Philip Melanchthon Criticism - Essay

Franz Hildebrandt (essay date 1946)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Hildebrandt, Franz. “Prelude: The Friendship Between Luther and Melanchthon.” In Melanchthon: Alien or Ally, pp. xv-xxvii. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.

[In the following essay, Hildebrandt examines the relationship between Melanchthon and Luther and discusses their opinions of each other.]

The puzzle is not so much the mutual attraction of two very different tempers, but the entry by, and reception of, Melanchthon into the headquarters of the Reformation; we are not concerned with the dramatic narrative of ‘how they got on with each other’ during the thirty years of their common residence in Wittenberg, but with the riddle of how their...

(The entire section is 5273 words.)

Theodore G. Tappert (essay date 1961)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Tappert, Theodore G. “Melanchthon in America.” In Luther und Melanchthon, edited by Vilmos Vajta, pp. 189-98. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1961.

[In the essay below, Tappert explores the influence of Melanchthon in the United States in the twentieth century.]

Any attempt to trace the interpretations and the influence of Philip Melanchthon in America must take into account the fact that he did not become an object of independent scholarly investigation until the very close of the nineteenth century. It was in 1898 that the first substantial life of the reformer was published.1 This is not to suggest that Melanchthon was wholly unknown...

(The entire section is 4282 words.)

Hans Engelland (essay date 1965)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Engelland, Hans. Introduction toMelanchthon on Christian Doctrine: Loci Communes 1555, translated and edited by Clyde L. Manschreck, pp. xxv-xlii. New York: Oxford University Press, 1965.

[In this essay, Engelland compares Melanchthon's approaches to theology in his earlier and later works and considers some controversial questions of scriptural interpretation in Melanchthon's writings.]

On the twenty-ninth of August, 1518, Philip Melanchthon, a small, slender, unpretentious, almost timid figure, entered the Wittenberg Castle Church, which served as the great hall of Wittenberg University, and walked to the rostrum to give his inaugural speech on the reform of...

(The entire section is 7145 words.)

Wilhelm Pauck (essay date 1969)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Pauck, Wilhelm. “Loci Communes Theologici: Editor's Introduction.” In Melanchthon and Bucer, The Library of Christian Classics, Volume XIX, edited by Wilhelm Pauck, pp. 3-17. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1969.

[In the essay which follows, Pauck surveys Melanchthon's career before examining in detail the purpose and method, theological content, and significance of the Loci Communes.]

Philip Melanchthon's work Loci communes rerum theologicarum (Fundamental Theological Themes) was first published in December, 1521, in Wittenberg (a little later another edition appeared in Basel). Melanchthon had begun to work on it in 1520, at a...

(The entire section is 5851 words.)

Bruce T. Moran (essay date 1973)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Moran, Bruce T. “The Universe of Philip Melanchthon: Criticism and Use of the Copernican Theory.” Comitatus 4 (1973): 1-23.

[In the following essay, Moran studies Melanchthon's intellectual background, particularly his ideas about physics and astronomy, and goes on to examine his attitude toward and understanding of Copernican astronomy.]

In the statutes of 1582 for the University of Altdorf, founded 1578, it is left to the individual judgment of the mathematici to expound planetary theory according either to Ptolemy or Copernicus (vel Ptolemaei vel Copernici).1 This concession, that the Copernican hypothesis, as a mathematical...

(The entire section is 8157 words.)

Stefano Caroti (essay date 1986)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Caroti, Stefano. “Melanchthon's Astrology.” In “‘Astrologi hallucinati’: Stars and the End of the World in Luther's Time, edited by Paola Zambelli, pp. 109-121. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1986.

[In this essay, Caroti examines Melanchthon's fascination with astrology and the exposition of these ideas in his introductory text on physics and in other works.]

The central role of divination in Melanchthon's thought has been emphasized by many scholars, notably by Johann Friedrich, Karl Hartfelder, Aby Warburg and Lynn Thorndike.1 Nowhere is this better illustrated than in his letters, which, like a barometer, register precisely how his hopes and...

(The entire section is 4805 words.)

Luther D. Peterson (essay date 1987)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Peterson, Luther D. “Melanchthon on Resisting the Emperor: The Von der Notwehr Unterricht of 1547.” In Regnum, Religio et Ratio: Essays Presented to Robert M. Kingdon, edited by Jerome Friedman, pp. 133-144. Kirksville, Mo.: Sixteenth Century Journal Publishers, 1987.

[In the following essay, Peterson shows how in his treatise Instruction Concerning Self-Defense Melanchthon finds justifications for resistance by lower magistrates and subjects against the tyranny of higher political authority.]

