The Gospel of John in the Sixteenth Century: The Johannine Exegesis of Wolfgang Musculus

The Gospel of John in the Sixteenth Century: The Johannine Exegesis of Wolfgang Musculus

The Gospel of John in the Sixteenth Century: The Johannine Exegesis of Wolfgang Musculus

The Gospel of John in the Sixteenth Century: The Johannine Exegesis of Wolfgang Musculus

Synopsis

This study of Johannine exegesis in the sixteenth century covers nearly every important commentator on John from the first half of the century, and examines the medieval and patristic traditions on which they drew. But while comprehensive in its scope, this book centers on the John commentary of Wolfgang Musculus (1497- 1563), an influential leader of the Protestant Reformation in the cities of Augsburg and Bern. As a theologian and biblical scholar, he authored a large number of theological and exegetical works which remained popular well into the seventeenth century. Despite his influence, however, Musculus has been virtually ignored by modern scholarship on the Reformation.

Excerpt

In telling the story of the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation, historians have understandably focused on those figures whose influence was decisive in defining distinct theological traditions. Luther, Melanchthon, Calvin, and Zwingli rightfully hold preeminent place in any attempt to understand the Reformation as a whole because their religious ideas spread far beyond the geographical confines of Wittenberg, Geneva, and Zurich, influencing generations of people throughout Europe and North America. Yet many other lesser-known figures who contributed to the theological legacy of the Reformation period have been left out of the story, figures who were held in high esteem by their contemporaries and whose reformational activities and theological insights were of critical importance in the shaping of the Protestant Reformation.

To a significant degree, this neglect has been addressed in modern scholarship of the last century: the story has been enlarged to include the contributions of figures such as Martin Bucer, Heinrich Bullinger, Johannes Brenz, Balthasar Hubmaier, and Andreas Bodenstein von Karlstadt. Yet in recent years, the momentum to incorporate the contributions of such secondary figures has been slowed somewhat by the focus of social historians who have criticized the preoccupation with personalities and intellectual history as presenting a skewed, top-sided view of the Reformation that fails to take into account its effects on the political, social, and religious life of the masses. This criticism was not completely undeserved, and social historians have made valuable contributions that correct the unbalanced presentation of prior historiography. Nevertheless, no one can rightfully deny that to a great extent the Reformation was indeed about ideas and the personalities who expressed and debated them. the fact that most of these personalities, as churchmen and scholars, occupied a privileged class in sixteenth-century Europe does not belie the influence of their theological protest on popular religion and culture. Just . . .

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