1st Edition

The Front-Runner of the Catholic Reformation The Life and Works of Johann von Staupitz

By Franz Posset Copyright 2003

    Johann von Staupitz is generally acknowledged as one of the most important influences on Martin Luther, convincing him of the sin-remitting grace of God. It was this revelation that was to spur Luther to formulate his theology of salvation by faith alone which was to lead to his break with the Catholic church. When Luther was brought to task by the church authorities for his heretical views it was Staupitz who was deputed to remonstrate with him, and it was Staupitz who sent a copy of his theses on indulgences to the Pope. Despite Luther's defection from Rome, he was to remain on good terms with the orthodox Staupitz who was consistently at the forefront of reformation within the Catholic Church. This book sheds light on the spiritual and theological beliefs of Staupitz, placing him in the midst of the late medieval reform efforts in the Augustianian order. It argues that as reformer, sermonizer, and friend of humanists Staupitz was a major player in the world of early sixteenth century theology who had a profound influence on the course of the Reformation.

    Contents: Preface; Introduction; The Augustinian Order and the struggle for reform in the late medieval period; The early years: sermonizer, reformator, friend of humanists, and concern for pastoral care (1460s-1512); Prominent preacher and author (1512-17); Coping with challenges (1514-20); 'Standing up for the evangelical truth' (1520); Imposed as abbot upon the Benedictines at Salzburg (1522-24); The 'Golden Treatise': testament and remembrance; Conclusion; Staupitz's works; Bibliography; Index.


    Dr Franz Posset, independent scholar, USA

    'What makes Posset's book worth reading for the historian is not only his thorough analysis of Staupitz's theology and concepts of reform concepts, but also the detailed documentation of Staupitz' s close involvement in the early Reformation process.' H-Net Reviews '... fills a huge gap in Anglophone literature on the early Reformation and Catholic Reformation. It serves all scholars by systematically exploring Staupitz's writings and recorded sermons and by challenging the prevailing view of Staupitz as a 'fore-runner' of the Reformation.' Renaissance and Reformation '... a rich and stimulating English-language monograph that looks at Staupitz the preacher on his own terms.' Sixteenth Century Journal 'It should be placed on the reading lists of Reformation courses for both graduate and upper-division undergraduates, not just for its adjusted appraisal of Staupitz's importance, but also for the rich picture it paints of the German religious situation in the early sixteenth century.' American Benedictive Review '... all those interested in late medieval and Reformation thought will certainly profit from the extensive research and minute examination of Luther's mentor that have created this book.' Religious Studies Review '... I highly recommend the book. For the English-speaking world it is unrivaled. Younger scholars in particular will appreciate the work: it not only includes several useful translations of Staupitz's writings but also a nearly complete bibiography of relevant sources.' Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte '... an important contribution to Reformation history, not least because it sees beyond the oversimplification of imagining that a decaying Catholic church led to the birth of a protestant alternative to grasp the truth that roots of the Reformation are to be found in the Catholic tradition...' Revue d'histoire écclesiastique '... both useful and stimulating... Posset's book makes a useful contribution to English-language scholarship on Staupitz...' Journal of Ecclesiastical History