Saturday, June 14, 2008

Luther's Imaginary Letter to Pope Leo, Busted.

The web-page, The Orthodox vs the Heterodox Luther, which I referenced in my last blog article, Luther's Imaginary Letter to Pope Leo January 6, 1519 now contains the following explanation / retraction in red lettering:

[Note: this was written in 1992. I've learned tons of things about Martin Luther since that time; even in just the last few years, as I continue to do further research and reading. In several cases, I have changed my opinion on particular elements of his beliefs and behavior. Thus, I wouldn't express several things in this article the way I did then, and I've discovered one definite inaccuracy; see the next note below. I have kept this article online, listed on my "Resume" because it was my first published article. But I don't list it on my Luther web page, due to its outdated nature and relative lack of documentation. At the time I wrote it (before I was even online), I didn't have nearly the resources available to me that I now have]

As to the Luther quotation in question:

[This was mistaken documentation on my part. Luther indeed did write (or say) all these words, but they actually derive from two sources, and neither is a letter to Pope Leo X from this date. The first clause came from the Leipzig Disputation with Johann Eck in July 1519; the rest is from a tract called An Instruction on Certain Articles, which dates from late February 1519. For much more on these four Luther utterances and related issues, see my paper about Luther's views on the papacy from 1518 to 1520]

There you go folks... a "published article" (obviously, in whichever publication it made it to, the editors did not consider accuracy as something necessary), of a non-letter taken from two different documents, put forth as "apologetics." I'd like to know who first put these two different quotes together to make it one quote? Who attributed the bogus date to the quote? Who did this research? I can't even blame O'Hare, he didn't put two different quotes together to make them one. He didn't attribute the date "January 6, 1519" to it. Someone did. Someone was putting forth propaganda. These are most likely questions I'll never get the answers to, but my work is done here....

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