Category Archives: Melanchthon

Loci praecipui theologici

Volume 1 of a new edition of the Loci praecipui theologici nunc denuo cura et diligentia Summa recogniti multisque in locis copiose illustrati 1559, by Philipp Melanchthon has recently been published by EVA of Leipzig.

Philipp Melanchthons »Loci praecipui theologici« in der Letztfassung von 1559 sind die reife Summe ­seines theologischen Schaffens. Gemeinsam mit der »Institutio« Johannes Calvins sind sie die wirkmächtigste reformatorische Dogmatik. Sie liegen nun erstmals ins Deutsche übersetzt in einer lateinisch-deutschen Ausgabe im ersten Teilband vor.

Die philologische Seite der Übersetzung lag bei dem Basler Altphilologen Peter Litwan unter Assistenz der Altphilologin Florence Becher-Häusermann. Die theologische Redaktion hatte Sven Grosse, Professor für Historische und Systematische Theologie an der Staatsunabhängigen Theologischen Hochschule Basel. Die Ausgabe ist auf zwei Bände angelegt.

Der 2. Band der Loci erscheint im Juli 2020.

The publisher has sent along a copy for review.   The lovely volume commences with a foreword that nicely describes the importance of Melanchthon for the entire Lutheran reformation and the key place the Loci (in their various incarnations) played in it.  Then, very briefly, a few of the more important editions and translations of the Loci are listed, along with other key texts (including Calvin’s Institutes and a number of works by Zwingli!).

The next segment of the book at hand is a ‘philological foreword’ wherein editions of the Loci which serve as the textual base of this book are fully discussed.  These include the Leipzig edition of 1559, and an edition (in Latin) published in England.  Next, Melanchthon’s wonderful literary style is the topic and finally the modern German translation is described.

Then commences the volume proper (and the second is promised in the Summer of 2020).  On the left side stands the Latin text and on the right, the modern German.  Line numbering is provided (in increments of 5’s) and on the Latin page the pagination of the original editions consulted, along with other relevant footnotes when necessary.

In terms of contents, it extends from the preface through the Loci concerning God, the Trinity, The Son, the Spirit, Creation, Sin, Free Will, the Divine Law, the decalogue, The Second Table of the Law, Natural Law, The Uses of the Law, Legal Precepts, The Gospel, Grace and Justification, The Old and New Testaments, and finally the indices.  The second promised volume will contain the Loci on the Church, The Sacraments, Penance, Predestination, The Reign of Christ, The resurrection, The Cross, Prayer, The Magistrate, Human Ceremonies, The Mortification of the Flesh, Scandals, and finally, On Christian Freedom.

The font is beautiful.  Here’s a sample:

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Concerning the textual basis for this edition, it can hardly be criticized since it is the earliest and best edition of the Loci of 1559.  And the modern German rendering is both scientifically accurate and artistically beautiful.  Here, again, is a photo illustrating this fact:

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This is a really special volume, providing, as it does, the interested reader with the Primary Source of Melanchthon’s most mature theological reflections on every important Christian doctrine along with a fantastic German rendition.  No one interested in the Lutheran branch of the Reformation, Systematic theology, historical theology, or Melanchthon studies can afford to ignore it.

Fun Facts From Church History

Melancthon1In the early editions of the Loci, Melanchthon didn’t discuss the doctrine of the Trinity because he had a certain bit of scorn for attempts to explain the mystery of the divine unity in trinity.

He accepted the doctrine and thought efforts to rationalize it silly.

Don’t Give Hasty Answers or Melanchthon Will Bring the Hammer Down on You

Master Philip examined a student in Anthony Lauterbach’s home. He was a schoolmaster in Stargard, and when he answered thoughtlessly Philip said, “Do not answer so abruptly and burst out so heedlessly, for there are more things we do not know than there are things we know.”  — Martin Luther, Table Talk.

Melanchthon on the Magistrate

Melanchthon on the Meaning of Marriage

‘… one man and one woman…’

Because it’s the Anniversary of Melanchthon’s Death, That’s Why

Melancthon’s Preface to the Augsburg Confession

Read the rest here.  You must.

