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Posts tagged "Indulgences"


That Time Johann Tetzel Got Played

This cracked me up, though who knows if it’s the equivalent of 16th century hearsay/urban legend. It’s a story that Martin Luther tells (Luthers Schriften, herausg. von Walch. XV, 446) about Johann Tetzel, the Dominican friar who served as the Grand Commissioner of Indulgences at the turn of the 16th Century in Germany, the man most often cast as the villain in the Luther story:

e1871ae5f9cb9a527f0d8c0b16d7417eAfter [Johann] Tetzel had received a substantial amount of money at Leipzig, a nobleman asked him if it were possible to receive a letter of indulgence for a future sin. Tetzel quickly answered in the affirmative, insisting, however, that the payment had to made at once. This the nobleman did, receiving thereupon letter and seal from Tetzel. When Tetzel left Leipzig the nobleman attacked him along the way, gave him a thorough beating, and sent him back empty-handed to Leipzig with the comment that this was the future sin which he had in mind. Duke George at first was quite furious about this incident, but when he heard the whole story he let it go without punishing the nobleman.

Indulgences of the 21st Century Kind

Indulgences of the 21st Century Kind

I should say, first of all, that this is not a political post; I believe that we should all Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. What this is about, however, is guilt and the new way (supposedly) to buy one’s way to a clear conscience: Carbon Offsets. For those of you not familiar with the concept, there […]