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Are You Alone Wise?The Search for Certainty in the Early Modern Era$
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Susan Schreiner

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195313420

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195313420.001.0001

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“The Spiritual Man Judges All Things”

“The Spiritual Man Judges All Things”

The Certainty of Exegetical Authority

(p.79) 3 “The Spiritual Man Judges All Things”
Are You Alone Wise?

Susan E. Schreiner

Oxford University Press

The issue of authority encompassed diverse problems and included all religious parties of the 16th century. Catholic controversialists attacked Luther on this issue as early as 1518, and the 1525 Peasants' War seemed to prove their point. The eruption of sacramental and spiritualist debates only exacerbated the problem. The crisis of authority clearly reflected theological, social, and political dimensions. This chapter examines the exegetical and theological nature of the debates, focusing on the way in which the appeal to the Spirit fueled a specifically hermeneutical crisis of certainty. In short, the chapter analyzes, from the perspective of certainty, the decline of what Steinmetz has called the “exegetical optimism of early Protestantism”.

Keywords:   exegetical authority, exegesis, certitude, scripture, Reformation, exegetical optimism, Protestantism

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