13 July 2016
From a private German collection
MELANCHTHON, Philipp (1497-1560). Autograph letter signed (‘Philippus Melanchthon’) to the theologian Hermann Huddeus (‘Hermano Huddeo’), [Wittenberg], 21 June 155, in Latin and Greek.
1½ pages, folio (295 x 180mm), autograph address panel, (loss to bottom left margin). Provenance: with a leaf bearing a late 16th-century German identification, in the hand of 'HR' seen in the following lot.
Opening by commending Huddeus for his pious conduct and relationship with [the Lutheran] church, Melanchthon continues ‘you help us in our public labours and I give you thanks’. He encloses a recently published work containing ‘a brief admonishment of the impudence of a certain anonymous [author] who published a most venomous defence of Stenkefeldii [Schwenckfeld]. It is not so much about refuting the pamphlets of such an imposter as forcing the authorities to punish them’. Melanchthon goes on to recommend that the diligence of a certain young William be passed on to his father.
The work enclosed by Melanchthon was probably written by the theologian Paul Eber (1511-1569), his colleague at Wittenberg and close friend, as a rebuttal to Georg Mayer’s Apologia für Herrn Caspar Schwenckfeldt von Ossing, printed in Augsburg in 1557 under the pseudonym Theophilus Agricola. The Protestant Reformer Caspar Schwenkfeld (1489/90-1561), had been an ardent adherent of Lutheran teachings in the early 1420s, before a dispute with Martin Luther as to the true meaning of the Eucharist led to a break with the church and his expulsion by Luther in 1540. He continued to publish his writing after leaving Silesia in 1540, contributing to the debate between the opposing factions of the Lutheran church, before dying in exile in 1561. Published Melanchthons Briefwechsel, no 8255.
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