Tributaries into the River JDDJ

by Armand Boehme, Associate Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Northfield, Minnesota. The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) did not appear in a vacuum, but a theological history laid its groundwork. One part of that history involves Karl Holl, a renowned Luther scholar whose work brought about the twentieth-century renewal of Luther studies called the “Luther Renaissance.”Holl’s studies of Luther’s early writings led to supposed new insights into Luther’s theology, including the idea that Luther taught analytic or effective justification in contrast with synthetic or forensic justification. This study examines two aspects of Holl’s “Luther Renaissance” — the primacy of the early Luther, and the analytic understanding of justification — and then traces the influence of these two aspects in Lutheranism and beyond.


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