Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Speculative Luther Citation Tree

German Original statements in "These words, 'this is my body,' etc."
Cochlaeus' inaccurate gloss on a single sentence from that work.
Bellarmine and Chrismann (independently of one another)
with Bellarmine serving as major node, with many Catholic apologists (possibly including Gregory Martin, de Sales, and so forth) and Leibniz obtaining it from Bellarmine or from someone who relied on Bellarmine.
For example,
Audioso obtaining from Bellarmine
Balmes obtaining from Audioso
Ray obtaining from Balmes

Caveat: This is just speculative (though certain connectors, like the Leibniz-Bellarmine connector, are strong). I can't recall where Steve said he found the quotation.

UPDATE: I note that the current version of Dave' page states: "The other remaining task is to give a solid contextual interpretation (because the accusation all along has been that the quotation was snatched from context and isolated, thus leading to a false impression of what Luther meant). I have already made an ambitious start in that endeavor in section VIII above. More is forthcoming, including the analysis of a Professor of German of our citation, based on the context of the original work in German (we have photocopies of the beginning of it, from the Weimar Werke collection, obtained at the University of Detroit). We also have photocopies of the relevant sections from the Erlangen and Walch editions (obtained at Concordia University library in Ann Arbor)."

Hopefully the original German text will be shared if only in image form. That would permit the main question (about whether the quote is being abused by being taken out of context), to be answered. The other questions (about whether the translation from German to Latin is fair (or not) or even whether it is the "official" translation or a Cochlaean paraphrase, are interesting but secondary.

Oh well ... I guess we will wait and see.

At this time I am most interested in (in order of interest):

1. The original German context. (I assume that this will be forthcoming, and will demonstrate that the Latin translation we have seen is something of a [more or less, I'm not sure] rough paraphrase. I assume it has not been posted yet because of size issues.)

2. The "official" Latin translation (to contrast with Cochlaeus') [If it is close to Cochlaeus' it will reduce the issues involved]

3. Even one writer (Catholic, nominal Lutheran, or anything) who quoted more of the context than Cochlaeus. (I doubt this will be found, but I'd be happy to be wrong.)

4. Any Catholic writer who ever answered Whitaker's charge that the quotation was a spurius Cochlaean invention. (I also doubt that this will be found, prior to this particular exchange.)


I note that I have omitted the possibility that Cochlaeus may have obtained his gloss legitimately from the "official" translation, since Cochlaeus wrote prior to the issuance of that translation. This pretty much solves the derivation puzzle.

Mostly it goes:

Bellarmine and Chrismann
-and from Bellarmine-
Many Catholic writers (including Balmes) and to Leibniz (plagiarizing Bellarmine), either directly or indirectly

I'm conflicted about whether to assign Gregory Martin's translation (in English) to derivation from either Cochlaeus or Bellarmine. I'm not sure it matters much.

(Incidentally, I think Grisar's different quotation is not derived directly from this family. Grisar appears actually have read the original work. Grisar misstates Luther's position, but he is far more fair and reasonable than any who followed Cochlaeus.)

Here is Grisar:

Grisar's tag is clearly incorrect, as even Armstrong seems to have admitted. Luther was not "plead[ing] the cause of the Catholic principle of authority." Luther attributed not "his own Scriptural system" to the devil, but the dissension of the fanatics and the quicksand of popery. Grisar was far more fair (his "obliged" seems to go to far) but was still incorrect. The context is available for anyone to read it. If you doubt my word read it (link).

As far as I am concerned, the derivation puzzle is solved. Cochlaeus is the ultimate source, and Luther never wrote the words attributed to him, although he wrote something from which Cochlaeus derived what he did. Furthermore, Bellarmine is the secondary major source.

All that remains is (a) the interesting question of whether Cochlaeus' gloss was fair. If the English translation is accurate, then "necessarium" is Cochlaeus' invention and is misleading. It is "necessarium" chiefly that is key to the Catholic use of the quotation. It's a fairly subtle change, but one that creates a vast difference in meaning. The (b) for that (a) is that we should check the "official" Latin version to see if "necessarium" appears there too. If so, then that will weaken both the claim to Cochlaean derivation (since others could theoretically have extracted it from the official translation), as well as the claim that the translation is unfair.

There are several other aspects of the gloss. These are less significant, but when combined with the major error, make the misrepresentation worse.

a) Man-made rules etc. is replaced by councils. This changes the tone of the sentence. In context, one of the many man-made rules that Luther has in mind are councils, but also included are popes, etc.

b) "Confugiamus" suggests taking refuge, which again changes the tone of the sentence. In context, Luther was suggesting that men would turn to man-made rules as a way to quench controversy.

c) "Propter" without context, suggests that the reason for the turning of men to man-made rules is primarily the diverse interpreations of Scripture. In fact, in context, the reason is the influence of Satan.

d) "Fidei unitatem" is probably an accurate translation of the words, but out of context one loses the saracstic sense in which Luther intended them. Recall his earlier comments about the unity of the faith, for he called that: "a united obedience to the glosses of the fathers and to the holy see at Rome."

In short, the sense Luther gives is condemnatory: first Satan stirs up trouble, then Satan imposes legalism. The way Luther is quoted, one cannot get that point. In fact, in most cases one is led to believe that Luther was suggesting that councils would be the "necessary" cure for the disease of individual interpretation.

