Continuity And Discontinuity In Post-Reformation Reformed Theology: An Evaluation Of The Muller Thesis -- By: Martin I. Klauber
Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 33:4 (Dec 1990)
Article: Continuity And Discontinuity In Post-Reformation Reformed Theology: An Evaluation Of The Muller Thesis
Author: Martin I. Klauber
JETS 33:4 (December 1990) p. 467
Continuity And Discontinuity In Post-Reformation Reformed Theology: An Evaluation Of The Muller Thesis
Richard A. Muller has formulated an important thesis concerning the relationship between the post-Reformation Reformed dogmaticians and the Reformers themselves. He argues that although the theologians of the post-Reformation period used a scholastic methodology to clarify Reformed theological system they remained in essential agreement with the first generation of Reformed thought in content. This important interpretation recasts the entire period and portrays essential continuity in theological organization in the west from the introduction of Aristotle in the twelfth century to the decline in orthodoxy in the eighteenth century. Muller does for the post-Reformation period what Heiko Oberman has done for the Reformation era in pointing out the aspects of continuity with medieval antecedents. Oberman resurrected late medieval nominalism from the doldrums of its reputation as a decadent system deviating from the heights of Thomistic clarity. Muller illustrates the rich vitality of the post-Reformation theological system, one that had hitherto been considered arid and devoid of practical piety.
Muller, trained at Duke University in the tradition of Oberman by one of Oberman’s prize students, David Steinmetz, views the anti-scholastic biases of Luther and Calvin as mere short-term abandonments of the medieval scholastic locus method. The followers of Luther and Calvin, responsible for systematizing and defending the theology of the first generation of the Reformation, relied on the only model that they had available, that of the schoolmen. Their dependence upon such an approach to formulate systematic theology does not mean that they agreed with the content of medieval scholasticism but merely used its organizational structure.
Muller has contributed a host of articles focusing on the contributions of individual Reformed theologians of the period. In his articles he attempts to place each particular theologian within his overall framework of the post-Reformation period.1 He has also written two recent books in which he
* Martin Klauber is lecturer in history at Trinity College in Deerfield, Illinois.
JETS 33:4 (December 1990) p. 468
lays out his thesis in more complete form. The first2 is a revision of his dissertation written under Steinmetz, while the second work3 is the first of a proposed three-volume series analyzing the theology of the Reformed orthodox of the post-Reformation period.
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