Martin Luther's Catholic Opponents

Among the Kessler Reformation Collection's outstanding holdings are thirty-two Catholic critiques of and responses to Luther's early writing that dramatize the theological debates that accompanied the birth of the Reformation. These pamphlets have been digitized and are made available below, sorted by year of publication. Many of these have been translated into English and their translations can be found here.

Call no:
1518 MAZZ

Silvestro Mazzolini da Prierio (1456?-1527?); Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Replica F. Sylvestri Prieriat[is] : sacri Palatii Apostolici Magistri, ad F. Martinum Luther Ordinis Eremitaru[m] ; Martinus Luther, optimo lectori salutem

Imprint: Leipzig: Melchior Lotter, 1518

When Luther received the replies of S. Mazzolini, the first man to take up the cudgels against Luther, he found the best course of reply to be a reprinting with notes of Mazzolini's inept rejoinders. Even the Catholics had to admit that Mazzolini's answers simply did not meet Luther's objections. This is the second printing of the work.

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Call no:
1519 ECK

Johann Eck (1486-1543)

Joannis Eckij pro Hieronymo Emser : contra malesanam Luteri venationem responsio, Soli Deo gloria.

Imprint: Leipzig: Martin Landsberg, 1519

First printing of the first edition of a pamphlet by Johann Eck in support of Hieronymus Emser, a theologian in Leipzig and one of Luther's most vehement early opponents.

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Call no:
1519 ECK A

Johann Eck (1486-1543)

Excusatio eckij : ad ea que falso sibi Philippus Melanchton gra[m]maticus Vuittenbergen[sis] super theologica disputatione lipsica adscripsit.

Imprint: Leipzig: Wolfgang Stöckel, 1519

The participants in the Leipzig Disputation promised not to print their positions before the faculties of Paris and Louvain had issued their verdicts in the case. Both sides broke their promise. Melanchthon apparently got into print first, for this is Eck's reply to Melanchthon. This is the second printing of the work.

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Call no:
1519 ECK B

Johann Eck (1486-1543)

Ad criminatricem Martini Luders Uitte[n]bergen[sis] offensione[m] super iudicio iustissimo facto : ad articulos quosdam per minoritas de obserua[n]tia Reuere[n]dissimo Episcopo Brandenburgen[si] oblatos Eckiana responsio; Quia hactenus abusus est Mar. Luderus modestia Eckiana : tande[m] extorsit, vt mordaci, mordaciter quo[que] responderem

Imprint: Augsburg: Johann Miller, 1519

Johann Eck responds in this early work to Luther's pamphlet "Contra malignum Iohannis Eccii iudicium."

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Call no:
1519 EMSE

Hieronymus Emser (1478-1527); Martin Luther (1483-1546)

De disputatione lipsicensi quantum ad Boemos obiter deflexa est Epistola

Imprint: Augsburg: Silvan Otmar, 1519

This volume includes both Emser's letter on the Leipzig Disputation, and Luther's sharp reply. Luther and Emser became lifelong enemies, a situation only exacerbated by Emser's use of Luther's New Testament as a basis for his own German translation in which he attacks Luther and Lutheranism. The woodcut on the title page shows Emser's coat-of-arms with the prominent goat, which gave Luther the title of his work, "To the Goat in Leipzig." The manuscript note on the title page says the book was purchased in 1520.

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Call no:
1520 ALVE A

Augustin von Alveldt (active 16th century)

Ein Sermon, darinnen sich Bruder Augustinus von Alveldt beklaget

Imprint: Leipzig: Durch Vuolffgangk Stöckel, 1520

Augustinus Alveldt, a Franciscan teacher, and later provincial head of the order, here responds to Luther's tract, "Von dem Papsttum zu Rom," in which Luther explains his views on the Papacy.

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Call no:
1520 SEND

Pfarrer von Hohensynn ("Pastor Highmind")

Sendtbrieff an Pfarrer von Hohensynn. Doctor Martini Luthers Leer betreffende. Oder einem Jede[n] Prelatischen Pfarrer Seynes vaterlandes

Imprint: Basel: Adam Petri, 1520

This is a Catholic pamphlet warning against Luther's errors. "Pastor Highmind" may be pseudonym or the name of a real Pastor von Hohensynn.