From his earliest publications, Professor Robert M. Kingdon has drawn the attention of Reformation scholars to the problem of political resistance:...

(The entire section is 5687 words.)

Åke Bergvall (essay date 1994)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Bergvall, Åke. “Melanchthon and Tudor England.” In Cultural Exchange between European Nations during the Renaissance, edited by Gunnar Sorelius and Michael Srigley, pp. 85-93. Stockholm: Uppsala University, 1994.

[In this excerpt, Bergvall highlights Melanchthon's status as a literary presence in England during the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries.]

Edward Denny in 1580 asked his younger friend Philip Sidney to suggest a recommended program of studies. In his written reply Sidney placed great emphasis on the study of history and proposed that Denny read a broad range of works, from the Greek and Roman classics to European chronicles....

(The entire section is 4497 words.)

Kees Meerhoff (essay date 1994)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Meerhoff, Kees. “The Significance of Philip Melanchthon's Rhetoric in the Renaissance.” In Renaissance Rhetoric, edited by Peter Mack, pp. 46-62. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1994.

[In the essay below, Meerhoff shows how Melanchthon applies the precepts of rhetoric to the task of reading and interpreting texts.]

Magis affectibus quam argutiis.

Erasmus, Methodus

Since I am going to deal with so wide and complex a topic as ‘the significance of Philip Melanchthon's rhetoric in the renaissance’, I would prefer to begin with an analysis of an example from the huge corpus...

(The entire section is 6977 words.)

Charlotte Methuen (essay date July 1996)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Methuen, Charlotte. “The Role of the Heavens in the Thought of Philip Melanchthon.” Journal of the History of Ideas 57, no. 3 (July 1996): 385-403.

[In the following essay, Methuen argues that Melanchthon's interest in natural philosophy is related to his educational interest, which she says depends on his particular theological and cosmological view of the universe.]

Philip Melanchthon has long been recognized as one of the central figures in the German Lutheran Reformation. His theological contribution to the Reformation may be found in his codifying of Lutheran theology in the Confessio Augustana and in the Loci Communes, the first major...

(The entire section is 9118 words.)

Euan Cameron (essay date October 1997)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Cameron, Euan. “Philipp Melanchthon: Image and Substance.” Journal of Ecclesiastical History 48, no. 4 (October 1997): 705-22.

[In the essay which follows, Cameron finds that Melanchthon's image as “hesitant, temporising, even shifty” is not entirely without basis in historical fact but concludes too that this picture does not do justice to the man or his ideas.]

In conferences, symposia and a modest number of publications, 1997 is being marked as the Melanchthon-year. However excellent in their own kind the results of the year's commemoration may be, neither in quantity nor in diversity will they approach the tributes and analyses which greeted the...

(The entire section is 8502 words.)

Timothy Wengert (essay date 1999)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Wengert, Timothy. “‘We Will Feast Together in Heaven Forever’: The Epistolary Friendship of John Calvin and Philip Melanchthon.” In Melanchthon in Europe: His Work and Influence beyond Wittenberg, edited by Karin Maag, pp. 19-44. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1999.

[In the following essay, Wengert provides a corrective to earlier analyses of the relations between Melanchthon and Calvin.]

In 1842, as the ninth and final volume of Melanchthon's correspondence in the Corpus Reformatorum rolled off the Schwetschke presses in Halle, researchers had at their disposal only six letters between the leading Reformers in Wittenberg and...

(The entire section is 10358 words.)

Deszo Buzogany (essay date 1999)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Buzogany, Deszo. “Melanchthon As Humanist and Reformer.” In Melanchthon in Europe: His Work and Influence beyond Wittenberg, edited by Karin Maag, pp. 87-101. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1999.

[In the essay below, Buzogany bridges the gap between the theological and philosophical positions taken by Melanchthon.]

Melanchthon is usually considered as both a humanist and a reformer. Many of the books and studies written about him present him as a theologian. It is also worthwhile studying the humanist intellectual components of his personality, since, after all, a great proportion of his works are ones which present him as a deep thinking, thorough...

(The entire section is 6397 words.)

John R. Schneider (essay date 1999)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Schneider, John R. “Melanchthon's Rhetoric As a Context for Understanding His Theology.” In Melanchthon in Europe: His Work and Influence beyond Wittenberg, edited by Karin Maag, pp. 141-59. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1999.

[In this essay, Schneider emphasizes the integration of Melanchthon's humanistic background with this theology, particularly through his study of rhetoric.]


It is well enough known that Philip Melanchthon's standing as a teacher of Protestant doctrine was controversial during most of his lifetime, and that it has remained so in the centuries since his death. As Robert Stupperich...

(The entire section is 7675 words.)