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Timket

Active member
It is hard not to conceive of them as NT books when they are on the page which lists the NT books and leaves it up to the reader to include or exclude them from the canon.
You said:

A) He counted them as NT books
B) He allowed people to exclude them from the Canon

It can't be both ways: he can't say they were part of the New Testament and also not 100% essential (and if he did think they were 100% essential, he wouldn't let people choose).

Scripture is, in essence, necessary and non-negligible. Anything that is not totally necessary cannot be Holy Scripture.

On a related note, if we can step back for a moment and realize that Luther was willing to let people disregard 15% of the New Testament, that should shock us and lead us to question him a bit more I think. 🧐:unsure:

within the context of the SA Article IV point of agreement it makes no difference whether Mary was virgin or ever virgin

I disagree. The Smalcald Articles were (as their subheading read) "Articles of Christian Doctrine" and Part 1 was a Creed. If Martin Luther wrote that Mary was "pure, holy, ever-virgin" in this Creed, then that can't be disregarded. The words of a Creed are very important and weighed carefully.
 

Tertiumquid

Active member
It is interesting to note that Luther believed the Scriptures taught:

1) The True Presence of Jesus in communion (Consubstantiation)
2) The perpetual virginity of Mary (Schmalkaldische Artikel, Part LIV)
3) That James, Jude, Hebrew, and Revelations should not be numbered with the Scriptures
4) The Veneration of Mary.
5) Luther also believed that the Epistle to the Hebrews was not written by any apostle EDITED LINK VIOLATION

He was.... an interesting guy to be sure.
Wow, I've saved your post with all this shocking information! And here, all along I thought he was just a popular civil rights leader who had a dream!
 

YeshuaFan

Well-known member
It is interesting to note that Luther believed the Scriptures taught:

1) The True Presence of Jesus in communion (Consubstantiation)
2) The perpetual virginity of Mary (Schmalkaldische Artikel, Part LIV)
3) That James, Jude, Hebrew, and Revelations should not be numbered with the Scriptures
4) The Veneration of Mary.
5) Luther also believed that the Epistle to the Hebrews was not written by any apostle EDITED LINK VIOLATION

He was.... an interesting guy to be sure.
Just shows that Luther, Calvin, Augustine, ANY not called an Apostle had flawed theology in certain areas!
 

BJ Bear

Well-known member
And as I wrote, Luther was not inventing his own canon list, by keeping those 4 books as "antilegomena"--ones spoken against. (2 Peter, and 2 and 3 John were also in that list, if memory serves me correctly). One thing we learned in midweek Bible class, when we were studying how we got the Bible, is the the antilegomena books should be judged in light of the homolegomena books. That sounded like a good idea.

But most of us Lutherans do not agree that James contradicts Paul, BUT BOTH must be read in context. My friend Theo1689, who is a reformed Baptist, thoroughly exegeted James 2:24 last year, on the APO board. I will repost it here:



A Mormon tries to attack "Faith Alone" | Page 5 | CARM Forums

Post no. 99
Yes. Some books placard Christ and Him for you before our eyes and others not so much.
 

BJ Bear

Well-known member
You said:

A) He counted them as NT books
B) He allowed people to exclude them from the Canon

It can't be both ways: he can't say they were part of the New Testament and also not 100% essential (and if he did think they were 100% essential, he wouldn't let people choose).

Scripture is, in essence, necessary and non-negligible. Anything that is not totally necessary cannot be Holy Scripture.

On a related note, if we can step back for a moment and realize that Luther was willing to let people disregard 15% of the New Testament, that should shock us and lead us to question him a bit more I think. 🧐:unsure:
You have presented a false dichotomy based upon anachronism and a misunderstanding of the one faith of the one church of the one Lord God.

There was no set canon in use during the time of Luther, just as there is not one today. For example, there was and is the use of both the long and short (66 book) canon among the Orthodox and there is the Papal canon. If someone applied your measure to the Orthodox use it would come out as you can't have it both ways.

Luther's view didn't advocate disregarding the antilogoumena anymore than it advocated a disregard of the apocrhyphal works. They were all translated and though the apocrypha wasn't canonical but they were considered sometimes helpful and good to read.

The one faith of the one church of the one Lord God began with Adam and Eve and continues to the last man that will be. Neither they or anyone along the timeline of that one church of the one Lord God is of a different faith.

I disagree. The Smalcald Articles were (as their subheading read) "Articles of Christian Doctrine" and Part 1 was a Creed. If Martin Luther wrote that Mary was "pure, holy, ever-virgin" in this Creed, then that can't be disregarded. The words of a Creed are very important and weighed carefully.
Sure, but your disagreement is based upon disregarding the context of the statement. To prove the point just ask yourself what is the substantive difference to the point of agreement, namely, that the Son was born of the virgin if one says He was born of the pure, holy, virgin Mary or He was born of the pure, holy, and ever virgin Mary? The answer is there is no substantive difference to the point of agreement as in both cases the Son was born of the virgin Mary just as Scripture says.
 
