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Crux sola est nostra theologia- Jesus of Nazareth in the Reformation Theology of Martin Luther

Lidija Matošević orcid id

Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 137 Kb

str. 49-64

preuzimanja: 594



This paper answers the question about the meaning of concrete historical person of Jesus of Nazareth as it has been explored in the theological oeuvre of Martin Luther. Firstly is described Luther’s spiritual turmoil in his young manhood, which is later considered in the context of Luther’s personal spiritual walk and in the wider context of spiritual turmoil that characterized the time of Luther. The specific circumstances in the life of Luther and his spiritual formation, as well as the wider determinants of late medieval religiosity and the history of the Church and society – which were essential for the genesis of Luther’s spiritual profile – are taken into account. In this sense references have been made to Luther’s autobiographical writings, to ars moriendi, to the movement, known as mysticism of suffering as well as to devotio moderna movement. The goal is to notice the specificity of Luther’s answer to existential questions with those he himself and his contemporaries were faced with. Adequate attention is paid to the issues related to indulgences as well as to the Luther’s conflict with the Church authorities, which has begun in the context of Luthers’ dealing with the issue of indulgences. The paper also draws attention to the inadequacy of placing a major role on the dispute over indulgences in the genesis of Luther’s Reformation thought. At the same time it is shown on how Luther’s criticism over the practice of indulgences soon turned into a wider dispute with the contemporary Church authorities. This dispute, by which the criticism of indulgences was quickly put aside, led to articulating key theme for understanding Luther’s theology as well as the theology of the Reformation in general: the theology of the cross. Luther’s theology of the cross is described as the one which is based on the revelation of God in the concrete suffering man – Jesus of Nazareth, and thus it is based on the fact that salvation is happening just in concrete reality. As such, Luther’s theology of the cross is understood as criticism of nonauthentic approaches to reality. The essence of that criticism ultimately consists in the run from reality as well as in deterring the face of suffering man’s situations. Luther’s theology of the cross is observed in its continuity with the movements in Church history which emphasized the concrete historical person of Jesus of Nazareth and his whole walk toward the cross as constitutive dimension for Christian faith. In addition, there is an emphasis on new elements, which existed in the tradition of the theology of the cross firstly introduced by Luther himself, which endeavour to apply the theology of the cross to all areas of theology and church life, in a way that will be more consistent than of former specific movements in Church history Luther was built on. In so doing, Luther’s theology of the cross introduces itself as a criticism of the contemporary theology of the Roman Church in the time of Luther, inasmuch as Roman Church puts the authority of the church or church hierarchies in the same level as the authority of the suffering man – Jesus of Nazareth. Luther’s theology of the cross is likewise presented as a criticism of the future development of Protestant theology and piety, as, for example, occurred within Protestant Biblicism. The conclusion of the article briefly points to the potentiality of the theology of the cross, which in the Luther’s ouvre has not come to expression. It is about how is the theology of the cross to be profiled as a systematic criticism of nonauthentic approaches to reality as well as of any kind of subjugation of man by ignoring his actual situation. Such outreach goes far beyond the framework of the criticism of contemporary theology and church in the time of Luther.

Ključne riječi

Martin Luther, the theology of the cross, the historical person of Jesus of Nazareth, Christological titles, indulgences, justification, the theology of the Reformation

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