Christian culture 基督教文化学刊

How Reformatory Was the Reformation?

Author: Volker LEPPIN, Professor of Faculty of Protestant Theology, University of Tübingen



The word “reformatory” is a normative term and is based historically on the concept of the Reformation in the school of Karl Holl, which centers around Luther and his doctrine of justification. However, this concept can be traced back to the undue emphasis placed on Luther’s review of his life in 1545, in which he suggested that the entire Reformation originated completely from his new insight into the meaning of iustitia Dei. Huldrych Zwingli’s way of thinking, for instance, did not fit in with this interpretation of the Reformation, because the doctrine of justification did not play a central role in his theology. The interpretation of the Reformation mentioned above did not correspond to Luther’s own theology, which contained some medieval mystical elements that could not be absorbed or abolished by his doctrine of justification. The unity of the Reformation was not based on the doctrine of justification: it was more a result of adversaries in Rome who defined as heretical all those groups who no longer distinguished between the laity and the clergy.



Reformation, reformatory, Luther, doctrine of justification, mysticism


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