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Luther's Works

Publications by Luther in 1520 ~
Why the Books of the Pope and His Disciples were Burned

Gruber 88

Gruber 88.

Gruber 88 Warum des Bapsts und seyner Jungeru bucher von Doct. Martino Luther vorbrat seynn... Wittembergk DMXX. (Why the Books of the Pope and His Disciples were Burned). Aland 545; Benzing 784-786; WA 7.154-186. Luther's Works 31:379-395. Warum des Papstes und seinger Jünger Bücher von D. Martin Luther verbrannt sind.

The bull Exsurge Domine (Gruber 48) threatened Luther with excommunication and demanded that his books be burned. This book-burning took place at a number of European cities and Luther decided to fight fire with fire. On December 10, 1520, outside the Elster gate in Wittenberg, Luther cast into the fire volumes of the canon law, papal decrees, and books of scholastic theology. Luther also tossed into the fire Exsurge Domine. This defense of his actions were written in the next two weeks and published by Johann Grünenberg. Translation in Luther's Works 31:383-395. This essay ends as follows: "In all this I offer to give an account in the presence of every man. Samson, Judges 15 [:11]: 'As they did to me, so have I done to them.'"


The Gruber Collection was assembled by L. Franklin Gruber, President of Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary, Maywood, Illinois.

Annotation prepared by Ralph W Klein