Multiple denominational belonging? Reception and censorship of the Mainz cathedral preacher Johann Wild OFM, 1495–1554For Johann Wild (Ferus, 1495–1554), a Franciscan friar and Mainz cathedral preacher, being a Christian meant above all being willing to do penance. In his postills and bible commentaries, he tried to overcome the emerging denominational boundaries and cited Catholic as well as Protestant authors. At the same time, he denounced ecclesiastical abuses vehemently, but nevertheless avoided any kind of theological controversy and urged his audience to stick to the Roman Church.
For political reasons, the archbishops of Mainz appreciated Wild's "irenic" and "Erasmian" theology ("Vermittlungstheologie") and in 1550 ordered his works to be printed. They sold very well and spread all over Europe, where the ecclesiastical censors in Paris, Salamanca and Rome put Wild on the Index of forbidden books and accused him of "Lutheranism". Nevertheless, they valued his preaching skills and his loyalty to the Church, and thus published expurgated reprints of some of his works. On the other hand, some Protestants considered him a rare example of a "testis veritatis" within the Catholic camp.
In this project, Markus Müller reconstructed Wild's "irenic" and "Erasmian" theology and examined his censorship and expurgation in France, Spain, and Italy, as well as the positive reception of his works among Catholics and Protestants. Comparing the different perspectives on Wild, the project provided new insights as to where the lines of demarcation lines of denominational belonging emerged and how they were drawn.