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Life between the Confessions – Nicodemism at Augsburg (1598)

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First Interrogation of Martin Küenle (December 4, 1598).

Q. How does he make his living?

A. He says that he is a citizen here and is about sixty-five years old [ . . . ]. He is a furrier and supports himself from this trade.

Q. Of what religion is he [ . . . ]?

A. He has sometimes attended the churches of the Confession of Augsburg, though not regularly. Otherwise, it is true that at home he has read Schwenckfeldian and Lutheran books, and he also heard [Father] Gregory preach at the Cathedral. He adds that Schwenckfeld's teaching pleases him best, because more than the others it emphasizes a Christian life and devotion [ . . . ].

Second Interrogation of David Altenstetter (December 7, 1598).

Q. It is known that he has not answered all of the questions fully, and now he must do it and not force the matter to more serious steps. He recently acknowledged that he has adhered neither to the Catholic religion nor to that of the Confession of Augsburg, but now he must state clearly, to what religion he does adhere.

A. He repeats once more what he said in the first interrogation. While the theologians of the Catholic religion and the Augsburgish [i.e., Lutheran] religion have in the past attacked each other so vigorously, he was attracted to join neither the one nor the other. Instead, he remained unattached. At home, he has all sorts of Christian books, including [Johannes] Tauler, The Imitation of Christ [by Thomas à Kempis], [Desiderius] Erasmus' interpretation of the New Testament, and an old Bible printed at Nuremberg a hundred years ago. He also attended the Catholic and sometimes also the Lutheran churches [ . . . ], and although he heard sometimes one, sometimes the other, he wasn't pleased, although he often heard good things preached in both churches [ . . . ]. And he hopes that no one will force him, based on what he has said, to choose precipitously either the one religion or the other, but he hopes to be given time to listen further to [Father] Gregory, the Cathedral preacher, and to learn more about the Catholic religion. If, however, this is denied him, he must accept the Confession of Augsburg, because he has at the present time insufficient instruction in the Catholic religion [ . . . ].

Second Interrogation of Martin Küenle (December 7, 1598).

Q. As he knows that only two religions – the Catholic and that of the Confession of Augsburg – are permitted here, to neither of which he belongs, and because he recently said that he knows of no errors held by either, he shall now clearly testify to his confession or faith.

A. The Schwenckfeldian faith pleases him most.

Q. It is known [ . . . ] that he and his fellow believers have had secret meetings on holy days and Sundays between seven and eight o'clock in the morning [ . . . ].

A. He never attended any such meetings and knows nothing about them. Whatever he read in Schwenckfeldian books and writings, he read quietly by himself, and none of his workers were present. He says also that some of his people and their spouses go to the Catholic churches (including his aunt) and some to the Lutheran ones [ . . . ].

Source of original German text: Stadtarchiv Augsburg, Reichsstadt, Urgichtensammlung, 179; reprinted in Bernd Roeck, ed., Gegenreformation und Dreißigjähriger Krieg 1555-1648. Deutsche Geschichte in Quellen und Darstellung, edited by Rainer A. Müller, Volume 4. Stuttgart: P. Reclam, 1996, pp. 105-09.

English translation: Thomas Brady Jr.

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