Leipzig debate

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Luther's report of the Leipzig debate, 20 July 1519.


The following week Eck debated with me, first of all quite sharply concerning papal primacy . . . Then he went to the extreme and emphasized exclusively the Council of Constance, where the articles of Hus asserting that the papacy derived [its authority] from the emperor had been condemned. There he stood quite boldly, as if on a battlefield, and reproached me with the Bohemians and called me publicly a heretic and a supporter of the Hussite heretics. He is an impudent and foolhardy sophist . . . Here I publicly asserted that some articles were condemned at the Council of Constance in a godless manner, since they were taught openly and clearly by Augustine, Paul and even Christ himself.


The third week we debated concerning repentance, purgatory, indulgences and about the power of a priest to absolve . . . Indulgences were thrown out of the window and he agreed almost completely with me. Indeed, the defense of indulgences became plainly a laughing stock, while I had expected it to be the main point of the disputation. In his sermons Eck conceded all this so that even the common people observed his disregard for indulgences. He is even said to have admitted that he would have agreed with me in all points had I not debated about the authority of the pope.

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