Doctrinal Theology
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PHILIP MELANCHTHON, or MELANTHON (often incorrectly spelled Melancthon), born 1496; professor at Wittenberg, 1518 to his death, 1560. The foundation of Lutheran Systematic Theology was laid in his Loci Communes Rurum Theologicarum seu Hypotyposes Theologicae (1421), 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 Cyclopaedia, 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.

MARTIN CHEMNITZ, born 1522, lecturer at Wittenberg, 1552-1554, pastor at Brunswick, 1554-1567, superintendent of Brunswick, 1567-1586. Gerhard frequently refers to him as “the incomparable theologian;” Quenstedt styles him, “without doubt the prince of the theologians of the Augsburg Confession;” and Buddeus, “that great theologian of our Church, whom no one will refuse to assign the chief place after Luther among the defenders of the Gospel truth.” His Loci Theologici (1591) is a commentary upon the Loci Communes of his teacher, Melanchthon, the outgrowth of theological lectures begun at Wittenberg, and continued at Brunswick. It was published after his death, under the editorship of Polycarp Lyser. His De Duabus Naturis (1570) has been repeatedly called “an epoch-making production” (Kahnis, Luthardt), while his two treatises on the Lord’s Supper, De Coena Domini (1560) and Fundamenta Sanae Doctrinae, are especially valuable for their thorough discussion of Scripture, and their historical development of the subject. The Examen Concilii Tridentini (1565-73) is the ablest defence of Protestantism ever published. He also commenced the celebrated Harmony of the Gospels, and was one of the authors of the Formula of Concord. Wealth of Scriptural learning, profoundness of reasoning, clearness and accuracy of statement, well-balanced judgment, simplicity and freshness of style, a constantly practical tendency, and devout feeling, are the prominent characteristics of his works. For further details, see Evangelical Review, vol. xxi, p. 410, seq.

NICHOLAS SELNECKER, also a pupil of Melanchthon, and one of the authors of the Formula of Concoad, born 1532, professor at Leipzig and Jena, repeatedly exiled, died 1592. His Institutiones Christianae Religionis (1563) introduced the practice of prefacing works on Systematic Theology with Prolegomena. In addition, he prepared a compend of Melanchthon’s Loci, and wrote numerous monographs, De Coena (1561), Exegema de Unione Personali (1571), etc.

MATTHEW HAFENREFFER, born 1561, professor at Tübingen, died 1619. His chief work, Loci Theologici, sive Compendium Theologiae, was especially esteemed in Würtemburg, Sweden, and Denmark, where it was generally used as a text-book.

LEONARD HUTTER, born 1563, professor at Wittenberg from 1596 until his death, in 1616. His best known work is his Compendium Locorum Theologicorum (1610), for nearly a century almost universally used as a text-book in the Church-schools of Germany. It has been translated into German (three times), Swedish, and English, and has formed the basis of at least seven commentaries. It is characterized by conciseness, precision, and almost entire reliance upon the Symbolical Books and the older theologians (Chemnitz, Ægidius Hunnius) for its definitions. His posthumous work, Loci Communes Theologici (1619), edited by the Wittenberg faculty, is a development of the Compendium, or a commentary upon it. See Preface to English Translation of the Compendium for further details.

