Katharina von Bora

Biographical Sketch of Katharina:

The Woman who Clung to Christ like a Burr on a Dress

screen_shot_2012-05-02_at_3-11-36_pm_400x400

by Lauren Bufano, Biola University

Summary of life:

  • January 29, 1499: Born in Hirshfeld Saxony to Hans von Bora and Anna von Haugwitz. Katharina born into nobility who also struggled financially. She grew up on a farm
    • Siblings: three brothers (Hans, Klement, and unknown name)  
  • 1505: Her mother dies, father remarries, and Katharina is sent to the Benedictine school at Brehna
    • School known for quality curriculum and for “grooming the daughters of nobility”
  • 1509: Entered nunnery Marienthron at Nimbschen
  • 1515: Consecrated as nun
  • Early 1520’s: Luther’s writings made way into the Marienthron convent
  • Easter Eve April 7, 1523: Fled from Marienthron to Wittenberg with 11 other nuns lead by Koppe (indirectly helped by Luther)
  • 1523-1526: Jerome, the man whom she loved and was suppose to marry, leaves town, never replies to Katharina’s letters, and marries another woman instead in 1526
  • 1523-1525: lived at the Cranach home
  • 1524-1525: The peasants war
  • June 13, 1525: betrothed to Martin Luther
    • “ If I can arrange it, I will mary Kate in defiance of the devil and all his adversaries
    • Luther claimed to have chosen Kate because he felt sorry for her– a poor, honest, but forsaken woman. To Luther it seemed that it was God’s will to have pity on her
  • June 27, 1525: Kate and Martin officially marry at the Black Cloister
  • June 7, 1526: Birth of the Luther’s first son Johannes (Hans)
  • December 10 1527: Birth of Elizabeth
  • August 3 1528: Death of Elizabeth
  • May 4 1529: Birth of Magdalene
  • November 9, 1531: Birth of Martin Jr.
  • February 4, 1532: The Black Cloister is donated to the Luther’s
  • January 29, 1533: Birth of Paul
  • December 17, 1534: Birth of Margarete
  • 1536: Death of Kate’s Aunt Magdalene
  • 1540: Suffered from the effects of a miscarriage; close to death
    • She would pray Psalm 31:1 and Luther fervently prayed for her restoration
  • 1542: Death of Margarete
    • This death troubled the life of Martin Luther as his daughter died in His arm. Kate was extremely distressed.
  • February 18, 1546: Death of her beloved husband Martin Luther
  • June 18, 1546: flees with children to Magdeburg
  • Fall 1552: the plague spread to Kate’s home. She leaves Wittenberg
  • December 20, 1552: Dies three months after a serious horse accident
  • December 2,1 1552: funeral and burial at St. Mary’s Church in Torgau

Influence and Recognition:

