n Koers : Bulletin for Christian Scholarship = Koers : Bulletin vir Christelike Wetenskap - The ministry of the Word - the concept of as used by Calvin in his first (1536) : research article

Volume 66, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 0023-270X
  • E-ISSN: 2304-8557



The ministry of the Word - the concept of doctrina as used by Calvin in his first Institutes (1536)

Among other important theological concepts (e.g. religio or iustificatio, etc.) the concept of doctrina and its usage concern the heart of Reformational theology - especially in the theology of John Calvin. In spite of some important investigations that have already been undertaken in this regard, there is still a deficiency in respect of a comprehensive theological investigation of this theme. The fact that some well-known contemporary scholars nevertheless do not pay attention to the respective and different cardinal usages of doctrina by Calvin, underlines the need for further research. It is of considerable importance to analyse the way Calvin used the concept of doctrina, not only in a dogmatic and dogmen-historical sense but also with regard to homiletics, catechetics and pastoral care.
In this article the focus is on the 1536 edition of the Institutes of Calvin. Using an adequate method to analyse Calvin's usage, the results of such an analysis are presented in order to emphasise the importance of a careful dealing with concepts in general and in dealing with Calvin's usage of doctrina in particular.
This investigation shows that Calvin used doctrina in such an active and dynamic way that one often has to translate it with a verb, a verbalised noun or even with a verbal phrase. It is of utmost importance to distinguish between Calvin's lexical usage and his discourse-analytical usage of the concept. Calvin's bond to Scripture and his stressing of doctrina as proclamation accentuate his "Word-of-God-theology".

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