Full Text for History as a Weapon in Controversy (Text)

(!tnnrnrbta m~tnlngital :!Iont1J1y Continuing LEHRE UNO WEHRE MAGAZIN FUER Ev. -LuTH. HOMILETIK T HEOLOGICAL QUARTERLy-THEOLOGICAL MONTHLY Vol.xvm October, 1947 No. 10 CONTENTS Page Lund. w. Antd r _. __ 721 Recent Studies in the Chronology of the Period c» the Kings. Walter K. Roehrs __ .. .... 738 HistOl'Y as a Weapon in Contt-ovel·sy. L. W _ Spitz Outline~ on the Nitzsch Gospel Selections Miscellanea ... .. __ 747 763 .. 772 ____ .. 784 Theological Observer Em Prediger muss nlcht allew toei- den, also dass er die Sdude unter- weise, VI'ie sie rechte Christen sollen sein, sondem auch daneben den Woel- fen toehnm, dass sie die Schafe nicht angreifen und mit falscher Lehre ver- fuehren und Irrtmn elnfuehren. LutheT Es 1st kew Ding, das die Leute mehr bei der Kirche behaelt denn die gute Pred1gt. - Apologie, Art. 24 If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? -1 CO'I'.14:S Published by the Ev. Luth. Syaod of Missou ri, Ohio, and Other States CONCORDIA PUBUSBING BOUSE, St. Louis 18, Mo. PlIKftD I!'f '0'. S. A. mSTORY AS A WEAPON IN CONTROVERSY 747 stm .I as at Weapon in Controversy L.W.SPITZ Eduard Fueter, ascribing the development of modern his- toriography to the Lutheran Reformation and more partic- ularly to the purposes of polemics, declares that Protestant church history was created solely for the needs of confessional polemics. Ancient church history was to furnish the proof that Protestantism, in contrast to Catholicism, had preserved the original purity of Christianity. Medieval church history was to expose the terrible darkness to which the rule of the Anti- christ had led.! This agrees with Menke-Glueckert's observation that in the final analysis the history of historiography is the history of the change in one's view of the world (Weltanschauung). Everything, says Menke-Glueckert, depends on this view of the world, which sets for history a definite goal, examines the way which humanity has pursued to reach this goal and must still cover, supplies new criteria of evaluation, and neces- sitates a different arrangement of materials, of criticism, and combination of facts.2 Bernheim lists three main stages in the development of historiography: the narrative, the didactic or pragmatic, and the evolving or genetic.s These terms also furnish convenient criteria for the evaluation of the history of any particular period. The evaluation may turn out more favorable or less as the characteristics of the one or the other of these stages predominate. If these stages are regarded as progressive in the order named, then the more closely a historical production approaches the genetic stage, the greater is its value as scien- tific history. It must, of course, be assumed that these terms are relative and that to some extent the characteristics of each stage can be found in the others. In narrative history, says Bernheim, the writer is satisfied 1 Eduard Fueter, Geschichte der Neueren Historiographie (3d ed.; Muenchen: Druck und Verlag von R. Oldenbourg), p. 246 fl. 2 Emil Menke-Glueckert, Die Geschichtsschreibung der Reformation und Gegenreformation. Bodin und die Begruendung der Geschichts- methodologie durch Bu-rtholomueus Keckermann (Leipzig: Hinrichs'sche Buchhandlung, 1912), p.1. S Ernest Bernheim, Einleitung in die Geschichtswissenschaft (2d ed.; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter & Co., 1920), pp.7-11. 748 HISTORY AS A WEAPON IN CONTROVERSY with merely relating or enumerating interesting historical ma- terials in their chronological order.4 Thucydides (ca. 460-400 B. C.) is the first classical repre- sentative of the didactic or pragmatic type of history, with which we are chiefly concerned here. He aimed to tell the history of the past in such a way that from it the reader could foretell what would happen similarly in the future. In this type of history, to which Polybius (ca. 210-127 B. C.) contrib- uted the designation "pragmatic," the historian observes the motives and aims of individuals, the psychological mainsprings, which determine the events, and tries to explain everything on the basis of the passions and considerations of the actors. Pragmatic history is char acterized by its reflections on