Archive for the ‘Audioso’ Category

Speculative Luther Citation Tree

January 15, 2008

German Original statements in “These words, ‘this is my body,’ etc.”
Cochlaeus’ inaccurate gloss on a single sentence from that work.
Bellarmine and Chrismann (independently of one another)
with Bellarmine serving as major node, with many Catholic apologists (possibly including Gregory Martin, de Sales, and so forth) and Leibniz obtaining it from Bellarmine or from someone who relied on Bellarmine.
For example,
Audioso obtaining from Bellarmine
Balmes obtaining from Audioso
Ray obtaining from Balmes

Caveat: This is just speculative (though certain connectors, like the Leibniz-Bellarmine connector, are strong). I can’t recall where Steve said he found the quotation.

UPDATE: I note that the current version of Dave’ page states: “The other remaining task is to give a solid contextual interpretation (because the accusation all along has been that the quotation was snatched from context and isolated, thus leading to a false impression of what Luther meant). I have already made an ambitious start in that endeavor in section VIII above. More is forthcoming, including the analysis of a Professor of German of our citation, based on the context of the original work in German (we have photocopies of the beginning of it, from the Weimar Werke collection, obtained at the University of Detroit). We also have photocopies of the relevant sections from the Erlangen and Walch editions (obtained at Concordia University library in Ann Arbor).”

Hopefully the original German text will be shared if only in image form. That would permit the main question (about whether the quote is being abused by being taken out of context), to be answered. The other questions (about whether the translation from German to Latin is fair (or not) or even whether it is the “official” translation or a Cochlaean paraphrase, are interesting but secondary.

Oh well … I guess we will wait and see.

At this time I am most interested in (in order of interest):

1. The original German context. (I assume that this will be forthcoming, and will demonstrate that the Latin translation we have seen is something of a [more or less, I’m not sure] rough paraphrase. I assume it has not been posted yet because of size issues.)

2. The “official” Latin translation (to contrast with Cochlaeus’) [If it is close to Cochlaeus’ it will reduce the issues involved]

3. Even one writer (Catholic, nominal Lutheran, or anything) who quoted more of the context than Cochlaeus. (I doubt this will be found, but I’d be happy to be wrong.)

4. Any Catholic writer who ever answered Whitaker’s charge that the quotation was a spurius Cochlaean invention. (I also doubt that this will be found, prior to this particular exchange.)


I note that I have omitted the possibility that Cochlaeus may have obtained his gloss legitimately from the “official” translation, since Cochlaeus wrote prior to the issuance of that translation. This pretty much solves the derivation puzzle.

Mostly it goes:

Bellarmine and Chrismann
-and from Bellarmine-
Many Catholic writers (including Balmes) and to Leibniz (plagiarizing Bellarmine), either directly or indirectly

I’m conflicted about whether to assign Gregory Martin’s translation (in English) to derivation from either Cochlaeus or Bellarmine. I’m not sure it matters much.

(Incidentally, I think Grisar’s different quotation is not derived directly from this family. Grisar appears actually have read the original work. Grisar misstates Luther’s position, but he is far more fair and reasonable than any who followed Cochlaeus.)

Here is Grisar:

Grisar’s tag is clearly incorrect, as even Armstrong seems to have admitted. Luther was not “plead[ing] the cause of the Catholic principle of authority.” Luther attributed not “his own Scriptural system” to the devil, but the dissension of the fanatics and the quicksand of popery. Grisar was far more fair (his “obliged” seems to go to far) but was still incorrect. The context is available for anyone to read it. If you doubt my word read it (link).

As far as I am concerned, the derivation puzzle is solved. Cochlaeus is the ultimate source, and Luther never wrote the words attributed to him, although he wrote something from which Cochlaeus derived what he did. Furthermore, Bellarmine is the secondary major source.

All that remains is (a) the interesting question of whether Cochlaeus’ gloss was fair. If the English translation is accurate, then “necessarium” is Cochlaeus’ invention and is misleading. It is “necessarium” chiefly that is key to the Catholic use of the quotation. It’s a fairly subtle change, but one that creates a vast difference in meaning. The (b) for that (a) is that we should check the “official” Latin version to see if “necessarium” appears there too. If so, then that will weaken both the claim to Cochlaean derivation (since others could theoretically have extracted it from the official translation), as well as the claim that the translation is unfair.

There are several other aspects of the gloss. These are less significant, but when combined with the major error, make the misrepresentation worse.

a) Man-made rules etc. is replaced by councils. This changes the tone of the sentence. In context, one of the many man-made rules that Luther has in mind are councils, but also included are popes, etc.

b) “Confugiamus” suggests taking refuge, which again changes the tone of the sentence. In context, Luther was suggesting that men would turn to man-made rules as a way to quench controversy.

c) “Propter” without context, suggests that the reason for the turning of men to man-made rules is primarily the diverse interpreations of Scripture. In fact, in context, the reason is the influence of Satan.

d) “Fidei unitatem” is probably an accurate translation of the words, but out of context one loses the saracstic sense in which Luther intended them. Recall his earlier comments about the unity of the faith, for he called that: “a united obedience to the glosses of the fathers and to the holy see at Rome.”

In short, the sense Luther gives is condemnatory: first Satan stirs up trouble, then Satan imposes legalism. The way Luther is quoted, one cannot get that point. In fact, in most cases one is led to believe that Luther was suggesting that councils would be the “necessary” cure for the disease of individual interpretation.

Ah well, if anyone sees that Dave has made progress towards those ends, let me know.


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