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Balthasar Hübmaier

pretations—and even when he is wrong he is honestly, not perversely, wrong. There are few writers in the history of the Church who have searched the Scriptures with a greater zeal to discover their teaching, or have come to the study with a more open mind, or who have bent fewer texts from their plain meaning to support a favourite theory.

The method of interpretation avowed and practised by Hübmaier is simple in the extreme. It is to take a plain text in its plain meaning, applying to its exegesis the principles of grammar and ordinary common sense. In only one case does he yield to the tendency to allegorise, and in that case his exegesis is worthy of reproduction as a curiosity, though it has no other value. He is attempting to prove from Scripture that the fall of the body is irrecoverable and fatal, while that of the soul is half recoverable and innocuous, and he does it thus:


"Adam, the image (figur) of the soul, as Eve is the image of the body, would rather not have eaten of the fruit of the tree. He was not tempted by the serpent, but Eve was tempted. He knew that the speech of the serpent contradicted the word of Clod, and yet he chose to eat of the fruit against his own conscience (gwissen), so as not to grieve his rib and his body. Eve, but he