Erasmus versus Luther : A Contemporary Analysis of the Debate on Free Will

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/334438

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Visala , A & Vainio , O-P 2020 , ' Erasmus versus Luther : A Contemporary Analysis of the Debate on Free Will ' , Neue Zeitschrift für systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie. , vol. 62 , no. 3 , pp. 311–335 . https://doi.org/10.1515/nzsth-2020-0016

Title: Erasmus versus Luther : A Contemporary Analysis of the Debate on Free Will
Author: Visala, Aku; Vainio, Olli-Pekka
Contributor organization: Systematic Theology
Mind and Matter
Date: 2020-09
Language: eng
Number of pages: 25
Belongs to series: Neue Zeitschrift für systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie.
ISSN: 0028-3517
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/nzsth-2020-0016
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/334438
Abstract: In this article, we will use contemporary analytic tools to make sense of the main arguments in the classic debate on free will between Erasmus of Rotterdam and the Reformer Martin Luther. Instead of offering another exegesis of these texts, we put forward an analysis that links this historical debate with contemporary discussions on free will and grace in philosophical theology. We argue that the debate was ultimately about how three theological core claims are related to one another: the Anti-Pelagian Constraint (humans are incapable of willing any good, in order to come to faith), the Responsibility Principle (humans are morally responsible in the eyes of God) and human free will. Erasmus attacks Luther by arguing that the Responsibility Principle cannot be maintained without free will, while Luther responds by arguing that Erasmus must reject free will, because it is in conflict with the Anti-Pelagian Constraint. Luther is then left with the dilemma of justifying the Responsibility Principle without free will – a task, which in our estimation, fails. In the concluding section of the article, we point out some continuities and discontinuities between the contemporary debate and that of Luther and Erasmus.
Subject: 614 Theology
FREE WILL
Grace
Martin Luther
Erasmus
Free will
responsibility
Martin Luther
Erasmus of Rotterdam
Peer reviewed: Yes
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: acceptedVersion


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