Documents on the Papal Plenary Indulgences 1300-1517 Preached in the Regnum Teutonicum


Editor / Translator: Stuart Jenks
Catholics and Protestants have disputed the validity and legitimacy of papal plenary indulgences for 500 years without a unitary corpus of the relevant texts documenting the indulgence campaigns which so exercised Luther and his contemporaries. This volume prints for the first time in a modern edition the full text of all available papal bulls and brevia between 1300 and 1517 which granted plenary indulgences (i.e. those which cancelled all previously accrued temporal punishment due to sin), the instructions to the commissioners on how to preach (and defend) the indulgences and conduct the campaigns, and finally the extensions of indulgence campaigns. The Regnum Teutonicum provides the geographical framework, since it includes all the areas where the Reformation initially broke out.

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Stuart Jenks, Ph.D. (1974), Yale University, Dr. phil. habil. (1985), Free University of Berlin, is a (retired) professor of medieval history and medieval and modern economic history at the University of Erlangen. He has edited and published extensively on these areas.
"This is a source edition for those interested in plenary indulgences and the Holy Roman Empire in the Middle Ages. As the editor states in the introduction, it is unclear why these documents have not previously been edited and printed systematically, since without knowing their precise content, it is impossible to fully understand the dynamics that led to Luther’s criticism of papal indulgences and to the birth of the Reformation movement. This book, published soon after the five-hundredth anniversary of the Reformation, finally fills this gap."
Kirsi Salonen, in: Journal of Ecclesiastical History, 70 (2019)

''Stuart Jenks’ verdienstvolle Quellensammlung regt dazu an,weiterführende Fragen zu stellen. Sie leistet eine erstmalige und übersichtliche Zusammenstellung der normativenTexte zu den Plenarablässen mit Bezugzum Heiligen Römischen Reichundist daher ein nützliches Hilfsmittel für die Erforschungdes mittelalterlichen Ablasswesens und die Einordnung der Reformation''
Alex Ehlers, in: Zeitschrift für Historische Forschung 46:2 (2019)

"Es ist auffällig, dass es zwar viele Studien zum Ablass im Mittelalter gibt, dass aber die Publikation der einschlägigen Quellen unbefriedigend ist. Eine rühmliche Ausnahme ist die mustergültige, umfassende Edtion der Plenarablässe im Regnum Teutonicum von 1300 bis 1517, die Stuart Jenks unternommen hat."
Theodor Dieter, Wolfgang Thönissen (eds.), in Der Ablassstreit. Band I: Vorgeschichte des Ablassstreits 1095-1517, Leipzig 2021, p. xxiii
List of Tables, Maps, Graphs and Illustrations


A Brief Guide for the Uninitiated

1 Jubilee Indulgence 1300

2 Jubilee Indulgence 1350

3 Jubilee Indulgence 1389

4 Crusade Indulgence against the Hussites 1420

5 Plenary Indulgence of the Council of Basel for Financing the Negotiations with the Greeks on the Union of Both Churches 1436/38

6 Jubilee Indulgence 1450

7 Crusade against the Turks 1455

8 Crusade against the Turks 1463

9 Crusade Indulgence against King George Podiebrad of Bohemia 1465/71

10 Jubilee Indulgence 1475

11 Indulgence for the Church of Saintes 1476/88

12 Plenary Indulgence for the Order of St Mary Magdalene in Strasbourg 1479

13 Indulgence for the Order of St John of Jerusalem in Defense of Rhodes 1479/82

14 Indulgence in Aid of the War against the Turks 1489

15 Jubilee Indulgence 1500

16 Indulgence in Aid of the War against the Turks 1501/03

17 Indulgence in Aid of the War against the Russians and Tartars in Livonia 1503/06

18 St Peter Indulgence 1506

19 Indulgence in Aid of the War against the Russians and Tartars in Livonia 1507/10

20 Indulgence in Aid of the Reconstruction of the Towers of the Constance Minster 1513/14

21 Indulgence for the Hospital of the Holy Spirit in Rome 1514/18

22 Indulgence in Aid of the Dominicans of Augsburg 1514/17

23 Indulgence for the Cathedral of Trier 1515/16

24 Indulgence for the Repair of the Dikes in the Burgundian Netherlands 1515/18

25 Indulgence in Aid of the Reconstruction of the Parish Church of Brüx/Most 1516/18

26 St Peter Indulgence 1514/18

27 St Peter Indulgence 1516/18


Chronological List of Documents
Index of People and Places
Index of Subjects
All who are interested in the Reformation and church history up to 1517.