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“A Theological ‘Who’, Not a Philosophical ‘What’ ”: Luther’s Exposition of Abraham and the Sacrifice of Isaac
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“A Theological ‘Who’, Not a Philosophical ‘What’ ”: Luther’s Exposition of Abraham and the Sacrifice of Isaac

Author: Christopher Croghan Affiliation: 1Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Religion & Director of the Luther House of Study at Augustana College and Sioux Falls Seminary: 2001 South Summit Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57197, USA; Sarah Stenson Affiliation: 2J.D. Associate Director of the Luther House of Study at Augustana College and Sioux Falls Seminary: 2001 South Summit Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57197, USA
Edition/Format: Article Article
Publication:Neue Zeitschrift für Systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosphie, v54 n4 (2012/11/): 424-440
Database:Walter de Gruyter eJournals
Other Databases: Elsevier
Summary:
The purpose of this essay is to use Luther’s lectures on “The Sacrifice of Isaac” as a case study of his approach to interpreting Scripture and the way in which he dealt with and used extra-scriptural material in his exegetical work. A marker of Luther’s approach in Genesis 22 is his admonition to the interpreter to distinguish between “who” and “what.” Luther recognized that when an interpreter focuses on the  Read more...
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Details

Document Type: Article
All Authors / Contributors: Christopher Croghan Affiliation: 1Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Religion & Director of the Luther House of Study at Augustana College and Sioux Falls Seminary: 2001 South Summit Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57197, USA; Sarah Stenson Affiliation: 2J.D. Associate Director of the Luther House of Study at Augustana College and Sioux Falls Seminary: 2001 South Summit Ave., Sioux Falls, SD 57197, USA
ISSN:0028-3517
DOI: 10.1515/nzsth-2012-0019
Unique Identifier: 4957812555
Awards:

Abstract:

The purpose of this essay is to use Luther’s lectures on “The Sacrifice of Isaac” as a case study of his approach to interpreting Scripture and the way in which he dealt with and used extra-scriptural material in his exegetical work. A marker of Luther’s approach in Genesis 22 is his admonition to the interpreter to distinguish between “who” and “what.” Luther recognized that when an interpreter focuses on the question “what” the result is the use of abstract categories and the application of a systematic overlay to Scripture. When focusing on the “who” the interpreter encounters a concrete word of command and promise, namely the thing itself (verbum efficax). For Luther, the story of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac is not about philosophical propositions or ethical questions but is about having a God and trusting in the promises of this God. Es ist die Absicht dieser Arbeit, Luthers Vorlesungen über “Die Opferung des Isaak” als Fallstudie seines Interpretationsansatzes der Heiligen Schrift sowie die Art und Weise seiner Behandlung und seines Gebrauchs von außerbiblischem Material in seinen exegetischen Studien zu nutzen. Eine Charakteristik von Luthers Ansatz zu Genesis 22 ist seine Ermahnung an den Auslegenden, zwischen “Wer” und “Was” zu unterscheiden. Luther erkannte, dass auf eine Interpretation mit der Konzentration auf die Frage nach dem “Was” der Gebrauch von abstrakten Kategorien und die Anwendung eines systematischen Schemas auf die Schrift folgt. Liegt der Schwerpunkt jedoch auf dem “Wer”, so begegnet dem Auslegenden ein konkreter Begriff des Gebots und der Verheißung, nämlich das Ding selbst (verbum efficax). Nach Luther geht es bei der Geschichte von Abraham und der Opferung des Isaak nicht um philosophische Aussagen oder ethische Fragen, sondern um die Anwesenheit eines Gottes und das Vertrauen in die Verheißungen eben dieses Gottes.
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