  • Influenced by:
    • Luther
      • Luther’s work “Spiritual and Monastery Vows” and “The Freedom of a Christian” circulated the convent and impacted the nuns there
      • “Luther was Kate’s teacher, especially when it came to Scripture and theology”
      • Luther promised her 50 gulden if she would read through the Bible in a year
      • Luther exhorted her to hear and read God’s Word and encouraged Kate daily
  • Influenced
    • Luther:
      • Luther asserts that he would not have been able to challenge the celibate clerical domination of medieval Christianity it were not for his wife.
      • Luther: “The letter to the Galatians is my beloved epistle; I trust it. It is my Kate von Bora”. This shows not only Luther’s love for his wife but how valuable she was to him.
      • Luther had many (almost fatal) complications to his health. Kate would care for Luther not only physically but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
        • “ …my wife [Kate] conforted me with God’s Word so I was at peace…”
    • The world around her
      • She was both a submissive wife and an a “go-getter”. One cannot help but to think of the Proverbs 31 women when reading the life of Katharina von Bora. She was an example of a godly wife for both women and men. The hospitality that she displayed radiated Christ to the world as her home was a ministry alongside her husband.
        • She “broke the traditional medieval concept of Christian ministry as the work of men only”
  • Known for:
    • Her conduct and hospitality
      • “A woman of refined gracefulness and bearing. Although not a beauty, she was a decisive person with a kind face, a frank expression, and she was not flirtatious. She was a no-nonsense woman who could be trusted”
      • Kate was a gardener, fisher, brewer, fruit grower, cattle and horse breeder, cook, beekeeper, and nurse
      • The Luther residence acted as a hotel for: displaced scholars, students, refugees, escaped nuns and monks, and family members
    • Economics
      • She knew that land brings security, and therefore sought to acquire much land for her family
      • Luther credits his wife for their economic expansion
      • Luther trusted his wife more than his friends concerning economics
      • Incredibly intelligent as she brought the Luthers out of looming debt
  • Key theological ideas:
    • Luther often mentions how she comforted him with the Word of God
      • Katharina must uphold the notion of sola scriptura
    • Strong faith in the providence of God
      • While Luther was ill, she states that she would rather have him be with the Lord and that she would not worry about finances because she knew God would care for her
    • Theological differences with Luther
      • Polygamy, God’s test of Abraham’s faith on Mt. Moriah, and David’s claim to his own righteousness
    • Doxology was the utmost importance. Instead of writing systematic theology or theological treatises, Kate sought to practice what she believed for her everyday life.
      • “Through her trust in God’s Word, she was a theologian”
    • She was a critical thinker and unafraid of engaging with theology
      • How could God ask Abraham to sacrifice his own son?
      • How could Solomon have had so many wives?
      • How can I be both a saint and a sinner?

Works:

  • Types:                 
    • Most of her letters have been destroyed
    • The few letters that have been discovered (18):
      • Lamenting the death of her husband
      • Concerning estate
      • Letters of thanks/gratitude
      • A positive response to Christina von Bora’s request for financial aid on behalf of her son
  • Major Works:                     
    • She is most well known through Luther’s descriptions of her
    • Played a key role in table talks, was encouraged by Luther to engage in the theological conversations taking place (even those in Latin)
    • Letters sent after her husband passes to keep her property

Secondary Works

  • Markwald, Rudolf K., and Marilynn Morris Markwald. Katharina von Bora : a reformation life. n.p.: St. Louis, Mo. : Concordia Pub. House, c2002., 2002. Biola Library Catalog, EBSCOhost (accessed April 9, 2017).
  • Treu, Martin. “Katharina von Bora, the Woman at Luther’s Side.” Lutheran Quarterly 13, no. 2 (1999 1999): 156-178. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed April 10, 2017).
  • Smith, Jeanette C. “Katharina von Bora through five centuries: a historiography.” The Sixteenth Century Journal no. 3 (1999): 745. Academic OneFile, EBSCOhost (accessed April 12, 2017).
  • Stein, Armin, and Emma A. Endlich. Katharine von Bora, Dr. Martin Luther’s wife : a picture from life. n.p.: Philadelphia : United Lutheran Publication House, 1890., 1890. Biola Library Catalog, EBSCOhost (accessed April 9, 2017).
  • Stevenson, David R. Bora, Katharina von (1499–1550). n.p.: Gale, 2000. Gale Virtual Reference Library, EBSCOhost (accessed April 12, 2017).

Bibliography

  • Markwald, Rudolf K., and Marilynn Morris Markwald. Katharina von Bora : a reformation life. n.p.: St. Louis, Mo. : Concordia Pub. House, c2002., 2002. Biola Library Catalog, EBSCOhost (accessed April 9, 2017).
  • Smith, Jeanette C. “Katharina von Bora through five centuries: a historiography.” The Sixteenth Century Journal no. 3 (1999): 745. Academic OneFile, EBSCOhost (accessed April 12, 2017).
  • Stein, Armin, and Emma A. Endlich. Katharine von Bora, Dr. Martin Luther’s wife : a picture from life. n.p.: Philadelphia : United Lutheran Publication House, 1890., 1890. Biola Library Catalog, EBSCOhost (accessed April 13, 2017).
  • Stevenson, David R. Bora, Katharina von (1499–1550). n.p.: Gale, 2000. Gale Virtual Reference Library, EBSCOhost (accessed April 12, 2017).
  • Treu, Martin. “Katharina von Bora, the Woman at Luther’s Side.” Lutheran Quarterly 13, no. 2 (1999 1999): 156-178. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials, EBSCOhost (accessed April 10, 2017).