the motives and purposes of the persons, by useful applications to the time of the writer, by moralizing and politicizing opin- ions. This type of history represents a long step forward, inasmuch as it pays some attention to the internal causes and conditions of the historical materials; but it also has its serious shortcomings, for, on the one hand, it depends upon the views which the historian has of the people's motives and, on the other, upon his didactic purposes. Pragmatic or didactic history, according to Bernheim, appears r egularly whenever a people of culture become self-conscious and subjective. It predominated first in Greece, where finding expression in biographies and memoirs, it replaced the former stage of annals and chronicles. It was then cultivated in Rome, since the age of Augustus, and was classically represented in the works of Tacitus (ca. 55-117 A. D.) . It maintained its dominance and in part exhibited its inherent faults in the declining cul- ture of antiquity. The Middle Ages again largely sank to the lowest level of the narrative and memorandumlike stage; partly, however, took over the developed forms of Roman historiography, but with an admixture of new Christian views - the early -dawn of genetic history. Pragmatic history again flourished with new vigor when the nations of Europe, with increased self-consciousness, began to cultivate their own peculiar national traits and to give expression to their national experiences in the literary use of their respective vernaculars. It flourished most where and whenever the power and whims of individuals seemed to be the determining factors i.n politics, 4 Ibid., pp. 7 f. HISTORY AS A WEAPON IN CONTROVERSY 749 and the course of the historical event seemed, in fact, to be directed by personal motives and aims. So first of all among the French in memoirs and chronicles from the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries, then, beginning with the fourteenth century, among the Italians in the chronicles of the small despotic courts and the free states, torn by party strife; finally in Germany among the little states of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. During that time history was defined in Germany as a knowledge of those events from which one learns what is useful or harmful in the political life and what, in general, is conducive to a happy mode of living.5 Fueter traces modern history, like other types of litera- ture, to Humanism and credits Petrarch with being the pioneer in striking out along new lines. For the first time in many years, history was written by an independent layman accord- ing to his own individual opinion and not by order of some authority, or from the viewpoint of a certain estate, or de- pendent on some metaphysico-theological system. Petrarch and Boccaccio, however, wrote history merely as moralists and men of letters. Their historical writings constituted only a minor, and by no means the most important, part of their literary productions. A Humanistic historiography in the true sense of the term was first created when Coluccio Salutati in- troduced the new learning in the foreign office of Florence, thereby making it possible for his pupil Leonardo Bruni to found a professional Humanistic historiography intended for transalpine readers. In the new literary creation artistic and political tendencies were quaintly combined. Politically the Humanistic historians endeavored to place the history and politics of their own country in a favorable light abroad. Arch- bishop Johannes Magnus, who had breathed the spirit of Humanism as legate at the court of Leo X, demonstrated this in his history of the Goths and Swedes.s As stylists they 5 Ibid., pp. 8-11. 