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Timket

Active member
There was no set canon in use during the time of Luther, just as there is not one today.

I don't think that's correct - the Council of Carthage defined the canon in 397, which the Orthodox have used ever since:

Latin text of the Council:
16 [Placuit] ut praeter Scripturas canonicas nihil in Ecclesia legatur sub nomine divinarum Scripturarum. Sunt autem canonicae Scripture: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numeri, Deuterenomium, Iesu Nave, Iudicum, Ruth, Regnorum libri quattour, Paralipomenon libri duo, Iob, Psalterium Davidicum, Salomonis libre quinque, Duodecim libri prophetarum, Esaias, Ieremias, Daniel, Ezechiel, Tobias, Iudith, Hester, Hesdrae libre duo, Machabaeorum libre duo.
17 Novi autem Testamenti, evangeliorum libri quatuor, Actus Apostolorum liber unus, Pauli Apostoli epistolae tredecim., eiusdem ad Hebraeos una, Petri duae, Iohannis tres, Iacobi una, Iudae una, Apocalipsis Ioannis.
18 Ita ut de confirmando isto canone trasmarina Ecclesia consultatur. Liceat etiam legi passiones Martyrum, cum anniversarii dies eorum celebrantur
20 Hoc etiam fratri et consacerdoti nostro Bonifacio, vel aliis earum partium episcopis, pro confirmando isto canone innotescas, quia ita a patribus ista accepimus in ecclesia legenda



there was and is the use of both the long and short (66 book) canon among the Orthodox

I've never heard that the Orthodox had a "long and short canon". That is entirely new to me; could you please provide a source where you heard this?

Luther's view didn't advocate disregarding the antilogoumena anymore than it advocated a disregard of the apocrhyphal works.

I think he did advocate disregarding an antilegoumenon; he literally wrote "I don't want this in my Bible" before the book.
I haven't looked at his Foreword to Revelations or all of Hebrews but I wouldn't be surprised if he wrote things there too.

They were all translated and though the apocrypha wasn't canonical but they were sometimes helpful and good to read.

The whole setup still seems problematic to me - if they are NT books, one shouldn't have the choice to exclude them. If they were equal to the other NT books (which couldn't be excluded), then they also should not have been excludable.

Sure, but your disagreement is based upon disregarding the context of the statement. To prove the point just ask yourself what is the substantive difference to the point of agreement, namely, that the Son was born of the virgin if one says He was born of the pure, holy, virgin Mary or He was born of the pure, holy, and ever virgin Mary? The answer is there is no substantive difference to the point of agreement as in both cases the Son was born of the virgin Mary just as Scripture says.

Sure, there is no substantive difference to the point of agreement (i.e. Christ's birth of a virgin). But that doesn't change the fact that Luther declared Mary a "pure, holy, ever-virgin" in his Articles of Christian Doctrine (the Smalcald Articles in the Book of Concord), and @Bonnie's church, the LCMS, called this document a "binding exposition of Holy Scripture"
 

Tertiumquid

Active member
And the Gospel was everything to Luther, and there is little Gospel in James. Or Jude...
The silly silly part about Luther and James etc. is that almost the overwhelming majority of people who raise this canard do so at the expense of history and engage in blatant anachronism. They fail to ask these basic questions: Why did Luther have the reaction he did to do the book of James? What historical circumstances in his own life could have provoked it? Exactly how much time and effort did Luther put into his view on the Book of James? How important an issue was it to Luther's friends and foes? How much time and effort did the Roman church OFFICIALLY spend during Luther's life engaging in the issue of the book of James? How often did Luther address James, either negatively or positively... and what did he say? Did he ever quote from the book of James? In what manner? How were other theologians of that time period treating James? Why wasn't there an official dogmatic pronouncement on James previous to the Council of Trent?

This is basic stuff based on honest inquiry with minimal agenda (everyone has one).

JS
 

RiJoRi

Well-known member
The silly silly part about Luther and James etc. is that almost the overwhelming majority of people who raise this canard do so at the expense of history and engage in blatant anachronism. They fail to ask these basic questions: Why did Luther have the reaction he did to do the book of James? What historical circumstances in his own life could have provoked it? Exactly how much time and effort did Luther put into his view on the Book of James? How important an issue was it to Luther's friends and foes? How much time and effort did the Roman church OFFICIALLY spend during Luther's life engaging in the issue of the book of James? How often did Luther address James, either negatively or positively... and what did he say? Did he ever quote from the book of James? In what manner? How were other theologians of that time period treating James? Why wasn't there an official dogmatic pronouncement on James previous to the Council of Trent?

