The Cambridge Companion to Martin Luther

By Donald K. McKim | Go to book overview
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founded.” 58 The proper introduction to the Pentateuch's spiritual meaning is the whole New Testament.

Within his space allotted, Luther can give only a quick maxim and sample.“If you will interpret well and surely, take Christ for your matter. For he is the one, whom everythingsolely intends. So make the high priest Aaron be no one but Christ alone, as the Epistle to the Hebrews does… Moreover it is certain that Christ is sacrifice and altar also…” 59

So it was as a great metanarrative of God in Christ with us, that Luther turned the Scriptures over to the public. He did it in confidence that the narrative was clear, indeed a page-turner. That is what made the worldhistorical difference. If we could relearn from Luther to trust the eminently readable story of God with us, who knows what might again happen?


Notes
1
A matter which is far from as clear as might be supposed, and is yearly becoming more puzzling.
2
Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes has long been a maxim among the Orthodox, who descend more directly from those Greeks.
3
The word itself is equally well translated“word” or“reason.”
4
WA 42, 13, 13.
5
WA 42, 13, 15.
6
Here we must acknowledge the revisionary Luther scholarship of Tuomo Manermaa and his associates at the University of Helsinki, and of David Yeago, whose full-scale study of the catholic Luther will shortly appear. We will instance the Finns' work several times; a sample is available in English in Carl E. Braaten and Robert W. Jenson, eds., Union with Christ: The New Finnish Interpretation of Luther (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans PublishingCo., 1998).
7
The single most impressive monument of this effort is doubtless Martin Chemnitz' De duabis naturis in Christo (Jena, 1570), ET Two Natures in Christ, trans. Jacob Preus (St. Louis: Concordia PublishingHouse, 1971).
8
See Walter Sparn, Wiederkehr der Metaphysik (Stuttgart: Calwer Verlag, 1976).
9
The council probably could not have said anythingmaterial, without exacerbatingthe divisions it was called to heal.
10
The formula of Pope Leo's“Tome, which had been appended to Chalcedon's decrees as authorized interpretation; Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, ed. N. P. Tanner (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 1990), I:79, 3–7. The formula became the maxim of Western Christology.
11
To this, with the necessary citations, see Robert W. Jenson, Systematic Theology (New York, Oxford University Press, 1997–99), II:254–55.
12
E.g., Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, iii.75.4.
13
Ibid., iii.78.3–5; 82.1–3.
14
Which I will here draw from the mature work of their leader, Johannes Brenz. De personali unione duarum naturarum in Christo (Tübingen: 1561); Von der Majest¨at unsers lieben Herrn und einigen Heilands Jesu Christi (Tübingen: 1562).
15
The dogmaticians distinguished various genera of the communication of attributes; our problem falls under the genus maiestaticum.

-286-

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