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Call no:
1521 EBER

Johann Eberlin von Günzburg (approximately 1470-1533)

Das lob der Pfarrer von dem vnnutzen kosten der gelegt wirt von dem gemainen vnuerstendigen volck auff mess lesen, volgungen, begrebnus, sybent, dreysigst, jartag, rc. : Vnd vo[m] lob der Pfarrer vnnd irer nötigen Caplan.

Imprint: Augsburg: Sigmund Grimm und Marx Wirsung, 1521?

One of the problems that led to the Reformation was the sad state of ecclesiastical finance that forced many priests to change fees for the sacraments and other services. Von Gunzburg subjects such practices to sharp sanitization in the form of "praise of priests."

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Call no:
1521 EMSE

Hieronymus Emser (1478-1527)

An den Stier zu Uuittenberg / Ieronymvs Emser.

Imprint: Leipzig: M. Lotther or M. Landsberg, 1521

This is Emser's reply to Luther's tract, "To the Goat in Leipzig."

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Call no:
1522 WULF

Wolfgang Wulffer (-1538)

Wid' die unselige Auffrure Merten Luders von Wolffgango Wulffer un[d] andern Christgleubige[n] euch zw Wittenberg tzugeschribenn.

Imprint: Leipzig: Martin Landsberg, 1522

First printing of a rare pamphlet directed against Martin Luther. Wulffer calls Luther a false prophet and claims that his teachings contain no love, but only self-aggrandizement.

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Call no:
1523 FABE

Johannes Faber (1478-1541); Johannes Cochlaeus (1479-1552)

Iohannes Fabri, episcopi Constantiensis In spiritualibus uicarii responsiones duae : quinquagesimaquinta uidelicet, & CXXVI. ex grandi eius uolumine excerptae & selectae, quarum prior est : De Antilogiis seu contradictionibus Martini Lutheri, altera, De Sacramentis scripturisq[ue] & fide.

Imprint: Cologne: Impensa & aere M. Godefridi Hittorpij, 1523

This rare anti-Lutheran tract was directed chiefly against Luther's views on the power of the Papacy, but includes material on the Word and Sacraments as well. Three prefaces, two by Iohannes Cochlaeus, one, by the author, to Hieronymus Emser.

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Call no:
1524 ALVE

Augustin von Alveldt (active 16th century)

Wyder den Wittenbergischen Abtgot Martin Luther

Imprint: Dresden: Hieronymus Emser, 1524

The Franciscan Augustine of Alveldt wrote this polemical tract in response to Luther's pamphlet "Widder den newen Abgott und alten Teuffel" which criticized the recent canonization of Bishop Benno of Mainz.

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Call no:
1524 AMBR

Ambrosius Catharinus, Archbishop of Conza (1484-1553)

Apologia pro veritate Catholicae et apostolicae fidei ac Doctrinae. Selections

Imprint: Dresden: Emserpresse, 1524

A selection of criticisms of Luther's views on the spiritual origins of the Papacy by one of his early opponents, Ambrosius Catharinus, edited by another of his early opponents, Hieronymus Emser, and dedicated by Emser to a third Luther opponent, Paul Bachmann, Abbot of Altenzelle.

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Call no:
1524 DIET

Johann Dietenberger (approximately 1475-1537); Johannes Cochlaeus (1479-1552)

Doctor Johan. dietenberger. [sic] Widerlegung des Lutherischen büchlins, da er schreibt von menschen leren zü meiden rc.

Imprint: Strasbourg: Diss büchlin ist getruckt von Jo. Grieninger, 1524

Johannes Dietenberger was a preaching monk who later became the grand inquisitor in the dioceses of Mainz and Cologne. He is best known for his German translation of the Bible, published in 1534. This work is an answer to Luther's writings on human doctrines and traditions in the Church.

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Call no:
1524 UNIV

Universit&#35.7228;t Ingolstadt.

