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Kirchengeschichte: Reformationszeit


Bucer, Martin


Common places of Martin Bucer 1974


Heyda, M.

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Theologische Literaturzeitung 99. Jahrgang 197'i Nr. .'!


Nachfolge Christi durch den Christen (imitation) bedeutsam,
d. h. Selbstverleugnung, Geduld und „Contemplation of
Heavenly Life" als Signaturen des Gehorsams. Und indem
Conditt so deduziert, nähert er sich auch dem Zenit Calvinscher
Aussageweise: Die Erwählung hat nicht ihr philosophisch
undurchdringliches Woher, sondern ihr christo-
logisch praktisches Wozu! Der durch Christi Gehorsam
grundgelegte Erwählungsratschluß Gottes hat seine „Evi-
dence" im (Glaubens-)Gehorsam des Christen. (Re-)Union
des Menschen mit Gott hat zu tun mit den Zeichen des
Gehorsams gegenüber Christus. Erwählung und Verwerfung,
Konstruktion und Destruktion entscheiden sich hier:
"Because a firm assurance of God's favor comes only from
the signs of the believer's union with Christ, Calvin states
that 'all who do not believe arc reprobate and given over to
destruetion; for God makes all the sons of the Church and
heirs of life bis obedient disciples'" (S. 112).

Teil IV unter dem interpretationsbedürftigen Stichwort
„Restraint" behandelt Calvins Aussagen zur Sozialethik,
ohne jedoch hier die theologische Linienführung an eine
sozialtheoretische Eigenthematik abzugeben. Der einzelne in
seiner Bewährung in Kirche und Welt, der Gehorsam gegenüber
dem Staat mit Blickrichtung auf das allgemeine Wohl,
die Berufung des glaubenden Mensehen und seine persönliche
Reinheit, Mäßigung als Selbstkontrolle sind die Unterthemen
zur Charakteristik eines Lebens, das ein gehaltenes —
durch den Glaubensgehorsam gehaltenes — Leben ist.
Calvin kann das Wohl der Brüder nur im Blick auf Gottes
Ruhm sehen (S. 135). Die Perseveranz der Erage nach
Gottes Ruhm ist für den glaubenden Menschen zusammengebunden
mit „social stability" und „moral integrity".
Durch den Gehorsam gegenüber Gott ist der Christ so
(zurüek-)gehalten, daß seine Weltentsagung offenbar ist
(S. 143). Entsagung heißt allerdings keinesfalls Unbeteiligt-
sein, aber z. B. bezogen auf den glaubenden Menschen selbst:
". . . it is not wealth which the bcliever Secks but mo-
deration in all things".

Conditts Studie zeigt den Theologen Calvin als Christo-
logen. Man folgt den vielen Zitaten mit der Tendenz ihrer
Verdichtung auf das Wesentliche in einem wesentlichen
Terminus gern, auch wenn bisweilen Wiederholungen den
Gedankenfluß unterbrechen (cf. etwa S. 45, Anm. 59 mit
S. 46, Anm. 62).

Berlin Joachim Hogge.

[Buccr, Martin :] Common Places of Marlin Burer, l ransl. .nid
edited by D. F. Wrigbt. Appleford, Ahingdon, Berkshire:
The Sutton Courtenay Press [1972]. 520 S., 1 Taf. 8° =
The Courtenay Library of Reformation Classies, 4. Lw.


With publication of this admirable volume containing
selections that present some of the basic theological positions
of Martin Bucer, Protestant Reformer, David Wright,
Lecturer in Ecclcsiastical Ilislory at the University of
Edinburgh, makes a material contribution to Bucer studics.
•Iiis volume fills a need greatly feit by scholars, perhaps
moreso by those of English-speaking countrics, for it places
within easy reach writings of Bucer often inaccessiblc by
rcason of distance, language barrier, or rarity of document;
in addition, with clarity Wright draws from his wealth of
knowledgc pertinent information on Buceran studies and
bibliography especially in its contrmporary phases.

