Loci Communes
 9780664241643, 0664241646

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General Editors

John Baillie (1886-1960) served as President of the World Council of Churches, a member of the British Council of Churches, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and Dean of the Faculty of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh. John T. McNeill (1885-1975) was Professor of the History of European Christianity at the University of Chicago and then Auburn Professor of Church History at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Henry P. Van Dusen (1897-1975) was an early and influential member of the World Council of Churches and served at Union Theological Seminary in New York as Roosevelt Professor of Systematic Theology and later as President.


Melanchthon and Bucer Edited by WiLHELM PAUCK ThD

© 1969 The Westminster Press Paperback reissued 2006 by Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Kentucky. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. For information, address Westminster John Knox Press, 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40202-1396. Cover design by designpointinc. com

Published by Westminster John Knox Press Louisville, Kentucky This book is printed on acid-free paper that meets the American National Standards Institute Z39.48 standard.© PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. ISBN-13: 978-0-664-24164-3 ISBN-10: 0-664-24164-6






PHILIP MELANCHTHON: LOCI COMMUNES THEOLOGICI Editor's Introduction Loci communes theologici, translated by Lowell J. Satre, with revisions by Wilhelm Pauck Dedicatory Letter Basic Topics of Theology, or Christian Theology in Outline The Power of Man, Especially Free Will (Liberum Arbitrium) Sin The Law Divine Laws Counsels The Vows of Monks Judicial and Ceremonial Laws Human Laws The Gospel The Power of the Law The Power of the Gospel Grace Justification and Faith The Efficacy of Faith Love and Hope


18 20 22 30 49 53 57 59 61 62 70 77 84 86 88 109 111



The Difference Between the Old and New Testaments and the Abrogation of the Law The Old Man and the New Mortal and Daily Sin Signs Baptism Repentance Private Confessions Participation in the Lord's Table Love Magistrates Offense

120 131 132 133 136 140 143 145 147 148 150

MARTIN BUCER: DE REGNO CHRISTI Editor's Introduction De Regno Christi, translated by Wilhelm Pauck in collaboration with Paul Larkin



Preface Chapter I. Chapter II. Chapter III.

Chapter IV. Chapter V. Chapter VI. Chapter VII. Chapter VIII. Chapter IX. Chapter X.

Names of the Kingdom of Christ. . . What the Kingdom of Christ and the Kingdoms of the World Have in Common and What They Do Not Some More Eminent Passages of Holy Scripture Concerning the Kingdom of Christ, in the Light of Which What We Have Proposed Can Be Better Understood . . . The Various Periods of the Church . . What the Kingdom of Christ Is, and What Is Necessary for Its Restoration The Dispensation of the Doctrine of Christ The Administration of the Sacraments The Ministry of the Discipline of Life and Manners The Ministry of the Discipline of Penance Reforming the Churches' Ceremonies:

174 176 179

192 207 225 232 236 240 242

PHILIP MELANCHTHON Loci Communes Theologici

Loci Communes Theologici EDITORS


Loci communes rerum theologicarum ("Fundamental Theological Themes") was first published in December, 1521, in Wittenberg (a little later another edition appeared in Basel). Melanchthon had begun to work on it in 1520, at a time when Martin Luther, his friend and older colleague at the University of Wittenberg, was deeply involved in the conflict with the Roman Catholic Church that his Ninety-five Theses of October 31, 1517, had aroused. On June 15, 1520, Pope Leo X published the bull Exsurge Domine, which threatened Luther with excommunication unless he recanted his views. On December 10, 1520, Luther publicly burned a copy of the papal bull in order to demonstrate that he would defy papal authority to the end. Throughout this decisive year, in the course of which the role and responsibility of a reformer were forced upon him, he published the programmatic treatises that summed up his criticisms of the Roman Catholic Church, his conception of the Christian gospel, and his proposals for a reformation of the Church. Through these writings he definitely established himself as the leader of the quickly growing movement of the Reformation. Indeed, his power and influence were then so great that when he went to Worms in the early spring of 1521 in order to be given a hearing before the Diet of the Holy Roman Empire, presided over by the new emperor, Charles V, he was the hero of the German nation, despite the fact that in the meantime the papacy had placed the ban upon him. During all this time, Melanchthon had been at work on his own compendium of theological fundamentals. Indeed, his printer sent him the galleys of the first parts of his work in April, 1521, when







Luther was at Worms awaiting the imperial decision about his case after he had once more and with heroic clarity refused to recant his views. Before the Edict of Worms, which declared him an outcast, was published, Luther was secretly put in safety at Wartburg castle and thus removed from Wittenberg. He did not cease to write and, indeed, he composed some of his most influential works in his isolated retreat, including the German translation of the New Testament, but he could no longer exercise a direct, personal influence upon the affairs either of the town or the University of Wittenberg, though he was in lively touch by correspondence with his friends there. Thus, Melanchthon, who had become one of the staunchest defenders of Luther against his critics and enemies, was drawn into active participation in the first actual efforts for the realization of a reformation in the church. It was under these circumstances that, with considerable strain and difficulty, he completed his Loci and finally published the work. Luther, who had been kept informed by Melanchthon about the progress of his work, hailed it with great enthusiasm, believing that it was one of the clearest statements of the Christian religion ever written. His judgment was to be shared by many, for, as we shall see, it proved to be a great success. I. T H E CAREER OF MELANCHTHON, 1497-1521 In 1521, Philip Melanchthon was a widely respected scholar who enjoyed a great reputation, but he was still a young man in his early twenties. He was born the son of an armorer, on February 16, 1497, in Bretten in the Palatinate. His father died (probably as a result of having drunk poisoned water) when his son Philip was only eleven years old. Philip, who had received elementary education in the schools of his hometown, then was sent to Pforzheim where his maternal grandmother, a sister of the famous Humanist John Reuchlin, lived. There he completed his preparatory education at the well-known Latin school under the supervision and inspiration of his great-uncle Reuchlin. It was probably at Reuchlin's suggestion that he then adopted the Greek form of his family name Schwarzerd—namely, Melanchthon—as a sign that he wanted to become a Humanist scholar. By October 14, 1509, he had matriculated at the University of Heidelberg and in less than two years he obtained the degree of Bachelor of Arts (June 18, 1511). It is said that because of his extreme youth he was denied the right to continue his studies at



