The Evolution of the Language of the Reformation in Hungary (1522–1526)
The spatial framework of this study is the strip of towns lying in the region that used to be known as Upper Hungary (today Slovakia), communities that in the sixteenth century had German speaking minorities. At the time in question, there were numerous events and historical texts in which one can discern the use of a new ecclesiastical language. These sources are given voice with the help of philological methods, for instance intertextual analysis. A letter written by Bartholomeus Francfordinus Pannonius in 1522 constitutes the first example of church language reform in Hungary, though his words exemplify more the linguistic tendencies of Humanism than of the Reformation. A letter written by Mary of Habsburg in 1523 demonstrates the queen’s interest in and understanding of religious reformation, but also her desire to maintain her distance as sovereign. According to the views revealed during the inquest against alleged heretics in Sopron in 1524, traditional Franciscan criticism of the Church had intermingled with ideas deriving from Lutheran thought. At the time of the mining town revolt (1525), miners used (for instance) Saint Paul’s apostolic greeting (Romans 1:7) as a sign of difference and usually included them in the introductory section of letters to their comrades. As the sources make evident, the apostolic greeting served as a form of identification within the Evangelical Movement. These textual analyses illustrate the significant impact of the Reformation in Hungary in the period before the Battle of Mohács (1526).1
keywords: urbanization, evangelical movement, language event
The Reformation as a Language Event
“Language event” (Sprachereignis) is a key term related to Gerhard Ebeling’s (1912–2001) famous lectures on Luther.2 In 1962–1963 these presentations made this term, originally invented by Ernst Fuchs, popular in historical theology, thus making it a kind of keyword in all of the scholarship and research on the Reformation, not simply the figure of Luther himself.3
Ebeling offers this approach, the concept of the language event, as a dynamic alternative to replace the more fixed, dogmatic and denominational views. He concluded his lecture with the following remarks:
Examining Luther’s way of thinking we should be open to the encounter with him as a language event too, since he did little else than strive to give proper voice to the word (das rechte Zur-Sprache-Bringen des Wortes).4
Addressing the fundamental interdependency of language and theology, Ebeling then cites Luther, who in his pedagogical program of 1524 wrote the following:
Although the gospel came and still comes to us through the Holy Spirit alone, we cannot deny that it came through the medium of languages, was spread abroad by that means, and must be preserved by the same means. […] And let us be sure of this: we will not long preserve the gospel without the languages. […] If through our neglect we let the languages go (which God forbid!), we shall not only lose the gospel, but the time will come when we shall be unable either to speak or write a correct Latin or German.5
To summarize, given the following experiences, which took place primarily in Germany, it is worth examining the Reformation as a language event. The gestures that were made by reformers (breaking monastic oaths, celibacy, the fast, occupying properties and taking possession of goods, innovations in rituals and in the organization of the congregation) were preceded by reform preaching (in oral or written form). Furthermore, as an evangelical movement the Reformation created its own terminology, which served as a means of identification as well, while the spread of the ideas of the Reformation acknowledged linguistic boundaries. Finally, the contents of the textual sources themselves are inseparable from the linguistic context in which they survived.6
I attempt in this essay to address two interrelated questions. Using philological methods, can one discern in Hungary signs of the new language of the Church and the language reform of the Reformation in the most controversial early phase of the history of Reformation in Hungary? And does this constitute adequate substantiation for the contention that in the Hungarian state of the late Middle Ages (in other words before the Battle of Mohács in 1526) the principles of the Reformation were met with some interest and enthusiasm among the burghers of the cities?
I have found three well-known series of events in the early history of the Hungarian Reformation in which the use of the new language of the Church is manifest. The first is the letter of Queen Mary of Habsburg, the wife of King Louis II, dated 7 June, 1523. The second involves the texts related to the inquest launched against people accused of heresy in Sopron (1524). The third involves the documents regarding uprisings in mining towns in the region known at the time as Upper Hungary (today Slovakia, 1525–1526), including a letter of Bartholomaeus Francfordinus, notary of Selmecbánya (today Banská Štiavnica in Slovakia), dated 19 May, 1522.7 Each of these texts was written by a member of a German-speaking community (most of them in cities populated primarily by German-speaking burghers, among the German-speaking miners and in the openly multilingual royal court, where German was used primarily as the lingua franca), and most of the examples of language events in question here survived in German (though there are also some examples in Latin). Although the language of state was Latin (the records of the inquest in Sopron were written in Latin, for instance) and even Humanists tended to prefer to correspond in Latin, private correspondence and documents pertaining to municipal administration were written in the language of the local majority.
Propriety, Piousness and Righteousness: Luther’s language in the Royal Court
In the Brandenburger Literalien of the Nuremberg Staatsarchiv there is a strange file that was first cited by Vilmos Fraknói (1843–1924) when he published one of the twelve letters.8 With one exception, the letters were all addressed to Casimir, Marquis of Brandenburg (1481–1527), the cousin of electors Joachim of Brandenburg and Albert of Mainz, who served as a diplomat and military leader in the service of the Emperor. The authors were Louis II (1506–1526), his elder sister Anne of Bohemia and Hungary (1504–1547, also known as Anna Jagellonica), and his wife, Queen Mary (1505–1558). Letters by Anne that were written in 1520 in Innsbruck involve the problem of her approaching marriage, a topic that is familiar in the secondary literature. Anne wished to marry Charles V (1500–1558) instead of his younger brother, Ferdinand of Habsburg (1503–1564).9 In the earlier of the two letters written by Mary (dated 9 December, 1522), the queen assures Casimir that she is doing her best to foster a ceasefire between the Polish King and the third brother, Albert of Brandenburg, the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order of Knights (1490–1568).10 However, the second of the two letters (dated 7 June, 1523), which was reprinted many times after being published by Fraknói, is a scathingly sarcastic jibe at Albert:
My honorable Prince, dear vicious cousin (poßer vetter), greetings to you. My dear vicious cousin (pößer vetter), I think you must have completely forgotten about your truthful cousin (die frume muem), and that must be why you haven’t written for such a long time. I have not forgotten about you in my pious prayers: I persevered and asked God daily to make you as just (frum machen) as I am. Please, let me know whether my prayer helped or not. If it did not, you can buy some justness (frumkait) me for a few pennies – I will not begrudge it to you; I have too much anyway (fil zu fil frumkayt). I would gladly have written more but must go to George’s garden to eat, and the messenger wishes to tarry no longer.
Written in Buda in a rush, on the Sunday after Corpus Christi in the 1523rd year of the Lord.
Your truthful cousin (euer frume muem), Mary, by her own hand.11
The letters indicate that the two of them shared an intimate relationship. They might also mark a turning point after which the teenage Queen Mary sought no longer to be the object and means of politics, but rather its subject and active agent.12
When Albert received Mary’s letter, he was already considered a supporter of Luther and the Reformation. His first surviving letter to Luther, for instance, was written only a week later.13 Mary’s “frivolous”14 accusations seemed incomprehensible to historians for quite some time. The first persuasive explanation was given by Ute Monika Schwob, who highlighted the linguistic and theological-historical dimensions of the short letter. It is worth touching on her interpretation a bit here.15
As the citation above indicates (and the few words given in the original), the axis of this short letter is the opposition of fromm (or “frum,” meaning pious) and böse (or “pöß,” meaning evil). These two adjectives were used as a kind of opposing pair since the Middle High German period, while also going through numerous changes in meaning. It is therefore not easy to determine whether in the given context the opposition is legal, moral or theological and religious in its content. Referring to a person, the term fromm (and other terms derived from it) implies respect and the respectable burgher lifestyle (including the ability to duel, marry, and socialize politely), in other words clearly a secular meaning. Were this virtue (Frommheit) in question (and this is implied by use of the word böse), the person in question would be brought before the courts, which were able to restore the honor of the offended party (fromm machen).16 Although as early as the fifteenth century one finds scattered occurrences of the use of the word fromm with religious or moral implications (as indicated by the use of the term Frömmigheit to mean “merit”),17 from the perspective of its connotations in this context the court procedure mentioned above was more decisive.