The "Common Places" is a fourlh work appearing in the
series of the Courtenay Library of Reformation Classic» and
it is praiseworthy from many anglrs. Format, print, and the
technicalities of the book arc exceptionally fine and inelude
appendices, indices, and bibliograpbies. In the last category,
"Works Concerning Bucer in English", also includcs titles of
doctoral dissertalions now appearing in inercasing number.
Wright has chosen selections holding key coneepts of

Buceran theology with expertise and his work will somewhat
allay the confusion experieneed by those working with Bucer
original or secondary writings. Having struggled in the
ocean of such diffieulty, this reviewer appreciates the
author's clarifications and synthesis of Buceran studies.

The volume comprises selections drawn mainly from
Bucer's Biblical commentaries, where in the course of
exegeting Scripture, Bucer defined Iiis theological positions.
Such self-conlained units Wright viewi as a type of loci
communes. Each of sixteen selections is documented and
aecompanied by informative footnotes which immcdiatcly
follow. A brief introduetory cssay precedes each selection,
analy/.ing the problems and scholarly viewpoints in a pilhy
fashion. Wright demonstrates bis eommand of the Buccr
studies in both footnote3 and cssay.

Placed first is the „Brief Summary of Christian Doctrine,"
drawn ap by Bucer in 1548 as the Augsburg Interim loomed
over Strasbourg. Eollowing it is the topic "Predcstinalion"
from the Bucer Commentary on Romans, Ch. 8, 28 — 34,
which in past translations is entitled, "An Inquiry Concerning
Prcdestination: What It is, Why Wc Shottld Consider
It, and Whetber It Destroys the Freedom of the Will." To
this reviewer, hcre Bucer's position appears to he elose tothal
of Thomas.

The third selection, "Eleetion" is from the Cambridge
"Lectures on Ephesians", 1550/51. Wright agrees with VV. 1'.
Stephens that the "centrality of this doctrine and the w.'iy
Bucer interprels it distinguish him from Luther on the one
band, and from his Catholic and radical opponents on the
other." (Wright p. 108, quoting Stephens, p. 23.) We find the
selections on Original Sin, Free Will, Justifieation, Faith,
and Baptism, arc cxlracts from the Romans Commcnlary,
1536. "Peter and the Papacy," and "Marriage, Divorce, and
Celibacy," are from Bucer's Gospcls Commentary, 1530,
while a selection on the Church is from "Lectures on Ephesians
", 1550/51. Correctly, Wright devotes proportionally
more space to the Buceran position on the Eucharist and
includcs the Apology, 1526, the "Concord of Wittenberg"
1536, and the "Confession in Aphorisms", 1550.

Altbough the selections present their own case, Wright's
choices represent a culling, and the introduetory essays and
aecompanying notes constitute a position taken by the author
on Buceran theology. Ilowever, the high degree of objec-
tivity in the work is very commendable. Therc is wisdorn in
the choices from the Scripture commentaries representing as
they do some of the most inaccessiblc Buceran works. If the
theology of Bucer is indeed a Biblical theology, the truth of
which is more and rnore appreciated, then it is to the cornmen
taries that scholars must turn.

Today as in the sixteenth Century, Bucernn theology
presents a middle ground where ecumenical overtures of
Protestants and Catholics may bc extended. As Jacques
Pollet has noted, Bucer is exceptional among the Reformers
insofar as he drew from the theology of Luther and that of
the Rcformed group at the same time that he retained slrong
and numerous eonnections with the old. These nspects and
the fact that Bucer presented a viable Biblical theology in his
own right, has indueed an awakened interest in the man and
his views. Professor Wright notes that a comprehensiv
aecount of Buceran theology is still a desideraturn, and that
while the literary quality of Bucer's commentaries rnay be
critieized, the superior quality of their content is recognized.
In the ilevelopment of modern Biblical exegesis Bucer is
admittedly a pioneer. political and seeuhir imp.'ict feil by the
Protrstant Heformrrs, especially keen in the case of Jacob
Sturm and Martin Buccr at Strasbourg, indicate that.
theologians were not permitted free rein in taking their
doctrinal positions, but that, on the contrary, theologians
were often forced to Support the political exrgrncirs of the
timr with a errtain doctrinal compliancr. Thrrrforc in tho