«Der ranzige Aristoteles»Martin Luthers Stellung zum hellenistischen Erbe der altkirchlichen Theologie

Abstract

«Rancid Aristotle»: Martin Luther’s Stance Towards the Hellenistic Heritage of the Ancient Church. In this article, it is shown that the fundaments of Luther’s critique of Aristotle and of a theology influenced by Aristotle is focussed on a anthropology that doesn’t take into account that an anthropology never is neutral but is a expression of human self-understanding. Luther maintains that an Aristotelian anthropology sees human reason as an image of God and, thus, is a expression of human hybris, whereas a genuine Christian anthropology sees all human excellency as subjected to sin and dependent on redemption. For Luther, anthropology is the consequence or expression of a self-understanding (hybris resp. the pretention to be free of sin; or humble-mindedness in the confession of one’s sin). Accordingly, a doctrine of God, for Luther, is coined by this selfunderstanding in so far as God either is seen in analogy to human excellency (theologia gloriae) or as giving himself in Christ in order to redeem humanity (theologia crucis; 3.). This soteriological anthropology and doctrine of God is founded in a soteriological relecture and reception of the dogma of Chalkedon (3, 5.).

Luther and the reformers are not part of a tradition that rejects reason or Aristotle over against a biblical theology but has to be interpreted as a continuation of the core insight of greek philosophy and Augustine and monastic theology: that theology aims at self-knowledge of human beings which tend to misunderstand themselfes. This focus on human self-understanding is not a empty subjectivity in a negative sense but the condition of a significant and plausible theology.

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