Regensburg Religious Discussion (1541)

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The Regensburg Religious Discussion of 1541 took place on the procession of the Regensburg Reichstag and was intended to be a peaceful means of unifying Old Believers (Catholics) and Protestants. It was convened by Emperor Charles V , who, in view of the threat of the Turks, could not do without the military support of the Protestant princes.

In the Worms Religious Discussion , which took place from December 1540 to January 1541 and from which the so-called Worms Book emerged as a basis for discussion, it was decided to continue the religious discourse. This took place from April 5 to May 22, 1541. On this occasion, Emperor Charles V appeared in the empire for the first time since 1532. He convened a committee of well-known theologians at the time, which was to negotiate under the leadership of his minister Nicolas de Granvelle and the Count Palatine Friedrich II . The Protestant representatives were Martin Bucer , Johannes Calvin , Philipp Melanchthon and Johannes Pistorius . Representatives of the old believing (Catholic) side were Johannes Eck , Johannes Gropper and Julius von Pflug . In addition, the papal legate Gasparo Contarini worked as an advisor to the Old Believers. All 23 articles in the Worms book were to be negotiated. After an agreement was reached on the first four articles, Article 5 on the doctrine of justification came about, which at first seemed sensational. However, this was only possible thanks to a text that was not always clearly formulated, which was then rejected by Rome and from which the Protestants later distanced themselves. Cardinal Gasparo Contarini had previously worked through the Book of Worms and together with Gropper and Cardinal Bishop Giovanni Morone some passages, v. a. changed article 14 on the Eucharist in the sense of what he considered to be the official Catholic teaching, which made the religious discussion on this article the greatest and irreconcilable point of contention.

In the discussion, the participants in the conversation worked out a new article of justification, free of the Worms template that was put aside. Attempts were made to combine the Augustinian doctrine, which was the aspect of imputed justice ( iustitia imputata ), which was represented by the Protestants, with the aspect of the consequent effective justice ( iustitia inhaerens ), which was represented by the Old Believers (Catholics) . This compromise formula was subsequently referred to as duplex iustitia (doctrine of double justification). Whether this compromise provided the chance to overcome the schism in the church is disputed in research, as is its significance for ecumenical efforts in the 20th century.

The irreconcilable contradictions were the doctrine of transubstantiation in Article 14 on the Eucharist and the question of the Church's magisterium and confession. The 23 Latin teaching articles and the 9 counter-articles submitted by the Protestants, the so-called Regensburg Book , were officially handed over to the emperor on May 31, 1541. The efforts of the emperor to reach mutual understanding had failed.


The conversation took place in the rooms of the so-called Neue Waag , which can be reached via the adjoining Haidplatz and at that time were owned by the imperial city of Regensburg . In the inner courtyard of the building complex, a wall fresco depicting the participants Eck and Melanchthon has been a reminder of the religious conversation since 1960. Today the Bavarian Administrative Court of Regensburg is located in these buildings.


I. Sources

  • Klaus Ganzer (Ed.): Files from the German Reich religion talks in the 16th century . Volume 3: The Regensburg Religious Discussion (1541) . 2 volumes. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2007.
  • Cornelis Augustijn (ed.): Martin Bucers German writings. Vol. 9/2: Religious Discussions (1541-1542) (= Martini Buceri Opera Omnia, Series I). Gütersloher Verlagshaus, Gütersloh 2007. ISBN 978-3-579-04891-8 .

II. Secondary literature

  • Hans-Martin Barth u. a .: The Regensburg Religious Discussion in 1541. Review and ecumenical perspectives . Pustet, Regensburg 1992, ISBN 3-7917-1318-3 .
  • Athina Lexutt: Justification in conversation. The understanding of justification in the religious discussions of Hagenau, Worms and Regensburg 1540/41 (= research on the history of the church and dogma 64). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1996, ISBN 3-525-55172-X (also: Bonn, Univ., Diss., 1994/95).
  • Gehrhard B. Winkler: The Regensburg Religious Discussion 1541 . In: Dieter Albrecht (Ed.): Regensburg - City of the Reichstag. From the Middle Ages to the Modern Age ( Series of the University of Regensburg 21). Regensburg 1994. ISBN 3-9803470-9-5 , pp. 72-81.
  • Karl-Heinz zur Mühlen: The Reich religion talks of Hagenau, Worms and Regensburg 1540/41, opportunities and limits of the controversial theological dialogue in the middle of the 16th century . In: Leaves for Palatine Church History and Religious Folklore (BPfKG) 72, 2005, ISSN  0341-9452 , pp. 319–334.
  • Wolf-Dieter Hauschild : Textbook of church and dogma history . Volume 2: Reformation and Modern Times . 3. Edition. Gütersloher Verlag-Haus et al., Gütersloh 2005, ISBN 3-579-00094-2 , 145f.
  • Otto Scheib: The Inner Christian Religious Discussions in the Occident. Regional distribution, institutional structure, theological topics, ecclesiastical function. With special consideration of the denominational age (1517–1689) (= Wolfenbütteler Research Vol. 122). Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 2009, ISBN 978-3-447-06133-9 , pp. 186f.
  • Saskia Schultheis: The negotiations about the Lord's Supper and the other sacraments at the religious discussion in Regensburg in 1541 (= research on the history of the church and dogma 102). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2012. ISBN 978-3-525-56401-1 .
  • Rainer Sommer: Hermann von Wied, Archbishop and Elector of Cologne. Part 2: 1539-1543. The Reich religion talks and the attempt at reform in the Archbishopric of Cologne, Bonn 2013