This is basic stuff based on honest inquiry with minimal agenda (everyone has one).

JS
You keep this up, JS, and you'll be sent to the KJVO forum, or even the Arminian / Calvinist one! :D <joking!> :D

--Rich
 

BJ Bear

Well-known member
I don't think that's correct - the Council of Carthage defined the canon in 397, which the Orthodox have used ever since:

Latin text of the Council:
16 [Placuit] ut praeter Scripturas canonicas nihil in Ecclesia legatur sub nomine divinarum Scripturarum. Sunt autem canonicae Scripture: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numeri, Deuterenomium, Iesu Nave, Iudicum, Ruth, Regnorum libri quattour, Paralipomenon libri duo, Iob, Psalterium Davidicum, Salomonis libre quinque, Duodecim libri prophetarum, Esaias, Ieremias, Daniel, Ezechiel, Tobias, Iudith, Hester, Hesdrae libre duo, Machabaeorum libre duo.
17 Novi autem Testamenti, evangeliorum libri quatuor, Actus Apostolorum liber unus, Pauli Apostoli epistolae tredecim., eiusdem ad Hebraeos una, Petri duae, Iohannis tres, Iacobi una, Iudae una, Apocalipsis Ioannis.
18 Ita ut de confirmando isto canone trasmarina Ecclesia consultatur. Liceat etiam legi passiones Martyrum, cum anniversarii dies eorum celebrantur
20 Hoc etiam fratri et consacerdoti nostro Bonifacio, vel aliis earum partium episcopis, pro confirmando isto canone innotescas, quia ita a patribus ista accepimus in ecclesia legenda





I've never heard that the Orthodox had a "long and short canon". That is entirely new to me; could you please provide a source where you heard this?



I think he did advocate disregarding an antilegoumenon; he literally wrote "I don't want this in my Bible" before the book.
I haven't looked at his Foreword to Revelations or all of Hebrews but I wouldn't be surprised if he wrote things there too.



The whole setup still seems problematic to me - if they are NT books, one shouldn't have the choice to exclude them. If they were equal to the other NT books (which couldn't be excluded), then they also should not have been excludable.



Sure, there is no substantive difference to the point of agreement (i.e. Christ's birth of a virgin). But that doesn't change the fact that Luther declared Mary a "pure, holy, ever-virgin" in his Articles of Christian Doctrine (the Smalcald Articles in the Book of Concord), and @Bonnie's church, the LCMS, called this document a "binding exposition of Holy Scripture"

I've never heard that the Orthodox had a "long and short canon". That is entirely new to me; could you please provide a source where you heard this?
The following is from a statement by the Joint Lutheran - Orthodox Commission.

"A. The canon of holy scripture


2. The Bible of our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles was the holy scripture of Israel (cf. Luke 4:16-21). It included the law and the prophets and comprised other writings such as the Psalms which had pre-eminence among them. Thus from the beginning the church had a fixed common nucleus of the canon of the Old Testament. Concerning the inclusion of some writings of Jewish origin, different usages existed side by side in the church. The council of 691-692 (Quinisextum) sanctioned various usages of local churches which included the short canon, a medium canon and an all-inclusive canon."

I think he did advocate disregarding an antilegoumenon; he literally wrote "I don't want this in my Bible" before the book.
I haven't looked at his Foreword to Revelations or all of Hebrews but I wouldn't be surprised if he wrote things there too.
Treating Scripture as if it is just a collection of ideas to be accepted or rejected is a phenomena.
The whole setup still seems problematic to me - if they are NT books, one shouldn't have the choice to exclude them. If they were equal to the other NT books (which couldn't be excluded), then they also should not have been excludable.
Everyone is free to have an opinion. However, looking at Scripture and history the one faith of the one church of the one Lord God doesn't rest on a particular book or even a number of books, for example, Moses is the faithful servant in God's house, Peter was of the same faith as John and us though he was without the Revelation, Irenaeus wrote of the barbarians having the same faith without Scripture in their language, etc.
Sure, there is no substantive difference to the point of agreement (i.e. Christ's birth of a virgin). But that doesn't change the fact that Luther declared Mary a "pure, holy, ever-virgin" in his Articles of Christian Doctrine (the Smalcald Articles in the Book of Concord), and @Bonnie's church, the LCMS, called this document a "binding exposition of Holy Scripture"
What is binding in that article is the point affirmed regarding Christ, that He was born of the virgin Mary. That the language is in two forms, "virgin Mary," and, "ever virgin Mary," makes neither a lone binding form. Regardless of which form an Evangelical holds to they do not pray to Mary or other saints.
 