In 1518–1519 Luther deliberately applied the derivatives of the root fromm in order to express the meaning of the Latin theological terms iustus, iustitia and iustificare in German, replacing gerecht and Gerechtigkeit, terms that had been in use earlier. This theological neologism is consistently used in The Freedom of a Christian, a book that was published in 1520 in two languages18 (fortunately there is a parallel Latin version19 of the original German text, so we are spared the task of offering long-winded explanations of its meaning). The everyday process of restoring honor exemplifies the teaching on justification. The impact of Luther’s use of language and word choice was discernible in 1523 at the first disputation of Zurich,20 and it led to further shifts in meaning (for example in the writings of Philipp Melanchthon or Martin Bucer). It came to mean “pious,” an implication that allowed it to serve as the counterpart of the Latin pius, pietas (the first instances are found in the Augsburg Confession, the Apology and some other documents of the same period21). This remains the primary connotation of the word group today. Luther himself made accommodations for this shift in meaning, using the earlier term “gerecht” in his 1534 translation of the Bible and the 1537 Smalcald Articles in order to avoid misinterpretations (in the 1522 translation of the New Testament, the Greek dikaios is translated for the most part as “fromm”), even if he never abandoned his distinctive interpretation of the terms.22
From a chronological perspective, it is worth considering the above-cited letter of Queen Mary in light of the 1520 bilingual tract entitled The Freedom of a Christian. In the citations below the original terms are included in parentheses:
Who then can fully appreciate what this royal marriage means? Who can understand the riches of the glory of this grace? Here this rich and divine (frummer, pius) bridegroom Christ marries this poor, wicked harlot (bößes hürlein, impiam meretriculam), redeems her from all her evil, and adorns her with all his goodness.23
In the first quote, the dichotomy is obviously of a moral nature, but in the second one it moves on a clearly theological level and acquires connotations of redemption, justification, and salvation:
So it is with the works of man. As the man is, whether believer or unbeliever, so also is his work good (gutt, bonum) if it was done in faith, wicked (boeße, malum) if it was done in unbelief. But the converse is not true, that the work makes the man righteous or a believer (frum odder glaubig). As works do not make a man a believer, so also they do not make him righteous (machen frum, faciunt iustum). But as faith makes a man believer and righteous (frum macht, facit iustum), so faith does good works. Since, then, works justify no one (frum machen, iustificent) and a man must be righteous (frum sein, esse iustum) before he does a good work, it is very evident that it is faith alone which, because of the pure mercy of God through Christ and in his Word, worthily and sufficiently justifies (frum machet, iustificet) and saves the person. [...] Furthermore, no good work helps justify (zur frumkeyt, ad iustitiam) or save an unbeliever.24
One might well contend that perhaps Mary was unfamiliar with this specific tract, but this is hardly a substantial objection, since the terms themselves can be found in all of the pamphlets of the time25 and these pamphlets all found their way to Buda.26 In the context in which it is used in the letter, the opposition between “fromm” and “böse” can only be understood according to the Reformist implication (referring to justification), offering, furthermore, an ironic reflection on it. There are other sources from the period in question indicating that Luther’s use of the term “fromm” was a subject of debate, and in his 1522 Advent postilla Luther himself deals with this problem of translation,27 so Mary’s letter should be seen in the context of this larger discussion. The queen made deliberate use of terms with theological implications in order to demonstrate her erudition and at the same time to make plain that she intended to keep her distance. However, she makes no attempt to circumvent traditional theology of merit. A pun found in a treatise by Hieronymus Emser bears affinities with the playful teasing of her letter:
Luther: Just think it over, we must acknowledge that there are some true (fromm) Christians among us. Then why should we discard this word and its meaning?
Emser: An ass is a fine animal (from), but nonetheless we do not trust it with the treasury, but rather tie it up in the stable.28
Similarly, there is no trace of ostentatious piousness in Mary’s conduct, but behind her ironic taunt one does discern the deliberate and self-conscious tone of the initiated. While she makes no pronouncement in favor of any tenet, she indicates her familiarity with the teachings of the representatives of the reforms.
From Franciscan Tradition to Pub Anticlericalism
The town of Sopron, which lies on the border of the Hungarian and German language regions, has played an important commercial and cultural transmitting role. Its trade network has extended across Austria and Moravia to northern Italy and southern Germany. The Medieval City Archives were unusually fortunate in that they survived both fires and the ravages of war. They contain the most detailed records of the inquest launched against alleged Lutheran heretics.
The Sopron heresy inquest was carried out by Gergely Szegedi, a Franciscan from Nagyvárad (today Oradea in Romania), at the order of King Louis II of 14 October, 1524.29 The first part of the inquest, which began on 22 October, targeted Franciscan preacher Christoph. It was based on eight charges compiled by the Sopron parson Christoph Peck and it involved a total of 29 witnesses. Peck claimed that in his sermons Christoph had made the following contentions:
1. One does not have to obey the Pope;
2. Any priest can absolve a churchgoer from his or her sins;
3. A confession made by the soul can replace a confession made audibly to a priest;
4. One need not venerate the saints or the Virgin Mary, since their intervention is not necessary;
5. Fasting is unnecessary;
6. Churches and altars are unnecessary;
7. It is obvious to everyone that the Sopron clergymen have indulged in fornication, and they therefore should not be allowed to conduct masses;
8. Sopron has no need of Jews, as the priests themselves engage in usury.
The accusation was weakened by the fact that the denunciator himself was able to support only one of the accusations (the sixth) as a witness (having overheard the alleged statement), and it was not the accused (Christoph) that he had heard, but rather an earlier unnamed Franciscan preacher. The rest of the allegations were based on little more than rumor. To sum up the contents of the minutes, responding to the charges Christoph did not confess to having committed the sin of false teachings and the witnesses were unable to offer conclusive evidence.30 While it would be interesting to examine the relationships between the people who participated in the case, such a discussion would constitute too great a digression here, but it is worth noting that Christoph’s fellow priests were considerably less willing to testify against him than later on the mayor, municipal judge and ten other council members were against Paulus Moritz († 1530), a secular councilor of whom the witnesses were all personal rivals.31 Christoph denied or responded persuasively to the first six accusations, but in the case of the last two (the accusations against the city clergy) he insisted on these points so firmly that in his 16 November decree Louis II ordered the Sopron priests to dismiss their lovers.32 This final outcome is seen in the king’s letter of 11 January, 1525, in which he condemns the Sopron parson for having lodged a baseless complaint against the Franciscans and accepts the monastery’s plea for compensation for the damage caused to its reputation.33 Even from the perspective of today, the eight accusations do not seem to constitute aberrations so egregious that they would have represented stark opposition to the accepted views of the Church at the time. Ideas that seem to diverge slightly from the dogma, such as the notion of inner confession, social responsibility, asceticism and the lifestyle of the clergy, still fit within the Franciscan tradition, which was open to mysticism, spiritualism and social issues. The same applies to the statements made by Christoph’s unknown predecessor, a Franciscan preacher who had been active in Sopron two years earlier and who, according to the recollections of the Sopron parson and the witness Leonhardus Hengst, shared views similar to those that Jenő Szűcs has found in Observant sources of the period between 1516 and 1520: the criticism of the construction of altars and churches and the call for the equality of priests with regards to their power to absolve.34 Jenő Házi believes that these teachings show the influence of Lutheranism.35 According to Károly Mollay, the accusations made against Christoph bear affinities with ideas found in the Lutheran text entitled To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation from 1520,36 which was the second largest success on the book market after the German translation of the Bible.37 However, of the other ideas listed in the records, the only one I cannot situate in the radical tendency of the Observant tradition is the notion that one need not call on the saints for succor (the sermon of 6 December, 1522).
The second part of the inquest involves a statement made by vicar Thomas Radinger (in my view simply with the intention of sparking outrage) according to which God is a soul and therefore has neither senses nor limbs and can obtain no knowledge of the world nor give it any care.38 The third part examines the scandalous behavior of Paulus Moritz, a burgher of Sopron.39 In the case of Moritz, the accusations of having broken the fast and being in possession of Lutheran books are upheld, but it is not clear whether the accused actually made the (stereotypical) contentions that he was alleged to have made, for instance derision of wooden and stone idols (it is worth noting, however, that this accusation in closely intertwined, at least from the perspective of its content, with the criticism of Saint Nicholas Day as an example of the veneration of saints). The judges must have arrived at this assessment of the findings of the investigation, since after having surrendered his books (which, as is noted in King Louis II’s letter of 28 January, 1525, were burned on 2 January40) the accused was only punished for a one-time breach of the fast.41
Házi underlines the fact that between 22 February, 1522 and 18 January, 1527 (in other words already at the time when Christoph’s predecessor was active) Paulus Moritz worked as a church caretaker (guardian) for the Franciscans. Furthermore, without offering any detailed argument in support of his contention Házi emphasizes the role of the Sopron clergy, who considered the canonical regulations a nuisance, in the spread of the new teachings.42 Thus the Observants’ criticisms of the Church and the relaxed morals of the Conventuals must be among the sources of the “aberrations” in Sopron, though Luther’s writings and genuinely reformist sermons may also have played a role.