Heidelberg. But on September 17, 1512, he was registered at the University of Tubingen and there, again after an astonishingly short time, he was given the degree of Master of Arts (January 25, 1514). By then he had become an enthusiastic Humanist. Interested in all branches of knowledge, including mathematics and the natural sciences as well as philosophy and theology, he cultivated ancient languages and particularly Greek language and literature, always in the circle of like-minded friends, e.g., John Oecolampadius and Ambrose Blaurer, the later Reformers of Basel and Constance respectively, and always under the influence of Reuchlin. He edited and translated ancient authors and became an expert Greekist. In May, 1518, when he was twenty-one years old, he published a Greek grammar that was to remain in constant demand as a textbook for many decades. He then planned to prepare a reliable Greek edition of the works of Aristotle. In the meantime, the University of Wittenberg, founded at the beginning of the century on the frontier of German civilization and not at all famous like the older schools of Heidelberg and Tubingen, was becoming prominent—because of Martin Luther, who, even before he became widely known as the author of the Ninety-five Theses on Indulgences, had played a major role in the reform of theological studies on the basis of Biblical theology. In 1518, the Wittenbergers wanted to introduce the study of Greek and Hebrew into their curriculum. The founder and chief sponsor of the University of Wittenberg, Frederick the Wise, Duke of Saxony, turned to Reuchlin for advice, with the result that Melanchthon was recommended to him.''Among Germans," Reuchlin wrote about his grandnephew, "I know of none who is superior to him, except Erasmus." * Thus Melanchthon was appointed the first professor of Greek at Wittenberg. On August 25, 1518, he arrived in the small town on the river Elbe that was to remain his home for forty-two years, or throughout the rest of his life. Four days later, on August 29, 1518, he delivered his inaugural lecture in the castle-church that served the university as the main assembly hall. He spoke on curriculum reform (De corrigendis adolescentiae studiis). Over against the methods of the Scholastics, he demanded the renewal of the old disciplines of dialectics and rhetorics according to the standards of humanistic learning. He made a plea for the study of Greek philosophy, particularly of Aristotle, and expressed the hope that true, authentic learning would bring about a broad moral reform 1

Robert Stupperich, Melanchthon, German Edition (Berlin, i960), p 22; English translation (The Westminster Press, 1965), p. 30.





Df life. The audience, which included Luther, responded enthusiastically. Luther was full of admiration for Melanchthon's wide knowledge of languages and for the sharpness of his mind. Melanchthon, on his part, quickly came under the spell of Luther's powerful thought and person. In a short time he, the Humanist in whose eyes Erasmus was the greatest of scholars, identified himself with Luther's cause and supported him wholeheartedly. In June, 1519, he accompanied Luther to Leipzig in order to give him support in his disputation with John Eck. Almost immediately after his return to Wittenberg from Leipzig he wrote and published a report on the discussion in the form of a letter addressed to his friend Oecolampadius—which was highly favorable toward Luther. Eck responded quickly in a tract that was full of contempt for the "grammarian" from Wittenberg. Its title was Eck's Defense against what Philip Melanchthon, a grammarian from Wittenberg, has falsely ascribed to him concerning the Theological Disputation at Leipzig.2 Melanchthon immediately refuted the attack in a brief treatise entitled Philip Melanchthon's Defense Against John Eck.3 It was eloquently written. Full of a biting sharpness, it contained a defense of Luther's rejection of papal authority as well as a forthright assertion of the supremacy of Scripture over all authorities in the church, including the fathers, an assertion that culminated in the exclamation { 386 Benefices, priestly, 260 Bernard of Clairvaux, 210L Bible, 156 Bishops, 231, 236, 266, 277, 279, 284 ff., 294, 314 Book of Common Prayer, 171, 326 Bradford, John, 161 Bribes, 366 f. Bucer, Martin, career of, 155 Burleigh, Lord, 172 f.

Calvin, 155, 157, 170, 172, 173 Cambridge, 160 Cambridge, University of, 158 Capital punishment, 380 f. Carr, Nicholas, 161 Cartwright, Thomas, 172 Catechism, 171, 228 f., 234, 336 Catechizing, 280 Cato, 342 Celibacy, 285, 332, 335 Ceremonies, 210, 248 f., 255 f. Charles V, 158 Cheke, John, 159 Christ, 165, 166, 194, 200, 302 Christ, death of, 204 Christ the King, 177 ff., 262 ff., 393 Christocracy, 167 Chrysostom, 186, 248, 253, 286, 337 Church, 166 f., 225 Church and State, i68f. Church buildings, 249, 283 Church of Christ, 204 f. Church, periods of, 207 ff. Cicero, 269, 276, 301, 346, 356 Cincinnatus, L. Q., 342 Comedies and tragedies, 349 ff. Communion of Christ, 239