Hart - The Dictionary of Historical Theology

Trevor A. Hart - The Dictionary of Historical Theology

Trevor A. Hart - The Dictionary of Historical Theology

Eerdmans Publishing Co., Paternoster Press, 2000. – 599 p.
ISBN-10:‎ 080283907X
ISBN-13:‎ 978-0802839077
The Dictionary of Historical Theology is a major new reference work designed for anyone interested in the history and development of Christian theology. With 314 articles covering the key figures, theological movements, and significant texts that have shaped Christian thought, The Dictionary of Historical Theology traces the doctrinal development of Christianity from the early church to the present. Varying in length from 500 to 15,000 words, these entries treat the intellectual antecedents and descendants of the figures or schools of thought covered as well as their influence on the wider development of the Christian tradition. The 173 contributors to this dictionary are without exception proven experts on the subjects they address. Drawn from international and interdenominational circles, they tell the story of Christianity from a wide variety of perspectives, successfully capturing the great diversity of traditions that make up the Christian community today. Comprehensive in scope yet concisely written, The Dictionary of Historical Theology is the most accessible and reliable single-volume compendium of Christian thought available.
* * *
Born in Bretten, Germany, son of Georg Schwartzerdt, an armourer in the employ of Elector Philip of the Palatinate, and Barbara Reuter, daughter of an important merchant family in Bretten. After his father’s death in 1508, Philip attended the Latin school of Georg Simler in Pforzheim. There the famous German humanist and jurist, Johannes Reuchlin, Philip’s relative by marriage, bestowed on him the Hellenized form of his family name—‘melan’ (black) ‘chthon’ (earth)—in recognition of his precocity in Greek. After receiving university degrees at Heidelberg (1511) and Tübingen (1514), Melanchthon became (upon the nomination of Reuchlin) the first professor of Greek at the fledgling University of Wittenberg in August 1518. There he remained practically without interruption until his death in 1560.
He quickly fell under the influence of *Martin Luther’s theology and received under Luther’s direction his first (and only) theological degree, the bachelor of Bible, in 1519. He lectured in both the arts and theology faculties throughout his career. Besides contributions in theology and biblical exegesis, he also authored a variety of important confessional documents for the emerging evangelical (Lutheran) churches, including the Augsburg Confession and its Apology (1530/31), the Saxon Confession (1551) and the Mecklenburg Examination of Ordinands (1552). After Luther’s death in 1546, he became embroiled in a series of intra-Lutheran theological battles, beginning with the adiaphoristic dispute over the Augsburg Interim in 1548 and including major disputes over free will and original sin, justification by faith and the Lord’s Supper. Melanchthon influenced not only a generation of Lutheran theologians, including such major authors of the ‘Formula of Concord’ (1580) as *Martin Chemnitz, Nicolaus Selneccer and David Chytraeus, but also other *Reformation theologians, such as Johann Brenz, *Martin Bucer and *John Calvin.
Philip Melanchthon’s theology represented a unique blend of humanist method and style with the basic theological principles of the Reformation. Already before the Reformation, he had begun to develop a method of interpreting texts, based upon certain suggestions of the German humanist Rudolf Agricola, that used both rhetoric and dialectics. Melanchthon defined a fourth genre of speech (beyond the classical deliberative, demonstrative and judicial), called the didactic (genus didaskalion). In place of purely rhetorical rules of invention, this genre, constructed for the classroom, employed the basic questions of *Aristotelian logic (such as, what a thing is, its genus, species, parts, opposites, causes and effects). From this genre arose Melanchthon’s peculiar use of common places (loci communes), which he understood—in contrast to *Erasmus, who used common places as topics in which to sort classical texts—as the basic (intrinsic) categories of a particular subject.
Under Luther’s influence, Melanchthon came to organize Reformation theology using these Renaissance humanist principles. He was the first to analyze the Pauline epistles under the strict rules of classical letter writing. Thus, he argued for a rhetorical and theological consistency often ignored or disputed by earlier patristic, medieval and even fellow humanist exegetes, including Erasmus. From what Melanchthon determined were the basic topics of Paul’s letter to the Romans (including sin, grace, faith, Law and gospel), he developed an alternative to *Peter Lombard’s Sentences and in 1521 published the first Protestant handbook of theology, the Loci communes theologici. Twice he thoroughly rewrote the text (1535, 1543), and once he even translated it into German (1553) himself.