The situation is quite different in the case of the accusation made against Christoph by the parson in the course of the interrogation. Indeed Christoph himself did not deny the accusation, and more than one witness corroborated it, namely the two notaries in the case, Thomas Radinger and city notary Jacob Auer, but also priest Wolfgang Payr. On the basis of their statements, we can reconstruct the train of thought in one of Christoph’s sermons. The saints deserve no veneration for their own merits, and anyone who contends they do tell a terrible lie, rather saints “through faith subdued kingdoms” (Hebrews 11:33). It is natural that theologically the parson and the vicar say precisely (nihil meruerunt coram Deo) what in the simplified words of the layman scrivener is simply the following: the saints would not have made it to heaven (celum non meruissent). It is also no surprise that Christoph explains and justifies his contentions thusly: “but rather out of the merits of the sufferings of Christ.” It is surprising, however, that the testimony of the only layman to bear witness, a man named Auer,43 contains the only other reference to a passage from Scripture: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves” (2 Corinthians 3:5).44 This argument can be understood as a reformist preaching that shatters the framework of the medieval theology of merit. Furthermore, the above-cited argument of Saint Paul played an important role in the shift of emphasis away from the problem of the veneration of saints and towards the more general question of individual justification.
Berndt Hamm used the term gradualism to refer to the late medieval concept that was thrown into question by the “three solae” of the Reformation45 (sola fide, sola gratia, sola Scriptura) and the focus on Christ and the Evangelium. The latter two are neatly encapsulated by the widespread use of the pair of terms “christlich und evangelisch.” According to the “gradualist” view of the world, fallen man gains salvation step by step, beginning in earthly life and finishing in heavenly eternity, achieving redemption with the help of the means of winning grace offered by the Church, wandering in Purgatory but finally saved in the act of the Last Judgment. This notion of gradual development reflects the hierarchical structure of the Church and the gallery of saints, the priority of the sins and their gravity, the priority of forms of expiation, the monastic oaths and the hierarchy of the church orders. Reform teaching is not (simply) the refusal of certain tenets or criticism of everyday abuses, but a categorical denial of the notion of gradualism itself, in that it insists on the futility of human agency, promulgates the idea that one can achieve redemption without such hierarchical contingencies, and dismisses the significance of good deeds, acts of penitence and formal expressions and oaths of piety as means of making amends. It restructures the previously complex hierarchy into a far simpler one, placing bishops, monks and laymen into a single clerical-civic order. To apply a traditional expression, this is a universal priesthood of all believers. Bernd Moeller uses the term “new monkery,” and Berndt Hamm adopts a model called “normative centering” to emphasize continuity. Evangelical teaching discredited the raison d’être of traditional rules of the game and replaced them with a new system that did not match the old one in any regard. This has been formulated in the well-known oppositions, for instance, “not out of merit but out of grace,” “freedom instead of compulsion,” “the words of the Scripture instead of human contrivance,” or in Lucas Cranach’s famous wood carving series Passional Christi und Antichristi (1521),46 in which depictions of scenes from the Passion of Christ are paired with images deriding the practices of the Catholic clergy.
All three parts of the Sopron inquest contain elements that cast light on the origins and discursive spaces of the new ecclesiastic language. In the first part, one reads:
[…] when they gather in the pub, one who understands them [the Lutheran books], reads them, the others listen, ten, twenty, however many of them there are, and they abuse his Holiness, the bishops and others so terribly that it is terrible to hear it. Then we [Sopron priests] are reproved by the laymen.47
In the investigation of the Radinger case, an introductory half-sentence refers to the same social and communicative context: “while having a drink, they were talking about the priests and the rumor that they should get married.”48 Paulus Moritz’s words precisely evoke the double origins of Hungarian Reformist language: he has drawn his views both from the Germans (ex dominis germanis) and from his own experiences,49 as shown in the abovementioned pub scene, in which the local stories and the Lutheran texts that are read aloud seem to engage in a dialogue with each other.
At the Crossroads of Ideas: Humanism and the Reformation
One could consider the letter written by Bartholomaeus Francfordinus Pannonius, the notary of Selmecbánya,50 on 19 May, 1522 to Georg Eysker, the notary of Körmöcbánya (Kremnica in present day Slovakia), as the first example of the ecclesiastic neologisms in Hungary. In this letter, having just returned from “Babylon,” i.e. Rome, the author greets Conrad Cordatus (ca. 1480–1546), who by that time had become convinced of the teachings of the Reformation, as Cunradum nostrum and then comments on Luther’s alleged summons in Nuremberg: “The emperor holds an imperial gathering in Nuremberg, where our Luther (Lutterus noster) is invited too, who is to be blessed by the Lord Jesus, of whom he is the most steadfast preacher.”51 The letter is a typical example of Humanist correspondence, one link in the vast information network of the Humanist movement. One notes both the unidentifiable nature of its source and the striving to transmit the news. However, Bartholomaeus Francfordinus’s letter is also an authentic document of an age in which contemporaries still saw the Humanist and Evangelist movements as parts of a single trend,52 and following Luther’s appearance they hoped to have an opportunity to create a stir similar to the reception with which the publication of the Epistolae clarorum virorum had been met. But the text nonetheless is more expressive of Humanism in Hungary than the linguistic innovations of the Reformation,53 much as the Wittenberg registration of Georgius Baumheckel from Besztercebánya (today Banská Bystrica in Slovakia) in the summer of 1522 indicates not the reception of Reformation ideas in the mining town, but rather an increase in the general interest in Lutterus noster.
The opening words of the letter are problematic: Reversus ex Babilone. There is no question that the author is referring to Rome, since the news reported from abroad, first and foremost from Rome, makes this abundantly clear even for those who otherwise might not have considered the association of Rome with Babel self-evident (an association that became increasingly widespread in the course of the later religious wars). Gustav Hammann contends that there is a reference here to Luther’s The Babylonian Captivity of the Church,54 which was published in 1520 and quickly became familiar in scholarly circles. One finds support for this contention in two letters of February, 1519 in which Luther explicitly identifies Rome with Babylon, in one case with the beast of the Book of Revelation (Revelation 17:1–6),55 and in the fact that two years later, in front of the Imperial Assembly in Worms, he used Babylon as an unmistakable metaphor for the Papacy.56 One should note that the data are surprisingly scattered. Many years were yet to pass before a detailed characterization of the Pope as the whore of Babylon was made (1530).57 However, as underlined by a letter by István Brodarics, these words can be interpreted as a reference to Petrarch, a paraphrase of the first line of sonnet 114 (De l’empia Babilonia, ond’è fuggita…). That Petrarch was originally writing about Avignon is incidental. The context of Brodarics’s letter makes it evident that the sixteenth-century reader would clearly have thought of Rome.58 Our ability to arrive at sound conclusions is somewhat complicated by the fact that in each of the instances mentioned the captivity in Babylon of the Old Testament and the notion of the apocalyptic Babel are mixed and even applied to Petrarch’s reference to the Avignon papacy. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that in the period in question Humanist language use and the use of Lutheran metaphors coincide and overlap in meaning and implication. De captivitate Babylonica is a treatise written specifically for Humanist circles, and the aforementioned three abstracts from Luther’s letters also refer to his acquaintances among Humanists. In light of all this, one cannot regard Bartholomaeus Francfordinus’s letter as indisputable evidence of the acceptance of Lutheran ideas in Hungary, even if it is remarkable that the notary of Selmecbánya began his letter of 1522 with the Babylon metaphor, which was still new in the Humanist movement.
Revolt, Movement, and Unity in the vocabulary of the miners
Setting aside the question of the vicissitudes suffered by Conrad Cordatus after 1522,59 let us skip to the year 1525, when the situation in the mining towns began to become particularly tense,60 primarily due to internal political instability and factional struggles (i.e. depreciation of currency, the tempestuous national assemblies in Rákos and Hatvan, the dismissal of the treasurer, the imprisonment and later release of the vice treasurer, and the dispossession of the Fugger company).61
In 1525, Cordatus returned from Wittenberg and went again to Körmöcbánya, now with his former colleague from Buda, Johannes Kresling (ca. 1489–1549). The sources still mention them as people from Buda, so they probably did not have any permanent employment in the mining towns, but rather worked as “guest” preachers. Kreisling is mentioned as the rector of the Saint George Chapel in Buda, while in the report of Guidoto (the envoy from Venice) from 29 May Cordatus is mentioned as “uno Priosto di S. Maria,” i.e. the priest of the Church of the Blessed Virgin,62 a designation that later was misinterpreted as queen Mary’s court priest.63 According to later communications, they were not vagrant itinerant preachers, but rather invited pastors in Körmöcbánya,64 so it is worth clarifying their exact positions in the mining town. There is considerable data indicating that in the 1520s the town councils in Besztercebánya, Selmecbánya, and Körmöcbánya employed guest preachers for shorter or longer periods of time at their own expense. This practice was in part an indication of the tension between the councilors, who were open to the teachings of the Reformation, and the parsons, who sought to halt or slow the spread of these teachings. Where the town councils were unable to fill the posts with preachers willing to spread the new teachings, they found temporary solutions in the form of guest preachers.65
The account books of Church income and expenses in Besztercebánya for 1525 and 1526 indicate the expenses for the accommodation of a preacher from 29 March, 1525 to 3 January, 1526 and two preachers from January 4, 1526 to March 28, 1526.66 If I have understood the information contained in the record books correctly, then from the spring of 1525 to the end of the year a preacher whose name is not given stayed in Besztercebánya, then in the early months of 1526 Simon Bernhard of Silesia and his chaplain filled the post.67 There is at least mention in the account records of Besztercebánya of a preacher named Simon and a preacher named Gilg, as well as the preacher’s chaplain.68
Selmecbánya and Körmöcbánya adopted different solutions to the problem of spreading the word. While Selmecbánya invited temporary preachers, Körmöcbánya maintained the position of preacher for years.69 Both the aforementioned letter of Bartholomaeus Francfordinus and the Besztercebánya inquiry addressed to the Bishop of Esztergom at the end of 1525 indicate that Cordatus and Kresling worked as preachers in communities along the Garam River. They were centered in Körmöcbánya and Kresling received a regular income from the town.
