JOHANN TETZEL (c. 1460-1519), preacher and salesman of papal indulgences, the son of Hans Tetzel, a goldsmith of Leipzig, was born there about 1460.
Tetzel was selected as the most efficient salesman; he was appointed general sub-commissioner for indulgences, and was accompanied by a clerk of the Fuggers from whom Albrecht had borrowed the money to pay his first-fruits.
Even Albrecht was shamed by Luther's attack, but he could not afford to relinquish his profits already pledged for the repayment of his debts; and Tetzel was encouraged to defend himself and indulgences.
Through the influence of Conrad Wimpina, rector of Frankfurt, Tetzel was created D.D.
Many lives of Tetzel have been published on the Protestant and on the Catholic side, the most recent being Korner's (1880), K.
History he is confused with a later Tetzel of Nuremberg.
A Dominican monk, Johann Tetzel, was selected to proclaim the indulgence (together with certain supplementary graces) in the three provinces of the elector.
He was suddenly forced to take up the consideration of some of the most fundamental points in the orthodox theology by the appearance of Tetzel in 1517.
His quarrel was turned more immediately against the pope himself when in August 1518 the Franciscan monk Bernardin Samson, a pardon-seller like Johann Tetzel, made his appearance in Switzerland as the papally commissioned seller of indulgences.
The popular feeling for the first time found expression when Luther, on All Saints day 1517, nailed to a church door in Wittenberg the theses in which he contested the doctrine Luther which lay at the root of the scandalous traffic in indulgences carried on in the popes name by Tetzel and his like.
The occasion was an Indulgence proclaimed by Pope Leo X., farmed by the archbishop of Mainz, and preached by John Tetzel, a Dominican monk and a famed seller of Indulgences.
Many of the German princes had no great love for Indulgence sellers, and Frederick of Saxony had prohibited Tetzel from entering his territories.
Tetzel, in conjunction with a friend, Conrad Wimpina, had published a set of counter-theses.
He resolved to meet with Tetzel and with Luther privately before he produced his credentials.
Tetzel he could not see; the man was afraid to leave his convent; but he had lengthy interviews with Luther in the house of Spalatin the chaplain and private secretary of the elector Frederick.
Kohler, Luthers 95 Theses sammt seinen Resolutionen, den Gegenschriften von Wimpina-Tetzel, Eck and Prierias, and den Antworten Luthers darauf (Leipzig, 1903); Emil Reich, Select Documents illustrating Medieval and Modern History (London, 1905); The Leipzig Disputation: Seidemann, Die Leipziger Disputation im Jahre 1519 (Dresden, 1843); Luther before the Diet of Worms: Deutsche Reichstagsakten unter Kaiser Karl V.
For this work he procured the services of John Tetzel, and so indirectly exercised a potent influence on the course of the Reformation.