Farewell Philip: The Day Melanchthon Died

Today marks the anniversary of the death of Philip Melanchthon.   He once said

‘The catholic doctrine, say some, has a few trifling blemishes here and there; while we and our friends have been making a great noise without any cause … That is a mistake. Let not the pontiff and the great monarchs of christendom shut their eyes to the diseases of the Church. They ought, on the contrary, to acknowledge that these pretended trifling blemishes destroy the essential doctrines of the faith, and lead men into idolatry and manifest sin.’

And

‘As for the Roman pontiff’s claim to transfer kingdoms from one prince to another, that concerns neither the Gospel nor the Church; and it is the business of kings to combat that unjust pretension.’

And

‘Remission of sins ought to be accompanied by a change of life; but this remission is not given us because of this new life; it conies to us only through mercy, and is given to us solely because of Christ.’

And

‘We must teach the people that the saints are not more merciful than Jesus Christ, and that we must not transfer to them the confidence due to Christ alone.

And

‘The monasteries must be converted into schools.’

And

‘Celibacy must be abolished, for most of the priests live in open uncleanness.’

And finally

‘O that the Lord Jesus Christ would look down from heaven and restore the Church for which he suffered to a pious and perpetual union, which may cause his glory to shine afar!’

Read a bit more Melanchthon today.

Things Melanchthon Said Before he Died

9783110335057Vom freien Willen wird gelehret, daß der Mensch etlichermaßen einen freien Willen hat, äußerlich ehrbar zu leben und zu wählen unter denen Dingen, so die Vernunft begreift; aber ohne Gnad, Hilfe und Wirkung des heiligen Geistes vermag der Mensch nicht Gott gefällig werden, Gott herzlich zu fürchten oder zu gläuben, oder die angeborene böse Lust aus dem Herzen zu werfen; sondern solchs geschieht durch den heiligen Geist, welcher durch Gottes Wort gegeben wird. Dann Paulus spricht 1. Korinth. 2: Der naturlich Mensch vernimmt nichts vom Geist Gottes.

Things Melanchthon Said Before He Died

Solchen Glauben zu erlangen hat Gott das Predigtamt eingesetzt, Evangelium und Sacrament gegeben, dadurch er, als durch Mittel, den heiligen Geist gibt, welcher den Glauben, wo und wann er will, in denen, so das Evangelium hören, wirket, welches da lehret, daß wir durch Christus Verdienst, nicht durch unser Verdienst, einen gnädigen Gott haben, so wir solches gläuben.

Things Melanchthon Said Before He Died

Erbsünde (peccatum originale) ist eine angeborene Neigung, ein anerzeugter Drang und Kraft (nativa propensio et quidam genialis impetus et energia), durch die wir zum Sündigen weggezogen werden und die von Adam auf die gesamte Nachkommenschaft fortgepflanzt wurde.

Tomorrow is the Anniversary of Melanchthon’s Death

So expect to see a good bit of stuff about him today and tomorrow.  Because.

melanchPHILIP MELANCHTHON, or MELANTHON (often incorrectly spelled Melancthon), born 1497; professor at Wittenberg, 1518 to his death, 1560. The foundation of Lutheran Systematic Theology was laid in his Loci Communes Rerum Theologicarum seu Hypotyposes Theologicæ (1521), which had its origin in a brief outline prepared for his own private use, and afterwards dictated to his students as an introduction to his lectures on the epistle to the Romans. During the author’s life it passed through eighty editions, was greatly enlarged, and on certain points, as, for example, the Freedom of the Will, its doctrine was materially changed. For details, the English reader is referred to the article MELANCHTHON, prepared by the author of this sketch, in McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopædia, vol. vi. The collection of Melanchthon’s works in the Corpus Reformatorum affords the student the best facility for the critical study of Melanchthon’s theology. It contains a reprint of each of the principal editions, as well as of several translations of the Loci. — Schmid, H. (1889). The Doctrinal Theology of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Verified from the Original Sources, p. 665.

A new critical edition of Melanchthon’s works is in process as we speak.  The works to be included are all listed here.

