Philip Melanchthon's Rhetorical Construal of Biblical Authority: Oratio Sacra

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Gives a precise account of the semantic structure of Melanchthon's pre-Lutheran view of the world, articulated mostly on his rhetorical theory that emerged in the years 1509-1518. Shows how this semantic structure shaped his Lutheran theological language. Offers a hermeneutical procedure that must lead inevitably to historiographical revisions on the subject of faith and reason. Provides theologians with one example of a historically influential theologian in whose theology social setting, truth-theory, linguistics, theological method, and Christian doctrine are intertwined so as to fuel contemporary discussion of how to assess Christian traditions and their authoritative claims.


". . . rescues Melanchthon from the fray by focusing on Philip's own independent "construal" of biblical authority and human nature based upon a merger of dialectic and rhetoric. . . . This book represents an important and needed step forward from past studies of Melanchthon's thought. It grasps much more clearly than the ponderous works of Maurer, Geyer, and Bizer -- to name just three of many -- the unique character of Melanchthon's thought and its remarkable appropriation of Luther's theology on Melanchthon's own terms. In future, anyone who wants to study the young Melanchthon will have to deal with this work." -- Sixteenth Century Journal

"Schneider's analysis of some of the critical issues in Melanchthon interpretation - he mentions double-truth theory, anthropocentrism, intellectualism, and natural theology -- will arouse discussion . . . . Schneider's contribution to our growing understanding of Melanchthon focuses aptly on the combination of his work on methods and his study of the biblical text. The discussion will continue, enriched by this insightful work." - Calvin Theological Journal

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