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Philip Melanchthon and Wittenberg’s Reform of the Theological Curriculum

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Chapter Summary

The reform of the theological faculty, which de facto began with the accession of Elector John the Steadfast to the electorship in 1525 and his appointment of Martin Luther and Philip Melanchthon to special chairs, culminated in 1533 with the development of new statutes, written by Melanchthon and shaped by his theological interests. This chapter analyzes these regulations and measures their importance for the early routinizing of theological training in Protestant lands. It investigates the beginnings of a peculiarly Wittenberg and Melanchthonian approach to theological reform. In 1545, when Melanchthon undertook a revision of the statutes, he preserved most of the language and rules of the earlier document and strengthened its ecclesial core. Melanchthon's concern for erudition and clarity and his insistence on the loci method for biblical interpretation and theology, grounded in the fathers and the confession presented at Augsburg, came to full expression.

Keywords: Augsburg confession; Philip Melanchthon; protestant lands; theological curriculum; Wittenberg



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