6 Cf. Ionnes Magnus, Gothorum SveCYl1-vmqve Historia. (Romae: Apud Ionnem Mariam De Viottis Parmensem, 1554), p. 1: ''For such in- struction in history possesses great authority, praise, and dignity, and marvelous wisdom and, as it were, a majesty exquisitely adorned with modesty. Thus when we read in Homer what the kings, heroes, and highest noblemen did and spoke, we are kindled much more to virtue than by any precepts of the philosophers, if, indeed, history is (as Cicero said) the witness of the ages, the light of truth, the vitality of memory, the instructor of life, the messenger of the future. And be- ::ause of my awareness of its so manifold usefulness and wide diffusion, 750 HISTORY AS A WEAPON IN CONTROVERSY tried to gain glory for their own state and its heroes by at- tracting the reader with the brilliance of their style to a subject which of itself would not interest him at all. The desire for glory was united with practical political aims. The historian served a double purpose - that of the artist and of the pub- licist. Casting about for a model, the Humanists were per- suaded that they could not attain a more effective style than by imitating exactly the classical Roman pattern. The annal- istic historian copied the plan and style of Livy, whom Petrarch had already praised as the greatest of all historians.7 Church history was ignored by Humanism. Only those ecclesiastical events which played immediately into political history were occasionally mentioned by the Humanist his- torian. The internal history of the Church, the history of its doctrines and administration, did not exist for the representa- tive of the new learning. Even Platina wrote merely the history of an ecclesiastical dynasty, not that of an institution.s Indifferent to religion, Humanism found it easy to compromise with the views of the Church, the more so since its interest centered largely in the State. The Reformation changed all of this. The questions concerning man's final destiny always stir his soul and mold his perception of history; hence the im- portance of Christianity's victory over ancient paganism, hence also the importance attached to the controversies of the Refor- mation.9 Thus while Humanism's pleasure in gracefulness of form and rhetorical embellishment was enjoyed by only a relatively small group of scholars, the Reformation challenged everyone. It divided the homes of princes and noblemen as well as those of the bourgeois and the peasants. Father and mother, parents and children, were set at odds. Everyone had to take sides. For the sake of one's confession, it was neces- sary to suffer persecution, to leave one's home, to take up arms, to die if necessary. This gave to the period of the Refor- mation a heroic character. A thousand dynamic forces were unleashed. Under such stirring conditions the Reformation could not be satisfied with mere pleasure in rhetorical form; I have truly spared no labor nor wanted in diligence to be useful to m: fellow citizens and such most famous sons of the fatherland and, hav- ing banished all indolence, to have regard to their interests, fame and glory." 7 Fueter, op. cit., pp.l-lO. 8 Ibid., p. 246. 9 Menke-Glueckert, op. cit., p. 1. HISTORY AS A WEAPON IN CONTROVERSY 751 it demanded a new content for history and a different type of critical selection. It insisted that State and Church should be treated as equally important factors in history. In Ger- many it furnished an outlet for the hatred of Rome, which for centuries had given the Germans a limited sense of na- tional unity,1° and prepared the ground for the use of history in controversy, But though the Reformation produced some radical changes in the writing of history, it caused no complete break between the historiography of Humanism and its own. As a matter of fact, the first Reformation historian of note, Melanch- thon, may well be classed with the Humanists, for of him Erasmus, probably the greatest of them all, said: "What hope does not Phil. Melanchthon, still only a youth and almost a boy,ll inspire of his future - a person who must be admired almost equally for his command of both litera- tures! 12 What keenness of inventive genius! What purity and elegance of speech! What a tremendous memory for recondite materials! What a wide field of reading! What magnificence of discreetness and wholly royal personal en- dowment!" 