Jacobus Arminius

Biographical Sketch on Jacobus Arminius

(Jacob Hermansen)

by Daniel Hollenbeck, Biola University
james_arminius_2

Summary of life
October 10 1559-October 19 1609

  • Born on October 10, 1559(60?) in Oudewater, Utrecht, Holland.
  • His father died a few years after he was born, leaving his mother a widow with three small children.
  • Theodorus Aemilius brought Jacob under his wing and taught him until he was old enough to go to school, at which point he sent the boy to Utrecht for deeper instruction in 1570.
  • Aemilius dies in 1574 and another friend comes to aid his education, Rudolphus Snellius, who would soon become a professor at the University of Leiden in Marburg.
  • Sometime around the beginning of his studies his town is overrun by the Spanish who lay waste to it. Jacob returns to his town to see that his mother, brother, and sister are among the massacred.
  • Snellius invites Jacob to study at Leiden, whose university had only opened the year previous, and Jacob readily accepts.
  • He studies there for six years, starting as a liberal arts student which opens the door to study theology where he would make his greatest mark.
  • In early 1582 Jacob is given a grant from the Amsterdam merchant guild, provided he promises to lead the church in Amsterdam after he had finished school, and leaves to finish his studies under Theodore Beza in Geneva. Later in 1582 he headed to Basel for three years to study on his own but heads back to Geneva again.
  • Back in Geneva he meets Johannes Wtenbogaert who would be a great ally in his future discussions.
  • He takes some time off to go to Italy to study in Padua.
  • Jacob clearly had good relations with Beza who writes back to the Amsterdam merchant guild, “God has gifted him with an apt intellect both as respects the appreciation and the discrimination of things. If this henceforward be regulated by piety, … it cannot but happen that this power of intellect, … will be productive to the richest fruits.”[1]
  • In 1588 he finishes his schooling and heads back to Amsterdam to fulfill his promise. Two years later he marries Lijsbet Reael in 1590.
  • 1589: The Ecclesiastical Senate of Amsterdam asks Jacob to refute the teachings of Dirck Volckertszoon Coornhert, an outspoken opponent to Calvin’s predestination, justification, and capital punishment of heretics.
  • He becomes known as a good preacher and a faithful pastor to his congregation.
  • 1603 he becomes a professor of theology at Leiden and holds the office until the time of his death in 1609.
  • 1604 begins a series of debates and public instances with Goramus. He had been at Leiden since 1594 and was described as “a rather mediocre scholar” but “a forceful defender of the Calvinist doctrine”.
  • These debates quickly escalated until there was a definite split between the professors and theologians with some remaining with Calvin’s theology and others turning and siding with Jacob.

