LUTHER'S CATHOLIC CHRISTOLOGY ACCORDING TO HIS JOHANNINE LECTURES OF 1527
To date, Luther's Christology in his commentary on 1 John has not been studied in a monograph. By employing the historical critical method, the available sources had to be evaluated as edited in the Weimarer Ausgabe, volumes 20 and 48. The graduate student and chaplain, Georg Rorer, preserved Latin-German notes which are the most reliable source, and are preferable to the printed version of the year 1708 based upon another student's notes, which served as the text for the American edition. The immediate academic, biographical, local and world political as well as the theological context was taken into consideration. Saint Bernard appeared to have had significant influence on Luther in midcareer. Luther's lectures on 1 John are situated in the Catholic medieval tradition. The biblical basis for Luther's academic work was the Vulgate which he interpreted by means of Erasmus' edition of the New Testament. Luther expounded 1 John not philosophically, but "dogmatically" in the light of the Christological dogma of the early Church and the medieval tradition. He produced in a forceful language Christological titles and images for the explication of Christ's person and work. His doctrine of Christ, when unfolded in terms of theological anthropology, led him to his conclusion on the basis of the Johannine text that man, who was bad before, becomes essentially good: Non stant simul peccare et nasci ex deo. In ecumenical perspective, it is questionable to conceive Luther's Christology as subjectivistic. It is not adviseable to maintain that Reformation Christology is Pauline while the Catholic one is more associated with the Johannine tradition. By making use of the critical edition, Luther is being liberated from his own Wirkungsgeschichte and deserves to be considered a doctor catholicus in regard to his doctrine on the person and work of Jesus Christ.
FRANZ ALOIS POSSET,
"LUTHER'S CATHOLIC CHRISTOLOGY ACCORDING TO HIS JOHANNINE LECTURES OF 1527"
(January 1, 1984).
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