Rare books and other special collections materials are often featured in the Andover-Harvard Theological Library online exhibits. Selected titles not found in the online exhibits are also featured here.
Of the Incomparable Treasure of the Holy Scriptures: An Exhibit of Historic Bible-related Materials from the Collection of Andover-Harvard Theological Library.
Argula von Grumbach. Dem Durchleiichtigisten Hoch gebornen Fürsten vnd herren, Herrn Friderichen Hertzogen zu Sachssen, Des hayligen Römischen Reychs Ertzmarschalck unnd Churfürsten, Landtgraün in Düringen, vnnd Marggraun zu Meyssen, meynem Gnedigisten herren. Argula Staufferin. [Augsburg, Phil. Ulhart, 1523].
Argula von Grumbach is one of the first women whose writings were published in defense of the Protestant Reformation. Recent scholarly interest in von Grumbach has led to new findings, and scholarly work about her is ongoing.
Argula von Grumbach was born around 1492 into the noble Bavarian family von Stauff and lived until 1554 or 1568. Her father gave her the Koberger Bible in German when she was 10 years old. She was a lady-in-waiting to Queen Kunigunde, and later married Friedrich von Grumbach, with whom she had four children. After von Grumbach died, she married Count von Schlick, who died two years later in 1535. She is known to be the author of eight published pamphlets, the first of which was published in sixteen editions. Argula von Grumbach's writings for publication, most of which are letters, appeared in 1523 and 1524.
Pamphlets, or "Flugschriften," published in the sixteenth century were intended to influence public opinion. These pamphlets employed various literary forms, including the letter format. Only a handful of authors of pamphlets were laypersons.
The letter exhibited here is one written on December 1, 1523, to Frederick the Wise (the Duke of Saxony and an Elector of the Holy Roman Empire) prior to an upcoming meeting of the Reichstag, or Imperial Diet. The letter expresses the hope that "God Almighty may direct the proceedings and bestow grace, wisdom and strength on all who participate in it so that the word of God may again be preached to the poor; so that there can be an end to its deplorable proscription by those pagan princes who have forcibly deprived the poor of it, and who are now persecuting and crucifying Christ anew."
Considered to be one of Luther's greatest Reformation treatises, in it he asserts his doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, challenges exclusive papal authority to interpret Scripture and to sanction councils, and calls on the secular nobility to reform the church. He then adds a list of particular ecclesiastical abuses that a reforming council should address. Written in June 1520 and first published in August of that year, it was one of the significant works that led to Luther's excommunication in early January 1521.
"It is said that there is no better temporal rule anywhere than among the Turks, who have neither spiritual nor temporal law, but only their Koran. But we must admit that there is no more shameful rule than ours with its spiritual and temporal law, which has resulted in nobody living according to common sense, much less according to Holy Scripture anymore." (Quoted from an English translation of the treatise. Cf. p. 96 of Martin Luther. Three Treatises. 2nd rev. ed. Philadelphia, Fortress Press, 1970.)
The library's copy is a second printing of a revised edition issued in the same year as the original.
Christianum de fide, & sacramentis, edictum. Ingolstadii, Aleandri Vueissenhorn, 1546.
This tract is one of the most recent rare book purchases of the Library. Johannes Cochlaeus (1479-1552), a major opponent of Martin Luther, is a significant contributor, although the work is attributed to Filippo Archinto. Together with the Houghton Library, Andover-Harvard Theological Library holds one of the largest collections of the works of Cochlaeus in the United States. The work was purchased with proceeds from the Maria Grossmann Book Fund, named in honor of the Librarian, 1965-1973 and 1979-1986. Dr. Grossmann characterized the collection as one "including the works of almost anyone who caused someone else very much trouble." Given this characterization it is certainly fitting to collect Luther and the Protestants, but also fitting to collect an important Catholic opponent of Luther as well.