JOHN GERHARD, the pupil of Hutter, born 1582, professor at Jena from 1616, until his death, in 1637, a theologian “who combined rare learning, great acuteness, wonderful industry, sound judgment, and practical ability with ardent piety.” (Luthardt.) His great work, Loci Theologici, cum pro adstruenda veritate, tum pro destruenda quorumvis contradicentium falsitate, per theses nervose, solide et copiose explicati, was begun in 1610, and completed in 1621. “A more careful exegetical treatment than is found in his predecessors, the comprehensive consideration of the material afforded by the history of dogmas, the most thorough elaboration of every question, the objectiveness of its judgment, and its firmness in polemics, combined with the reference to the practical and consolatory use of the individual dogmas, distinguish this work, which also through its copious application of the scholastic theology (especially in the doctrine of God), and its employment, although still in a moderate degree, of the scholastic form, was of the most significant influence upon works which followed it.” (Luthardt, Compendium, p. 42.) “The strength of this work does not lie in the systematic arrangement of the material, but in the thorough elaboration of the individual doctrines, according to the entire extent of their exegetical, dogmatico-historical, symbolical, polemical, and practical material. Yet it cannot be said that Gerhard produced epoch-making dogmatic thoughts; he has, rather, learnedly and with great thoroughness, brought together what had been already prepared.” (Kahnis, Luth. Dogmatik, I, p. 29.) “Gerhard’s advance beyond Chemnitz and Hutter consists not so much in a more systematic arrangement, or in a deeper speculative basis for his doctrines, or a more subtle formal development of them, as in an erudite thoroughness, transparent clearness, and comprehensiveness.” (Tholuck, in Herzog’s Encyclopaedia.) “Some, indeed, accuse him of re-introducing scholastic theology into the Church, as the treatment of his Loci Theologici is after the scholastic mode; yet the same persons must admit that he was more cautious than those who followed him, and that he was careful not to mingle philosophy with theology . . . . Those who admire his industry, but overlook his sound judgment, prove thereby that they themselves are destitute of judgment, as I am certain that they cannot produce a single example of an error in judgment.” (Buddeus, Isagoge, p. 353.) “What work, among those which fully treat of this department, is to be named above all others, can as little be asked as what star surpasses all others in brilliancy, As the only answer to the latter question must be the sun, so the only answer to the former is the Loci Theologici of John Gerhard . . . . In our opinion, this work is the most excellent and complete, both in contents and form, that has been produced within this department of the Christian religion, and will remain until the last day the model for all who make attempts in this sphere.” (Prof. Walther.) Hence, too, the high value set upon this work by the theologians of other churches. Passing by encomiums of the Reformed Churches, we need only mention those coming from a direction the most unlooked-for. The Roman Catholic Du Pin praises it as a work of the greatest erudition, commends the chapters concerning God and the Trinity as most worthy of the study of Catholic theologians, styles its author a thorough linguist, a most diligent student of the Scriptures and the Fathers, a fair disputant, “of all the Protestants, shedding the greatest light upon the arguments on which he touched,” and concludes that “Bellarmine had no adversary more to be dreaded than Gerhard.” Bossuet is said to be the author of the often-quoted remark that Gerhard is the third (Luther, Chemnitz, Gerhard) in that series of Lutheran theologians in which there is no fourth. The best edition of the Loci is that of Cotta (Tübingen, 1762-87, 22 vols.), valuable for its accurate text, the learned notes of the editor, and its exhaustive indices. A more accessible and less costly edition, especially attractive because of its clear type and paper, is that begun in 1863, by Schlawitz, Berlin, and completed in 1875 by J. C. Heinrichs (Leipzig); it preserves the paging of the Cotta edition on the margin. The Isagoge Locorum Theologicorum of John Ernest Gerhard is a very full and satisfactory compendium of his father’s great work. The Confessio Catholica, showing the harmony of the Lutheran Church with the purer Church of all ages, and the Harmony of the Gospels, begun by Chemnitz, continued by Lyser, and completed by Gerhard, also contains valuable material belonging to the department of Dogmatics.

CASPAR BROCHMANN, born 1585, professor at Copenhagen and Bishop of Seeland, died 1682. The title of his principal work is Universae Theologiae Systema (1633). An interesting copy of this comparatively rare work, once the property of Erick Biork, one of the most efficient pastors of the old Swedish churches on the Delaware (pastor of the Christiana Church, 1696-1714), is in the library of the Theological Seminary at Philadelphia.

ABRAHAM CALOVIUS, born 1612, professor at Königsberg and Wittenberg, died 1686. The most voluminous of our theologians, distinguished by his wonderful industry, untiring zeal in controversy, unyielding firmness and severity, vast and varied learning, and critical power of the first rank. He represents the strictest school of orthodoxy, and wrote on all departments of theological science. His work in the department of Dogmatic Theology is Systema Locorum Theologicorum (12 vols., 1655-77). His Biblia Illustrata (1672-6) contains valuable Dogmatical material.

