Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The subjective element in the hermeneutics of Luther and Melanchthon
Author: Holte, Carlyle W.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1969
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Full text unavailable from EThOS. Please try the link below.
Access from Institution:
This thesis attempts to clarify and describe the role of the Biblical interpreter in the work of exposition of the Scripture by observing the hermeneutics of Luther and Melanchthon. Since the historians of interpretation have but vaguely referred to such functions as faith within this process, inquiry is directed toward the explication of this term. Inasmuch as allegations of subjectivity have been generously made against the two reformers there is an apologetic factor woven in, seeking to establish a valid subjective element without opening the doors to subjectivity. The aim of the historical section is to give a proper background to the main body of the work. The development of allegory is described through analysis of Philo and Origen. Attention is given to the contrasting views of the Antiochenes. The expository contributions of Augustine are considered and the subsequent developments in the later middle ages. Throughout the historical chapter special consideration is given to the recognised role of the interpreter and to the presuppositions on the nature of history as a shaping force in hermeneutics. Some of the basic hermeneutical positions of Martin Luther are reflected through a delineation of three major controversies in which he engaged relatively early in his reforming career. Through a brief study of his clash with Latomus the point is made that Luther rejected allegory along with the non-historical presuppositions which in fact left the expositor free for a destructive subjectivity. The study of the controversy between Luther and Erasmus reveals Luther's rejection of that type of historicism which believes that human language is completely capable of carrying the divine message. The Schwarmer set before Luther a theology based on an anti-historical ground which exalts the subjectivity Use other side if necessary. of religious experience. Luther rejects this attitude and emphasizes the centrality of the given Word of God in history, as previously he has stressed the vitality of that Word in his controversy with Latomus, and the paradox of the God who is hidden in His revelation as a counter to Erasmus' peculiar insistence on the perspicuity of Scripture. It is contended that Philip Melanchthon agrees substantially in the positions thus taken by Luther. The primary affirmation of the dissertation is set forth in the following paragraph: "The subjective element of hermeneutics for Luther and Melanchthon consists in this: that the saving work of God, graciously applied to the interpreter in the midst of human history, is accepted as the heuristic paradigm for the understanding of God's living Word to men. It is important that this saving work be seen as bringing man into the new life of faith and hope, that this work has already established a new reality together with openness to the ultimate fulfilment of the work and will of God. The component elements of this central paragraph are illustrated in the works of both Luther and Melanchthon, with the conclusion that both men agree in this central hermeneutical concern, although their precise movement from the centre might in cases vary according to their objectives and tasks and personal predilections. It is contended that this description of the subjective element in the hermeneutics of Luther and Melanchthon is consistent with their general theological position and in agreement with the evidences in their respective extant works; that the thesis is in itself coherent as a structure; that the thesis is applicable with significant profit to the expository enterprise; that it is of ecumenical acceptability as evidenced by kindred statements from representative theologians and churchmen.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available