Tertiumquid

Active member
Here's what Luther wrote, Smalcald Article (article I section IV):

"The Son thus was made man, conceived by the Holy Spirit without the work of man, and born of the pure, holy, always virgin Mary."
(“Filius ita factus est homo, ut a spiritu sancto sine virili opera conciperetur et ex Maria pura, sancta, semper virgine nasceretur…”)
That isn't what Luther wrote. As per Jaroslav Pelikan (who is not a member of the CARM forums due to being a lot smarter than all of us here and also being dead), the Latin text of the Smalcald Articles is a translation of the original German text. The original German text did not contain the notion of "Mary, pure, holy, and ever-Virgin" (ex Maria pura, sancta, Semper Virgine.) See his comments in his book, Mary Through the Centuries (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996), 158-159.

Some years back I interacted with one of Rome's defenders, who, in essence thought the German versions of the Smalcald Articles were engaging in a Marian cover-up. Here we see that the actual historical distortion is attributing the Latin text to Luther's German. The question though is why did the Latin text use "ex Maria pura, sancta, Semper Virgine"?

Why was the Latin was translated “Mary, pure, holy, and Ever-Virgin”? Perhaps the the translator used the phrase as a force of habit (as it was a common phrase). Perhaps the translator believed in Mary’s perpetual virginity and Immaculate Conception. It could also be that the Smalcald princes thought the phrase would gain more in a hearing with the Papacy? It’s also possible that the sense of “pure” was only to indicate that Mary was a “real creature or truly human” [See: Heiko Oberman, The Impact of the Reformation (Michigan: WB Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1994) 241.] which was a sense in which this word was used in the 16th century.

Details of the Latin translation / translator can be found here (see the discussion starting on page 332). The Latin translator "fell into disrepute" as per "evinced Roman Catholic leanings."

And now you know... the rest of the story!

Edited to add: The thrust of my comments is not to deny Luther's adherence to Mary's perpetual virginity. The above should be read with the emphasis on the notion of the immaculate conception: a Roman deviation which Luther did ascribe to early in his career, but later rejected.
 
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Bonnie

Super Member
That isn't what Luther wrote. As per Jaroslav Pelikan (who is not a member of the CARM forums due to being a lot smarter than all of us here and also being dead), the Latin text of the Smalcald Articles is a translation of the original German text. The original German text did not contain the notion of "Mary, pure, holy, and ever-Virgin" (ex Maria pura, sancta, Semper Virgine.) See his comments in his book, Mary Through the Centuries (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996), 158-159.

Some years back I interacted with one of Rome's defenders, who, in essence thought the German versions of the Smalcald Articles were engaging in a Marian cover-up. Here we see that the actual historical distortion is attributing the Latin text to Luther's German. The question though is why did the Latin text use "ex Maria pura, sancta, Semper Virgine"?

Why was the Latin was translated “Mary, pure, holy, and Ever-Virgin”? Perhaps the the translator used the phrase as a force of habit (as it was a common phrase). Perhaps the translator believed in Mary’s perpetual virginity and Immaculate Conception. It could also be that the Smalcald princes thought the phrase would gain more in a hearing with the Papacy? It’s also possible that the sense of “pure” was only to indicate that Mary was a “real creature or truly human” [See: Heiko Oberman, The Impact of the Reformation (Michigan: WB Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1994) 241.] which was a sense in which this word was used in the 16th century.

Details of the Latin translation / translator can be found here (see the discussion starting on page 332). The Latin translator "fell into disrepute" as per "evinced Roman Catholic leanings."

And now you know... the rest of the story!

Edited to add: The thrust of my comments is not to deny Luther's adherence to Mary's perpetual virginity. The above should be read with the emphasis on the notion of the immaculate conception: a Roman deviation which Luther did ascribe to early in his career, but later rejected.
Thanks, Tert. We can always count on you to give us the skinny on Luther!
 

Tertiumquid

Active member
Thanks, Tert. We can always count on you to give us the skinny on Luther!
Interestingly (at least to me), I may have actually found a scan of Luther's own penmanship of this section, see this link. I can't make any of it out. He wrote some of the document, but dictated some of it due to kidney stones (as per the link in my previous post).

Edited to add: Here is the German text. The phrase in question is "und von der reinen heiligen Jungfrauen Maria." Luther's typical later view is that at Christ's conception the Holy Spirit sanctified Mary so that the child would be born with non-sinful flesh and blood. It was not adherence to the Roman error of the immaculate conception. The phrase though that's left out is "ever virgin." (und von der reinen heiligen Jungfrauen Maria geboren sei . Danach gelitten , gestorben, begraben , zur Hölle gefahren).
 
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