, indeed, an obstacle blocking Christians
from the truth.
In short order in 1520, he produced three concise works that spread quickly in print and that
constituted a frontal attack on the Catholic Church. In the first, The Address to the Christian
Nobility of the German Nation, he presented the pope as the Anti-Christ interfering with the
administration of the empire and the clergy as the destroyers of the Christian church. For
Luther, all people, not just clerics, could establish a direct relationship with God. He spoke of
odia oshippes as elogig to a piesthood of all eliees that oe the
responsibility for seeing that the church was set on the right path. In the second pamphlet,
The Babylonian Captivity of the Church, Luther continued his assault on the papal and
piestl peesio of the Chist’s essage ad huh. Hee he ejeted fou of the Catholi
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