A Sammelband of Eight Rare Reformation Works Bound in Contemporary Pigskin

Luther, Martin (1483-1546); Bucer, Martin (1491-1551); Melanchthon, Philip. (1497-1560); Barnes, Robert (c.1495–1540); Bugenhagen, Johann (1485-1558); et al.

Sammelband of 8 works. Various dates, Germany, 1540-1542

1542

$16,000.00

Quarto: 19.2 x 13.5 cm.

Bound in contemporary pigskin over wooden boards, lacking clasps, boards soiled, minor wear. The texts are in excellent condition aside from a little soiling to the first and final leaf. With a small 19th or early 20th c. stamp of the collector Johann Sticht on the first title.

This volume contains eight Protestant Reformation works, printed between 1540 and 1542. Cumulatively, they offer a broad view of the wide variety of social, political, judicial, and doctrinal issues that vexed Germany in Luther’s final years, when the Reformation had entered its second generation. Two of the most substantial works in the volume are the work of the two most important –next to Luther- leaders of the German Reform movement: Martin Bucer and Philip Melanchthon. Both works concern the important Regensburg Colloquy, a valiant attempt on the part of both Catholics and Protestants to unify the Church. The Colloquy, which ended in failure, had taken place in 1541, the year before this sammelband was assembled.

CONTENTS (full descriptions of each book follow this short synopsis):

1. Johann Bugenhagen’s commentary on Psalm 29, important for the inclusion of a short work by Luther intended to comfort women whose children had died in childbirth or who had been stillborn and could not be baptized. It is a significant statement regarding a theological question of considerable anguish to grieving mothers. 2. An open demand made to the Emperor Ferdinand I by the cities of Lower Austria for the free exercise of Protestantism, printed together with the Emperor’s refusal, and the Protestant delegation’s final statement on the matter. 3. A very rare tract, of which 4 copies have been traced, attributed to the English martyr Robert Barnes (d. 1540). 4. Martin Bucer’s account of the Regensburg Colloquy, the last great effort in Luther’s lifetime to restore religious unity in the Holy Roman Empire. Bucer’s work includes the “Regensburg Book”, the articles put forth for debate in hopes of hammering out a set of mutually agreeable articles of Christian faith. 5. Jacob Lersner’s apology for the reception of Roman law, in which he argued that any legitimate magistrate had to judge according to divine law as revealed in Mosaic Law and received through Roman law, and not according to his own will and senses. 6. Luther's defense of his ordaining his friend and long-time supporter, Nicolaus von Amsdorf, as Bishop of Naumburg. 7. The German translation of Melanchthon’s report on the Regensburg Colloquy, where he had served with Bucer as one of the three representatives of the Protestant position. 8. Bucer’s rare work on the possession and distribution of church property. In it, he encouraged the bishops, who were in fear of having their estates confiscated and secularized by the Emperor, to take up the Reformation in their territories, transfer pastoral care to Protestant preachers, and thereby keep their estates as secular princes.

FULL DESCRIPTIONS:

Comfort for women who have suffered a miscarriage

1. Bugenhagen, Johann (1485-1558); Luther, Martin (1483-1546)

Der XXIX. Psalm ausgelegt. Durch Doctor Johan Bugenhagen Pomern. Darinnen auch von der Kinder Tauffe. Item von den ungeborn Kindern, und von den Kindern die man nicht teuffen kan. Ein trost D. Martini Luthers fur die Weibern, welchen es ungerat gegangen ist mit Kinder geberen.

Wittenberg: Joseph Klug 1542

FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE. [36] lvs. A-I4

Bugenhagen’s commentary on Psalm 29 is important for the inclusion of a short work by Luther intended to comfort women whose children had either died in childbirth or had been stillborn and could not be baptized. It is a significant statement by Luther regarding a theological question of considerable anguish to grieving mothers. Luther’s brief but significant work has outlived the book to which it had been originally attached.

“Writing with pastoral concern, Luther points out that miscarriage (where it is not due to deliberate carelessness) is not a sign of God’s anger. God’s judgment is just and must remain hidden from us. Luther sees the basis for Christian consolation in the unspoken prayers of the mother in which the Spirit is at work and which sanctify the child, and in the prayers of the Christian congregation.” (Raun)

Benzing 3395 ; Geisenhof, Bibliotheca Bugenhagiana, 307; VD16 B 9338

 

2. Committee of the Lower Austrian Provinces and Cities; Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor (1503–1564)

Der niderösterreichischer Lannd Ausschuss unnd Gesandten, an Röm. Kön. Ma. Ferdinandum, Christliche Religion Sach belangend, ernnstliche Supplication [Dec. 13, 1541]. Dagegen Rö. Kön. Ma. Antwort, auf der Außschuß fürbrachte Supplication [Jan. 13, 1542]. Und folgends derselbigen Außschuß hinwider an Röm. Kön. Ma. Beschlußred.

