Luther, Seneca, and benevolence in both creation and government

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Luther was not a political theorist like Machiavelli.1 He was, however, a political advisor, and in this function he was almost incomparable with any contemporary figure. In his ideas of government, he combined theologically revolutionary ideas with political conservatism. The political imaginaries of Luther involved both the ideal of a ”harmonisierties Gemeinwesen”2 and an anthropology emphasising human sinfulness and need for discipline. Care and order became the two keywords for the temporal authority, not only having a theological background but also having societal consequences. The ideal of a harmonious society was closely linked to an increasing emphasis on God as the good creator, culminating in the promissional creation theology of his Lectures in Genesis.3 His emphasis on monarchical authority was intimately connected to his anthropology as it represented the necessary order and framework for human sociality. In both cases Luther, and to a great extent Melanchthon as well, became an important bridge for ancient Roman ideas of the ideal monarchical supremacy, especially emphasised by Seneca, into the early modern era, as seen e.g. in Luther’s Fürstenspiegel. But this bridge was founded in a new variation of the emphasis on divine presence in creation based on the long tradition of correlating the Christian doctrine of creation with ancient Roman ideas, as they can be found in Seneca. The reformers continued a tradition of combining important aspects of the stoic idea of a natural deity giving benefits through nature with biblical material and used it in an increased emphasis on the creator giving himself through the created world.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TitelApprehending Love
RedaktørerPekka Kärkkäinen, Olli-Pekka Vainio
Antal sider26
UdgivelsesstedHelsinki
ForlagLuther-Agricola-Society
Udgivelsesår7 jun. 2019
Sider287-312
ISBN (trykt)978-952-7259-12-2
StatusUdgivet - 7 jun. 2019

    Forskningsområder

  • Luther, Martin, Seneca, Velvilje, Skabelsesteologi, Verdslig øvrighed, Saarinen, Risto

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