Friday, July 18, 2008

Steinbart on the history of doctrine

In McGrath's book on justification he mentioned a person who caught my interest:

Gotthelf Samuel Steinbart (1738-1809) was one of the first writers of what we would call modern biblical scholarship. He extensively studied of the history of Christian doctrines, and concluded that originally Christianity had been a religion focused on moral teachings. However, over the course of time Christian doctrine had been distorted by the introduction of random views, most importantly including:
1. Augustine's invention of Original Sin
2. Augustine's invention of Predestination
3. Anselm's invention of Satisfaction
4. The Protestant invention of Imputed Righteousness
Steinbart called for a rejection of such innovations and a return to historic orthodox Christianity as it used to be prior to the invention of such doctrines.

I found it quite amazing that I, myself, have on this blog long made exactly the same arguments based on my own study of doctrinal history... arguments that Steinbart made almost 250 years ago. It is somewhat depressing that historians of doctrine have been agreeing with Steinbart's conclusions for the last 250 years, and yet nothing has changed.


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