Luther on Galatians

Peter Matheson

in The Oxford Handbook of the Reception History of the Bible

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199204540
Published online May 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Religion and Theology

 Luther on Galatians

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The reception of Scripture has played a key role, often a highly controversial one, in virtually all reform movements in the church. At times it provided a blueprint for institutional change. At others, as in the case of the Lutheran reformation, the primary contribution was a hermeneutical one, although sweeping structural changes rapidly followed. Luther's theological insight enabled him to develop an integrative principle around which the whole of Scripture could be interpreted as liberating. As an ardent young monk his spirituality had been formed by the Psalms, but it was the light which Romans threw on the Psalms which recast his understanding of righteousness. As the gift of Christ, it was transformed into a ‘passive’ righteousness. This ‘reading’ of Scripture in turn presupposed a specific ‘reading’ of Christ, a theology of the Cross. The text was not to be spiritualized, allegorically or otherwise. Nor was it to be read literally. It was to be earthed in the Incarnation. Galatians was read as proclaiming the good news of the Christ who is God's self-giving to the godless and the undeserving.

Keywords: righteousness; Scripture; Lutheran reformation; Galatians; Psalms; Luther

Article.  5854 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Christianity ; Religious Studies

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