Thursday, September 18, 2014

Luther Threw Books out of the Bible, His Church Elders Put Them Back In

Here's one from the CARM boards:

I think you might want to re-check your history resources.. it is an historical fact that Martin Luther threw out four or five books... and after his death his church elders put them back in....

This is interesting to me because it's a new spin on an old myth. The usual myth is that Melanchthon stopped him from removing certain books, not that "church elders put them back in." Note the argument from Rome's defender, Steve Ray:

Martin Luther understood the place of the Church in establishing the canon... He realized that if he could jettison the Church, or at least redefine it as “invisible” and “intangible”, he was free to reevaluate and regulate the content of the canon for himself. He actually began to function as his own pope and council. If it weren’t for his theologian Philip Melanchthon, Protestants would no longer consider James, Revelation, Hebrews, Jude and a few other books as inspired Scripture. - Steve Ray: Who Has the Correct Bible: Catholics or Protestants?
When Martin Luther rejected “popes and councils” he also realized that the canon was again up for grabs. He didn’t like James as we know, but he also placed Hebrews, Jude, and Revelation at the back of the book, not with the inspired books. It was only later that Philipp Melanchthon convinced him to defer to long tradition and place the books back in the New Testament, back in the recognized order. How did Luther fail to recognize the self-authenticating writings?- Steve Ray, Are the Books of the New Testament “Self-Authenticating” or was the Catholic Church Necessary to Define the Canon of Scripture?

I went through these two quotes some years back: Steve Ray and Melanchthon on Keeping Books in the New Testament Canon. I've never come across any meaningful evidence that Melanchthon did this, nor have I ever heard that Luther's "church elders" put books back into Luther's Bible.

No comments: