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Abstract

This chapter examines Martin Luther’s use of whores and harlots as metaphors and rhetorical devices. Specifically, in the early 1520s, Luther developed a metaphor for justification by faith and the imputation of righteousness: the Whore-Bride of Christ. This essay examines the metaphor’s origin and deployment in the early stages of the Reformation as Luther sought to clarify and explain his new theological commitments. The whore-bride of Christ served to illustrate for Luther that the Christian brings nothing to his or her relationship with Christ but sin, not works or righteousness. In regard to the marriage union, Christ takes on the Christian’s (“whore’s”) sin and exchanges it with his righteousness. In 1525, however, Luther completely abandoned the metaphor. Luther’s theological commitment to justification by faith and the imputation of righteousness did not change in 1525, so why did he stop using the metaphor? The essay ends by suggesting that the explanation for his abandonment of the metaphor will not be found in his theology, but in life beyond the pulpit and the lectern.

In: Cultural Shifts and Ritual Transformations in Reformation Europe
In: A Companion to Paul in the Reformation
In: Calvin and the Early Reformation 

An examination of the role of Humanisim, via Lefèvre and Erasmus on the formation of Martin Luther’s theology leading up to the Ninety-Five Theses.

In: Church History and Religious Culture

In 1516, Desiderius Erasmus published the first Greek New Testament. Almost immediately, it became embroiled in controversy and Erasmus was accused of heresy because of critical decisions he made about the text. The most controversial was his decision to not include 1John 5,7, the so-called Comma Johanneum, which was used as a defense of the Trinity. This essay examines the ways in which Erasmus attempted to protect himself and his New Testament from heresy charges as he revised it for its second edition. Then, it offers a further contextualization for why those attempts failed. Erasmus reinserted 1John 5,7 in his third edition.

In: Church History and Religious Culture
Those who have a passing knowledge of John Calvin’s theology and reforms in Geneva in the sixteenth century may picture the confident and mature theologian and preacher without appreciating the various events, people, and circumstances that shaped the man. Before there was Protestantism’s first and eminent systematic theologian, there was the French youth, the law student and humanist, the Protestant convert and homeless exile, the reluctant reformer and anguished city leader. Snapshots of the young Calvin create a collage that give a bigger picture to the grey-bearded Protestant reformer. Eleven scholars of early-modern history have joined in this volume to depict the people, movements, politics, education, sympathizers, nemeses, and controversies from which Calvin immerged in his young adulthood.