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Orthodoxy And Variation: The Role Of Adiaphorism In Early Modern Protestantism

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Chapter Summary

This paper reflects on how early modern Lutherans thought about orthodoxy, starting from the assumption that confessional identities possess a set of core ingredients that are indisputable and not negotiable. The amount of aberration found within particular orthodoxies differs, meaning that the balance between orthodoxy and variation is itself negotiable. The paper discusses this unstable balance between homogeneity and diversity in early modern Protestantism by focusing on adiaphorism. The first section demonstrates that different assumptions existed when it came to defining the absolute and indispensable essentials of Lutheranism. The second part of this paper discusses possible functions of adiaphorism in later Lutheran theology under the auspices of the more skeptical Flacian interpretation. Consequently, the paper concentrates on some basic assumptions regarding religious authenticity and Lutheran orthodoxy that steered early-modern theological conflict.

Keywords: Adiaphorism; early modern Protestantism; Flacian interpretation; Lutheran theology; orthodoxy



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