At Easter, 1525 the parson of Besztercebánya, Nicolaus Cibinius, denounced Cordatus and Kresling to László Szalkay, the Bishop of Esztergom (ca. 1475–1526), who was only then ordained as a priest by Lorenzo Campeggio (1474–1539), the cardinal legate of the Pope in Esztergom (even though, having served as the Bishop of Vác, he had occupied the highest position in the Hungarian Church a year earlier). The prelate, who was also serving as chancellor, was glad to have the opportunity, through the inquest, to restore his reputation, which had been shaken in the eyes of the lesser nobility. The only accusations involved the Lutheran sermon and Kresling’s marriage.70 In other words, no one blamed the preachers for the miners’ uprising that was breaking out at the time (this association wasn’t made until a year later, by István Werbőczy).71 No formal measures were taken against Cordatus or his partner, and at first they were shown forbearance.72 Primate Szalkay probably had no need of a show trial, and the collective intervention of the mining towns in December was also perhaps not without effect.73
The data related to the Besztercebánya preacher whose name is unknown (though he might be identified as Gilg) are important, because on 21 and 22 September, 1525 three letters were written in Besztercebánya by the same hand. On the basis of their phrasing, Gusztáv Heckenast has quite astutely attributed them to a preacher with Lutheran inclinations.74 Each of the letters begins with the same greeting: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:7).75 One of them, which was sent by the Besztercebánya workers to the people of Hodrusbánya (Banská Hodruša), contains the following lines:
Furthermore, we kindly ask you, our dear siblings, to proceed with your case in a Christian and Evangelic manner. […] Also, we ask you, our siblings, not to use violence against God, the king or the divine orders.76
I do not share Peter Ratkoš’ conclusion according to which this is a case of popular or radical Reformation,77 but I would argue that the evangelical movement was present in Besztercebánya at the time of the miner revolt and the imprisonment of Cordatus and Kresling, and indeed this was most probably in part a consequence of their work. The use of the words cristes unnd ewangeliß clearly indicate the spread of the evangelical movement, and the short sentence calling for respect for the social order is not simply a paraphrase of the familiar idea of Saint Paul (Romans 13:1), but rather corresponds quite precisely to the relevant Wittenberg teaching, a detailed exposition of which one finds in Luther’s Temporal authority: to what extent it should be obeyed of 1523.78 One sees this clearly on the addressee’s page in Hodrusbánya, where two days later chaplain Jacob Zanacker gave a considerably more nuanced version of the same ideas, fearlessly admonishing the secular authorities.79 Data from 1524 indicate that the printing of German Reformation books was as much an issue in the mining towns of northern Hungary as it was in Sopron or Nagyszeben (Hermannstadt in German, today Sibiu in Romania).80
In the documents pertaining to the uprising, five of the authors of letters use indisputably Lutheran introductory greetings and closing regards or greetings and closings reminiscent of Luthern formulas.81 One of them is Benedikt Lang of Hodrusbánya, presumably a layman.82 He offered a decisive argument in the debate regarding whether or not the ideas of the Reformation played a role in the uprising and whether the Reformation itself had a significant influence in Hungary in the period before the Battle of Mohács. However, one must also bear in mind the fact that the use of apostolic greetings was not peculiar exclusively to the rebels and the clergy who were in contact with them. In the summer of 1526, following the suppression of the uprising, representatives of the mining towns (who were most probably of the patrician class) began their report, which was sent from Buda to Besztercebánya, with the same words: Gnade unnd fride in Christo Jesu beivor.83
It is not easy to decide whether one can take the miners’ letter of 29 December as an example of literary remnants of significant language use. It contains the phrase verbi Dei ministri, which was later to rise to considerable importance as a designation.84 Gustav Hammann (1922–1978) considers it less a medium of conveying an idea and more a technical term referring to the preacher employed by the town,85 and he may well be correct. János Breznyik quotes a Slavicus verbi Dei minister from Selmecbánya in 1521 and makes mention of other information from 1515 too.86 It is worth noting, however, that the former Besztercebánya guest priest Simon Bernhard used the innovations of Reformation language in his letter of May 1526 to Selmecbánya. He begins with the apostolic greetings and writes that he is going to a place “where they gladly hear the word of the Lord and let it be spread freely.”87
The question of the Corpus Christi Fraternity of Besztercebánya and the similar organizations of the neighboring mining towns (the Corpus Christi Fraternity of Körmöcbánya and the Blessed Virgin Fraternities of Selmecbánya and Hodrusbánya) seems distant from the search for traces of the new language of the Reformation. In the case of such institutions, it is difficult to draw clear distinctions between their religious and secular functions, in other words the roles they played in promoting piety and the roles they played in serving specific interests. The problem can be briefly summarized as follows. During the days of the revolt, the miners had taken their guild boxes from their original guarding posts, the chapels, and did not pay their religious dues, but rather spent the money of the fraternity to address their “own” needs. With the suppression of the uprising, the boxes had to be returned and the miners’ roles in the handling of their finances were limited. One finds the first interpretation of these events in a letter of judgment written by palatine Werbőczy (who opposed the miners) and the investigation reports of the local authorities. The miners’ act is considered theft and sacrilege.88 Given analogous situations abroad, one could not exclude an explanation according to which the handling of the funds constituted a Reformation reinterpretation of old Church institutions, though the available sources do not provide any specific support for this view. One can however take seriously the notion that the loss of prestige of the tradition of the Eucharist and the spread of new communal forms of piety had some influence on the events.
The peculiarly medieval world of the fraternities and the old Church vocabulary were enriched with new elements. An organization above the townships appeared, the collaboration of the aforementioned fraternities, a new “unity” (anikait),89 a treaty of mutual defense and alliance “in body and soul” (mit leib, guett unnd leben).90 This mutual cooperation did not go so far as to bring about the unification of the guild treasuries, though this would not have been practical anyway, but there were signs of collaboration across the borders of the guilds: the manner in which members of the guilds greeted one another. The term “Bruder” no longer referred solely to the members of one’s guild, but also included allied fraternities,91 and the apostolic greeting and its variants functioned as another tool for identification.
