The Day the Melanchthons Married

melanchthonPhilipp Melanchthon married Katharina Krapp on November 27, 1520.

Apparently, Philipp had decided that his work and studies were to be his bride. For years he resisted the urgings of his friends for him to marry for fear that his studies would suffer. His friends, including Martin Luther, strongly disagreed. They even went so far as to choose a bride for him.

In some ways we know very little about Philipp Melanchthon’s wife, Katharina. She was the daughter of Wittenberg’s highly esteemed mayor and tailor Hans Krapp. She and Philipp spent the next 37 years in what was reported to be a very happy marriage. Together they had four children, Anna, Philipp, Georg, and Magdalene. The Melanchthon and Luther children spent much time playing together since their homes were next door to each other.

Katharina was a strong support to her husband. She stood by him when his friends condemned him for his doctrinal weakness. She also nursed him during his physically weak times. In short, Philipp’s marriage to Katharina did for him just the opposite of what he feared. Instead of it tearing him down, it sustained and strengthened him.

Despite all that they had in common, Katharina Melanchthon and Katie Luther never became close friends. But they did share these traits – they were hard workers who had deep love, respect, and support for their respective husbands.

Katharina Melanchthon died in 1557 while her husband was in Heidelberg furthering the cause of the Reformation.

No pictures of Katharina Melanchthon seem to exist today. This picture of Philipp is from 1532, is attributed to Lucas Cranach the Elder and is in the public domain.

-Rebecca DeGarmeaux (on Facebook)

 

#ICYMI- Karl Barth Wasn’t Always A Very Careful Thinker

For instance, he completely missed the meaning of Melanchthon’s “hoc est Christum cognoscere beneficia eius cognoscere”.

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The only way Barth could assert what he asserted is if he wasn’t a clear thinker or understanding reader.  But Barth was not always a clear thinker.  Melanchthon very clearly is emphasizing knowing Christ HIMSELF and thus, only in a derivative way, as a consequence, knowing his benefits.

Luther Valued Melanchthon’s ‘Apology of the Augsburg Confession’ Above All the Fathers

Origen I have already banned. I have no use for Chrysostom either, for he is only a gossip. Basil doesn’t amount to anything; he was a monk after all, and I wouldn’t give a penny for him. Philip’s apology is superior to all the doctors of the church, even to Augustine himself.  — Martin Luther

As the kids say-  #Bam.

Summarizing the Marburg Colloquy

Walter Koehler wrote a fine essay for Zwingliana in 1930 on the colloquy which took place in Marburg at the behest of Philip.

It commences

„Um den Glauben wird der Streit gehen und um das Geheimnis des göttlichen Wirkens in uns” —• de fide erit contentio et de mysterio divinae operationis in nobis —, so schrieb im Frühjahr 1527, als das schon längst zusammengeballte Gewitter des Abendmahlsstreites zwischen Luther und Zwingli unmittelbar vor der Entladung zu stehen schien, der Süddeutsche Theobald Billikan nach Basel an Johannes Oekolampad.

The conclusion of the matter was agreement between the parties on 15 counts (though on the 15th they would continue to see things differently the moment the conference ended). They put their names on that agreement on 3 October, went home, and wrote very uncharitable things about each other.

If you’d like to read all about it, go here.

Marburg, Day One

The following record of the exchange of the first day is from Simpson’s volume on Zwingli’s life. Day One shows that days 2 and 3 were pointless. Luther was incapable of understanding anyone but himself. It was his greatest weakness.

lutherLuther opened the discussion, and in a long speech protested that he differed from his opponents on the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, and furthermore, would always differ, since Christ clearly says, “Take, eat: this is my body.” “They must prove,” said he, “that a body is not a body.” He maintained that there could be no question about the meaning of words so plain. He refused to admit the validity of any arguments based on reason or mathematics. “God,” said he, “is above mathematics, and his words must be received with reverence and obeyed.”

Œcolampadius replied to Luther by quoting certain passages from the sixth chapter of John’s Gospel. With the words, “This is my body,” he compared, “I am the true vine.” From a carnal manducation he led up to a spiritual, and declared that his view was not groundless or isolated, but rested upon the faith of Scripture.

