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Lazarus Spengler Schriften. Bd. 3
Schriften der Jahre Mai 1529 bis März 1530. Hrsg. u. bearb. v. B. Hamm, F. Breitling, G. Litz u. A. Zecherle.
Gütersloh: Gütersloher Verlagshaus 2010. XLIX, 446 S. 23,5 x 16,0 cm = Quellen und Forschungen zur Reformationsgeschichte, 84. Lw. EUR 69,95. ISBN 978-3-579-05375-2.
As municipal Ratsschreiber in Nürnberg Spengler not only played a key role in the introduction of Wittenberg Reformation in his own city but also exercised political as well as theological leadership for his cause far beyond its territory. This third volume of his writings continues the edition’s high standard of presenting the texts Spengler produced at the »semi-official« level, that is, correspondence, memoranda, and the like, in which he expressed his own opinions (in contrast to »official« memoranda, etc., in which he reproduced the municipal government’s decisions and positions, not his personal views; these innumerable »official« documents are another genre and represent Nürnberg public policy, not Spengler’s own thinking). Although a few works from Spengler’s hand were published at the time of their composition, the editors have worked from manuscripts, comparing also these printed works with the archival sources.
Documents which appear in full in other collections, such as the Osiander Gesamtausgabe or the Deutsche Reichsakten, are noted but not reproduced. The editors have prepared helpful introductions to each document, longer in the case of memoranda, in summary form for many of the letters. The footnotes provide linguistic, historical, and bibliographical aids which facilitate the use of the texts.
The period between May 1529 and March 1530 was a critical period in the development of the Reformation in the Empire. Documents in this volume exhibit Spengler’s standing within the Evangelical es-tates and the principles which guided his pursuit of religious reform. For example, his interaction with the court of Margrave Georg of Brandenburg-Ansbach reveals how treacherous the course and how precarious the situation of Wittenberg reform was in 1529. Spengler formulated a defense of Margrave Georg’s reforming policies in reaction to severe pressure from the bishops in his area and from other members of the Hohenzollern family. In addition to texts prepared for the margrave’s defense against accusations from the bishops of Bamberg, Eichstätt, Würzburg, and Augsburg, and »Eine christliche Trostschrift für die angefochtenen Obrigkeiten«, composed for Georg in 1529, published 1530, correspondence between Georg’s chancellor, Georg Vogler, and Spengler shows how the Nürnberg Ratsschreiber exercised his influence and persuasive powers in behalf of reform at the level of territorial politics. His pursuit of such goals can also be seen in his correspondence with Peter Butz, Ratsschreiber in Strassburg, with whom he traded information about larger political developments and discussed strategic questions. Letters exchanged with several ecclesiastical and political leaders in Nürnberg also find a place in the volume and illuminate precisely how Spengler’s counsel influenced the course of events in the city. Spengler’s objections to formulations of theories justifying resistance to the emperor surfacing among the Evangelical estates demonstrate his own approach to sustaining and securing the place of Luther’s reform movement in the Empire.
Spengler’s interest in theology and his competence as a lay theologian find expression in these documents. Toward the end of the period of this volume the question of the treatment and tolerance of Anabaptists became an issue in Nürnberg, involving Luther and Brenz as well as local clergy. Spengler also entered into the discussion, and the relevant materials in this volume will command fur-ther study. Spengler rejected and critiqued Zwingli’s views of the Lord’s Supper and the policies of those who wished to find some rapprochement with him.
The tangled web in which Spengler and his contemporaries in Luther’s generation were enmeshed is reflected in an exchange of letters between him and Hieronymus Walter, a school comrade, who had moved to Leipzig in 1508 and by 1530 was serving on its municipal council. Faithful to the old church and a defender of Duke Georg’s religious policy of opposition to Luther’s cause, Walter’s critique of Spengler’s adherence to the Wittenberg reform and Spengler’s apologia show how the debate over reform was pursued at the personal level.
As a spur to further research on this central figure in the Wittenberg Reformation this edition will make a significant impact on our understanding of the broader involvement of lay people in Luther’s movement. Spengler provides evidence of how at least one political leader of the time appropriated Luther’s thought and put it into action. His papers also reveal a great deal regarding procedures and practices of Evangelical political leadership in the critical period leading toward the diet of Augsburg of 1530. The editors are to be commended for this valuable contribution.