Reformationens huvudfrågor och arvet från Augustinus. En studie i Martin Chemnitz' Augustinusreception

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)


As a co-author of the Formula of Concord, Martin Chemnitz (1522-86) codified the sola scriptura principle of the Reformation, that the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures are the only rule for all Church doctrine. This principle is clearly expressed in Chemnitz' own theological treatises as well, but in his argumentation one is also confronted with an astonishing number of quotations from the Church Fathers. According to Chemnitz, Augustine is the most prominent among the Fathers. In this thesis the following two questions are treated:

1. What is the function of the quotations from Augustine in Chemnitz' theology? Chemnitz stresses the sola scriptura principle while simultaneously emphasizing the importance of the study of the early tradition, i.e. the writings of the Church Fathers. Here is examined what Chemnitz in principle taught about the relationship between Scripture and tradition, a topic he treats exhaustively. What Chemnitz' sola scriptura principle means and how he argues for it are clarified. The tradition has many functions in the theology of Chemnitz, and is not just a polemical tool. However, none of these functions owerthrow his sola scriptura principle.

2. How does Chemnitz interpret Augustine? The present study is confined to the doctrine of justification, the most important article of the Reformation, and the doctrine of free will, an article indissolubly joined with the doctrine of justification. In the treatment of these doctrines, Chemnitz often relates his own standpoint to Augustine's. In this study Chemnitz' doctrinal teaching, his interpretation of Augustine, and their interrelationship are explored. As part of the clarification of his use of the Church Father, Chemnitz' interpretation is evaluated in the light of Augustine's own writings. The analysis of the Augustine-reception in these loci also provides a case-study, in which it is possible to see how Chemnitz' actual use of Augustine relates to what he says about the Church Father in principle.

Using these two questions the present thesis investigates Chemnitz' own treatment of the above mentioned chief doctrines of the Reformation, and how his thinking relates to the theological heritage of Augustine. Throughout this work, close attention is paid to the arguments Chemnitz uses from Holy Scripture.


  • Torbjörn Johansson
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • History of Religions


  • Kristen teologi (allmän, systematic and practical Christian theology, General, Augustine, Martin Chemnitz, Luther, Melanchthon, Scripture, tradition, free will, justification, reformation, lutheran orthodoxy, church fathers, sola scriptura, sola fide, systematisk och praktisk)
Translated title of the contributionThe Critical Issues of the Reformation and the Heritage of Augustine: A Study in the Augustine-Reception of Martin Chemnitz
Original languageSwedish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date1999 Nov 15
  • Din Bok, Västra Hamngatan 21, S-411 17 Göteborg,
Print ISBNs91-972635-9-1
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 1999-11-15 Time: 14:00 Place: Carolinasalen, Kungshuset, Lund External reviewer(s) Name: Aurelius, Carl Axel Title: Docent Affiliation: Linköping --- The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Systematic Theology (015017071)