 Influence and recognition

  • Obviously there would be no Arminian without Aemilius and Snellius. The former took the poor widow’s son and gave him an education that would have been too far to reach given the tragedy that befell his family. The latter furthered that education which led him to meet many important theologians and even got him an apprenticeship under Beza.
  • Johann Kolmann was another one of Jacob’s teachers at Leiden and he believed and taught “high Calvinism made God both a tyrant and an executioner”.[2]
  • Dirck Volckertszoon Coornhert, who Jacob was asked to refute in 1589, actually led him to consider well the topic at hand. After short consideration, Jacob found that DVC was right in his summation but he would not submit a formal written work until he had more time to consult the Scriptures, early church fathers, and other divines.
  • From this study and subsequent teachings, Jacob adopted the theology that bears his name to this day.
  • To come up with a theological point that goes directly against someone else’s views, that someone had to have had a large impact on your life. Not only did Jacob eventually come out against Calvinism, but he was raised in a Calvinist society. All but a few of his teachers were hardcore Calvinists and he even taught and preached with a Calvinist leaning until the last decade of his life.
  • The entirety of theological stances that would become Arminianism would not fully come together until after his death. In 1610, only a year after his death, the “Five Articles of Remonstrance” was originally articulated. This was not a work of one or two of Jacob’s students, but rather 45 ministers who turned it in to the State General of the Netherlands for inspection. These men and their followers became known as Remonstrators. This treatise on Arminianism, like its counterpart Calvinism, has five points
    1. God wished to reconcile all men unto himself and therefore sent Jesus Christ his son to die and three days later raised him up that whosoever believes in him will have eternal life. This means that anyone who believes in Jesus, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, will have eternal life. Conversely, anyone who does not put their faith in Jesus will be condemned on the day of judgment. (John 3:36)
    2. Jesus Christ’s death was a once and for all sacrifice for all men, for all time. However, this forgiveness can only be enjoyed by the believer. (John 3:16; 1 John 2:2)
    3. Since the fall man has been subjected to futility and cannot, without aid from the Holy Spirit, do, think, or will anything good. Only after being born again in Christ’s baptism can we act in a way that is pleasing to the Lord. (John 15:5)
    4. Only through God’s initial grace can we begin to do, think, or will anything good, and through his continued grace can we continue these things, yet this grace can be rejected. (Acts 7)
    5. There is continued grace and persistent leading of the Holy Spirit so that no Christian should be led astray except through their own changing of direction. The power of God’s grace is such that no plans of man or Satan could ever be able to take the believer out of the hand of God. (John 10:28) Whether or not someone can permanently leave their faith, walk back into their life of darkness, and fall from grace is not yet known from the Scriptures.
  • Less than a decade after the ministers formed the Remonstrance, a multinational Synod of Dort was convened to determine whether or not Jacob’s teachings and, by extension, these ministers and their teachings were heretical or not. The Synod agreed unanimously that these teachings could not be reconciled with Scripture and these were deemed heretical by the state church. Not only that, the 13 ministers that were the spokesmen for the others were told to abstain from ministerial activities such as preaching, exhorting, administering the sacraments, and visiting the sick. Furthermore, Episcopius was commanded not to write letters or books promoting the doctrines of the Remonstrants.

Works

  • Being a full time pastor for over a decade and speaking twice a week means that most of Jacob’s works are sermons that have been lost.
  • Apart from sermons he mostly wrote treatises, articles, and letters which he probably never thought anyone would read besides the recipient. A large portion of his works that provide much insight into his life are his public disputations and discussions with others. These were not written by him but rather taken down by listeners at these discussions.
  • Major work: His most famous work is his Declaration of Sentiments which covers all that he knew and believed about predestination and his arguments against it. He not only says that the Calvinist interpretation of predestination is wrong, it is also against the Scripture and the Gospel.
    Originally written in Dutch
  • Gunter, W. Stephen. Arminius and his Declaration of sentiments: an annotated translation with introduction and theological commentary. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2012.

Secondary Sources

Arminius, Jacobus. Arminius speaks: essential writings on predestination, free will, and the nature of God. Edited by John D. Wagner. Eugene, Or.: Wipf & Stock, 2011.

Boer, William Den., and Albert Gootjes. God’s twofold love: the theology of Jacob Arminius (1559-1609). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2010.

Brian, Rustin E. Jacob Arminius: the man from oudewater. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2015.

Leeuwen, Theodoor Marius van, Keith D. Stanglin, and Marijke Tolsma. Arminius, Arminianism, and Europe: Jacobus Arminius (1559-60-1609). Leiden: Brill, 2009.

Nichols, James, and W. R. Bagnall, trans. The writings of James Arminius. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1956.

Stanglin, Keith D. The missing public disputations of Jacobus Arminius: introduction, text, and notes. Leiden: Brill, 2010.