Ingolstadii XI. Aprilis anni pr[a]esentis vicesimiquarti, publica disputatione per sacr[a]e theologi[a]e professores, examinabuntur : Septemdecim articuli per M. Arsatium Seehouer nuper reuocati : centum conclusiones per D. Leonardum Marstaller Nurnberge.

Imprint: Ingolstadt?: publisher not identified, 1524?

A. Seehofer had been a student of Melanchthon. He taught at Ingolstadt until the authorities became cognizant of his heretical Protestant views. His books and papers were seized and he was forced to recant. This pamphlet includes his heretical theses as well as the refutations by L. Marstaller and N. Apell, both members of the university faculty. A German note at the end of the pamphlet warns against the spreading of false rumors and lies about these matters.

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Call no:
1525 COCH D

Johannes Cochlaeus (1479-1552)

Confutatio XCI. articulorum e tribus Martini Lutheri Teuthonicis sermonibus excerptorum

Imprint: Cologne: in officina Petri Quentel, 1525

Second printing of the first edition of a tract listing 91 errors in three sermons by Martin Luther.

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Call no:
1525 COCH:1

Johannes Cochlaeus (1479-1552)

De Petro et Roma adversus Velenu[m] Lutheranum, libri quatuor

Imprint: Cologne: In officina honesti civis Petri Quentell, 1525

Oldrich Velensky, Latinized as Ulrich Velenus, was a Bohemian Protestant who opposed the papal claims to power based on St. Peter's residence and martyrdom in Rome. Cochlaeus upholds the traditional Catholic view that St. Peter was martyred in Rome in the reign of Nero in this volume against Velensky's criticism.

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Call no:
1525 SCHAT A

Kaspar Schatzgeyer (1463 or 1464-1527)

Vom Hochwirdigisten Sacrament des zarte[n] fronleichnams Christi. : Vnnd widerlegung ettlicher Argument, so jn ainem newlich aussgegange[n] irrigen vn[d] verfüerischen [sic] büechlin [sic] widers opffer [der] Mess gemacht sind

Imprint: Munich: Durch Hannsen Schobsser, 1525

Attack on Andreas Osiander which does not mention him by name. C. Schatzgeyer here writes a treatise on the Catholic understanding of the Lord's Supper as exemplified by the Corpus Christi festival. The work grew out of Schatzgeryer's conflicts with Andrea Osiander, the Nuremberg reformer. This is the first printing of this book.

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Call no:
1526 MENS

Johannes Mensing (active 1495-1541)

Von dem Testament Christi vnsers Herren vnd Seligmachers : Dem Hochlöblichen Adell ym landt zu Sachsen, sampt alle[n] Christglewbigen, Deutscher Nation, tzugutt geschriben vnd auszgangen, beweret mit Götlicher schrifft, tröstlich zu lesen

Imprint: Leipzig: Nickel Schmidt, 1526

J. Mensing was a Dominican opponent of Luther. Born in either Mageburg or Zutphen, Holland, he studied in Wittenberg and Frankfurt an der Oder, where he took his doctorate. He preached at Mageburg Cathedral 1522-1524 against the Reformers. In 1530, he was one of the Confutators of the Augsburg Confession. In 1534, he became provincial of the Dominicans, and in 1539, suffragan-bishop of Halberstedt. In this tract, Mensing defends Catholic interpretation of the Lord's Supper through references to scripture.

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Call no:
1528 ALVE

Augustin von Alveldt (active 16th century)

Widder Luthers trostung ann die Christen zu Hall : vber er Georgen yhres Predigers todt, szo viel die entpfahung des hochwirdigen Sacraments belangt

Imprint: Dresden: Durch Wolffgang Stöckel, 1528

Luther's Consolation to the Protestants of Halle, published in 1527, provoked this reply from Agustin von Alveld, garuden of the Franciscan Monastery in Halle from 1524-29. Alveld condemns Luther's tract as "Hussisch," in particular with respect to his teachings on the sacrament. Alveld dedicated the work to Albert of Brandenburg, Archbishop of Mainz.