13 Melanchthon demonstrated how the good qualities of Humanism might be combined with the new type of church history. More than that, he also showed how chronicles could be clothed in a scientific and artistic literary garb. He wrote didactic history, but with emphasis on the power of divine direction. His historical and biographical works are noteworthy not so much for their volume as for their excellence. Of his short biography of Luther, Augusti says: "Many have written on Luther's life in the past and now, no one, however, better than Philipp Melanchthon, who in a brief indeed but faithful narrative recounted the facts of his friend and fellow worker in such a manner as to reveal and to present the genuine character of Luther for us." 14 10 Cf. AnlOld E. Berger, Die Kultu.raufgaben der Reformation (2d ed.; Berlin: Ernst Hofmann & Co., 1908), p.61. 11 Eighteen years of age at the time. 12 Latin and Greek. 13 Carolus Gottlieb Bretschneider (ed.), Philippi Melanchtho"_ Opera, Corp. Ref. (Halis Saxonum: Apud C. A. Schwetschke et Filium, 1834, I, CXLVI. 14 Jo. Christ. Gull. Augusti, Philippi Mela:nchthonis de Vita Martini Lutheri Narratio et Vita Philippi Melanchthonis ab Joachimo Camem,rio Conscripta (Vratislavae: Sumtibus A. W. Holaeuferi, 1918), p. ill. 752 HISTORY AS A WEAPON IN CONTROVERSY Could Melanchthon have read Neander's "Praejatio" to his Vitae Quat'Uor Reformatorum, he would have been pleased to observe that his life of Luther was in the nineteenth cen" tury still serving the purpose for which he intended it,ll) A work of broader scope, to which Melanchthon contrib- uted the larger and more important portion, is Carlon's Chronicles. Menke-Glueckert, having made a careful com- parison of the German and the Latin edition in the light of Melanchthon's works, concludes that by far the greater part must be ascribed to the latter. Carion's part, he says, was limited to a promiscuous collection of notes, to which Melanch- thon aptly refers as a "farrago negligentius coacervata.n 16 The Chronicles purport to be a universal history from the Creation to the ReformationP Fundamentally there is no difference between Melanch- thon's and Luther's view concerning the content and the pur- pose of history. Luther took the first step in ascribing equal value to the secular and the spiritual factors in history. Me- lanchthon followed his example, but Melanchthon was superior to the Italian Humanists in the pedagogical arrangement or his materials and in his scientific approach to history. established the position of scientific studies on a firm ba~ demanded a coherent narrative, banning mere annals, and, signed to topography, chronology, and genealogy their pI< as auxiliary sciences to history. In Germany he led the way from mere compilations of disconnected items to properly authenticated accounts. Protestant research in history is deeply indebted to his influence.18 Sleidan, for instance, adopted Melanchthon's view of history as a coherent narratio. Emphasizing that it must be an unconditionally vera narratio, he introduced the custom of weaving documents and records as proofs into his narrative. Flacius Illyricus systematically searched through all materials of church history for proofs to justify the Reformation doctrines and to find weapons against the Papacy. Thus a progressive change is discemible in the 15 Cf. A. Jj'. Neander (ed.), Vitae Quator Reforma.ton (Berolini: Sumtibus G. Eichleri, 1841), pp. iiif. 16 Menke-Glueckert, op. cit., p.34 et passim, 17 Cf. John Carion, The thre bokes of Chronicles, trans. G· Lynne (London, 1550). This edition contains a lengthy introducti "the vse of readynge hystoryes." 18 Menke-Glueckert, op. cit., p. 64. HISTORY AS A WEAPON IN CONTROVERSY 753 writing of history. Luther and Melanchthon treat the secular and the spiritual or ecclesiastical as equal partners in history; Flacius and his co-workers, as will be seen, prefer the secular to the ecclesiastical; Reineccius is one of the first to use the term "pragmatic history" for political history; Keckermann calls this the real content of history; 19 Seckendorf returns the church to its rightful place as an important factor in history, Melanchthon, as already indicated, merely adopted Lu- ther's views on the respective position of Church and State in history. Luther was the creative genius in the new church history as well as in other phases of the Reformation. Being too deeply engrossed with other important matters, Luther wrote no church history himself; but his controversy with Rome frequently compelled him to appeal to the records of history; and thus, in the course of his research, he not only