Showing posts from October, 2012

Calvin to Melanchthon on Luther

The situation for the present piece of correspondence is very much like that in the previous installment: Luther had written polemically against Zwingli on the Lord’s Supper and the Zurichers were up in arms (figuratively, not literally). Here Calvin writes to Melanchthon about the situation. He has enclosed a letter to Luther himself, a very gentle one characterized by all Calvin’s political and linguistic subtlety, but Melanchthon never delivered it for fear of souring Luther on Calvin. In the present letter, Calvin likewise gently but firmly speaks the truth to Melanchthon, urging him to make a statement of his own on the issue. To the best of my knowledge, his wheedling did not succeed. But we get a few fun lines to read out of the bargain. 
Calvin here refers to Luther with the name “Pericles,” an acknowledgement of Luther’s great significance and polemical power. Pericles was an immensely important Athenian statesman / orator who lived between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars.…

October Book ‘O the Month

After taking a month off of this Book ‘O the Month deal due to a general semester slow-down, I’m happy to present to you October’s entry: Bernard Lohse’s, A Short History of Christian Doctrine: From the First Century to the Present. This is quite simply my go-to text for basic history of doctrine needs. Lohse has published two equally valuable books on Luther that have also been translated into English (see here and here), but in this volume he deals with such topics as the formation and function of dogma, the canon, the creeds, the Trinity, the sacraments, christology, soteriology (from a couple different angles), and more. There are also “chronological tables” of important dates in the development of the various doctrinal topics. These are a very handy quick reference. It truly is an excellent work and I like it so much that I will likely be listing it as recommended reading on all my syllabi in the Christian tradition.

I leave you with the following quote from his discussion of ch…