The aforementioned unidentified scrivener and preacher (possibly Gilg) can perhaps be identified with the help of some of the letters written at the time by Heinrich Keschinger, the preacher of Korpona (today Krupina in Slovakia). The primary topic of the correspondence between Keschinger and the council of the town of Bártfa (today Bardejov in Slovakia) in the spring of 1525 was the frustration of the people of Bártfa that they were unable to acquire the preacher, who in his letters used an unmistakably “evangelical” style, for their city. Keschinger hesitated not simply because of the promise he had made to the people of Korpona and his sense of responsibility with regards to them, but also because of information indicating that the archbishop of Esztergom (who was the sovereign pontiff of the parish of Bártfa) had written a letter endeavoring to prevent his invitation.92 The Korpona council intervened in the exchange of letters on Keschinger’s side on 7 May, 1525, arguing in support of maintaining his status:
[…] since your Prudences can obtain a good or even better preacher far more easily than we could, much as for instance preacher Gorg from Teschen, a true, scholarly and evangelical man (ain frumer, gelerter, ewangelischer man), came to Besztercebánya to substitute for the preacher until his return, if your Prudences were to ask him in a Christian manner, we do not think he would refuse.93
This sentence suggests that the chaplain or deputy of the preacher Simon Bernhard (who was invited from Teschen) was Georg (Gorg, Gilg), who at the time of the revolt and in the absence of Bernhard, Cordatus and Kresling stayed in Besztercebánya, and he may have been the author of the letters, the style of which is “evangelical,” on behalf of the miners. On the basis of the style of his letter written in 1539, this particular Teschen preacher Georg, who in May 1525 played a role in a criminal investigation in Besztercebánya94 and who was also invited to the mining towns in 1528,95 can be identified as Georg Rother, who in the end succeeds in sending one of his colleagues to Hungary.96
Cordatus and Kresling were released from the prison in Esztergom in February, 1526 and from the next year on they worked in Lower Silesia. Cordatus taught at the academy in Liegnitz,97 while Johannes Kresling probably regained his strength in the mining towns before beginning his service at the Church of Saint Barbara in Wrocław (Boroszló).98 According to the municipal account books, in the summer of 1526 he received wine at the expense of the town, and as did a certain pfarrer von Ofen (a person who can be only identified as Kresling), once in Selmecbánya and twice in Besztercebánya.99 This conclusion is also supported by the fact that after working in more Silesian towns and then in Korpona, from 1541 until his death he was the parson of Selmecbánya.100
The close relationship between Kresling and the mining towns, and more specifically Selmecbánya, was guaranteed by his ties to the notary of Selmecbánya, Francfordinus, who influenced his invitation to serve as preacher and his rehabilitation following his imprisonment. Francfordinus was not only Kreslinger’s peer and schoolmate in Vienna and Krakow but also a Humanist co-author belonging to the circle of primate György Szatmári. Since Francfordinus’s fate is obscure after 1536, it is hard to tell if he had any direct role in Kresling’s invitation to Selmecbánya in 1541.101
On the Language of the Defenders of Faith
There is considerably more documentation available regarding the language of those who rejected the teachings of the Reformers in the period in question, and it is replete with more stereotypes than the sources I have discussed so far, so I will not provide a detailed examination of it. However, in her essay on the Reformation Katalin Péter makes an observation that merits more thorough analysis. In 1514, Tamás Bakócz labeled the ideas of the Reformers “zizania,” a wild species of grass. This term, however, is absent from the texts written against Luther, in which one finds instead characterizations such as “schism,” “sect,” and “heresy,” alongside other dismissive terms.102 The difference in the notions is evident: the schismatic, the sectarian and the heretic break away from the body of Christ, from the Mother Church, and are considered enemies, like the Hussites, the heretics par excellence of the age and region. Zizania, in contrast, is a weed that mixes with the grain, and Christ himself offers a parable against destroying it: “lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them” (Matthew 13:29). The implication is that the preachers of falsehoods cannot be distinguished from the true children of the Church on the basis of recognizable markers and thus they cause it to break up from within. Thus it is clear that while primate Tamás Bakócz acknowledged the false preachers as members of his own Church, since the 1521 Bull of Pope Leo X the followers of Luther, like the Hussites, did not belong to the Church.
One does find one mention of zizania with reference to Reformation ideas in Hungary, but this finding supports the interpretation given above. In the spring of 1526 the city of Kassa (today Košice in Slovakia) came to the defense of its accused preacher (in all likelihood Wolfgang Schustel), explaining to the vicar of Eger that he did not listen to false teachings.103 The author of the letter presumably used the zizania metaphor (which is more mild in the traditional language of the church) in order to avoid any open and unambiguous condemnation of the false teachings against which objections had been raised.
Following the Leipzig debate of 1519 there were clear political and propaganda reasons behind the use of a single term by their opponents for the Czech Hussites and the Saxon Lutherans, and following the issue of the aforementioned Bull of 1521 there was no longer any real need to explain this. Nonetheless, there is a deeper explanation for the fact that in the eyes of its critics the “hopeless confusion” (“ein heilloses Durcheinander”)104 of the early Reformation was seen as such a unified system or worldview that it could be denoted with reference to a single person: “Lutheran.” The defenders of the faith, whose verdict, according to Dorothea Wendebourg’s famous thesis, made the Reformation what it was,105 were absolutely aware of the fact that the new faith fundamentally rejected the established system, even if in individual elements of the teachings there was not that much that was new. However, the categorical call of the Reformation to draw qualitative distinctions (between divine right and human right, the law and Scripture, faith and love, the kingdom of Christ and the world of mortals, etc.106) made it more dangerous than any spiritualist or Humanist critique of the Church.
On the basis of the intertextual analysis I have offered here, one can consider the 1522 letter of Bartholomeus Francfordinus Pannonius one of the texts of Hungarian Humanism. In contrast, the 1523 letter of Queen Mary of Habsburg demonstrated the queen’s interest in and knowledge of Lutheran theology, but also was expressive of her desire to maintain distance as a sovereign from the Reformation. The views that found expression in the course of the 1524 heretic inquest in Sopron manifest a mix of traditional Franciscan criticism of the Church and Lutheran ideas. At the time of the mining town revolt (1525), clearly following Luther’s example, the miners use the apostolic greeting of Saint Paul (Romans 1:7) as a distinguishing marker with which to begin their letters to their comrades. In their use, the greeting served as a means of identification, as was also true in the case of the so-called evangelical movement in Germany. In addition, the pairing of the terms “Christian and evangelical” was also a new linguistic turn that marked the new language of the Reformers. These details and the sources cited here indicate the significant influence of the Reformation in the pre-Mohács German speaking communities in Hungary, but there is little data to suggest that the movement ever crossed the border between German and Hungarian speaking communities at the time.
As for questions pertaining to the use of language in sixteenth-century Hungary, language varied considerably depending on whether it was written or oral use. In the multilingual communities each language had its own spaces and functions, and languages could not easily be switched or substituted one for the other. I have examined only a slice of this polyglot system in this essay, first and foremost the Latin and German written sources, and while I hope to have demonstrated the relevance of peculiar turns of phrase that are indicators of the spread of the ideas of the Reformation, I nonetheless would not venture to say exactly how these and similar turns of speech figured within the complex systems of written vs. oral culture, religious and profane use of language, or “mother” tongue vs. “father” tongue.
It has become something of a cliché in the scholarship on the German and Hungarian Reformation that the ideas of the Reformers exerted a fundamental influence on society in part because they were expressed in the mother tongues of the congregations and in part because of the medium of printing. Neither of these two factors was entirely new at the time, but together they released energies that until then had not been seen. We can assess the dimensions of the linguistic event by examining bibliographies of the re-printings of individual texts, but the question remains as to whether or not contemporaries were themselves aware of these processes.107 One of the most prominent representatives of the Reformation in Hungary, Gáspár Heltai (ca. 1510–1574), definitely was, for in his work entitled “Háló” (or “Net”), when writing on the 1538 religious debate of Segesvár (Schäßburg in German, today Sighişoara in Romania), he used a metaphor that is poetic but also captures the storminess of the new uses of language: “And at the time here and there the word of the Lord began to flash like lightening, both in Hungary and in Transylvania.”108
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Zoványi, Jenő. A reformáczió Magyarországon 1565-ig [The Reformation in Hungary until 1565]. Reprint, Budapest: Genius,  1986.
Translated by Thomas Cooper
1 I use the following abbreviations for archival sources: MNL OL DF = Magyar Nemzeti Levéltár Országos Levéltára, Fényképgyűjtemény, Diplomatikai Fényképgyűjtemény (The National Archives of Hungary, Photo Collection, Photo Collection of Medieval Charters); StAN BL = Staatsarchiv Nürnberg, Brandenburger Literalien. I use the following abbreviations for publications of source materials: BSLK = Bekenntnisschriften der evangelisch-lutherischen Kirche (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck, 1998); DHSA = Deutschsprachige Handschriften in slowakischen Archiven: Vom Mittelalter bis zur Frühen Neuzeit. Westslowakei – Mittelslowakei – Ostslowakei, ed. Jörg Meier, Ilpo Tapani Piirainen, and Klaus-Peter Wegera, vols 3 (Berlin–New York: de Gruyter, 2009); ETE = Egyháztörténelmi emlékek a magyarországi hitújítás korából [Monumenta ecclesiastica tempora innovatae in Hungaria religionis illustrantia], ed. Vince Bunyitay et al., vols 5 (Budapest: Szent István Társulat, 1902–1912); Házi, Oklevelek [Charters] = Jenő Házi, Sopron szabad királyi város története, I/7: Oklevelek, levelek és iratok 1521-től 1531-ig [The History of the Free Royal City of Sopron, I/7: Charters, Correspondence, and Documents from 1521 to 1531], (Sopron: Székely, 1929); Házi, Számadások [Accounts] = Jenő Házi, Sopron szabad királyi város története, vol. II/5: Különféle számadások és adójegyzékek 1489-től 1530-ig
[The History of the Free Royal City of Sopron, II/5: Various Renderings of Accounts and Notes on Taxation] (Sopron: Székely, 1938); LW = Luther’s Works, ed. Jaroslav Pelikan, vols 55 (Saint Louis [MO]: Concordia Publishing House, 1958–1986); Ratkoš, Dokumenty = Peter Ratkoš, Dokumenty k baníckemu povstaniu na Slovensku (1525–1526) [Documents on the Miner Revolt in Slovakia (1525–1526)] (Bratislava: SAV, 1957); WA = Martin Luther, Werke: Kritische Gesamtausgabe, vols 73 (Weimar: Böhlau, 1883–2009); WA.B = WA: Briefwechsel, vols 18 (Weimar: Böhlau, 1930–1985); WA.DB = WA: Deutsche Bibel, vols 12 (Weimar: Böhlau, 1906–1961).
