“It has been established that the Church itself, in matters of faith, is above the pope.” – Luther’s First Appeal to a Church Council

Luther, Martin (1483-1546)

Appellatio. F. Martini Luther ad Concilium.

Leipzig: Valentin Schumann, 1518


Quarto: 20.5 x 15.5 cm. [8] p. Collation: A4

THIRD EDITION (All editions appeared in 1518.)

Bound in 20th c. wrappers. A very good copy, fore-edge of title with small chips, other leaves with a few short, clean tears to outer margins, no loss in any instance, a little (very) light spotting. Impression from bearer type in blank lower part of title. Rare.

Luther’s pivotal appeal to a church council, written on 28 November 1518, six weeks after his meeting at Augsburg with Cardinal Cajetan, who had instructions and authority from the pope to have Luther apprehended and brought to Rome for examination should he fail to recant his errors. Luther wrote the appeal in anticipation of his excommunication. The printed appeal opens and closes with the attestation of the notary to whom Luther presented the document. Luther’s appeal was in violation of the bull Execrabilis, which condemned conciliarism. Luther’s violation was later cited (in Article 28) in Leo’s Bull “Exsurge Domine”.

The 1st edition was printed at Wittenberg by Rhau-Grunenberg (Benzing 240). Schumann printed a total of four editions; Benzing lists this as the second of those. It is distinguished from the others by the points noted in Benzing. This important book is rare in all printings.

For an English translation of the complete text see: William H. T. Dau, The Great Renunciation: Leaves from the Story of Luther's Life, p. 336-342.

Benzing 242; Knaake I, 47; VD 16, L 3846