On a recent post I mentioned Mitch Pacwa's upcoming Reformation video series. Pacwa was recently on Catholic Answers to discuss the project. He's looking to do a ten part series on the Reformation from a Roman Catholic perspective. I mentioned Pacwa says Luther "apparently had killed somebody in a duel."
Buried in my e-mail spam was a tip from someone who thinks he might know where Pacwa got this tidbit from:
A German biographer named Hans-Joachim Neumann published a book in 1995 entitled Luthers Leiden (English title Luther's Suffering) in which he puts together some circumstantial evidence that in 1505 Luther killed a friend of his in a duel, the friend's name being Hieronimus Buntz, and that the reason Luther entered the monastery was to escape punishment.
So based on this tidbit, I've been looking around for more information. On this web page comes the following:
Luther’s biographer and admirer, Hans-Joachim Neumann has put together much circumstantial evidence, which indicates, that Luther (who was named ”Luder” until 1520) killed his friend Hieronimus Buntz in a duel in 1505 and entered a monastery to escape punishment. In addition, Luder had a relationship with a married woman since 1503. (Luthers Leiden [Luther’s Suffering] ob cit., p. 15 ff.)
Now the webpage is a typical example of Internet propaganda. However, that doesn't necessarily mean this fact is incorrect. Here's another web page tidbit translated from the German:
Evidence suggesting that Luther killed his friend in the dispute Hieronimus Buntz. 1529 Luther wrote about his time monk: "A man slayer I was" and the biographer of Veit Dietrich, 1532, the Table Talk Luther noted: "After the extraordinary decree of God, I was made a monk, so they do not take me prisoner. Otherwise I would be very easy been caught. As it was, they could not, because it took me to the whole Order. "
And another (Translated from Swedish):
There have been two duels, where Luther attended during his undergraduate studies. The first duel was under Dietrich Emmes inquiries between Luther and Conrad Wigant April 16, 1503 near Stotternheim. The second duel was fought between Luther and Hieronimus Buntz in January 1505 and died in that regard Buntz. Where it happened is still an open question.
And another (translated from Spanish)
As to Hans-Joachim Neumann's book, he's a professor and maxillofacial surgeon at the teaching hospital of the Humboldt University in Berlin. His book attempts to use current medical knowledge on Luther. That is, he looks at Luther's health from the historical reports, and then at times diagnoses his suffering and how that impacted his work.
I put this post together in about twenty minutes, so when I have more time, I'll be looking further into this based on the clues above.
Just to prove I'm not the meanie some think I am, I searched the term "Dietrich Emme" and found a helpful bit of information via this link (Give credit when it's due). This blog posted an edited snippet from the magazine, Thirty Days: "Struck, But Not By Lightning," by Tommaso Ricci, No. 2, 1992, pp. 62-64), worth checking out on this topic.
I'm always curious as to the Roman Catholic interpretation of Luther & the Reformation. I do like Mitch Pacwa, but I've heard him say some not so true historical stuff on Luther & the Reformation over the years. Perhaps now that he'll be focusing directly on Luther & the Reformation, his facts will be updated. Sometimes we hear stuff, and just repeat it, not realizing it's wrong. With this particular event (or non-event), I'm hopeful he'll be fair. The conclusions seem to be based on circumstantial evidence, and it's interesting that not too many people have picked up on this, leading me to believe it's not compelling circumstantial evidence. Even Pacwa used the word "apparently". On the other hand, even if this "duel" is true, it doesn't change anything.