Lot 245: Philipp Melanchthon

RR Auction

2015-08-21 10:51:49

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Lot 245: Tremendously influential humanist and scholar (1497–1560) considered the first systematic theologian of the Protestant Reformation; he holds a place beside Luther and Calvin as one of the most important intellectual leaders in religious history. Rare ALS in Latin, signed "Philippus," one page, 7 x 12.5, March 19, 1530. Letter to Johannes Weber, pastor in Neustadt, in full (translated): "Greetings. You do well in being constantly concerned with matrimonial cases. My view of Georg's business is that the marriage contracted is invalid, since the woman was uncertain whether her previous husband, who went away with her consent, was alive and what his wishes were. Georg is therefore free, but the scandal moves me not to immediately allow him to take another wife. The magistrates should first make an effort with the woman, or we should do so with the woman's friends, to find out with certainty whether her previous husband is alive. If the woman herself wants to go away to her previous husband, do not stop her, since this second marriage is not legally contracted. You have my view, which I beg you to moderate in such a way that this matter does not give rise to greater offense. Farewell. Rochlitz, 1530." He adds a postscript below, in full: "You will also prohibit Georg and the woman from returning to one another without the matter having been investigated, but if he will judge that the husband is dead, I would like Georg to keep the woman, because of the scandal." Also addressed on the reverse address panel in Melanchthon's hand. In very good condition, with intersecting folds (with some partial tape-repaired separations), and light soiling.This remarkable letter deals with the theological laws surrounding matrimony in 16th century Europe, offering tremendous insight into the relationship between church and societal values during the period. It concerns the 'marriage' of Georg Jungkling and Else Moser, declaring it an invalid union because of the uncertain fate of her first husband, gunsmith Hieronymus Malter. Malter fought in the service of King Louis II of Hungary and had been taken prisoner at the Battle of Mohacs in 1526, in which Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent's Ottoman forces routed King Louis's troops, leading to a centuries-long partition of Hungary. Believing that her first husband was dead, Moser married Jungkling three years later in 1529; shortly thereafter she received a letter from Malter, requesting that she visit him in Hungary where he remained in captivity. The revelation that he was still alive sparked controversy within the community regarding their relationship and validity of this second marriage, thus this correspondence between religious leaders. An excessively rare letter with fantastic content from this influential early religious reformer. RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 460 Wednesday, 16th September 2015 Estimate: $15000-20000
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