A New Edition of Melanchthon’s 1559 Loci

The first volume is available and the second is forthcoming. It’s a bilingual Latin-German edition:

Loci praecipui theologici nunc denuo cura et diligentia Summa recogniti multisque in locis copiose illustrati 1559, by Philipp Melanchthon

Philipp Melanchthons »Loci praecipui theologici« in der Letztfassung von 1559 sind die reife Summe ­seines theologischen Schaffens. Gemeinsam mit der »Institutio« Johannes Calvins sind sie die wirkmächtigste reformatorische Dogmatik. Sie liegen nun erstmals ins Deutsche übersetzt in einer lateinisch-deutschen Ausgabe im ersten Teilband vor.

Die philologische Seite der Übersetzung lag bei dem Basler Altphilologen Peter Litwan unter Assistenz der Altphilologin Florence Becher-Häusermann. Die theologische Redaktion hatte Sven Grosse, Professor für Historische und Systematische Theologie an der Staatsunabhängigen Theologischen Hochschule Basel. Die Ausgabe ist auf zwei Bände angelegt.

Der 2. Band der Loci erscheint im Juli 2020.

Luther’s Preface to Melanchthon’s Annotations on John

I share this simply because it’s glorious. Enjoy (and read all of Luther’s Prefaces in these exceptional volumes).

28166GRACE and peace from God the Father and from our Lord Jesus Christ. I have already purloined our Philip’s Annotations on three Epistles of Paul. And though he was not at liberty to rage against that thief Luther for it, he nevertheless thought he had been most satisfactorily avenged against me in that the little volume had come out so full of errors due to the negligence of the printers that I was nearly ashamed and regretted having invested my stolen goods so poorly. Meanwhile, he has been making fun of me, hoping that henceforth I would abstain from such theft, having been taught a lesson by my predicament. But I, not at all troubled by this derision, have grown even more audacious, and now I take his Annotations on John the Evangelist not by stealth but by force, while the author resists in vain. But I do not wish to adorn them with words (they will commend themselves to the reader), lest I should have to endure his scornful frown again.

For it is not out of concern for modesty that he despises himself and his works, but because with Christian sentiment he believes that all our efforts are nothing, rather that everything is due to Christ alone, [and believes this] so obstinately that it seems plain to me that he has erred at least in this: that he supposes that Christ is farther away from his heart than He truly is. Nor does he believe me any longer when I attempt to persuade him otherwise; he has progressed so far that he has surpassed me: “Therefore the last shall be first, and the first last” [Matt. 20:16].

In short, he asserts that he does not want to be known as the author of these Annotations. Certainly Philip is a complete nobody so far as helping the church is concerned. I, too, would prefer that there were no commentaries anywhere, but only the pure Scriptures reigning everywhere, interpreted with a living voice.

But I do not see how the church can do without commentaries that at least point to the Scriptures themselves; Philip’s [commentaries] are of such a sort. And who does not see that the Epistle to the Hebrews is practically a commentary? So also Paul’s letters to the Romans and Galatians. For who would have interpreted the Sacred Scriptures this way unless Paul had pointed out that this was how they were to be interpreted? But I call such “pointing out” a commentary. This is all that is required of Philip. He, however, imagines that something else is required of him.
Therefore, I send this, the fruit of my thievery, to you, most excellent Gerbel, so that you may strive mightily to make it well-known and distributed among your people, however unwilling the author may be. For I hope that Johannes Setzer will see that it is printed more correctly and accurately than my previous theft was printed.

Although that inexorable Achilles might perhaps have added much light and grace, if he had chosen to ply his rhetoric himself in this little book, yet [as it] now [stands], even if it should be lacking somewhat in either arrangement or eloquence, still wisdom itself and truth supply sufficient grace and light. For this book itself will boast that Philip is truthful and wise, unless Christ whom he breathes and teaches is not the Truth and Wisdom. For he himself may choose to be, and be called, a fool along with Christ. And would that we, too, were such fools along with them, so that we might boast: “The foolishness of God is wiser than men” [1 Cor. 1:25].

