Johann Tetzel

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Johann Tetzel

Johann Tetzel (1465 in Pirna – 11 August 1519 in Leipzig) was a German Dominican friar and preacher. He was appointed Inquisitor for Poland and Saxony, later becoming the Grand Commissioner for indulgences in Germany. Tetzel was known for granting indulgences on behalf of the Catholic Church in exchange for money, which are claimed to allow a remission of temporal punishment due to sin, the guilt of which has been forgiven, a position heavily challenged by Martin Luther. This contributed to the Reformation. The main usage of the indulgences sold by Johann Tetzel was to help fund and build the St. Peter's Basilica.


  • Animam purgatam evolare, est eam visione dei potiri, quod nulla potest intercapedine impediri. Quisquis ergo dicit, non citius posse animam volare, quam in fundo cistae denarius possit tinnire, errat.
    • For a soul to fly out, is for it to obtain the vision of God, which can be hindered by no interruption, therefore he errs who says that the soul cannot fly out before the coin can jingle in the bottom of the chest.
    • Theses nos. 55 and 56 of the One Hundred and Six Theses drawn up by Konrad Wimpina. The reformation in Germany, Henry Clay Vedder, 1914, Macmillan Company, p. 405. [1] Latin in: D. Martini Lutheri, Opera Latina: Varii Argumenti, 1865, Henricus Schmidt, ed., Heyder and Zimmer, Frankfurt am Main & Erlangen, vol. 1, p. 300. (Reprinted: Nabu Press, 2010, ISBN 1142405516 ISBN 9781142405519. [2]
    • Thesis 56 often abbreviated and translated as:
      As soon as a coin in the coffer rings / the soul from purgatory springs. CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Johann Tetzel
    • Alternate translation of no. 56:
      He errs who denies that a soul can fly as quickly up to Heaven as a coin can chink against the bottom of the chest. In “Luther and Tetzel,” Publications of the Catholic Truth Society, Catholic Truth Society (Great Britain), 1900, Volume 43, p. 25. [3]

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