Bibliography

Arminius, Jacobus. Arminius speaks: essential writings on predestination, free will, and the nature of God. Edited by John D. Wagner. Eugene, Or.: Wipf & Stock, 2011.

Boer, William Den., and Albert Gootjes. God’s twofold love: the theology of Jacob Arminius (1559-1609). Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2010.

Brian, Rustin E. Jacob Arminius: the man from oudewater. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2015.

Gunter, W. Stephen. Arminius and his Declaration of sentiments: an annotated translation with introduction and theological commentary. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2012.

Leeuwen, Theodoor Marius van, Keith D. Stanglin, and Marijke Tolsma. Arminius, Arminianism, and Europe: Jacobus Arminius (1559-60-1609). Leiden: Brill, 2009.

Nichols, James, and W. R. Bagnall, trans. The writings of James Arminius. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1956.

Stanglin, Keith D. The missing public disputations of Jacobus Arminius: introduction, text, and notes. Leiden: Brill, 2010.

End Notes

[1] Leeuwen, Theodoor Marius van, Keith D. Stanglin, and Marijke Tolsma. Arminius, Arminianism, and Europe: Jacobus Arminius (1559-60-1609). Leiden: Brill, 2009.

[2] Arminius, Jacobus. Arminius speaks: essential writings on predestination, free will, and the nature of God. Edited by John D. Wagner. Eugene, Or.: Wipf & Stock, 2011.

Theodore Beza: Super Calvinist

Biographical Sketch of Theodore Beza

(1519–1605)

by Lindsey Lamay

theodore-de-beze-2

Summary of Life:

Early Life/Pre-Conversion

He was born on June 24, 1519 in France to Pierre de Beze (the royal governor of Vezelay) and Marie Bourdelot

He was the youngest of 7 kids.

1522: His mother dies and he goes to live with his rich uncle in Paris ( he was three years old).

1528: He is sent to study under Melchior Wolmar in Orleans.

1539: Graduates at the age of 20 from the University of Orleans with a degree in law and moves to Paris, surrounding himself with humanists.

1544: He was secretly married to Claudine Denosse because of her lower class

Life as a Christian

1548: Juvenilia is published.

Beza fell ill and was close to death. It is in light of this peril that he recognized his spiritual depravity and was converted to faith in Christ. While he was still recovering, he packed up his life and moved to Geneva with Claudine so that he could openly profess his faith. It is here that he openly acknowledged his marriage to Claudine.

1549: He became a professor of Greek at the Lausanne academy

Beza spent several years utilizing his high position to defend the Protestant movement and those who were being persecuted because of their Protestant faith.

1558: Beza resigns his position at Lausanne and returns to Geneva to assume the position of Greek professor at the academy which Calvin had founded in Geneva.

1559: He went to Heidelberg to defend the Huguenots (members of the French Reformed Church)

He also defended Calvin against Joachim Westphal.

1562-1563: A war began between The Prince of Conde and the Duke of Guise during which Beza was the almoner and treasurer of the Huguenot army for seven months.

1564: Calvin died and Beza preached his funeral sermon.

Beza became the moderator of the Company of Pastors in Geneva, assumed the chair of theology at the academy, after the death of Calvin.

1572: Throughout France there was a massacre of Protestants. They began to seek refuge in Geneva and Beza welcomed them with open arms.

1586: A conference is held at Montbeliard to try and reconcile differences between the Lutherans and the Calvinists. Here Beza clearly articulated the Calvinist position and though he reached out to the Lutheran delegate, Andrea, his gesture was rejected and the tension between the two parties remained unresolved.

He gives up his daily preaching and only preached once a week until 1600.

1588: Claudine dies

Beza debated the Lutheran representative Samuel Huber at the Bern Colloquy. Beza won the debate.

1595: Beza resigns his post as a professor at the academy.

He began to lose his hearing and memory.

1600: He rendered his last services to the Academy and preached his last sermon. It was the only sermon to be preached in the seventeenth century by a sixteenth century reformer.

