Martin Luther, Elizabeth Vandiver, Ralph Keen and Thomas D. Frazel

in Luther's Lives

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9780719061042
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700358 | DOI:

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There are only two substantial eyewitness accounts of the life of Martin Luther. Best known is a 9,000-word Latin memoir by Philip Melanchthon published in Latin at Heidelberg in 1548, two years after the Reformer's death. But the other substantial vita of Luther—at 175,000 words by far the longest and most detailed eyewitness account of the Reformer—has never been published in English. Recorded contemporaneously over the first twenty-five years of the Reformation by Luther's lifelong antagonist Johannes Cochlaeus, the Commentaria de Actis et Scriptis Martini Lutheri was published in Latin at Mainz in 1549. This chapter introduces this confrontation between Melanchthon's vita and Cochlaeus's Commentary read against each other, the rival texts rekindle the colossal crossfire of faith-against-faith that animated and illuminated the Reformation.

Keywords: Philip Melanchthon; Martin Luther; Reformation; Johannes Cochlaeus; rival texts

Chapter.  2119 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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