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Luther and the Via Moderna: The Philosophical Backdrop of the Reformation Breakthrough

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 November 2003

Abstract

The momentous paradigm shift from God as Being to God as Person provides us with the context for gaining a firm grasp of Luther's own redefinition of the range and role of philosophy. By no means the life-long combatant, distorter or victim of scholasticism as later scholarship often claims, Luther at once unfolded and redirected a tradition that stretched back through St Bonaventura to St Francis of Assisi, a tradition that rejected the Thomistic ‘Unmoved Mover’ and envisaged a covenantal ‘God who acts’. For Luther, the ‘God who acts’ became the ‘God who acts in Christ’, who is unpredictable and foils any systematic search, who contrary to ‘reason’ carries the cross from Christmas to Easter.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2003 Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

Following the death of Heiko A. Oberman on 22 April 2001, this, his final complete composition, was redacted and polished through the combined efforts of a handful of former students, colleagues and friends on both sides of the ocean. The abstract was skilfully rendered by Joshua Rosenthal, who was his doctoral student at the time of his death. Queries regarding this article may be posted to Professor Susan C. Karant-Nunn, Director, Division for Late Medieval and Reformation Studies, University of Arizona, Douglass 315, Tucson, Arizona 85721–0028.
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