JOHN FREDERICK KOENIG, born 1619, professor at Greifswald and Rostock, died, 1664. His compend of theology, Theologia Positiva Acroamatica (1664) was widely used as a text-book. It differs from Hutter’s work, in being scientific rather than popular. “The author comprehended much in a few words and nervously; but, by an excessive desire of brevity and accuracy, produced a mere skeleton, destitute of all sap and blood.” (Buddeus, Isagoge, 359).

JOHN ADAM SCHERZER, born 1628, professor at Leipzig, died 1683, wrote a brief outline of theology, Breviculus Theologicus, (1678), and afterwards a system, Systema Theologiae, xxix definitionibus absolutum (1680).

JOHN ANDREW QUENSTEDT, born 1617, professor at Wittenberg, died 1688, the nephew of John Gerhard. His Theologia Didactico-Polemica (1685), because of its exhaustive collection and its accurate classification of dogmatic material, is one of the most important works of Lutheran theology. It possesses little originality and follow closely the outline of Koenig, but manifests the greatest erudition in its citations of authorities, and skill in rendering the work of reference easy. From this characteristic, its author is often styled the “bookkeeper” of the Wittenberg Orthodoxy, and is conceded to be “next to Gerhard the most instructive representative of the Orthodox Dogmatik.” [Luthardt.] The objection, however, is often presented against Quenstedt, that his excessive attention to the details of his system has deprived Dogmatic theology of its life, by reducing its doctrines to the shape of mathematical formulae.

JOHN WILLIAM BAIER, born 1647, general superintendent of Weimar and professor at Halle, died 1695. The Compendium Theologiae Positivae (1685), is largely, as its title indicates, a compend of the theology of Musaeus (Baier’s father-in-law, born 1613, professor at Jena, died 1681), and “many other orthodox theologians.” An accurate acquaintance with the history of the controversies of the preceding periods, is a necessary prerequisite to the successful study of this much valued and widely received text-book. Professor Walther, in his valuable series of articles in the first volume of the Lehre und Wehre, entitled Lutherisch-Theologische Pfarrer’s-Bibliothek, sums up the merits of this compendium, as “great completeness combined with compact brevity, exclusion of all extraneous material, exquisite selection, and, above all, accurate exegesis of scriptural proof-passages, critical comparison, and employment of the labors of his predecessors within the department of dogmatics, and, in addition to Lutheran fidelity in doctrine, the expression of a living heart faith, and of a mild, pious sensibility.” The most accessible edition is that edited by Preuss, and published in Schlawitz, Berlin, 1864. Prof. Walther has also published an edition with notes.

FREDERICK BECHMANN, born 1628, professor at Jena, died 1703. Annotationes uberiores in comp. Theo. L. Hutteri (1696); Theologia Polemica (1702); Institutiones Theologicae (2d ed., (1706); Annotationes on Dieterich’s Instituiones Catecheticae (1707).

DAVID HOLLAZ, born 1646, pastor at Jacobshagen, rector at Colberg, died 1713. His Examen Theologicum Acroamaticum (1707) recapitulates with great clearness and compactness the results attained by his predecessors, under the form of questions and answers. It is “especially happy in its definition,” but in addition to some of the faults of the scholasticism of Quenstedt, it possesses already some of the characteristics of the succeeding period.





[Translated from Luthardt’s Compendium der Dogmatik, p. 302, sqq.]

Circumscriptiva praesentia, contrasted with definitiva praesentia, or in Scholastic usage (Occam) diffinitiva (disfinere): the former used with reference to bodies, in so far as their single parts correspond to the single parts of [occupied] space, and thus are locally limited; the latter, of spiritual existences (or pneumatic bodies, such as the body of Christ in the Lord’s Supper), in so far as they stand in such a relation to a specific space that they are entirely present at each point of it, as the soul in the body, and angels at the respective places of their presence and activity.

Concretum designates the unity of substance (subjectum) and form (i.e., that distinction in view of which the substance is designated). Thus, the concretum person designates the person together with its nature; the concretum nature designates nature viewed in its personal existence; whilst the abstractum nature designates nature viewed in itself, aside from personal existence, as humanity, Deity, human nature, divine nature.

