[quote="Truthstalker, post:9, topic:299692"]
I think what you are saying is that a professor, such as Luther, was analogous to a professor today. A professor of econ, for example, might develop a theory as to the proper regulatory regime for the buggy whip industry, and this would be passed around his fellow profs for peer review and humming and hawing. But regardless of whether the other profs approved of the theory, some economic minister, analogous to the bishop, might attempt to implement the theory.
This is exactly what I'm saying. As for "proving" that this was in case, it's not really something that was ever legislated. Just that according to canon law, only the Church gathered in council has the authority to define dogma. As far as theologians were invited to participate in these councils they did influence these decisions, but a faculty in a university in itself had no authority to declare its theories orthodox. Granted, the fact that these people were members of the faculty assumed that anything that they said would be orthodox, but this was not always the case, and where their views came into conflict with other theologians and the bishops' they were condemned.
I mentioned the case of Cornelius Jansen, who was himself not only a theologian but also the Bishop of Ypres, who formulated a model of Justification not dissimilar from that of Luther and Calvin. His writings weren't published until after his death in 1640, so he never experienced censure. However, as his ideas spread, gaining popularity especially in France, Belgium, and among the Catholics in the Netherlands, they attracted the (often negative) attention of other theologians in the major universities as well as the bishops in the territories in which the "Jansenist" theology was spreading.
Proponents of Jansenius's views of course pointed to his role as a theologian and even as a bishop to give legitimacy to his ideas. I think this is what you're getting at with regard to Luther, saying that he himself would have believed his position as a professor of theology granted him the authority to propound doctrine (though as you say, ultimately he based his authority on his biblical studies rather than any title he personally held). However, the consensus of the Church, as measured by the bishops and the universities, was overwhelmingly opposed to the Jansenist propositions.
Nevertheless, several key church leaders did lend their support to the movement, such as the Cardinal de Noailles in Louis XIV's France who gave his imprimatur to various Jansenist publications. Finally the anti-Jansenists successfully made their case at the highest levels and in 1713 Pope Clement XI formally condemned the major Jansenist propositions. Cardinal de Noailles obediently withdrew his imprimatur from the Jansenist party in France, though only after much bank and forth and incurring the opposition of over a hundred French bishops. With their printing presses and teachings silenced, the Jansenists gradually fell into obscurity over the course of the 18th century.
I use this example as it demonstrates how complicated these matters could get, even over a century after Luther, when you'd expect controls to have been tightened by Trent. The moral is that yes, with the right credentials you could propagate your views fairly efficiently, provided the local bishop and the civil authority could be persuaded to look benevolently on you, and it would take major lobbying by your theological opponents to finally get the long arm of Rome involved.
Where Jansen differs from Luther of course, is that he himself was a pillar of Church authority in his own right, his instructions for posthumous publication of his ideas declaring "If, however, the Holy See wishes any change, I am an obedient son, and I submit to that Church in which I have lived to my dying hour. This is my last wish." This spirit was largely imitated by his followers as well, most of whom conceded when Rome came down fully and finally against their doctrine.