acquired a rather respectable treasure or historical knowl- edge, but also formed a definite opinion regarding the use and value of history. His pronouncements on these points became basic for Protesta.nt historiography.20 Besides extolling its didactic or pragmatic use for the edification of the people, he valued history as a VleapOD. in polemics.21 Luther often p;.'aised the usefulness of history. In his introduction to Wenceslaus Link's German translation of Galeatius Capella's De bello Mediolanensi, S2'i.t rebus in l(alia gestis pro restitutione FYrtn- cisci Stortiae Nlediol. duds, he says: Was die Philosophi, weise Leute, und die ganze Vernunft lehren oder erdenken kann, das zum ehrlichen Leben nuetz- lich sei, das gibt die Historie mit Exempel unrl Geschichten gewaltiglich, und stellt es gleich [sam] vor die Augen, als waere man dabei, und saehe es also geschehen, alles was vorhin die W orte durch die Lehre in die Ohren getragen haben. Da findet man beid~, wie die gethan, gelassen, gelebt haben, so fromm und weise gewest sind, und wie es ihnen gegangen, oder wie sie belohnt sind; aueh wiederum, wie die gelebt haben, so boese und unverstaendig gewest sind, und wie sie dafuer bezahlt sind. Darum sind auch die Historienschreiber die allernuetz- lichsten Leute und besten Lehrer, dass man sie nimmermehr 19 Ibid., pp. 133 f. 20 Walter Nigg, Di,e Kirchengeschichtsschreibung. Grundzuege ihre'( historischen Entwicklung (lVIuenchen: C. H. Beck'sche Veralgsbuch- handlung, 1934), p.42. 21 Ibid., p. 44. 48 754 HISTORY AS A WEAPON IN CONTROVERSY genug kann ehren, loben, oder danksagen, und soUte das sein ein Werk der grossen Herren, als Kaiser, Koenige, usw., die da ihre Zeit Historien mit Fleiss liessen schreiben und, auf die Librarei verwahrt, beilegen, auch sich keinel' Kosten lassen dauern, so auf solche Leute, so tuechtig dazu waeren, zu halten und zu erziehen ginge.22 The use of history in controversy is emphasized by Lu- ther with characteristically pugnacious vigor in his introduc- tion to a small book entitled PabsttTeue Hadrians IV. und Alexanders lII. gegen Kaiser Friedrich Barba1'osi gei£ebt. ,Aus der Histm'ia zusammengezogen, nuetzZich ,Z'U lese-no In this he says: Recht und wohl 1St'S gethan, wer's nur thun kann, dass man den Pabst getrost herausstreiche a1s den Erzfeind unsers Herrn und Heilandes, und Verstoerer seiner heiligen christ- lichen Kirche. Hiezu dienen, neben der heiligen Schrift, sem wohl die Historien von den Kaisern. darinnen man siehet, wie die Paebste voller Teufel sind gewesen und noch immer bleiben, dazu sehr grosse, grobe, ungelehrte Esel in del' Schrift, zur ewigen Schande des verfluchten Stuhls zu Rom, sich be-· weiset haben. Denn siehe nur hier an den teuflischen Hoch- muth und Bosheit Hadriani IV. und Alexandri III., wie sie mit dem loeblichen Kaiser Frederico I. umgehen, und ich halte wohl, wo sie jetzt sind in jenem Leben, oben, mitten oder unten in del' Hoelle, so duerfen sie keines Pelzes, und sind die allerheiligsten Vaeter die allerhoellischten worden, denn von ihrer Busse liest man nichts; sind in ihren Suenden, der sie als der loeblichsten Thaten geruehmt haben sein wollen, gestorben.22a In his book Luther als Kirchenhistoriker Ernst Schaefer shows that Luther, for his time, acquired a very respectable Olowledge of the history of the early Christian era and the .v.Iiddle Ages, which was not limited to subjects of primary Jnportance to his reformatory work, but also included more general topics evincing an interest in history as such, especially church history. Schaefer believes that it is possible to re- construct from Luther's writings a fairly complete account of )re-Reformation church history.23 He agrees with Nigg that lccording to Luther the purpose of historical studies and the 22 Joh. George Walch (ed.) , Dr. MaTtin Luthers Saemmtliche Schrif- ten (23 vols.; St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1880-1910), XIV, eols. 376-378. 22 a Ibid.., XIX, col. 1964. 