Luther admitted that Christ used figurative language in the sixth of John and elsewhere, but denied that the words “This is my body” were a figure of speech. “Since Christ says ‘This is,’ it must be so.”

oeco24Œcolampadius: To believe that Christ is in the bread is opinion, not faith. There is danger of attributing too much to the mere elements.

Luther: We are bound to listen not so much because of what is spoken, as because of Him who speaks. Since God speaks, let us pigmies of men listen; since He commands, let the world obey, and let all of us reverently kiss the Word.

Œcolampadius: Since we have the spiritual eating, what need is there of the corporal eating?

Luther: I care not about the need, but since it is written, “Take, eat: this is my body,” we must believe, and do it without question.

Œcolampadius quoted from the sixth chapter of John the words, “The flesh profiteth nothing.” “If the flesh,” said he, “when eaten profits nothing, it must appear to us”—here Zwingli interposed and accused Luther of prejudice, because he protested that he would not be driven from his views. “Comparison is necessary,” said he, “in the study of the Scriptures. It is the Spirit that gives life. The Spirit and the flesh are at enmity with each other. God does not propound to us things that are unintelligible. The disciples were mystified by the thought of the carnal eating. Therefore Christ explained to them the spiritual significance of his words.”

Luther: The words are not ours, but the Lord’s; let them be obeyed. By means of these words the hand of the priest becomes the hand of Christ. I will not argue as to whether is means signifies. It is enough for me that Christ says, “This is my body.” To raise questions about this is to fall away from the faith. Wherefore believe the plain words, and give glory to God.

Zwingli: We indeed implore that you glorify God by abandoning your main proposition. I would ask whether you believe that Christ in the sixth chapter of John desired to reply to the question addressed to him?

Luther: We take no account of that passage; it has no bearing on the subject in hand.

Zwingli: No? Why, that passage breaks your neck.

Luther’s proclivity for literalness of interpretation now took an amusing turn. He received Zwingli’s jocose remark as a threat of personal violence, and addressing his friends complained bitterly of the murderous intimation of his opponent. Zwingli laughingly explained that his language was figurative, and had reference to his opponent’s arguments.

Œcolampadius now gave the argument a Christological turn. “The Church,” said he, “was founded on the words, ‘Thou art the Son of God,’ and not on the words, ‘This is my body.’ ”

Luther: I do not hold to this in vain. To me it is sufficient that Christ says, “This is my body.” I confess that his body is in heaven, and that it is in the sacrament also. I care not if it be contrary to nature, provided it is not contrary to faith.

Œcolampadius: In all things He was made like unto us. As He is wholly like the Father in His divine nature, so He is wholly like us in His human nature.

Luther: “The poor always ye have with you; but me ye have not always,” is the strongest argument you have advanced to-day. Christ is as substantially in the sacrament as when He was born of the Virgin. Faith needs no figures of speech.

Œcolampadius: We know not Christ after the flesh.

Melanchthon: After our flesh.

Œcolampadius: You will not admit a metaphor in the words of institution, and yet contrary to the Catholic conception you allow a synecdoche.

Luther: In a sword and its scabbard we have an example of synecdoche. “This is my body.” The body is in the bread, just as the sword is in the scabbard.

Zwingli (quoting from the Epistles): “God sent his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.” “He was made like unto his brethren.” Therefore we must conclude that Christ had a finite humanity, and if his body is on high it exists in one place. [He here quoted from Augustine, Fulgentius, and others.] We must affirm, therefore, that Christ’s body is in one place, and cannot be in many.

Luther: In like manner you might prove that Christ had a wife, and that his eyes were black.  As to his being in one place, I have already declared to you, and I now repeat, I care nothing for mathematics.

zwingliZwingli began quoting additional passages from the Greek text to prove the finiteness of Christ’s nature. Luther, interrupting him, requested that he employ either Latin or German instead of Greek. “Pardon me,” answered Zwingli, “for twelve years I have read the New Testament in Greek.”

