Martin Luther’s Understanding of Faith and Reality

New book by Ilmari Karimies published on Mohr Siebeck

Full title:

Martin Luther’s Understanding of Faith and Reality (1513–1521): The Influence of Augustinian Platonism and Illumination in Luther’s Thought. 

The book is divided into two main chapters. The first one examines Martin Luther’s understading of reality, joining the much-discussed Platonism thesis and connecting it with medieval Augustinian Platonism. The chapter consists of Luther’s view on God, Universe and anthropology. Especially the discussion on anthropology follows the line craftd by Nordic researchers Herbert Olsson, Lauri Haikola and Eero Huovinen.

The second main chapter examines the concept of the light of faith, connecting it with theological and philosophical developement of Augustine’s epistemological doctrine of illumination. Luther’s understanding of the light of faith is compared with Scholastic interpretations of the term and it is shown, that Luther follows the line stemming from medieval Augustinian thinkers, representing a realistic Augustinian view. Faith functions as the theological intellect, grasping the invisible world and showing human beings the future good in a manner similar to the medieval mystical notion of ecstatic knowledge. It is situated between the lesser light of nature, which it is opposed to, and the brighter light of glory. It differs from vision in glory because of sin, as mixed with humanity, and as partial knowledge. The results are connected to the examination of faith as union with Christ, given by the Mannermaa school of Finnish Luther research, to research on Mysticism, and to Ecumenical discussion on the ontology and epistemology of faith.

Habit and the Spiritual Life: Perspectives from Christian Mysticism and the Philosophy of Religion

New article by Simone Kotva in the anthology Habit and the History of Philosophy.

Anthology abstract:

For Aristotle, habit was a fundamental aspect of human nature; and for William James, it was the “enormous flywheel” of society. In both the history of philosophy and contemporary research, it is acknowledged as a fundamental topic in ethics, moral psychology, philosophy of action, and phenomenology.

This major volume, written by a team of international contributors, is an outstanding collection that offers a thorough and diverse philosophical exploration of habit from the classical period to the modern day. Carefully edited to reflect the breadth of the subject, its 18 chapters are divided into four clear parts:

  • Habit and Ancient Philosophy
  • Habit and Early Modern Philosophy
  • Habit and Modern Philosophy
  • Contemporary Perspectives on Habit.

Key topics, debates, and figures are covered such as the emotions, perception, free will, William James, John Dewey, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, John McDowell, and Hubert Dreyfus.

Habit and the History of Philosophy is essential reading for students and researchers in the history of philosophy, ethics, phenomenology, philosophy of action, and pragmatism. It will also be extremely useful for those in related disciplines such as religion, sociology, and history.

Luther and Philosophies of the Reformation

New anthology on Bloomsbury edited by Boris Gunjevic.

The book contains seven essays on the Reformation written by world-renowned authors. As much as they are widely known in their own academic fields and communities, this is the first time that such authors have come together to reflect on the major contributions of Martin Luther’s thought at the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

Luther and Philosophies of the Reformation is a multi-disciplinary critical assessment on the Reformation discourse taking into consideration Luther’s rediscovery of the Scripture, primarily looking at readings of St. Paul with the idea of gift and participation. It also presents, compares and contrasts a literary ‘Dantean reading’ of Luther with the Reformer’s daring development of the doctrine of the Church that is relevant today.

Consequently, this book offers a strong but constructive criticism of Luther’s medieval metaphysics and of the unintended outcomes of his idea from a Hegelian and radical left point of view. The authors demonstrate throughout not only the relevance of Luther’s thought for us today but also his possible significance for the future.

Table of contents

Preface: Luther and Philosophies of the Reformation, Simon Perry, University of Cambridge, UK

  1. Luther, Paul and Gift, Dr. John Barclay, Durham University, UK
  2. Luther – Faithful Exegete of Paul, Morna D. Hooker, University of Cambridge, UK
  3. Dante, Luther and Church, Robin Kirkpatrick, University of Cambridge, UK
  4. Luther’s Redefinition of the Church, Robert Kolb, Concordia Seminary, USA
  5. Reformation 500, John Milbank, University of Nottingham, UK
  6. Toward A Materialist Conspiracy of Faith, Slavoj Žižek, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  7. Luther and Church Revisited, Robert L. Rosin, Concordia Seminary, USA

Conclusion: Heterotopia of “Re” Boris Gunjevic

Casting Biblical narratives: Gendered power hierarchies and cultural imagination in scandinavian children’s bibles

New article by Ingunn Aadland in Studia theologica.

Children’s bibles present a selection of Biblical stories, as the Bible, through text and illustrations – in the guise of fun, teaching, and moral warning. In this, they reflect the conviction that the Bible is essential, useful, and even entertaining. At the same time, cultural imagination continuously gives shape to Biblical stories. In this way, the children’s Bible is a materialisation of the valuation and cultural memory of the Bible – and in this way it makes sense to call it a cultural bible. This article examines the Danish bestseller Møllehave’s Børnebibelen (1996/2016), and two Norwegian books: Bibelfortellinger (2011) and Tidslinjen (2016) with particular regard to gendered power structures. How are women cast in the current Scandinavian cultural bible? There are common tendencies in the ways in which cultural memory casts Biblical women: Women are deemed less important than their male counterparts, they are easily associated with sexual misconduct, and they tend to be discredited in various ways. Representation relies upon cultural assumptions. Ultimately, the cultural Bible produces docile bodies. It puts the Biblical woman in her place, and she becomes a reduced other.

Gives der en luthersk kristen etik? Et alternativ til Knud Ejler Løgstrups position

New article by Jeppe Bach Nikolajsen.

Within theological ethics, a central question exists: Is there a Christian ethics? One position answers this question in the affirmative, while another position rejects it. The first position was dominant in Denmark in the first half of the twentieth century, and Niels Hansen Søe was a prominent representative for it. The second position was predominant in the second half of the century, and Knud Ejler Løgstrup contributed to its dissemination. This article suggests a contemporary Lutheran ethical position that operates with a Christian ethics and which constitutes an alternative to Løgstrupʼs ethical position.

Gives der en kristen etik? En kritik af Knud Ejler Løgstrups position

New article by Jeppe Bach Nikolajsen in Teologisk tidsskrift.

This article gives an account of the Danish theologian Knud Ejler Løgstrupʼs rejection of a Christian ethics. It then presents a critique of Løgstrupʼs position. The article argues for an understanding of Christian ethics which is rooted in the biblical scriptures, passed on in the Christian tradition, embodied by the Christian church, and expressed in a pluralistic societal situation. This understanding of Christian ethics implies a particularity to a greater extent than found in the position of Løgstrup.