Beza died on October 13, 1605 in Geneva, Switzerland.

Influence and Recognition:

Influenced by:

  • Melchior Wolmar was a humanist who taught Beza during his childhood before Beza’s father made him go off to law school. Wolmar became involved in the reformed movement and was responsible for teaching Beza Greek and Latin and educating Beza in the reformed beliefs. At the time, Beza rejected the theology of the reformation because he refused to give up Catholicism, but he later acknowledged how foundational Wolmar’s teaching was in his salvation process. Beza dedicated his writing stating the grounds for his faith to Wolmar. Wolmar also taught John Calvin in Calvin’s young adulthood.
  • John Calvin: Beza adopted Calvin’s theology and was and advocate for it until his death. Beza even expounded upon some of Calvin’s doctrines. He was Calvin’s understudy and successor. The affection shared between these two men is sometimes equated to the love between Paul and Timothy.
  • Latin poets

Influenced:

  • Beza’s editions of the Bible were used by the King James’ revisers.
  • William Perkins, a theologian from Cambridge.

Key Theological Ideas:

  • Supralapsarianism is the belief that God ordained that some people be predestined salvation and the rest to damnation before Adam and Eve fell and that the fall was ordained by God.
  • He would not budge on Calvin’s view if the Lord’s Supper or baptism.
  • He polished Calvin’s view of the Lord’s Supper by arguing that the bread and wine should be considered in their relation to Christ’s flesh and blood.

Known for:

  • Being John Calvin’s successor in Geneva
  • Teaching Calvin’s theology clearly and expounding upon it. Some believe that he took Calvin’s beliefs too far.
  • Being an influential writer and defender of the Reformation
  • Defending the French Protestants (Huguenots). He even asked Queen Elizabeth I to aid him in this effort.

Works:

Biography:

  • The Life of Calvin (1567)

Poetry:

  • Juvenilia (1548): This work brought him recognition as one of the best writers of Latin poetry

Articles/Treaties

  • De Jure Magistratum (On the Rights of the Magistrate, 1572)
  • De vera excommunicatione et Christiano presbyterio (1590)
  • Du droit des Magistrats sur leurs subjets (1574) was published anonymously after the massacre on St. Bartholomew’s Day. He claims in it that all authority comes from God and that rulers are to care for the people under them.
  • Theological Treatises

Books:

  • Summa totius Christianismi (1555) was his major work on Supralapsarianism.
  • Tractationes Theologicae (1582) is recognized as one of Beza’s greatest works. In it he explains the Calvinistic view of the sovereignty of God.
  • Confession de la foi chrétienne (1559) is an explanation of the Calvinist beliefs.
  • A Little Book of Christian Questions and Responses
  • Abraham sacrifiant (a play)
  • Histoire Ecclesiastique des Eglises Reformes au Royaume de France (1580)
  • Codex Bezae

Other:

  • Edition of the Greek New Testament (1582).
  • French translation of the New Testament (with Calvin)

Secondary Sources:

  • Baird, Henry Martyn. Theodore Beza, The Counsellor of the French Reformation. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1899. Print.
  • Baum, Johann Wilhelm. Theodor Beza nach handschriftlichen Quellen dargestellt. Leipzig, 1843.
    • This is the most thorough and scholarly work on Beza’s life.
  • Heppe, Heinrich, Theodor Beza, Leben und ausgewahlte Schriften. Elberfelt, 1861.
  • Schlosser, F. C., Leben des Theodor de Beza und des Peter Martyr Vermili. Heidelberg, 1809.

Bibliography:

  • Baird, Henry Martyn. Theodore Beza, The Counsellor of the French Reformation. New    York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1899. Print.
  • F. L. Cross and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian     Church (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 199.
  • Hillerbrand, Hans Joachim. The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation. Vol. 1. New        York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
  • Schaff, Philip, and David S. Schaff. 1949. History of the Christian Church. Vol. 8. Grand   Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1949.
  • https://www.britannica.com/biography/Theodore-Beza