2 Gerhard Ebeling, Luther: Einführung in sein Denken (Tübingen: Mohr, 1981). One comes across the use of the term word event (Wortgeschehen) in a similar sense in the study of hermeneutics. In his theological hermeneutics, Ernst Fuchs began in the 1940s (in other words before the so-called “linguistic turn” of the social sciences) to characterize the word and language not as passive media or tools, but rather as active agents that influenced people in the moment of the “word event.” Ebeling applied this idea to the study of history.
3 For a linguistic approach to Lutheran thinking, see Albrecht Beutel, In dem Anfang war das Wort: Studien zu Luthers Sprachverständnis , Studienausgabe (Tübingen: Mohr, 2006); Joachim Ringleben, Gott im Wort: Luthers Theologie von der Sprache her (Tübingen: Mohr, 2010).
4 Ebeling, Luther, 16–17.
5 To the councilmen of all cities in Germany that they establish and maintain Christian schools: WA 15: 27–53, 37–38; LW 45: 339–78, 358–60; cf. Ebeling, Luther, 21–22.
6 For a summary of the linguistic world of the Reformation see Bernd Moeller, “Was wurde in der Frühzeit der Reformation in den deutschen Städten gepredigt?,” Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte 75 (1984): 176–93; Bernd Moeller and Karl Stackmann, Städtische Predigt in der Frühzeit der Reformation: eine Untersuchung deutscher Flugschriften der Jahre 1522 bis 1529 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck, 1996).
7 The inquest held against alleged heretics in Nagyszeben (which took place at roughly the same time as the inquest in Sopron) examined accusations that didn’t imply an unambiguous relationship with Reformation teachings. Furthermore, the general phrasing in the sources cannot really be considered or analyzed as monuments to distinctive language use. ETE, vol. 1: passim; Jenő Zoványi, A reformáczió Magyarországon 1565-ig [The Reformation in Hungary until 1565] (Budapest: Genius, 1922), 42–45; Karl Reinerth, Die Gründung der evangelischen Kirchen in Siebenbürgen (Cologne–Vienna: Böhlau, 1979), 8–25.
8 StAN BL 1193; MNL OL DF 267658–267669. Vilmos Fraknói [Frankl], Ungarn vor der Schlacht von Mohács (Budapest: Szent István Társulat, 1886), 122, note 1
9 Werner Ogris, “Die habsburg–jagiellonische Doppelheirat von 1515,“ Österreichisches Archiv für Recht und Religion 50 (2003): 322–35; Enikő Spekner, “Die Geschichte der habsburgisch–jagiellonischen Heiratsverträge im Spiegel der Quellen,” in Maria von Ungarn (1505–1558) – Eine Renaissancefürstin, ed. Martina Fuchs and Orsolya Réthelyi (Münster: Aschendorff, 2007), 25–46. Louis also cautiously touches on this theme, while also urging the knightly fittings Casimir had long promised. It is not easy to explain why Casimir had his last “Louis-letter” reflecting on the German peasant war written (on 4 June, 1525) by his younger brother George of Brandenburg (1484–1543), who lived in Buda and whose handwriting is unmistakable, but signed by Louis. (StAN BL 1193:12; MNL OL DF 267669).
10 “Ich wil noch kain fleis sparen, damit die sach ein fiergang hat, wolt Gott, das die sach an mier leg, ich wol palt ein gut end darin machen, wen ir und die ewer haben wol ein grösers ferdient. Ich pit euch, ir welt mich nit in argen auff nemen, das ich euch nit for lengst hab antwurt geschriben. Ich hab schtetz gehofft, mit ein gute antwurt zw kumen, ich wil kain fleis nit sparen, damit es noch geschicht.” StAN BL 1193:10; MNL OL DF 267667.
11 StAN BL 1193:11; MNL OL DF 267668; Fraknói, Ungarn, 122, no. 1; ETE, vol. 1: 85–86 (the date and regesta given are incorrect); Wilhelm Stracke, Die Anfänge der Königin Maria von Ungarn, späteren Statthalterin Karls V. in den Niederlanden (Göttingen: Dietrich, 1940), 42.
12 Cf. Zoltán Csepregi, “...ich will kain fleis nit sparen – Königin Maria von Ungarn und das Haus Brandenburg,” in Maria von Ungarn (1505–1558) – Eine Renaissancefürstin, ed. Martina Fuchs and Orsolya Réthelyi (Münster: Aschendorff, 2007), 59–72; Orsolya Réthelyi, “Mary of Hungary in Court Context 1521–1531” (PhD. diss., Budapest: Central European University, 2010).
13 Nuremberg, 1523.6.14. WA.B 3: 86–87 (no. 622).
14 This is the term that was used by Fraknói himself: Fraknói, Ungarn, 122.
15 Ute Monika Schwob, “Der Ofener Humanistenkreis der Königin Maria von Ungarn,” Südostdeutsches Archiv 17/18 (1974/75): 50–73, 63–64.
16 Ernst Erhard Müller, “Das mittelalterliche und das reformatorische ‚Fromm‘,” Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur (Tübingen) 95 (1973): 333–57, 336–49; Wunder, Heide, “iustitia, Teutonice fromkeyt: Theologische Rechtfertigung und bürgerliche Rechtschaffenheit. Ein Beitrag zur Sozialgeschichte eines theologischen Konzepts,” in Die frühe Reformation in Deutschland als Umbruch: Wissenschaftliches Symposion des Vereins für Reformationsgeschichte 1996, ed. Bernd Moeller (Gütersloh: GVH, 1998), 307–32, 313–26.
17 Hugo Moser, “‚Fromm‘ bei Luther und Melanchthon: Ein Beitrag zur Wortgeschichte in der Reformationszeit,” Zeitschrift für deutsche Philologie 86 (1967): 161–82, 162.
18 WA 7: 20–38; Müller, “Das mittelalterliche,” 350–54; Wunder, “iustitia, Teutonice fromkeyt“, 327–32.
19 WA 7: 49–73; LW 31: 327–77. On the primacy of the German version see: Wilhelm Maurer, Von der Freiheit eines Christenmenschen: Zwei Untersuchungen zu Luthers Reformationsschriften 1520/21 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck, 1949), 64–78; Birgit Stolt, Studien zu Luthers Freiheitstraktat mit besonderer Rücksicht auf das Verhältnis der lateinischen und der deutschen Fassung zu einander und die Stilmittel der Rethorik (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1969); Reinhold Rieger, Von der Freiheit eines Christenmenschen. De libertate christiana (Tübingen: Mohr, 2007).
20 Veronika Günther, “‚Fromm‘ in der Zürcher Reformation,” Beiträge zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur (Halle) 77 (1955): 464–89; Moser, “‚Fromm‘,” 178; Müller, “Das mittelalterliche,” 353–54.
21 BSLK 72, 92, 111, 146–47, 172–73, 177–78, 205, 252–53, 277; Moser, “‚Fromm‘,” 167–73; Müller, “Das mittelalterliche,” 355–56.
22 BSLK 455, 460; Moser, “‘Fromm’,” 173, 176–77.
23 WA 7: 26, 55; LW 31: 352.
24 WA 7: 32, 61; LW 31: 360–61.
25 Moser, “‘Fromm’,” 178.
26 “Man hatt zu Ungernn die lutherischen lehr und sein anhenger vast verfolget auch bis in den tott, aber es seind zeitung anher komen, das die konnigin zu Ungernn sehr gut evangelisch worden sei und mit dem konig deshalben ssovill gehandelt, das man die lutherischen weiter nicht vorfolget und nunalls das evangelium frei in Ungernn geprediget werde. Welches mir nicht ungleublich, das ich weiss, das ir der hoemeister aus Preussen von hinnen vill lutherisch bucher auf ir begere zugeschigkt.” Nuremberg, 1523.10.15. Hans von der Planitz’ Berichte aus dem Reichsregiment in Nürnberg 1521–1523, ed. Ernst Wülcker and Hans Virck (Leipzig, 1899; Reprint: Hildesheim–New York: Olms, 1979), 356.
27 WA 10 I 2: 36; Moser, “‘Fromm’,” 179-80; Müller, “Das mittelalterliche,” 354–55.
28 “Luter: Denck doch bey dir selber Sie mussen bekennen das fromme Christen vnder vns sein, Warumb wolt man den der selben wort vnd vorstand vorwerffen.
Emßer: Ist doch ein Esel ouch from, man trawet ym aber dannocht nit vber die silber kamer, sonder stelt yn in ein stall.” Wider das unchristliche buch Martini Luthers Augustiners an den Tewtschen Adel außgangen. Leipzig: Landsberg, 1521. VD 16. E 1137. Cited in: Moser, “‘Fromm’,” 180.