Luther: As in the case of a nut and its shell, so in the case of Christ’s body. I concede its finiteness. But God can cause it to exist in a place and not in a place at the same time.

As soon as Luther conceded that Christ’s body was finite, Zwingli caught him up and said: “Therefore it is local, exists in a place, and if so, it is in heaven, and hence cannot be in the bread.” Luther would not admit that it existed in a place, saying: “Ich will es nicht gehebt haben, ich will sie nichts.” (I will not allow it, I positively will not.)

Zwingli retorted: “Muoss man dann grad alles, was ihr wollend?” (Must everything be as you will it?)

Fortunately, as Collin informs us, they were interrupted at this exciting juncture by a servant of the Prince, who announced that dinner was served.

When the theologians assembled at the next session, Zwingli resumed the discussion where they had left off. “Christ’s body is finite,” said he, “therefore it exists in a place.”

Luther: Although it is in the sacrament, it is not there as in a place. God could so dispose of my body that it would not be in a place; for the sophists say that a body can exist in several places at the same time; e.g., the earth is a body, yet it does not exist in one place.

Zwingli: You argue from the possible to the impossible. Prove to me that the body of Christ can exist in several places at the same time.

Luther: “This is my body.”

Zwingli: You repeatedly beg the question. I might thus contend that John was the son of Mary, for Christ said, “Behold thy son.” We must ever teach, forsooth, that Christ said, “Ecce filius tuus, ecce filius tuus!” Behold thy son, behold thy son!)

Luther: I do not beg the question.

Zwingli: Scripture must be compared with Scripture and expounded by itself. Tell me, pray, whether Christ’s body exists in a place.

melanchthonBrenz: It does not.

Zwingli: Augustine says that it must exist in a single place.

Luther: Augustine was not speaking of the Supper. The body of Christ is present in the Supper, but not locally present.

Œcolampadius: If that is so it cannot be a true body. [Œcolampadius began quoting from Augustine and Fulgentius.]

Luther: You have Augustine and Fulgentius on your side, but the rest of the Fathers support our views.

“Please name them,” said Œcolampadius. Luther refused, but afterward prepared a list of references to passages in the Fathers which he thought favorable to his views.

It became evident to all that further discussion would be vain, and it was agreed to close at this point. The fruitlessness of the conference was a great disappointment to the Landgrave. He urged the disputants to come to some partial agreement at least. “There is but one way to effect that,” said Luther. “Let our opponents accept our views.” “That we cannot do,” replied the Swiss. Thus ended the discussion. Zwingli had looked forward to this meeting with strong hope of a final settlement of the differences which divided the Protestant Church, and was now overcome with disappointment. He sat apart from his friends and shed tears in silence, while the Landgrave and the Hessian divines redoubled their activities in a final effort to bring about an amicable agreement.

Marburg, 1529, And the Colloquy There Held

Huldrych Zwingli and Johannes Oecolampadius met with Martin Luther and Philipp Melanchthon in Marburg beginning October 1, 1529 till October 3.  They agreed on 14 of 15 points but, as everyone knows, they couldn’t come to agreement on the meaning of the Lord’s Supper.  Luther was far too ensconced in Roman Catholic theology to see with the clarity with which Zwingli saw. Consequently, Luther left the conference angry and Zwingli left depressed.

Walter Koehler wrote a fine essay for Zwingliana in 1930 on the colloquy which took place in Marburg at the behest of Philip.

It commences

„Um den Glauben wird der Streit gehen und um das Geheimnis des göttlichen Wirkens in uns” —• de fide erit contentio et de mysterio divinae operationis in nobis —, so schrieb im Frühjahr 1527, als das schon längst zusammengeballte Gewitter des Abendmahlsstreites zwischen Luther und Zwingli unmittelbar vor der Entladung zu stehen schien, der Süddeutsche Theobald Billikan nach Basel an Johannes Oekolampad.

They put their names on that agreement on 3 October, went home, and wrote very uncharitable things about each other.

Philip Schaff does a nice job of summarizing both the discussions and the viewpoints of the major actors.