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Call no:
1529 COCH

Johannes Cochlaeus (1479-1552)

Septiceps Lutherus : ubiq[ue] sibi, suis scriptis, co[n]trari[us], in visitatione[m] Saxonica[m]

Imprint: Leipzig: Impressit Valentinus Schumann, 1529

J. Cochaeus here portrays Luther as a seven headed monster like Cerebrus who guarded the gate to hell in Greek/Latin mythology. The picture on the title page is one of the most famous images to emerge from the anti-Luther polemics of the period. Each head has a caption and is explained in detail in the text. Doctor (of false doctrine), Martinus (faithless, unlike the saint whose name he bore) Lutherus (untrue to his Catholic family tradition) etc.

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Call no:
1529 COCH B

Johannes Cochlaeus (1479-1552)

Sieben Kopffe Martin Luthers, von acht hohen sachen des Christlichen glaubens

Imprint: Place of publication not identified : publisher not identified, 1529?

This volume consists of translations from J. Cochaeus' Latin work "Septiceps Lutherus. It is cast in dialogue form and discusses eight topics of religion, showing how Luther had departed from Catholic truth in these areas. The title page woodcut was a classic piece of Catholic propaganda, portraying Luther not only as a Doctor and Churchman, but as a Turk, a wild enthusiast (Schwarmer) and "Barrabas."

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Call no:
1529 ECK

Johann Eck (1486-1543)

Ein Sentbreiue an ein frum Eidgnossschafft : betreffendt die ketzerische Disputation Frantz Kolben des aussgeloffen Münchs, vnnd B. Hallers des verlognen Predicanten zu[o] Bern; Ein annderer brieue an Vlrich Zwingli; Der drit brieue an Cunrat Rotenacker zu Vlm; Soli Deo gloria.

Imprint: Ingolstadt: Georg und Peter Apianus, 1529

First edition of three public letters by Johann Eck. The letters refer to an invitation sent to Eck by Zwingli, Haller and Kolbe, all of them evangelical preachers, to participate in a religious disputation scheduled to take place in Bern. The first letter, addressed to the confederation, explains courteously enough that he, Eck, does not intend to follow the call of the three proven heretics individually, a call not issued by the civic authorities. Not that he is afraid of their arguments; but he insists on an authoritative invitation and presence. The other letters are framed in very aggressive and personally offensive language but carry the same message. Eck challenges the evangelical disputants to appear with him before any of the Catholic potentates, spiritual or secular, or any of the great (Catholic) universities, and he would shatter their heretical arguments.

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Call no:
1529 TREG

Konrad Treger (approximately 1480-1542)

Title: Ein schöner spruch darinn deren von Costantz seltzame Renckh und Abentheür, damit Sy vmbgon begriffen syen.

Imprint: Konstanz: [Jörg Spitzenberg], 1529

Anti-Reformation poem directed at the city of Konstanz. Tregor, an Augustinian Prior, was a leading defender of Catholicism in Switzerland.

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Call no:
1530 BACH

Paul Bachmann (1465-1538)

Antwort auff Luthers Sendtbrieff, geschribenn gen Augspurg, an den Cardinal, Ertzbischoffen zuo Mentz Churfürsten [et]c.

Imprint: Augsburg: Alexander Weissenhorn, 1530

Polemical response, by Paul Bachmann, Abbot of Altenzelle, and an early opponent of Luther, to Luther's letter of 1530 to Albert, Archbishop of Mainz. Albert was inclined towards a peaceful solution to the issues of the Reformation.

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Call no:
1530 WIMP

Konrad Wimpina (1460-1531)

Gegen die bekanntnus Martini Luthers auff den yetzigen angestellten Reychsstag zuo Augsburg, auff neuwe eingelegt in sibenzehe[n] Artickel verfasst. Kurtze vn[d] Christenlich vnderricht

Imprint: Augsburg: Alexander Weissenhorn, 1530

This pamphlet contains the Catholic response to the first, unauthorized edition of the Schwabach Articles, published in Coburg in 1530. Among the authors of this tract, Konrad Wimpina and Johannes Mensing helped draft the Catholic Confutation of the Augsburg Confession.

