From Bonaventure to the Reformers
"This volume brings together my papers on Bonaventure, Martin Luther, and Jean Calvin. Their unity lies in their focus on matters of spirituality, beginning with Bonaventure's approach to Law (ch. 1) and to the Gifts of the Spirit (ch. 2), an approach that led him, in a sermon, to confront the question that was later faced by the Reformers: Is the believer at the same time sinful and just, 'simul justus et peccator'? (ch. 3). The expression, frequently used by Luther, comes from Bonaventure. Luther eventually affirmed what Bonaventure denied in his sermon. This, however, need not imply that they contradicted each other more than verbally, in substance. "Having been involved in ecumenical dialogues for many years I have learned to appreciate the Reformers, especially Luther and Calvin. Because of my earlier interests and my doctoral work, however, I consider myself a medievalist, specialized in the 13th century and chiefly in the works of Bonaventure. I have been intrigued by the connection to be found between the Scholastics and the Reformers, and have in one publication analyzed the medieval sources of Luther's Commentary on the Magnificat. The ties between the theologies of the 13th and 16th centuries are many and far-reaching, though they were largely forgotten in the vehement polemics of the Counter-Reformation, that damaged the relations between Christians, and thereby impeded the reconciliation of their churches. "The purpose of bringing these texts together is to provide a background in which to appreciate the scope of the Joint Declaration on Justification signed in Augsburg, on 31 October 1999, by representatives of the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church. It is my hope that this epoch-making agreement will act as a catalyst for a further rapprochement of Christians and their Churches, including those that are faithful to the tradition of Calvin's theology."
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