Peter J. Leithart is President of the Theopolis Institute, Birmingham, Alabama, and an adjunct Senior Fellow at New St. Andrews College. He is author, most recently, of Gratitude: An Intellectual History (Baylor).

RSS Feed

Old Perspective on Paul

From Leithart

Ambrosiaster writes, “Iustitia est Dei, quia quod promisit dedit, ideo credens hoc esse se consecutum quod promiserat Deus per prophetas suos, iustum Deum probat et testis est iustitiae eius” (PL, 17.56b). McGrath explains: “God, having promised to give salvation, subsequently . . . . Continue Reading »

Unfinished Reformation

From Leithart

Nevin wrote: “There is more a great deal in Christianity, I firmly believe, more in the idea of hte Holy Catholic Church, than has yet been attained, either in the way of knowledge or in the way of life, by the Protestant Reformation.” . . . . Continue Reading »

Factitive Justification

From Leithart

There was a consensus among the theologians of Trent, McGrath argues, that justification was “factitive,” a view that excluded that “a sinner may be justified solely as a matter of reputation or imputation, while remaining a sinner in fact.” But of course that raises the . . . . Continue Reading »

True Lutherans

From Leithart

McGrath traces the odd development in Lutheran Orthodoxy of the notion that regeneration and faith precede justification in such a way that “where Luther had understood justification to concern the unbelieving sinner, orthodoxy revised this view, referring justification to the believing . . . . Continue Reading »

Ontological change

From Leithart

McGrath notes, “While justification was universally understood to involve the regeneration of humanity, the opinion that an ontological change is thereby effected within humans is particularly associated with the period of High Scholasticism and the development of the concept of created . . . . Continue Reading »

Putting right

From Leithart

At least since the Reformation, the choices on the meaning of justification have been two: Either justification is a declaration of right standing or it’s a making-righteous (as in Bonaventure’s claim that the grace of justification purifies, illuminates, and perfects the soul). But are . . . . Continue Reading »

Entry language

From Leithart

NT Wright’s denial that justification is “entry language” is usually taken as a criticism of evangelical Protestant treatments of justification. But his denial cuts deeper: From the high middle ages, Roman Catholic theologians taught that justification was a motus from sin to . . . . Continue Reading »

Notes on Derrida, Gift of Death

From Leithart

Some of the summaries below were previously posted on my site, and are reproduced to help my students. 1) Derrida begins the book with a discussion of Jan Patocka’s treatment of the distinction between “enthusiasm” or the “demonic” and “responsibility.” The . . . . Continue Reading »

Divine Energies and Orthodox Soteriology

From Leithart

In his new Being with God , Aristotle Papanikolaou points to differences between Vladimir Lossky and John Zizioulas on the issue of divine energies. For Lossky, the doctrine of divine energies is designed to “protect the real character of communion with God” in theosis while also . . . . Continue Reading »

Schmemann on Eucharist

From Leithart

Thanks to my student Brent McLean for the following quotation from Schmemann’s Journals: “I reflect, while writing my Eucharist, about Communion, on the strange, mysterious alienation from it in the Church (on Mt. Athos - they didn’t regularly take Communion; in our churches, . . . . Continue Reading »