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Call no:
1531 DUNG

Hieronymus Dungersheim (1465-1540)

Multiloquus de co[n]citata ex dictis Lutheri seditio[n]e, : ad Inuictissimu[m] & optimu[m] Imperatore[m] ac multo[rum] regno[rum] Rege[m] inclitu[m] etc[etera]. Carolu[m] S.

Imprint: Leipzig: Valentin Schumann, 1531

H. Dungersheim had had a long academic career before the Reformation started. He proved to be a determined foe of Luther. In this rare book he presents "over a hundred" citations from Luther's books written before the Peasants' War (1525) to prove that Luther was a teacher of sedition and tumult.

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Call no:
1531 DUNG A

Hieronymus Dungersheim (1465-1540)

Dialogus ad Martinu[m] Lutherum : pro responsione ad impertinentem quanda[m] ipsius epistolam super posita[m] veluti collocutoris vice intermixtam

Imprint: Leipzig: Valentin Schumann, 1531

H. Dungersheim had exchanged several letters with Luther before he wrote this dialogue. It was his first formal controversialist tract, written in 1520, but not published until 1531. Luther burned a manuscript copy of this work when he burned the bull Exsurge Domine on December 10, 1520.

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Call no:
1534 HANE

Johannes Haner (active 1524-1544)

Epistolae duae / Ioannis Haneri et Georgij Vuicelij, ; de caussa Luterana.

Imprint: Leipzig: Nickel Schmidt, 1534

This pamphlet contains two letters on Lutheranism by converts to Catholicism. Witzel's publication of Haner's letter led to the latter's expulsion from the city of Nuremberg.

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Call no:
1541 ECK A

Johann Eck (1486-1543)

Oratio / Iohannis Eckii theologi habita Ratisponae in Comitijs Imperialibus, Episcopis, oratoribus & pr[a]elatis praesentibus in coena domini. M.D.XXXXI.

Imprint: Ingolstadt: Excudebat Alexander Vueissenhorn, 1541

This is the first printing of Eck's speech to the Diet of Regensburg on April 5, 1541, defining the Catholic understanding of the Lord's Supper. The Diet of Regensburg proved to be Eck's last appearance as a major theological political leader, for his health declined and he could no longer bear the weight of these grueling encounters.

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Call no:
1564 THEA

Georg Theander (1508-1570), praeses; Sebastian Haydlauff, respondent

Disputatio. Secundum, & Octauum Decalogi praecepta, thesibus theologicis explicata, : quae publice` ad disputandum proponentur, pridie` idus Septemb. Quando reuerentia, dignitate, & eruditione praestanti uiro, D. Ioanni Schauppio Eckio, liberalium disciplinarum magistro, et ss. theologiae Licentiato, Officiali Passauiensi, etc. Supremus in professione theologica gradus decernetur.

Imprint: Ingolstadt: Ex officina VVeissenhornia, 1564

An academic disputation presented Georg Theander, professor at the University of Ingolstadt, and defended by Sebastian Haydlauff, priest at the church of St. Moritz in Ingolstadt. The disputation was based on 30 theses on the 2nd and 8th commandments. Respondent identified on verso of title page: Defensore uenerando, & ornatissimo uiro M. Sebastiano Haydlauffio, ss. theologiae studioso, et ad D. Mauritium sacerdote auxiliari.

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Call no:
1566 NESE

Augustinus Neser

Christliche güthertzige Ermanung, das Man in dem Christlichen, Catholischen, waren, alten, allain seligmachenden Glauben beharren vnd bestendig bleiben solle : In wölcher erstlich auszfürlich angezaiget wirdt, wie das die Zal der Ausserwölten weder geringert noch gemehrt werde: letstlich, wie in der Zal der Ausserwölten ein einfeltiger bleiben, vnd selig werden, müge

Imprint: Ingolstadt: durch Alexander vnd Samuel Weyssenhorn, 1566

Augustinus Neser was a pastor in Ingolstadt. In this hortatory tract he discusses the importance of staying within the Catholic fold.

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