[Nuremberg: Johann Günther], 1542

ONE OF FOUR PRINTINGS, all in 1542. [7] lvs., [1] blank l. a-b4

Text of the open demand by the cities and provinces of Lower Austria for the free exercise of a form of faith corresponding to the Augsburg Confession. It is printed together with Ferdinand’s reply, in which he refused to yield to the committee’s request, and the Protestant delegation’s final statement on the matter. The book was translated into English in 1542 by Miles Coverdale.

VD 16 N 1687; See Hohenemser 2006. 1 copy in the U.S. (Minnesota)

 

A Very Rare Tract by the English Reformer Robert Barnes

3. B[arnes], R[obert] (c.1495–1540), attributed author.

Die weil yetzund so grosse spaltung in allen Christen ist, Weyß ich dir zu der seligkeyt kein weg, der dir gewisser ist.

[Nuremberg: Johann Vom Berg und Ulrich Neuber] 1542

SOLE EDITION. [5] lvs. [1] blank leaf. A6 (lvs 3 and 4 reversed). Imprint VD16.

A very rare tract, of which 5 copies have been traced (see below), attributed to the English Protestant martyr Robert Barnes (d. 1540), whose remarkable career took him from England (having faked his suicide) to Antwerp, then on to Wittenberg (where he befriended Luther), and back to London where, having regained Henry VIII’s favor, he practiced shuttle-diplomacy with the Continental reformers. Barnes was an enormously influential and well-respected evangelical activist who was extraordinarily lucky in his political and social attachments. His luck at last ran out and he was executed at Tyburn in 1540. Barnes’ moving speech from the scaffold was published with a preface by his friend Luther.

VD16 B 400. Only 5 copies located: BL (2), Sachsische Landesbibliothek, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München, Herzog August Bibliothek (Wolfenbüttel).

 

The Grand Effort to Heal the Protestant/Catholic Schism: Martin Bucer and Melanchthon attend the Regensburg Colloquy

4. Bucer, Martin (1491-1551)

Alle Handlungen und Schrifften, zu vergleichung der Religion, durch die Key. Mai., Churfürsten, Fürsten, und Stände, aller theylen, Auch den Päbst. Legaten, auff jüngst gehaltnem Reichstag zu Regenspurg, verhandlet, und einbracht.

Strasbourg: Wendel Rihel, 1542

FIRST GERMAN EDITION. [8] lvs., 258 [recte: 262] lvs., [4] lvs. π4, A-G4, H6, I-Z4, a-z4, Aa-Xx4

Martin Bucer’s translation of his own “Acta colloquii”, an important collection, with explanatory commentary, of the theological positions put forth by the Protestant and Catholic parties during the Regensburg Colloquy (1541), the last great effort in Luther’s lifetime to restore religious unity in the Holy Roman Empire.

In the years surrounding 1540, efforts to reunite the church within the Holy Roman Empire reached a high point. Theologians from both sides met to reform of the entire German church, both Protestant and Catholic, and their efforts had major implications for not only religious but also political developments within the Holy Roman Empire. No one worked more energetically for the establishment of a united, reformed German church than the Strasbourg reformer Martin Bucer.

Bucer was one of the three principal representatives of the Protestant side at the Colloquy, and his book includes the text (with his own commentary) of the so-called “Regensburg Book”, a series of conclusions to be debated with the hope of hammering out a set of mutually agreeable articles of Christian faith. Some of the articles were agreed to by both sides but neither the papacy nor Luther would give their final approval and the Colloquy ended in failure.

Bucer’s “Acta colloquii” was published less than two months after the diet's adjournment. The international audience for whom the book was intended was expanded through a French translation by Jean Calvin and an English translation by Miles Coverdale.

VD16 B 8836; Adams B 3025; IA 126.327; Schottenloher 41377

 

Roman Law as the Secular Articulation of Mosaic Law

5. Lersner, Jacob (1504-1579)

Antwort, Bericht und Beweisz, Auff die frage, Ob es besser sei, nach gewissen beschriebnen, unnd sonst bewerten breuchlichen Rechten, Gesetzen, Ordnungen und Gewonheyten. Oder nach eygner Vernunfft, Sinn, Witz, Gutbeduncken, und selbst gefaster pillikheyt, zu Regieren.

Marburg: Christian Egenolff the elder, 1542

ONE OF TWO EDITIONS, BOTH IN 1542. [20] lvs. A-E4

Jacob Lersner’s apology for the reception of Roman law, in which he argued that any legitimate magistrate had to judge according to divine law as revealed in Mosaic Law and received through Roman law, and not according to his own will and senses.

