Thursday, June 13, 2013

Luther was not original...



HT to SimonPotamos and Anglandicus...

Per Fidem Solam: Romans 3:24 in the Würzburg Glosses Romans 3 in the Würzburg Codex (f2r)

I have already written on the Irish Würzburg glosses here. I'm working through Romans 3 for school at the moment and so I thought I would examine the Würzburg glosses to see how an early Irish theologian interpreted the same text in the 8th century.

I've reproduced both the biblical text and the glosses here together. The glosses are italicized and were originally written in Gaelic and Latin.

"23For all have sinned and do need the glory of God. 24Being justified freely by his grace [that is, by faith alone, i.e. the faith of belief in Jesus Christ], through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, [that is, it is He that has redeemed and it is He also that is the ransom, i.e. by the blood] 25Whom God had proposed to be a propitiation [that is, it has been set forth in the mysteries of the Godhead, to make atonement for those who believe his liberation would be in the blood], through faith in his blood, [that is, through the faith of every one who believes in his salvation through His blood] to the showing of his justice, for the remission of former sins."

The gloss 'Per Fidem Solam'
added in tiny a tiny hand over 'per gratiam ipsius'

What is interesting is the phrase 'by faith alone'. Our Irish scribe added this gloss in Latin (per fidem solam) over verse 24 'justified freely by his grace' (Iustificati gratis per gratiam ipsius) and then expanded it with a Gaelic gloss relating this justification by faith alone to faith in Christ.

Luther was famously criticized for adding 'alone' (allein) to his German translation of Romans 3.28, 'man is justified by faith [alone]', although it doesn't appear in the Greek (or Latin text). Of course Luther's 1522 translation wasn't the first vernacular translation to add 'alone' to Romans 3.28. Several earlier Roman Catholic editions did the same thing (e.g. the Nuremberg Bible of 1488, the Geneva Italian version of 1476). In a similar fashion our 8th century Irish theologian interpreted Romans 3.24 as teaching justification per fidem solam. Luther, it seems, wasn't alone.


My Comments

Luther and the Lutherans hardly ever claim originality.  It is faithfulness that is our claim, rooted in Scripture, attuned to the fathers, manifesting the evangelical and catholic faith...

4 comments:

Unknown said...

Are the glosses 8th century as well? Even if they are, it still does not stop the legitimate charge that Luther acted inappropriately by adding words. If the word "alone" had been meant, St. Paul would have added it, I'm sure.

However, the problem is that aside from this one gloss you cannot establish that "through faith alone" was always the catholic teaching. One witness from one codex (how many codices have glosses of interpretations and none of them contain this one in full or in part?) does not justify Luther's translation or his interpretation. Now, if there were a widespread of codices with the same or similar glosses across a wider geographic range and wider time periods, then I'd say you're on to something. Until you can provide something along the lines, the idea of Per fidem solam is clearly outside the consensus patrum.--Chris




Anonymous said...

In any case, it does provide evidence that the understanding of "alone" was there long prior to Luther and that he was not original or unique in the use of the word to extrapolate the text in his translation...

Lutheran Lurker

Jim Davis said...

If anyone has other references to faith alone, grace alone, Scripture alone prior to Martin Luther, please let me know via email.
jimdavis332@gmail.com

Bobby said...

"Although “alleyn/alleine” finds no corresponding adverb in the Greek text, two of the points that Luther made in his defense of the added adverb were that it was demanded by the context and that sola was used in the theological tradition before him.

Robert Bellarmine listed eight earlier authors who used sola (Disputatio de controversiis: De justificatione 1.25 [Naples: G. Giuliano, 1856], 4.501-3):

Origen, Commentarius in Ep. ad Romanos, cap. 3 (PG 14.952).

Hilary, Commentarius in Matthaeum 8:6 (PL 9.961).

Basil, Hom. de humilitate 20.3 (PG 31.529C).

Ambrosiaster, In Ep. ad Romanos 3.24 (CSEL 81.1.119): “sola fide justificati sunt dono Dei,” through faith alone they have been justified by a gift of God; 4.5 (CSEL 81.1.130).

John Chrysostom, Hom. in Ep. ad Titum 3.3 (PG 62.679 [not in Greek text]).

Cyril of Alexandria, In Joannis Evangelium 10.15.7 (PG 74.368 [but alludes to Jas 2:19]).

Bernard, In Canticum serm. 22.8 (PL 183.881): “solam justificatur per fidem,” is justified by faith alone.

Theophylact, Expositio in ep. ad Galatas 3.12-13 (PG 124.988).


To these eight Lyonnet added two others (Quaestiones, 114-18):

Theodoret, Affectionum curatio 7 (PG 93.100; ed. J. Raeder [Teubner], 189.20-24).

Thomas Aquinas, Expositio in Ep. I ad Timotheum cap. 1, lect. 3 (Parma ed., 13.588): “Non est ergo in eis [moralibus et caeremonialibus legis] spes iustificationis, sed in sola fide, Rom. 3:28: Arbitramur justificari hominem per fidem, sine operibus legis” (Therefore the hope of justification is not found in them [the moral and ceremonial requirements of the law], but in faith alone, Rom 3:28: We consider a human being to be justified by faith, without the works of the law). Cf. In ep. ad Romanos 4.1 (Parma ed., 13.42a): “reputabitur fides eius, scilicet sola sine operibus exterioribus, ad iustitiam”; In ep. ad Galatas 2.4 (Parma ed., 13.397b): “solum ex fide Christi” [Opera 20.437, b41]).

See further:

Theodore of Mopsuestia, In ep. ad Galatas (ed. H. B. Swete), 1.31.15.

Marius Victorinus (ep. Pauli ad Galatas (ed. A. Locher), ad 2.15-16: “Ipsa enim fides sola iustificationem dat-et sanctificationem” (For faith itself alone gives justification and sanctification); In ep. Pauli Ephesios (ed. A. Locher), ad 2.15: “Sed sola fides in Christum nobis salus est” (But only faith in Christ is salvation for us).

Augustine, De fide et operibus, 22.40 (CSEL 41.84-85): “licet recte dici possit ad solam fidem pertinere dei mandata, si non mortua, sed viva illa intellegatur fides, quae per dilectionem operatur” (Although it can be said that God’s commandments pertain to faith alone, if it is not dead [faith], but rather understood as that live faith, which works through love”). Migne Latin Text: Venire quippe debet etiam illud in mentem, quod scriptum est, In hoc cognoscimus eum, si mandata ejus servemus. Qui dicit, Quia cognovi eum, et mandata ejus non servat, mendax est, et in hoc veritas non est (I Joan. II, 3, 4). Et ne quisquam existimet mandata ejus ad solam fidem pertinere: quanquam dicere hoc nullus est ausus, praesertim quia mandata dixit, quae ne multitudine cogitationem spargerent [Note: [Col. 0223] Sic Mss. Editi vero, cogitationes parerent.], In illis duobus tota Lex pendet et Prophetae (Matth. XXII, 40): licet recte dici possit ad solam fidem pertinere Dei mandata, si non mortua, sed viva illa intelligatur fides, quae per dilectionem operatur; tamen postea Joannes ipse aperuit quid diceret, cum ait: Hoc est mandatum ejus, ut credamus nomini Filii ejus Jesu Christi, et diligamns invicem (I Joan. III, 23) See De fide et operibus, Cap. XXII, §40, PL 40:223."

Joseph A. Fitzmyer: Romans, A New Translation with introduction and Commentary, 1993, 360-361.