I rejoice exceedingly that Johann Oecolampadius of Basel is offering a public exposition of Isaiah, though I hear it displeases many. But this is the lot of Christian doctrine. Christ will give us, through this man also, some light (that is, some commentary) on the Prophets, something that our times particularly lack.

Farewell, my Gerbel, in Christ; and pray for the sinner and fool Luther. Greet all our fellows in the Lord. Wittenberg. [15]23.

I Was Supposed to be In Bretten this Week…

But circumstances intervened.  Still, I want to mention once again this project, of which I am a part (and very happily so).

Even though I can’t be in Bretten, thanks to the miracle of modern technology, I’ll be able to sit in on sessions via the internet, beginning at 9 this morning.  And I’m very excited about it.

Stay tuned- as I’ll have a few observations after the session today (which runs 2 hours).

Melanchthon’s View of the Supper

Melanchthon rejects the idea that “the bread is substantially the body of Christ,” as well as that “the bread is the true body of Christ.” Instead, he claims that the bread is “united with” (consociatio cum) the body of Christ, and only “in the use” and “not without cognition,” not in such a way that it could be eaten by mice. He rejects the idea that the body is “in the bread or in the species of the bread, as if the true sacrament was instituted for the sake of the bread and the Papist adoration.” —  Bjorn Hovda

#Bam.  This is Calvin’s view as well as Zwingli’s.  Melanchthon always did have more sense than Luther (who was, to be fair, always a Roman Catholic… after 1520 just without a Pope).

More Melanchthon

I’m a big fan of this portrayal of Luther and Melanchthon and others working on the translation of the Bible (Melanchthon has the little ‘b’ above his head- on our right facing us)

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Darstellung der Bibelübersetzung (von Johann Martin Bernigeroth) mit Luther und Rörer aus einer Bibel, die 1741 in Züllichau erschien.

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Erste Seite des Bandes der Mitschriften der Vorlesung Philipp Melanchthons über den Römerbrief (1548-1550), ThULB Jena, Ms. Bos. q. 24 h

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Doppelseite aus Rörers Mitschrift der Römerbriefvorlesung Melanchthons von 1548-1550 (ThULB Jena , Ms. Bos. q. 24 h)

Still More From our Saxon Friends on Melanchthon…

And a portrait of him I had never seen before:

Heute vor 520 Jahren, am 16. Februar 1497, wurde Philipp Melanchthon geboren.  Humanist, Reformator, Praeceptor Germaniae („Lehrer Deutschlands“), Außenminister der Reformation, Vater der Ökumene – mit all diesen Titeln wurde Melanchthon im Laufe der Zeit bedacht.   Er wirkte wie Martin Luther als Professor an der Wittenberger Universität und wurde dessen wichtigster Wegbegleiter.   Melanchthonhaus WIttenberg – www.martinluther.de/de/besuch/museen/melanchthonhaus

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Abb.: Reformatorengespräch, Adolf Schlabitz, nach 18999 (Detail Phlipp Melanchthon)

Melanchthon on his Deathbed

melanchthon_death

Because it’s important to remember that even the greatest don’t live forever, or work forever.

Heinrich Schmid: On Melanchthon

PHILIP MELANCHTHON, or MELANTHON (often incorrectly spelled Melancthon), born 1497; professor at Wittenberg, 1518 to his death, 1560. The foundation of Lutheran Systematic Theology was laid in his Loci Communes Rerum Theologicarum seu Hypotyposes Theologicæ (1521), which had its origin in a brief outline prepared for his own private use, and afterwards dictated to his students as an introduction to his lectures on the epistle to the Romans.

During the author’s life it passed through eighty editions, was greatly enlarged, and on certain points, as, for example, the Freedom of the Will, its doctrine was materially changed. For details, the English reader is referred to the article MELANCHTHON, prepared by the author of this sketch, in McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopædia, vol. vi.

The collection of Melanchthon’s works in the Corpus Reformatorum affords the student the best facility for the critical study of Melanchthon’s theology. It contains a reprint of each of the principal editions, as well as of several translations of the Loci.  — Heinrich Schmid