Tuesday, August 1, 2017

"Everybody speaks of Reformation but the Reformers!"

     "It is therefore no accident that the concept of 'Reformation' appears so frequently in the texts of this 'Counter-Reformation' Council, while it is used so seldom in the confessional writings of the 16th century on the Protestant side.  One might almost say, Everybody speaks of Reformation but the Reformers!  That the concept is now [widely] assumed [to have been] established by them [(Dass sich ausgerechnet bei ihnen der Begriff festsetzt)] is not lacking in a certain irony.  History takes at times strange paths, and historiography follows it [in this].  Yet it has, as it happens, [an] absolute right to call those men 'Reformers' who never designated themselves as such, [and] to understand [(Doch hat sie in der Sache absolut Recht, indem sie . . . nennt; indem sie . . . versteht)] by 'Reformation' what was for the Radical Reformers too little, and the Catholic Reformers too much:  the question of the decisive foundation [(Fundament)] of all renewal in Christendom, without regard for the present form of the church."

     Emidio Campi, "»Ecclesia semper reformanda«:  Metamorphosen einer altehrwürdigen Formel," Zwingliana 37 (2010):  9 (1-19).  To inquire into "the use of the formula ecclesia semper reformanda in modernity" is to be confronted with a paradox:  "it looks—for starters at any rate [(jedenfalls zunächst)]—as though the Roman Catholic Church has something like a concept of reform over against which would stand on the Protestant side only incomprehension, indeed bewilderment [(Konzeptionlosigkeit, ja Verwirring)]." For the Protestant emphasis on the centrality of the Word of God raised the question of "the essence of legitima reformatio" "to a completely new [and unanticipated] level" (6).  Hmmm.

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