Carlstadt or Carolostadt

Carlstadt Or Carolostadt, an eminent but violent coadjutor of Luther. His name was ANDREW BODENSTIN, but he took his surname from his native place in Frinconia. The date of his birth is unknown. He studied theology and the canon law at Rome. In 1504 he went to Wittemberg, and after taking several academic degrees and obtaining a great reputation for scholastic learning, he was in 1513 made professor of theology and archdeacon. His intimacy with Luther began in 1512. When Carlstldt came back from a stay at Rome, about 1515, and found that Luther's opinions were subverting scholasticism in the University, he at first opposed them, violently, but afterward devoted himself to Biblical study, and became one of Luther's most zealous adherents. By some of his contemporaries his erudition is at this time highly spoken of, but Melancthon denied him either sound learning, genius, or piety. In escaping from scholasticism he seems to have gone to the opposite extreme of mysticism. In the celebrated Leipsic Disputation (June 27, 1519) he disputed with Eck (q.v.) upon "human freedom and divine grace." Luther, being drawn into the debate, surpassed the other disputants, and from this time the breach between Carlstadt and the great reformer openly manifested itself. The next year (1520) he published a treatise, De canonicis Scripturis, which, although defaced by bitter attacks on Luther, was nevertheless an able work, setting forth the great principle of Protestantism, viz. the paramount authority of Scripture. He also at this time contended for the authority of the epistle of St. James against Luther. On the publication of the bull of Leo X against the reformers, Carlstadt showed a real and honest courage in standing firm with Luther. His work on Papal Sanctity (1520) attacks the infallibility of the pope on the basis of the Bible. In 1521, during Luther's confinement in the Wartburg, Carlstadt had almost sole control of the reform movement at Wittemberg, and was supreme in the University. He attacked monachism and celibacy in a treatise de coelibatu, monachatu et viduitate. His next point of assault was the Mass, and a riot of students and young citizens against the mass soon followed. On Christmas, 1521, he gave the sacrament in both kinds to the laity, and in German; and in January, 1522, he married. His headlong zeal led him to do whatever he came to believe right, at once and arbitrarily. But he soon outran Luther, and one of his great mistakes was in putting the O.T. on the same footing as the New. On Jan. 24,1522, Carlstadt obtained the adoption of a new church constitution at Wittemberg, which is of interest only as the first Protestant organization of the Reformation. In 1523 he gave way to a fanaticism against academic learning, insisting that academical degrees were sinful, and that the spirit was sufficient for the illumination of the faithful. The ferment increased until Wittemberg was in a storm, the University in danger of dissolution, and the timid Melancthon, although countenancing all the reasonable steps of Carlstadt, was nevertheless in great fear that his rashness would be disastrous to the reform. This is the culminating point of Carlstadt's influence. When Luther returned from the Wartburg, and found how things were going at Wittemberg, his eloquence and strength soon restored order, and Carlstadt's violence was rebuked and set aside. Carlstadt's vanity and ambition were mortified, and his influence at Wittemberg was broken. In 1523 he abandoned his academical honors and degree, left Wittemberg, and, calling himself a "new layman," went into the country. He soon published a number of mystical works, asserting the entire passivity of the human will in relation to predestined grace, and soon went almost to the verge of apostasy. He was especially fanatical in regard to the right to use "physical force," and treated with contempt Luther's consideration for the weakness of others. After his banishment from Wittemberg he obtained the pastorate of a church at Orlamünde, in Saxony, but after his discussion with Luther the elector banished him also from the state. Hence he went to Strasburg, and published several writings on the Eucharist, in which he opposed Luther's doctrine of the real (spiritual) presence, and coincided with Zwingle's views, which were also those of OEcolampadius, and are now held by most Protestants. On account of these tenets he was dismissed from Orlamünde in 1524, and from this date until 1534 he wandered through Germany, pursued by the persecuting opinions of both Lutherans and Papists, and at times reduced to great straits by indigence and unpopularity. But, although he always found sympathy and hospitality among the Anabaptists, yet he is evidently clear of the charge of complicity with Müntzer's rebellion. Yet he was forbidden to write, his life was sometimes in danger, and he exhibits the melancholy spectacle of a man great and right in many respects, but whose rashness, ambition, and insincere zeal, together with many fanatical opinions, had put him under the well-founded but immoderate censure of both friends and foes.

By these severe reverses the intemperate zealot was humbled. In 1530 Bucer sent him with warm commendations from Strasburg to Zurich, where, in 1532, he became a second time pastor of a church. In 1534 he was made professor of theology at Basel, and minister of St. Peter's, and, bating a dispute with Myconius, he lived in comparative quiet and comfort. He died of the plague on Christmas, 1541. It cannot be denied that in many respects he was apparently in advance of Luther, but his error lay in his haste to subvert and abolish the external forms and pomps before the hearts of the people, and doubtless his own, were prepared by, an internal change. Biographies of him are numerous, and the Reformation no doubt owes him much of good for which he has not the credit, as it was overshadowed by the mischief he produced. See Füssli, Andreas Bodenstein (Frankfurt, 1776); Jager, And. Bodenstein von Carlstadt (Stuttgardt, 1856, 8vo); Mosheim, Ch. Hist. 3:24, 32, 140; Merle D'Aubigne, Hist. of Reformation, 3:179 sq.; Herzog, Real-Encyklopädie, 2:395 sq.; Ranke, History of the Reformation, pt. 2, p. 163; Dorner, Geschichte d. Prot. Theologie, 1867, p. 121 sq.

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