Connexa are such conceptions or objects as reciprocally necessitate each other, so that they cannot be conceived of without each other; as, e.g., Creator and creature. Hence they are designated as related.

Connotata, are relative conceptions that imply others corresponding to them (connotare, i.e., innuere or indigitare): a father implies a son; a son implies a father.

Distinctio rationis rationantis signifies a purely subjective logical distinction, not objectively founded upon the thing itself; whilst distinctio rationis ratiocinatae signifies a distinction that is, indeed, only conceived, but conceived with a factual basis. Compare the doctrine of the Divine Attributes.

Essentialiter. — A predicate is said to belong essentially to a subject (or a substance) if the latter cannot, according to its nature, at all exist or be conceived of without the former; as, e.g., man is essentially rational. A predicate is said to belong accidentally to a subject, if the latter can be conceived of independently of the former; as, e.g., the accidental attributes of roundness, whiteness, etc.

Forma is the more specific definiteness that imparts to a subject, in itself indifferent, its characteristic peculiarity; or it is the conception of anything existing in a definite manner. Thus, in the sphere of morals, actions in themselves indifferent receive through the intention of the actor their forma, i.e., their specific character of virtue or vice. In this sense Scholasticism speaks of a fides formata caritate (a faith formed by love), or the Dogmaticians say: Concurrit Deus ad materiale non ad formale peccati (God concurs as to the matter, not as to the form, of sin). The same mode of conception underlies the Aristotelian and scholastic definition of the soul: Anima est forma corporis (Aristotle: the soul is εντελεχεια σωματος οργανικου, or ειδος σωματος φυσικου ζωην εχοντος, i.e., the specifying formal principle of organized matter). Thus also, e.g., religion, considered materialiter, is conceived of as religion taken as a whole; considered formaliter, it is conceived of as specific religious knowledge or profession. Or, it is said, also, Mary is the Mother of God, not formally, i.e., inasmuch as she did not bring forth God, as God according to His Deity; but materially, inasmuch as she brought forth Him who is true God.

Habitudo designates, in contrast with existence or the thing itself, the reference to, or capacity for, some other thing. Thus, between God and man there is a relation [or correspondence] not of entitas (for as to their existence they are infinitely different), but of habitudo (for they have a reference to each other).

Habitus is the condition [or state of being] which includes in itself at the same time a power to act. This habitus may be infused (wrought by God), and thus is the condition [sine qua non] of all corresponding activity; or acquired, and then it is the result of actions already performed. Comp. habitual and actual sin.

Qualitas is used either in a wider sense, for every attribute, or in a narrower sense, to designate the essential peculiarities of anything.

Relatio is the relation of one thing to another. Ens relativum is, therefore, something that cannot be conceived of without something else (e.g., master, like, etc.), as contrasted with ens absolutum (e.g., man).

Subsistentia designates an independent existence (suppositum), which carries the source of its activity within itself. When applied to a rational being (suppositum in the sense of person), it designates, therefore, personality. Thus, e.g., every angel, man, brute, etc., has its subsistentia, while the body and the soul, considered as separated from each other, have no subsistentia of their own, and are not a suppositum, but only a pars suppositi. Therefore, in the case of God, the immediatio suppositi (of His existence) i.e., His ad essentia ad creaturas substantialis [His substantial nearness to creatures] is distinguished from the immediatio virtutis, i.e. of His operatio [activity].

Sustantia completa is an existence that is not a part of a whole, but constitutes a whole in itself (e.g., man, tree, etc.); substantia incompleta is a partial substance, which serves to complete another (body, soul of man while the angels are spiritus completi). The substance needs subsistence to render it a substantia completa (therefore man becomes such only through personality), according to the well-known definition of Augustine (De Trin., VII, 4, 9): Sicut ab eo quod est esse appellatur essentia, ita ab eo quod est subsitere substantiam dicimus. (Just as anything is called an essence from the fact of its existence, so anything is called a substance from the fact of its subsistence.)

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