23 Ernst Schaefer, Luther als Kirchenhistoriker. Eifl, Beitrag zu,- Geschichte cler Wissenschaft (Guetersloh: Druck und V, r von C. Bertelsmann, 1~i)1), p. 3 f. mSTORY AS A WE...i .,; •• IN CONTROVERSY '15!) usefulness of good objective history are chiefly pedagogical,24 but for the Reformer's immediate purposes also polemical. History served Luther, he says, as an effective aid in his polemics against the curia and the abuses within the Church "Zwar ging er," says Schaefer, "in seinem Kampfe von dem Boden der heiligen Schrift aus vor; doch war es ihm eine besondere Freude, seinen Anschauungen dUTch geschichtliche Beispiele eine weitere Stuetze zu bieten." 25 One must, how- ever, guard against thinking of Luther as a church historian in the modem sense of that term. W. Koehler warns against that mistake in his critique of Schaefer's book.26 The first volume of church history owing its origm to the Reformation appeared at Wittenberg, in 1536, with an intro- duction by Luther. This was Robert Barnes's Vitae Romar nornm PontifiCtLm, a work which was indebted to Platina and other Humanists for its historical content, being original only in its polemical interpolations. Barnes followed faithfully Lu- ther's prescription quoted above from his introduction to Pabsttreue Hadrians IV. v:nd Alexande1's III. gegen Kaiser Friedrich Barbarossa geuebt. He blames all the evil of history on the Popes and glorifies their secular opponents.27 How 24 Ibid., p. 18. 25 Ibid., p.19. 26 Cf. W. Koehler, Luther 'Una die Kirchengelfchichte nach sei'M1l Schrijten, zunaechst bis 1521 (Erlangen: Verlag von Fr. Junge, 1900), p. 3 if.: "Abgesehen davon, dass Schaefer den Begriff der Kirchen- geschichte zu eng fasste, indem er sie lediglich auf die aeusseren Ereig- nisse bezog, hingegen das innere Leben, Entstehung und Geschichte des Kultus, der Bussinstitution u. a. ausser Betracht liess - dass waere noch kein methodischer Fehler gewesen -, hat er sich den Weg zu einem Verstaendnis der geschichtliChen Aeusserungen Luthers verbaut durch seine Auffassung Luthers 'als Kirchenhistorikers' unter modernstem Sehwinkel. Gewiss kann man durch Aneinanderreihung der bei Luther' sich findenden Notizen das Geschichtsbild, welches er hatte, rekon- struieren, aber es ist ein prinzipieller Fehler, nunmehr dieses Geschichts- bild auf dem Wege historischer Forschung bei Luther entstanden sein zu lassen. Es if't ein Bau ohne Fundament, wenn man ein Geschichts- bild entwirft, ohne aufs genaueste zu pruefen, wie es entstanden ist. Bei Luther ist es durchweg entstanden auf Grund seiner inneren Erlah- rung; diese ist ueberall das Primaere, die Geschichtsauffassung dati Secundaere, darum auch hat diese sich geaendert, je nachdem die erstere sich wandelte. Diese Einsicht, und damit zusammenhaengend eine Entwicklung der Geschichtsauffassung Luthers, vennisst man bel Schaefer. Natuerlich schliesst die behauptete Prioritaet der religioeser. Erfahrung nicht aus, dass diese selbst durch Eindruecke aus hlstorischer Lektuere beeinfiusst wurde; selbst dann sind die historiscben Urteile nicht streng historisch, sondern Werturteile, sofern sie, in das religioese Selbstbewusstsein aufgenommen, dieses widerspiegeln." 27 Fueter, op. cit., pp. 247 f. 756 HISTORY AS A WEAPON IN CONTROVERSY rapidly and widely this view of history spread is seen from John Bale's Illustrium majoris Britanniae sC7'iptorum sum- marium in quast1am cent'urias divisum, a dictionary of English writers from the earliest times to his own. This work might have excelled all other Humanistic collections of biographies had its author not been prejudiced; but, as Fueter remarks, in him the Protestant was stronger than the Humanist or historian. He inserted material which was unrelated to his subject for the mere sake of polemics and permitted his Prot·· estantbias to misinterpret the statements of the authors whom he discussed in his work. He falsified the Middle Ages by transferring into the past the intent of the contemporary struggle between the "papacy and pure doctrine" and between the new culture of the lay princedoms and the clergy which clung to the old scholastic faith.28 The early Protestant historians, however, were not the only ones to draft history into the service of polemics. One of the most successful writers to do this was John Cochlaeus, a Catholic. For a short time a supporter of Luther, he sud- denly, in 1521, ;:ppeared in the ranks of his opponents. From that time on his pen was kept busy against the reformers, par- ticularly Luther. The reasons for his change of heart are not important here; the fact remains, however, that his belliger- ence spoiled a promising Humanist. He wrote his historical works to expose the groundlessness and wickedness of all heresy and to incite posterity "to catch the little foxes while they are still young." 