Like Luther, one of Melanchthon’s basic theological categories was the distinction between Law and gospel, not simply understood as definitions (command and promise), but also in terms of their effects (God’s terrifying and comforting word). Upon this distinction rested his interpretation of justification by faith as a movement from contrition (understood as terror for sin worked by the Law) to faith (comfort in forgiveness declared to the sinner on account of Christ). When some radical reformers in Wittenberg, such as Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt, insisted on the use of Mosaic Law in civil affairs and denigrated the role of the humanities for Christians, both Luther and Melanchthon developed in 1521–22 a distinction between two kinds of righteousness. Civil righteousness had its place within this world and human relations and was based upon principles of (natural) law embodied in the Ten Commandments—what Melanchthon later called the first use of the Law. Evangelical, or divine, righteousness came from God’s word of forgiveness (the ‘second use’ of the Law and the gospel). This distinction allowed Melanchthon to teach in both the arts faculty (where he lectured on Aristotle, Cicero, history and Greek and Latin literature and language) and the theology faculty (where he produced important commentaries on Romans, Colossians and Proverbs as well as the Loci communes). Against certain antinomian challenges by Johannes Agricola and others, Melanchthon insisted that the Law also functioned in Christian lives, and in 1534 he defined a third use of the Law as a guide for the Christian life.
Melanchthon’s theological method stressed clarity in theological expression. As a result, in the Loci communes, in biblical interpretation and in confessional statements, Melanchthon strove to develop clear statements of faith both to ward off false teaching and to provide a basis for agreement among Protestants. Thus, in the 1530s Melanchthon rejected a certain (*Augustinian) understanding of justification, championed even by the Lutheran reformer Johannes Brenz, which held that God declared sinful human beings righteous on the basis of the anticipated work of the Holy Spirit to make them righteous through their actions. Melanchthon argued more and more consistently that God justified sinners forensically, based upon the sure declaration of forgiveness on account of Christ alone, without taking into account any intrinsically righteous deeds that may result. In the early 1550s this resulted in a debate with the former Nuremberg preacher and later professor at the University of Königsberg, *Andreas Osiander, over the nature of Christ’s righteousness in justification. Furthermore, Melanchthon attempted to avoid the charge (by certain Roman Catholic polemicists) that the Reformers had developed a Manichean understanding of sin by stressing human responsibility. This resulted in disputes with the strict Lutheran theologian, Matthias Flacius, who charged Melanchthon and his students with synergism. On the question of the Lord’s Supper, Melanchthon altered his early unambiguous support for Luther’s position of Christ’s real presence over against *Ulrich Zwingli. With Martin Bucer, he authored the Wittenberg Concord in 1536, which brought about an agreement between certain south German cities and Wittenberg that Christ was present ‘with the bread and wine’ in the Lord’s Supper. This compromise language was reflected in Melanchthon’s rewriting of the Augsburg Confession in the early 1540s, the so-called ‘Variata’. Only after Luther’s death did Melanchthon’s understanding of Christ’s ‘actual presence’ in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper come under attack by Lutherans who perceived him as capitulating to the Swiss.
Timothy J. Wengert
  • FURTHER READING: Texts: Opera quae supersunt omnia (ed. Karl Bretschneider and Heinrich Bindseil; Corpus Reformatorum 1–28; 28 vols.; Halis Saxonum, 1834–60); Melanchthons Briefwechsel (ed. Heinz Scheible; 10+ vols.; Stuttgart, 1977–). Studies: Günter Frank, Die theologische Philosophie Philipp Melanchthons (1497–1560) (Leipzig, 1995); Wilhelm Hammer, Die Melanchthonforschung im Wandel der Jahrhunderte (4 vols.; Gütersloh, 1967–96); Sachiko Kusukawa, The Transformation of Natural Philosophy: The Case of Philip Melanchthon (Cambridge, 1995); Clyde Manschreck, Melanchthon: The Quiet Reformer (New York, 1958); Wilhelm Maurer, Der junge Melanchthon (2 vols.; Göttingen, 1967–69); Heinz Scheible, Melanchthon: Eine Biographie (Munich, 1997); Timothy J. Wengert, Human Freedom, Christian Righteousness: Philip Melanchthon’s Exegetical Dispute with Erasmus of Rotterdam (New York / Oxford, 1998); Law and Gospel: Philip Melanchthon’s Debate with John Agricola of Eisleben over Poenitentia (Carlisle, 1997).


Благодарю сайт за публикацию: 

Ваша оценка: Нет Average: 10 (1 vote)
Аватар пользователя brat Vadim