29 ETE, vol. 1: 158–59; Házi, Oklevelek, 113–15 (no. 82). Cf. Jenő Házi, Sopron középkori egyháztörténete [The Church History of Sopron in the Middle Ages], (Sopron: Székely, 1939), 44–61. In 1535 Gergely Szegedi wrote against Mátyás Dévai and in 1538 he debated with István Szántai in Segesvár. He had been the prebend of Csanád, the Father Superior of Nagyvárad and later Provincial Superior (1546–1550).
30 Ibid., vol. 1: 159–71; Házi, Oklevelek, 115–31 (no. 83). In my study of the records books I have profited methodologically from the ascertainments of Gabriella Erdélyi regarding source criticism: Gabriella Erdélyi, Egy kolostorper története. Hatalom, vallás és mindennapok a középkor és az újkor határán [The History of a Cloister Trial. Power, Religion, and the Everyday at the Meeting Point of the Middle Ages and the Modern Era], (Budapest: MTA Történettudományi Intézete, 2005), 106–26.
31 For more on the silence and unity of the clergy and, in contrast, the volubility of the laymen, see Erdélyi, Egy kolostorper, 122–23. Károly Goda has written several essays on the prosopography of Sopron in the Reformation.
32 ETE, vol. 1: 181–82; Házi, Oklevelek, 136 (no. 89) regesta.
33 Ibid., vol. 1: 187; Házi, Oklevelek, 139 (no. 93) regesta.
34 Ibid., vol. 1: 161–63; Házi, Oklevelek, 118–20 (no. 83). Cf. Jenő Szűcs, “Ferences ellenzéki áramlat a magyar parasztháború és reformáció hátterében” [Franciscan Oppositional Currents in the Background of the Hungarian Peasant War and the Reformation], Irodalomtörténeti Közlemények 78 (1974): 409–35, 425–26.
35 Házi, Sopron középkori, 56.
36 Mollay regards the first, second, fifth, and eight points as clearly bearing affinities with Luther’s teachings, as well as the seventh: Károly Mollay, “Kereskedők, kalmárok, árosok. Moritz Pál kalmár 1511–1530” [Traders, Merchants, Venders. Merchant Pál Moritz], Soproni Szemle 45 (1991): 1–31, 15–17.
37 WA 6: 404–69; LW 44: 115–217. On its widespread popularity see Bernd Moeller, Deutschland im Zeitalter der Reformation (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck, 1977), 62; Bernd Moeller, “Das Berühmtwerden Luthers,” Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung 15 (1988): 65–92.
38 ETE, vol. 1: 165; Házi, Oklevelek, 122 (no. 83). Cf. Katalin Péter, A reformáció: kényszer vagy választás? [The Reformation: Coercion or Free Choice?] (Budapest: Nemzeti Tankönyvkiadó, 2004), 64. I have been unable here to demonstrate the connection drawn by Katalin Péter with Luther’s A Treatise of good works, from 1520. (WA 6: 202–76; LW 44: 15–114).
39 Paulus Moritz later became city magistrate (1526–1529): Házi, Sopron középkori, 58.
40 The account book of Peter Vischer, chamberlain of Sopron, 1524/25: Házi, Számadások, 382–440, 431 (no. 27).
41 ETE, vol. 1: 188–89; Házi, Oklevelek, 140 (no. 94).
42 Házi, Sopron középkori, 57. The account book of Paulus Moritz, Franciscan church guardian: Házi, Számadások, 367–82 (no. 26).
43 Házi identifies 26 witnesses as members of the clergy, without exception, alongside the parson and the two notaries, Radinger and Auer: Házi, Sopron középkori, 49. It is worth noting that Auer was Paulus Moritz’s brother-in-law and business partner. Károly Mollay, Das Geschäftsbuch des Krämers Paul Moritz 1520–1529 (Sopron: Sopron Archives, 1994), 26.
44 ETE, vol. 1: 162, 164; Házi, Oklevelek, 119, 121 (no. 83).
45 A precursor to the Reformation “solus Christus” motto can be found in Erasmus’s Paraclesis of 1516: “Certe solus hic e caelo profectus est doctor, solus certa docere potuit, cum sit aeterna sapientia, solus salutaria docuit unicus humanae salutis auctor, solus absolute praestitit, quicquid unquam docuit, solus exhibere potest, quicquid promisit.” Erasmus von Rotterdam, Ausgewählte Schriften. Ausgabe in acht Bänden lateinisch und deutsch, ed. Werner Welzig, vol. 3 (Darmstadt: WBG, 1990), 10.
46 Bernd Moeller, “Die Rezeption Luthers in der frühen Reformation,” Lutherjahrbuch 57 (1990): 57–71, 68–70; Bernd Moeller, “Die frühe Reformation in Deutschland als neues Mönchtum,” in Die frühe Reformation in Deutschland als Umbruch: Wissenschaftliches Symposion des Vereins für Reformationsgeschichte 1996, ed. Bernd Moeller (Gütersloh: GVH, 1998), 76–91; Berndt Hamm, The reformation of faith in the context of late medieval theology and piety, ed. Robert B. Bast (Leiden–Boston: Brill, 2004), 1–49, 179–216; Ebeling, Luther, 16.
47 ETE, vol. 1: 161; Házi, Oklevelek, 118 (no. 83).
48 Ibid., vol. 1: 166; Házi, Oklevelek, 123 (no. 83).
49 Ibid., vol. 1: 170–71.
50 Cf. Gábor Kiss Farkas, “Dramen am Wiener und Ofener Hof: Benedictus Chelidonius und Bartholomaeus Frankfordinus Pannonius (1515–1519),” in Maria von Ungarn (1505–1558) – Eine Renaissancefürstin, ed. Martina Fuchs and Orsolya Réthelyi (Münster: Aschendorff, 2007), 293–312.
51 ETE, vol. 1: 57–58; The section on Cordatus has been corrected on the basis of MNL OL DF 249874: “Salutabis meo nomine (si apud vos est, nam ex fama quottidie huc ad nos expectatur) Cunradum nostrum, ad quem litteras meas dedissem, ni eum expectarem, is tamen, si aderit, sit novorum presencium te indice particeps.”
52 Bernd Moeller, “Die deutschen Humanisten und die Anfänge der Reformation,” Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 70 (1959): 46–61.
53 The alliance of Humanism and the Reformation in Hungary was deeper and proved longer-lasting than in the Holy Roman Empire. The country had but a single intelligentsia, and a single author (usually a teacher at city schools, a preacher, or a tutor for a noble family) would write both Humanist literary and reformist religious works. The prestige Erasmus had acquired made him the determining influence in the first decades of the Reformation. Later Melanchthon was to become the decisive figure and point of reference.
54 Gustav Hammann, “Bartholomeus Francofordinus Pannonius – Simon Grynäus in Ungarn,” Zeitschrift für Ostforschung 14 (1965): 228–42, 233–34. Luther’s book: WA 6: 497–573; LW 36: 3–126.
55 WA.B 1: 344, 351 (no. 152, 156).
56 Wittenberg, 1521.2.9. WA.B 2: 264 (no. 376): “Huttenus et multi alii fortiter scribunt pro me et parantur indies cantica, quae Babylonem istam parum delectabunt.”
57 WA.DB 7: 406–21; LW 35: 399–411. The development of this interpretation was influenced by the German translation of the Book of Daniel, which was also published in 1530.
58 Imre Trencsényi-Waldapfel, “Petrarca szonettje Brodarics levelében” [Petrarch’s Sonnet in Brodarics’s Letter], Irodalomtörténeti Közlemények 61 (1957): 227–29.
59 Zoltán Csepregi, “Court Priests in the Entourage of Queen Mary of Hungary,” in Mary of Hungary, Widow of Hungary. The Queen and Her Court 1521–1531, ed. Orsolya Réthelyi et al. (Budapest: Budapest Történeti Múzeum, 2005), 49–61, 53.
60 Günther Probszt, “Die sozialen Ursachen des ungarischen Bergarbeiteraufstandes von 1525/26,” Zeitschrift für Ostforschung 10 (1961): 401–32. The seven mining towns of Upper Hungary became important nodes of an international cultural network primarily because of their economic role (the production of precious metals and copper and the minting of coins). Members of the intelligentsia of these cities were brought in part from abroad, but members of the intellectual elite from the cities often found important positions in distant lands as well. The interests of the Fugger house of Augsburg in copper mining played a significant role in nurturing the close relationship of the town with the Holy Roman Empire. According to studies in the history of reading, the cities were at the vanguard of country in their refinement.
61 András Kubinyi, “The Court of Queen Mary and Politics Between 1521 and 1526,” in Mary of Hungary: The Queen and Her Court 1521–1531, ed. Orsolya Réthelyi et al. (Budapest: Budapest Történeti Múzeum, 2005), 13–25.
