Johann Eck - Attacks On Luther and Melanchthon

Attacks On Luther and Melanchthon

Soon after his return to Ingolstadt, Eck attempted to persuade Elector Frederick of Saxony to have Luther's works burned in public, and during the year 1519 he published no less than eight writings against the new movement. He failed, however, to obtain a condemnatory decision from the universities appointed to pronounce on the outcome of the Leipzig disputation. Erfurt returned the proceedings of the meeting to the Saxon duke without signifying its approval, while Paris, after repeated urging, gave an ambiguous decision limited to "the doctrine of Luther so far as investigated". Eck's only followers were the aged heretic-hunter Hoogstraten and Emser of Leipzig, together with the allied authorities of the universities of Cologne and Leuven. Luther returned Eck's assaults with more than equal vehemence and about this time Philipp Melanchthon wrote Ĺ’colampadius that at Leipzig he had first become distinctly aware of the difference between what he considered to be true Christian theology and the scholasticism of the Aristotelian doctors. In his Excusatio (Wittenberg? 1519?) Eck, irritated all the more because early in the year he had induced Erasmus to caution, the young theological student against precipitating himself into the religious conflict, retorted that Melanchthon knew nothing of theology. In his reply to the Excusatio, Melanchthon proved that he was thoroughly versed in theology, and Eck fared still worse in October of the same year when he sought to aid Emser by a strongly worded tirade against Luther. Two biting satires, one by Ĺ’colampadius and the other by Willibald Pirckheimer, stung him to a fury which would be satisfied with nothing less than the public burning of the entire literature in the market-place at Ingolstadt, an act from which he was restrained by his colleague Reuchlin.

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