29 Of special significance are his Com- mentaria de a,ctis et scriptis Martini LutheTi.30 These are partly what their name indicates, comments on the acts and writings of Luther; partly a vindication of Cochlaeus' own activity as Luther's opponent. Spahn explains that if one would understand the true nature of this extraordinary work, it is necessary to consider the time in which it was written. Cochlaeus at that time was struggling with the reformers quite alone; already his own strength was threatening to give out. 28 Ibid., pp. 248 f. 29 Martin Spahn, Johannes Cochlaeus, E'irl. Lehensbild aus der Zeit deT Kirchenspaltung (Berlin: Verlag von Felix L. Dames, 1898), p.233. 30 Jonnes Cochlaeus, Historia de Actis et Scriptis Martini Lutheri Saxonis, Chronogmphice, Ex ordine ab Anno Domini M. D. XVII, vsq; ad Annum M. D. XLVI. Inclusive, fideliter conscripta, & ad posLos dena1'rata (Parisiis: Apud Nicolavm Chesneav, via Iacobaea, 1565). HISTORY AS A WEAPON IN CONTROVERSY 757 At that point he attempted to rouse the sense of duty of the negligent shepherds of the faith, as if with a final cry to pierce to the very marrow of the bones, by calling to their memory the deeds and the writings of the Church's destroyer.3! The effectiveness of history as a weapon in controversy is forcefully demonstrated by the results of Cochlaeus' Com- mentaria. Spahn asserts that Cochlaeus was much more suc- cessful in influencing his readers with them than with his polemical pamphlets. Whereas he possibly did not win a single reader to his view with his pamphlets, his Commentaria have r emained the basis of the Catholic interpretation of the Reformation to this day. They put an end to that sup- posedly "crassest error" obtaining in Catholic circles "that Luther was a good, pious, and saintly man, who had pene- trated into Holy Scripture before all others and more than all others." 32 Raynaldus, for instance, cites Cochlaeus on Luther's alleged familiarity with the devil and rages against the Reformer for pages, quoting him in addition to Surius and Ulembergius.33 Seckendorf found it necessary to meet the attacks of Cochlaeus. Barnes and Bale still depended entirely on Humanism for their materials. The history of dogma, which certainly must be regarded as of great moment in a religious controversy, was not included in their work. This defect was corrected in a truly prodigious manner by Matthias Vlacich (Flacius) , named Illyricus after his homeland, and his co-workers- the Centuriators. Flacius, born in 1520 at Albona in Istria, engaged in Humanist studies in Venice, was converted to Lutheranism at the age of nineteen and went to Germany, where, in 1544, he was made professor of Hebrew at Witten- berg. Becoming involved in a controversy with Melanchthon and other theologians over the Interim, he went to Magdeburg, where he began to edit that gigantic work which because of the place of its origin and chronological arrangement is fre- quently referred to as the Magdeburg Centuries.3'! Empha- 31 Johannes Cochlaeus, p.238. 32 Ibid., p. 239 f. 33 Odoricus Raynaldus, Annales Ecclesiastici ab Anno MCXCVIII (19 vols.; Lucae: Typis Leonardi Venturini, 1755), XII, 174 if. 34 Matthias Flacius et al., Ecclesiastica Historia, Integram Ecclesiae Christi Ideam, Quantum ad Locum. Propagationem, Persecutionem, Tran- quillitatem, Doctrinam, Haereses, Ceremonias, Gubernationem, Schismata, Synodos, Personas, Miracula, Martyria, Religiones extra Ecclesiam, & 758 IllSTORY AS A WEAPON IN CONTROVERSY slZmg their importance, Fueter says: "Erst durch die Zen- turiatoren ist die moderne Kirchengeschichtsschreibung eigent- lich gegruendet worden." 