Ah well, if anyone sees that Dave has made progress towards those ends, let me know.


Dave Armstrong said...

Any Catholic writer who ever answered Whitaker's charge that the quotation was a spurius Cochlaean invention.

I looked for this charge but couldn't find it in Whitaker. Could you direct me to the appropriate URL on Google Book Search? Thanks.

Turretinfan said...

No problem.
Page 140 (about 5-10 lines from the bottom of the page) (link)

James Swan said...

It really should go without saying, but Cochlaeus does not need a Latin original to work from. He was more than capable of reading Luther in German and writing his own book in Latin. Recall, Cochlaeus was a very determined man- even running his own printing press, if I recall, by which to attack Luther.

Turretinfan said...

Interestingly, Dave Armstrong has the following statement in a post that is currently dated as though it were written in 2004 (and perhaps it was), the content attributed to "a.believer," which states: "I was recently made aware of a long tradition of "anti-evangelical" authors who sought to poison the well against Luther and the other Reformers, with the intent of a priori closing peoples minds to honest consideration of the truths that sparked the Reformation--a tradition that began most notably with a man by the name of Johannes Cochlaeus--a contemporary of Martin Luther. Author Cochlaeus apparently had no compunction about ripping Luther's words completely out of context and juxtaposing these quotes onto his anti-Luther pamphlets in order to make Luther appear as a fairly demonic lunatic, and he showed no restraint in airing his opinion that Luther was, indeed, a "child of the devil.""

Obviously, one would want more than a second-hand, anonymous account, but it appears to be that we have found an example of such context-stripping in Cochlaeus in this instant.

There seem to be a couple of remaining questions, though.

1) Most importantly, does the paraphrase/translation give the wrong idea as to what Luther was trying to convey? It would certainly seem to be so, even by Armstrong's own admissions so far, by the time we see it in the various examples James identified here (link). Armstrong concedes, "Nothing in this hypothesis that we are in the process of setting forth involves the notion that Luther ever rejected his own principle of sola Scriptura. He did not. Repeat: he did not." (emphasis omitted) There remains the question of whether Armstrong's qualification even is an accurate summary of the context: "But he begrudgingly faced up to certain realities and reluctantly suggested how they would have to be dealt with, given the human condition and the deteriorating situation with regard to Protestant doctrinal unity." Of course, that's very far from, say, Patrick Madrid's characterization, or some of the others identified by James. In fact, of course, no one doubts the practical value of councils/synods etc. But I doubt Luther was talking simply about a need for councils because of "Protestant" disunity.

Instead, I bet Luther was talking about a need among the "Sacramentalists" to hold some sort of council. After all, there were (according to Luther) already seven major different interpretations. Of course, Luther would not have identified the Sacramentalists as "Protestants" but as "Fanatics" (consider the title of the work).

Unfortunately, to date, the context has not yet appeared, and no one seems to be able to locate a copy of the treatise in English, much less in Latin. Furthermore, the German appears to remain off the internet. We will have to wait and see.

2) The second issue will be to determine whether the Cochlaeus' latin matches up to the "official" latin translation. If it does not, and we have no strong reason to suppose it will, then we will be able basically to end the source-tree investigation (though perhaps a determined Catholic apologist might seek other "official" or "unofficial" Latin translations by Lutherans prior to Cochlaeus' work). This is an interesting issue, but it is really secondary. Cochlaeus' translation may have been very loose, but it conceivably could still have captured Luther's point.

3) The "Official" Latin translation should be compared to the German original, to see if the "official" translator(s) obtained a similar sense to that obtained by Cochlaeus.


Turretinfan said...

The English context has now been provided on the net, and is also available at Googlebooks.

James Swan said...

Grisar's tag is clearly incorrect, as even Armstrong seems to have admitted.

Last I recall, Mr. Armstrong stated I didn't understand Grisar, or something like that.

Turretinfan said...

Armstrong wrote: "Nothing in this hypothesis that we are in the process of setting forth involves the notion that Luther ever rejected his own principle of sola Scriptura. He did not. Repeat: he did not." (emphasis is Armstrong's)

Now, Armstrong is spinning off into new directions, quote-mining from other sources, and suggesting that literal translation was not the norm (obviously in a vain attempt to justify Cochlaeus' gloss).


Turretinfan said...

Dear Paul Hoffer,

If you are counting noses, you may want to consider this article, from the Dublin review:


I'm not sure how or whether Höninghaus fits into the tree, as I haven't seen an example of his use of the quotation.


Paul Hoffer said...

I beleive that The Dublin Review is a repeat of Wiseman's comments or a reference to them by Maynooth. I didn't want to be unseemingly redundant, but was merely highlighting the fact that people were quoting him. Honinghaus' work also was reviewed or referenced in a number of American Catholic publications during the 1830's-1840's, too.

An anglicized version of the quote appears in the book about Dr. Doyle.

Unofortunately, it appears that only the university library in St. Louis has a copy of the English version of Honinghaus' book tha the quote appears in.

Thanks for the heads up though!

Turretinfan said...

The point being that H was a Catholic convert (and apparently a "high profile" one).

Thanks for your comments!