Why Didn’t Someone Get this For Me For My Birthday?

What is wrong with you people?  I need this. I NEED it.  Or I’ll die.

Documents from the library of the pre-eminent Reformation theologian, scholar, and peer of Martin Luther, representing his most significant concerns and teachings. This extraordinary set of 7 volumes comprises 5 books from Melanchthon’s own library bearing his manuscript annotations, one bound with important autograph material, and one bound for his son-in-law and editor of his collected works. 

His numerous annotations across these volumes prove him to be a particularly active reader – his margins are often populated by thoughts and responses to the texts, while he typically uses pastedowns and endpapers to index words and concepts of particular interest. The variety of works presented in this lot illustrates the breadth of his scholarly appetite, from the theological, to the historical, ethical, and literary. Autograph manuscripts by Melanchthon are rare on the market: ABPC/RBH record only four examples at auction in the last thirty years. Books annotated or signed by Melanchthon are even scarcer: aside from the Aristophanes included here, we can trace only one volume, in 1980. 

Ars et methodus: Philipp Melanchthon’s Humanist concept of philosophy

Sandra Bihlmaier’s work constitutes a historical and philosophical analysis of Philipp Melanchthon’s concept of method and philosophy. By means of a detailed inquiry into Melanchthon’s textbooks of dialectic and rhetoric it uncovers the emergence and development of a notion of method which underlies an encyclopedic understanding of philosophy. The work reveals both the traditions of rhetoric and dialectic which Melanchthon builds on in his own works, as well as the Reformer’s own original reinterpretation of these traditions. Moreover, the reinterpretation and transformation of essential concepts taken from traditional accounts is thematized against the background of the canon of arts and sciences, which undergoes a fundamental change during the European Renaissance. The understanding, configuration, and the applicability of this canon is deeply influenced by this original concept of method. Philipp Melanchthon’s concept of method and philosophy is central to the understanding of 16th century definition of philosophy. Melanchthon’s attempt to integrate into a former theoretical discipline, both the aspect of usefulness, as well as a degree of general applicability in human affairs, testifies to the fertility of his philosophical program. Also his project is highly relevant for an understanding of philosophy which transgresses contemporary idiosyncratic categories of philosophical knowledge and draws attention to two fundamental historiographical aspects. First, it cautions historians and philosophers against transferring current definitions of philosophy to works which emerge from different historical, social and intellectual traditions. Second, it raises the awareness of the reader regarding his own understanding of philosophy and of its underlying presuppositions.

Today in Melanchthon History

From our Saxon friends on FB-

July 24, 1518-  Philipp Melanchthon receives a letter from Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony, appointing him professor of the Greek language at Wittenberg University, founded in 1502.

It was a momentous calling.

Enough Concessions, Philipp

Luther wrote Melanchthon from Coburg on 29 June, 1530 whilst the latter was attending the Augsburg mess.  He remarks, with a touch of irritation

I have received your Apologia, and I wonder what it is you want when you ask what and how much is to be conceded to the papists. In connection with the Sovereign it is another question what he may concede, if danger threatens him. For me personally more than enough has been conceded in this Apologia. If the papists reject it, then I see nothing that I could still concede, unless I saw their reasoning, or [were given] clearer Scripture passages than I have seen till now. Day and night I am occupied with this matter, considering it, turning it around, debating it, and searching the whole Scripture [because of it]; certainty grows continuously in me about this, our teaching, and I am more and more sure that now (God willing) I shall not permit anything further to be taken away from me, come what may.

I don’t like that you write in your letter that you have followed my authority in this cause. I don’t wish to be, or be called, the originator [of] this cause for you people; even though this might be properly interpreted, yet I don’t want [to hear] this term [“originator”]. If this is not simultaneously and in the same way your cause, then I don’t want it to be called mine and imposed upon you. If it is my cause alone then I will handle it by myself.*

Melancthon is encouraged in the rest of the letter with words of encouragement.

_____________
*Luther’s works, (Vol. 49, p. 328).

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:

IMG_4758

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:

IMG_4759

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.