Who was richer, Luther or Tetzel?


By the end of their careers, who had made more profit out of selling their religion? Corrupt indulgence seller Johann Tetzel, or leader of his own cult and one-man publishing machine Martin Luther?

I wonder?


Since Tetzel basically died in disgrace, I suspect that the answer is “Luther.” However, he wasn’t very rich as far as I know. He got a decent salary and lived in part of the former Augustinian cloister, but he was extremely hospitable and generous–poor students were living with him much of the time. I don’t think he died a wealthy man, but I don’t have figures at hand and I’m willing to see evidence to the contrary. I vaguely reember my advisor in grad school saying something about it, but I don’t clearly remember what he said.

BTW, Luther wrote to Tetzel toward the end of the latter’s life and basically said, “Don’t feel responsible for all of this–it’s much bigger than the two of us”! Apparently he thought poor Tetzel might need cheering up–I don’t think Tetzel was very popular among his fellow Dominicans for having helped start all the rumpus!


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