1st Edition

Antifraternalism and Anticlericalism in the German Reformation Johann Eberlin von Günzburg and the Campaign Against the Friars

By Geoffrey Dipple Copyright 1996

    Many of the leading figures of the Reformation and many of their most able opponents came from among the ranks of the Franciscan Order. This Order became the focus of attack in a pamphlet war waged against it in 1523 by converts to the Reformation. These criticisms were based on arguments by Luther in his Judgement on Monastic Vows, and the pamphlets provided an important channel for these views. Luther’s arguments were also reinforced by criticisms of the mendicant orders drawn from medieval polemical and satirical literature. The campaign of 1523 brought together both Reformation and pre-Reformation anticlerical themes. In this book Geoffrey Dipple looks at the perception of the Franciscan order in the 15th and 16th centuries, placing the attacks firmly in the context of late medieval inter-clerical rivalries. He looks particularly at the anticlerical polemics of one of the primary participants - Johann Eberlin von Günzburg - the most vocal of the Franciscan’s critics.

    Contents: Introduction; The Friars and their Critics on the Eve of the Reformation; 'Foolish Little Monks and Priests': Johann Eberlin von Günzburg's Vision of Reform in the Earliest Elements of 'The Fifteen Confederates'; 'The Grey Hypocrite from the Superstitious Observants'; Anticlericalism and Antifraternalism in the Remainder of 'The Fifteen Confederates'; 'A Priest Must be Blameless, the Husband of one Wife': Eberlin's Writings from Wittenberg in 1522 and Early 1523; 'Against the Profaners of God's Creatures': Anticlericalism in Wittenberg in 1523; 'A Fool or an Arch-Rogue': The Anti-Franciscan Campaign of 1523; Variations on a Theme: Antifraternalism and Anticlericalism in the Flugschriften of Heinrich von Kettenbach and Johann Rot-Locher; 'The Agents of Satan': The Clergy and the Schwärmer in the Later Writings of Johann Eberlin von Günzburg; Antifraternalism and Reformation Anticlericalism; Bibliography; Index.


    Geoffrey Dipple

    '...a superb survey of historiography and a fresh and thorough review of Eberlin as well as other anticlerical authors. Our view of the turmoil of the early 1520s is enhanced and put in sharper focus by this study.' Catholic Historical Review 'an important study of Eberlin’s pamphlets and of the anti-Franciscan campaign...a welcome addition to Reformation studies.' American Historical Review '... a valuable contribution to revisionist debate in German reformation studies.' Ecclesiastical History