35 They were the first to comb systematically the whole field of historical tradition to find material for church history, and the first to free Protestant historical polemics from dependence on Humanism and the books of Medieval church law. Whatever Protestant apolo- gists needed by way of historical proofs was for the first time, and almost embracing all possible sources, arranged by them in a cleqr and orderly manner for ready reference. The ar- tificial arrangement of the materials according to centuries r eveals the purpose of the work. It was to be an arsenal for Protestant polemics, and each weapon was to be so placed that the warrior could lay his hand on it at once. In view of the mode of presentation, says Nigg, one is compelled to designate the Magdeburg Centuries as a handbook of polemics. Both form and content support this view. The whole of church- history materials is pressed through the filter of polemics. It is a partial writing of confessional church history. The Catholic adversary shall be crushed. The Centuries, Nigg concludes, can therefore be called a historical work only with certain qualifications.s6 Among various reasons stated in the "Praefatio" why pre- Reformation histories were not adequate, the Centuriators mention as the sixth: They are, so to speak, only biographers, for they are mainly occupied with describing and praising persons. They commemorate of what nature and how holy some man was, what a wonderful life he led, how much he fasted and prayed, and the miracles he performed living or dead. Some of these, however, are not above suspicion of not agreeing with the truth. No dogmas, no controversies are there clearly related.aT The dogmata and certamina are to the Centuria tors the im- portant things. It was only natural that in the struggle between the secular and the ecclesiastical powers the Centuriators took statum Imperij poIiticum attinet , secundum singulas Centurias, perspicuo ordine c01np/ectens: singularl diligentia & fide ex uetissimis & optimis historicis, patribus & alijs scriptoribus congesta: Per aliquot studiosos & pios uiros in urbe Magdtburgica (13 vols.; Basileae: Per Ionnem Opo- rinum, 1560-1574) . 35 Op. cit., p. 250. 36 Op. cit., p . 63. 37 Flacius et aI., op. cit., I. HISTORY AS A WEAPON IN CONTROVERSY 759 the side of the former. In so doing they were simply following in the footsteps of their Protestant predecessors. The murder of Thomas a Becket is related without a word of censure for Henry II. In the struggles of Emperors Henry IV and Fred- erick II with the Papacy, piety is on the side of the former and on that of the latter the vice of lust for power. Until the eighteenth century the historical conception and method of the Centuriators served the Protestants as a model not only for popular church history, but also for scientific research. Even the form of the Centt~ries was imitated. The Zurich theologian John Henry Hottinger adopted their pattern so completely in his Historia ecclesiastica Novi Testamenti that the volumes which treat the fifteenth and even more fully the sixteenth century have been regarded as a continuation of the Centuries.as The historians of the Counter Reformation, like the Prot- estants, wrote didactic history and used it for polemics. The Jesuits in Germany, according to Duhr, acquainted their pupils with history and archaeology by having them read, and by ex- plaining to them, the historians of ancient Greece and Rome; but this alone did not seem to suffice. The Rhenish com- mission of 1586, emphasizing the great value and necessity of history, recommended that a course in secular and church his- tory should be given in the humanities and rhetoric. This, said the commission, would impart knowledge of events, furnish examples of virtues and vices, and radiate in these Christian times light and enthusiasm.31l Regarding his pro- posed history, probably intended for the Gymnasium at Co- logne, Rethius says: Die reichste Tugendsaat werden wir in den Buechern ueber die Kirchengeschichte ernten. Wenn aber auch in del' Weltgeschichte wenige Tugenden und viele Laster ge- £unden werden, so lehrt sie aber doch durch viele Beispiele, dass Gott, der Herr der Welt, das Boese nicht unbestraft laesst.40 In his nlustres minae (1856 ff.) the Bavarian Jesuit Johann Bissel (1601-1682) attempts to show that God is indeed 88 Fueter, op. cit., pp.25O-252. 39 Bernhard Duhr, Geschichte der Jesuiten in den Laendem deut- seher Zunge (4 vols.; Freiburg: Herdersche Verlagshandlung; Muenchen: Verlagsanstalt vorm. G. J. Manz, 1907-1928) , m, 258.