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Law and Gospel in Early Reformed Orthodoxy: Hermeneutical Conservatism in Olevianus’ Commentary on Romans

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Chapter Summary

This chapter addresses the question of the continuity between Martin Luther and early Reformed orthodoxy on the hermeneutical distinction between law and gospel and the development of this principle by the Reformed in their covenant theology. There are three approaches to the question of substantial continuity between the Lutherans and the Reformed on this point, to affirm it, to deny it, and to ignore it. The chapter discusses Caspar Olevianus' (1536-1587) commentary on Romans. For Olevianus, the central message of Romans was not predestination. He was a student of Calvin and a strong predestinarian, but he neither deduced his theology from the doctrine of predestination nor from any other alleged central dogma. Olevianus was a man seized by the Protestant understanding of the gospel of justification and that commitment was evident from the beginning of his commentary.

Keywords: Caspar Olevianus' commentary; early Reformed orthodoxy; hermeneutical conservatism; law-gospel distinction; Martin Luther; Romans



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