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Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church   By: (1858-1930)

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Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church by Friedrich Bente is a comprehensive and scholarly work that offers an in-depth examination of the origins, development, and significance of the symbolical books of the Lutheran Church.

Bente's book provides a valuable resource for those seeking an understanding of the background and context in which these important texts were written. The author explores each of the symbolical books, including the Augsburg Confession, the Small and Large Catechisms, and the Formula of Concord, offering historical and theological insights that help readers grasp the nuances and complexities of these foundational documents.

One of the great strengths of Bente's work is his extensive historical research. He provides meticulous accounts of the historical events and controversies that shaped the writing and ratification of the symbolical books. By delving into the religious and political context of the time, Bente successfully paints a rich and vivid picture of the struggles and debates that took place during the Reformation period.

Furthermore, Bente's analysis of the theological content of the symbolical books is outstanding. He carefully examines the key doctrines and beliefs espoused in each text and offers clear explanations and interpretations. Whether it is the doctrine of justification or the understanding of the sacraments, Bente's insights prove to be enlightening and thought-provoking.

Another standout aspect of Bente's book is his ability to convey complex information in a clear and accessible manner. Despite dealing with weighty theological and historical concepts, the author maintains a readability that is sure to engage both scholars and general readers alike. Bente's prose is concise and engaging, making it easy to follow along, even for those without an extensive background in Lutheran theology.

In addition to its historical and theological merits, Bente's book is also highly valuable for its appendix section. Here, readers will find primary sources and documents relevant to the symbolical books, further enhancing the author's meticulous research and providing readers with original material to explore.

However, it is worth noting that Bente's work may be most suitable for readers with an existing interest or knowledge in Lutheran history and theology. While the book is undoubtedly well-researched and informative, individuals seeking a general introduction to the symbolical books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church may find some of the content dense or challenging.

In conclusion, Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church by Friedrich Bente is an exemplary work that offers a comprehensive and insightful exploration of the symbolical books of the Lutheran Church. Bente's meticulous research, his engaging prose, and his clear explanations make this book an invaluable resource for scholars, theologians, and anyone interested in understanding the foundational texts of the Lutheran tradition.

First Page:

Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church by F. Bente

I. The Book of Concord, or The Concordia.

1. General and Particular Symbols.

Book of Concord, or Concordia, is the title of the Lutheran corpus doctrinae, i.e. , of the symbols recognized and published under that name by the Lutheran Church. The word symbol, sumbolon, is derived from the verb sumballein, to compare two things for the purpose of perceiving their relation and association. Sumbolon thus developed the meaning of tessara, or sign, token, badge, banner, watchword, parole, countersign, confession, creed. A Christian symbol, therefore, is a mark by which Christians are known. And since Christianity is essentially the belief in the truths of the Gospel, its symbol is of necessity a confession of Christian doctrine. The Church, accordingly, has from the beginning defined and regarded its symbols as a rule of faith or a rule of truth. Says Augustine: "Symbolum est regula fidei brevis et grandis: brevis numero verborum, grandis pondere sententiarum. A symbol is a rule of faith, both brief and grand: brief, as to the number of words, grand, as to the weight of its thoughts."

Cyprian was the first who applied the term symbol to the baptismal confession, because, he said, it distinguished the Christians from non Christians... Continue reading book >>

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