Justus Jonas, Receipt for Twenty Gulden (MSS 114)

Justus Jonas is chiefly known as a translator of the works of Luther and Melanchthon. He was Dean of the Theology Faculty at Wittenberg from 1523-33 and Rector of the University three times during that period. He attended most of the major theological colloquies of this period.

As time went on he became more involved with Reformation activities outside of Wittenberg, to the detriment of his teaching responsibilities to University. In 1542 he left the Wittenberg and became Church Superintendent in Halle. In 1546, he accompanied Luther on his last journey to Eisleben. When Luther died there, Jonas preached the funeral sermon. He returned to Halle where he had been appointed preacher for life. With the outbreak of the Schmalkald War in 1545, Imperial troops forced him and his family to flee for Halle. They returned briefly when Elector John Frederick retook the city, but were forced to flee again when CharlesV defeated John Frederick at Muhlberg. Eventually Maurice of Saxony permitted him to return to Halle but the City Senate refused to permit him to preach. He did, however, perform the other duties of his Superintendency.

This collection consists of a single receipt, on paper, for 20 Gulden which Jonas received as salary from the City Council of Erfurt. Our research has so far been unable to detemine just why Jonas was being paid by the City Council. The fact that he uses the word "Zinse" (interest income, or, income from a benefice) suggests that it was for services rendered as a preacher in that City. It is also known that he was considering returning to Erfurt as a preacher after the debacle at Halle. The receipt is signed by Justus Jonas and is dated the 2nd February 1549.


"I, Justus Johans doctor, etc., acknowledge before myself and my heirs, that the noble, honorable and wise [members] of the Council of Erfurt, per my request, previously expressed, now before that time, confidentially and with good intention, have paid me the twenty gulden [florin] yearly pay which was to be received by me from them the next St. Johns-day [December 27] after the coming Christmas, [hence I] declare the aforementioned honorable council to be square, free and clear regarding the 20 florin in question, [and] to verify this I have sealed this receipt [written] in my own hand with my wonted seal, dated February 5, 1549."

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For additional information about this collection, consult the finding aid.