62 ETE, vol. 1: 203–4; cf. László Szalkay’s letter of 21 May: ETE, vol. 1: 202–3; Ratkoš, Dokumenty, 29–30 (no. 2): “Conradum presbiterum et Johannem Cryslyngh plebanum sancti Georgij Budensis”. Gustav Hammann, “Conradus Cordatus Leombachensis,“ Jahrbuch des Oberösterreichischen Musealvereins 109 (1964): 250–78; Gustav Hammann, “Johannes Kresling,” Jahrbuch für Schlesische Kirchengeschichte 44 (1965): 7–12.
63 Pl. Zoványi, A reformáczió, 41.
64 Letter of the people of Besztercebánya to László Szalkay, 29 December, 1525: “qui olim verbi Dei ministri fuerunt apud illos [in Körmöcbánya!]” (ETE, vol. 1: 227–28; Ratkoš, Dokumenty, 101–102, no. 54). A recommendatory letter from Wittenberg on behalf of Cordatus (1540.10.12.): WA.B 9: 245 (no. 3540). Pál Schaider’s letter to Pál Várdai, December, 1532: ETE, vol. 2: 216–24.
65 Gustav Hammann, “Mag. Nicolaus von Sabinov: Ein Beitrag über den Humanismus und die frühe Reformation in der Slowakei,” Zeitschrift für Ostforschung 16 (1967): 25–44, 38–39.
66 Ratkoš, Dokumenty, 417–18.
67 He enrolled in Vienna in 1513 in the summer semester: Simon Bernhardi de Frawnstat from the Pernstein estates near Teschen, preacher of Troppau (1522–1528) and later Brieg. Following lengthy negotiations and several months of residence as a guest Bernhard still did not accept the position of preacher that was offered to him in Besztercebánya, nor for that matter did he accept the vicarage of Selmecbánya (he feared the uncertainty of the situation, not to mention the authorities, primarily the parson of Besztercebánya and the archbishop of Esztergom). Instead he returned to Teschen. He died sometime after 1537 as the evangelical superintendent of the city of Brieg in Lower Silesia. ETE, vol. 3: 195; Ratkoš, Dokumenty, 103, 174–75 (no. 55, 98); DHSA 2: 107; János Breznyik, A selmecbányai ágost. hitv. evang. egyház és lyceum története [History of the Evangelical Church and Lyceum of Selmecbánya], vol. 1 (Selmecbánya: Joerges, 1883), 39; Zoványi, A reformáczió, 23; Hammann, “Mag. Nicolaus von Sabinov,” 35–38.
68 Ratkoš, Dokumenty, 333–34.
69 Ibid., 344–56, 379–80.
70 ETE 1: 204: “per auersi maridato“. Cf. Legat Campeggio’s report, 18 June, 1525: ETE 1: 207.
71 April 13, 1526. ETE, vol. 1: 253; Ratkoš, Dokumenty, 155 (no. 86): “populum [...] Lutherana eciam heresi per preallegatos concionatores imbutum ac depravatum”.
72 Dionysius Schneyder’s letter from Buda to Körmöc, 19 August, 1525. (Ratkoš, Dokumenty, 71, no. 32): “Dy prediger sitzn noch, aber nit hartt. Ir sach ist verschoben, byß der pyschpeck reverendissimus von Gron perschändlich hinauff (kan Gron) kumbt.“
73 The letter of the people of Besztercebánya to László Szalkay, see above note no. 65.
74 Gusztáv Heckenast, “A besztercebányai bányászfelkelés (1525–26)” [The Miners’ Uprising of Besztercebánya (1525–1526)], Századok 86 (1952): 364–96, 379. For more on the handwriting see MNL OL DF 235583, 235584, 267069, 286902.
75 On the use of the apostolic greeting in the correspondence of the reformers see: Zoltán Csepregi, “Die Anfänge der Reformation im Königreich Ungarn bis 1548,” in Die Reformation in Mitteleuropa. Reformacija v strednji Evropi, ed. Vincenc Rajšp et al. (Ljubljana: Založba ZRC; Vienna: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften 2011), 127–47.
76 “Yber daß pitten wyr euch als unßeren lieben bruederr, ir wolt alßo handeln in eueren handell, daß do cristes unnd ewangeliß werde […]. Yber daß seyt gepeten, alß unßerr bruder, ir wolt gewalt nit prauchen wider gott unnd den kunig, auch vyder dy gottliche ornuge [!].” Ratkoš, Dokumenty, 89–90 (no. 43). The other two letters: ibid. 88, 90–91. (no. 42, 44); DHSA 2: 533.
77 Peter Ratkoš, Povstanie baníkov na Slovensku roku 1525–1526. [Miners’ Uprising in Slovakia] (Bratislava: SAV, 1963), 148–55.
78 WA 11: 245–81; LW 45: 75–129.
79 Ratkoš, Dokumenty, 93–95 (no. 47); DHSA 2: 533–34. Ratkoš here contends to discern the influence of Müntzer, Zwingli and Andreas Fischer, but he errs: Ratkoš, Povstanie, 150–55.
80 Ibid., Povstanie, 165. note 5.
81 Ratkoš, Dokumenty, 88–90, 93, 108 (no. 42–44, 47, 60). E.g.: “Fryd undt anige libe in Christo Iesu zuvoran.” “Fryd yn Chrysto Jesu bevor.”
82 Ibid., 108 (no. 60).
83 Ibid., (no. 106).
84 See note 64. The signatories to the Besztercebánya letter included members of all layers of city society, from magistrate to laborer.
85 Hammann, “Mag. Nicolaus von Sabinov,” 39. note 72.
86 Breznyik, A selmecbányai, 39.
87 “…wo man gottes wort gern horet undt frey lest predigen”. Ratkoš, Dokumenty, 174–75 (no. 98); DHSA 2: 535.
88 ETE, vol. 1: 251–56; Ratkoš, Dokumenty, 77 (no. 35): “Decimo: Propterea ipsi sectores et fraternitas deliberarunt interim, quod ipse Thobias et Swoger Hans vitrici essent, neque obulum neque denarium ad eclesiam dare vellent, in quo eclesia magno patitur defectu. Similimodo plebanus, ex quo se sic non exhibent cum offertoriis et aliis rebus uti prius et dedecus ac scandalum est, quod propter duas personas divinum servicium impediri debet.” See also ibid. 119–33, 156–57, 196 (no. 72, 86, 119).
89 Ratkoš, Dokumenty, 94 (no. 47).
90 Ibid., 92 (no. 45).
91 Ibid., 88–91, 102, 140–43 (no. 42–44, 54, 78–80). Ratkoš sees derivatives of the word “Bruder,” such as Brüderpfennig and Brüdergeld, as innovations, though the use of these terms within fraternity was in fact customary.
92 MNL OL DF 218309, 218327, 218341; DHSA 3: 606-07.
93 MNL OL DF 218342; DHSA 3: 607.
94 DHSA 2: 122–23.
95 ETE, vol. 1: 361
96 Ibid., vol. 3: 352, 362–63.
97 WA.B 4: 138–40, 163 (no. 1055, 1076).
98 Paul Konrad, “Die beiden ersten ev. Geistlichen des Hospitals zum heiligen Geist zu Breslau (1525–1553),” Zeitschrift des Vereins für Geschichte und Alterthum Schlesiens 29 (1895): 133–58, 140; Gustav Bauch, Valentin Trozendorf und die Goldberger Schule (Berlin: Weidmann, 1921), 75–76.
99 Ratkoš, Dokumenty, 336, 386.
100 Breznyik, A selmecbányai, 65, 80–82.
101 Ibid., 16–17.
102 Péter, A reformáció, 48, 62.
103 ETE, vol. 1: 245.
104 Katalin Péter, “Die Reformation in Ungarn,” in European Intellectual Trends and Hungary, ed. Ferenc Glatz, Études historiques hongroises 4 (Budapest: MTA Történettudományi Intézet, 1990), 39–52, 40.
105 Dorothea Wendebourg, “Die Einheit der Reformation als historisches Problem,” in Reformationstheorien: Ein kirchenhistorischer Disput über Einheit und Vielfalt der Reformation (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck, 1995), 31–51, 34–35.
106 Ebeling, Luther, 16.
107 At the same time, in an open debate Pál Ács quite rightly warned of the danger of over-interpretation and misreading in linguistic analyses. As we well know, even the most thorough philological erudition and linguistic-historical methodology cannot serve as a substitute for the sensitivities to connotation and implication that the people at the time had, sensitivities that today cannot be reconjured or reconstructed, the historical and communal context, the unrepeatable meaning “here and now.”
108 Háló: válogatás Heltai Gáspár műveiből [Net: Selected Writings of Gáspár Heltai], ed. Péter Kőszeghy (Budapest: Magvető, 1979), 130.