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Theology and Piety in Ursinus’ Summa Theologiae

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Chapter Summary

One small window through which to view the relationship between church and school in early modern Protestantism is the Summa Theologiae (ST) or Catechesis maior, composed by Zacharias Ursinus in 1562. Scholars in the past have differed in their view of Ursinus' role in the rise of post-Reformation orthodoxy, particularly in how he formulated the relationship between covenant and predestination. Some have seen in his doctrine of covenant an attempt to palliate a harsh double predestinarianism inherited from Calvin. When covenant and predestination are mentioned together in this catechism, they appear wholly compatible but never in such a way that the human role in the covenant is diminished or undermined. The importance of this human dimension in Ursinus' covenant of grace is illustrated by the convergence in this doctrine of the four emphases one has found in the theology of the ST as a whole: pastoral, personal, experiential, and practical.

Keywords: Catechesis maior; early modern protestantism; post-Reformation orthodoxy; Summa Theologiae (ST); Zacharias Ursinus

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