“He referred to Justinian, who had pledged to rule according to the laws assembled by him. Emperor and princes were told to submit to the laws to be found and interpreted by the jurists: while the natural persons charged with government might change, the laws under which they had to rule remained. The magistrate’s prime function, for Lersner as well as Melanchthon, was thus to safeguard the administration of justice for everyone. In his function, the prince had to respect the autonomy of the law and avoid any intervention in the legal process of judging among different parties.”(Friedeberg, Luther’s Legacy, p. 149)

VD16 L 1291

 

Luther Reluctantly Consecrates the First German Lutheran Bishop

6. Luther, Martin (1483-1546)

Exempel, Einen Rechten Christlichen Bichoff zu Weihen. Geschehen zu Neumburg, Anno 1542. 20. Ianuarii.

Wittenberg, Nickel Schirlentz, 1542.

FIRST EDITION. [36] lvs. A-I4. Fine title border of David slaying Goliath.

Luther defends consecrating his friend and long-time supporter, Nicolaus von Amsdorf, as Bishop of Naumburg.

“On January 20, 1542, in the cathedral of Naumburg, Martin Luther consecrated the first German Lutheran bishop who was not already a bishop under the pope. One year earlier the Catholic bishop had died and Elector John Frederick decided to select the next bishop even though it was not his prerogative. Bishops were elected by the priests who belonged to the chapter of clergy at the cathedral, but in Naumburg the chapter had not adopted the Reformation. Adhering to custom, they nominated a learned Catholic bishop, Julius von Pflug.

“The Elector was not deterred. While Pflug was pondering his acceptance, John Frederick, with the half-hearted consent of Wittenberg theologians, selected Nicolaus von Amsdorf to become the new bishop. Other than being Lutheran, Amsdorf fit the usual criteria: a celibate priest from a noble family. On January 17 the clergy elected Pflug the new bishop as the Elector, accompanied by Luther, Melanchthon, Amsdorf, and Spalatin arrived in Naumburg. Two days later, Luther consecrated his friend. It was not the first time that Luther and his colleagues had been pushed by the Elector to bow to his will against their better judgment.”(Hendrix p. 271)

Benzing 3402; VD 16, L 4723; Knaake 814; Kuczynski 1809

 

Melanchthon on The Regensburg Colloquy

7. Melanchthon, Philip. (1497-1560)

Warhaffter bericht und urteil, von dem ubergeben Buch und gehalten gesprech zu Regenspurg.

[Nuremberg: Georg Wachter], 1542

ONE OF TWO EDITIONS, BOTH 1542. [8] lvs. A-B4

The German translation of Melanchthon’s report on the Regensburg Colloquy, where he served with Bucer as one of the three representatives of the Protestant position.

Melanchthon, who attended the Colloquy begrudgingly, performed heroically in defense of the Augsburg Confession. He was far more than merely Luther’s mouthpiece, and the arguments that he presented in the discussions over justification, free will, original sin, baptism, and works often stymied his Catholic counterparts. In response to his axioms concerning the Eucharist (“Nothing has the nature of a sacrament apart from the divinely appointed use.” and “Christ is not present for the sake of the bread, but for the sake of man.”) Nicholas Perrenot, the Emperor’s chief minister, said that the matter was worthy of a church council.

(For a discussion of the Colloquy and its aims, see item 3. above.)

VD16 M 2389; Schottenloher 41378a

 

The Problem of What to Do with Church Property

8. Bucer, Martin (1491-1551)

Von Kirchenguetern. Wes deren besitz, und eigenthum seie. Wer die raube, oder recht anlege, wol oder ubel brauche.

“Freiburg: Gutman” but Strasbourg: Johann Prüss, 1540

SOLE EDITION. [5], 90, [4] lvs. A-Z4, a-b4 (b4 blank)

Bucer’s rare work on the possession and distribution of church property.

“The decision to embrace Protestantism was also significantly influenced by other considerations than questions of truth and doctrinal faithfulness. For one thing, if rulers embraced Protestantism, they would be able to close the monasteries in their territories; they could then expropriate the monastery buildings and their lands. Since these often included some of the most productive farmlands and costly buildings in the territory, this was at least a temptation—one against which the reformers themselves warned. For example, in 1540, Martin Bucer (the leading Protestant reformer in Strasbourg) published a lengthy treatise, Von Kirchengütern (“On the Possessions of the Churches”); in it he urged Protestant civil rulers to honor the original intent of whatever bequest had led to the establishment of monasteries and the lands they had included.

“Bucer called on the rulers not simply to take the properties and dispose of them for their own profit, but to set up schools in the buildings or to sell them and use the proceeds to support the poor. Bucer was not imagining a possible problem; rather, he (and other leading reformers) addressed one: some rulers who turned to Protestantism had counted the cost—and evidently found it a good investment. This need not imply that they did not really care about what the Protestants taught; it just shows that other factors might well count in the final decision.”(James Payton)

With respect to German bishops, who were in fear of having their estates confiscated and secularized by the Emperor, Bucer urged them to take up the Reformation in their territories, transfer pastoral care to Protestant preachers, and thereby keep their estates as secular princes.

VD16 B 8944