Talk:Philip Melanchthon

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Hello I have from German Side a same Picture in the Commons make. You can in the Commons see and here integreat. mfg Torsten Schleese :-).

File:Philipp Melanchthon.jpg
Former illus, a 19th century engraving, replaced by the Dürer


Are you sure its with 2 P's at the end. In my history book its with one--Primetimeking 19:47, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Total POV[edit]


His humility and modesty had their root in his personal piety. He laid great stress upon prayer, daily meditation on the Word, and attendance of public service. In Melanchthon is found not a great, impressive personality, winning its way by massive strength of resolution and energy, but a noble character hard to study without loving and respecting.

Come on. Let's get serious here.

Surely that's no worse than putting the entry into the Saints wikiproject, as someone has done. Philip ain't no saint.
He would most surely have protested himself ;-) Said: Rursus 09:15, 24 August 2007 (UTC)
Article has some great info, but is ruined by its polemical tone. Ledenierhomme (talk) 07:10, 30 June 2009 (UTC)
  • Why is there nothing in here on his being a professor of Greek or his being a major astrologer? Both concepts used to be included in this article and have now been excerpted... It makes this article very biased and largely incomplete. Whoever or whomever is responsible has now created a one-dimensional human being with virtually no historical basis. The same person should edit the George Bush article, take out the invasion of Iraq and the Crash of 2008, and then we can have a more "pure" and modified perspective of the last American president... And why is reformer or reform used 5 times or so in the opening paragraph? Stevenmitchell (talk) 17:40, 30 November 2009 (UTC)

Awesome article![edit]

What a great article! I love reading it. There is however just a touch of POV, such as this sentance here

" Luther certainly never intended to exercise such a pressure, and if it existed at all, it was Melanchthon's own fault. "

Which actually made me laugh outloud! Just a bit astray of the NPOV, I'd have to guess, even with my own limited powers of judgement ;) Sam Spade 08:38, 4 Mar 2004 (UTC)

I think it is so 'non-encylopedic' in style, and a touch too sympathetic (and thus POV) because it is drawn practically bodily from the books in the source. By what I mean as 'POV' check out:
The more strongly he felt the opposition of the scholastic party to the reforms instituted by him at the University of Tübingen, the more willingly he followed a call to Wittenberg as professor of Greek, where he aroused great admiration by his inaugural De corrigendis adolescentiae studiis. He lectured before five to six hundred students, afterward to fifteen hundred. He was highly esteemed by Luther, whose influence brought him to the study of Scripture, especially of Paul, and so to a more living knowledge of the Evangelical doctrine of salvation.
--maru 23:32, 2 May 2005 (UTC)


The reference to 'Nitzsch' in the section on Disputes with Osiander and Flacius appears just as it did in the article on which this whole entry is based. No details are given there so it is unclear which "Nitzsch' is meant. There are three possible candidates for whom there are entries in that encyclopaedia (New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge):

  • Friedrich August Berthold Nitzsch 1832-1898
  • Carl (or Karl) Immanuel Nitzsch 1787-1868
  • Carl (or Karl) Ludwig Nitzsch 1751-1831

Someone would have to have access to their writings to discover which of them made that remark.

Can you German? Go pleace of the German Side and give Nitzsch in the Search Mask. Click of Artikel and you see 4 Persons from 5 whit Names Nitzsch.
Christian Ludwig Nitzsch, Biologe
Gregor Wilhelm Nitzsch, Philologe
Karl Ludwig Nitzsch, Theologe
Karl Immanuel Nitzsch, Theologe
One have I not, is for my no interesting. Are I can a Girl Nitzsch make. She have Rudolf Ewald Stier (in German geheiratet). Ciao Torsten


This article is pretty sympathetic to Melanchthon (rightly or wrongly) and tends to gloss some of the things that really should be brought out. First and foremost of these things would be the virtual omission of the Variata. The Variata is (are, if you are taking it as the body of changes made over the course of his life as opposed to the document Calvin signed) only mentioned by name once in the entire article, and that was one of the central issues surrounding Melanchthon's fall from favor amongst Lutheran theologians of the day. The article makes it sound as though nobody had any difficulties with the changes he made to the Augsburg Confession, but almost all Lutheran church bodies specify the UAC, or Unaltered Augsburg Confession and expressly reject the Variata. This is a powerful statement to Melanchthon's tendency toward synergism, or at the very least his tendency to ignore doctrinal disagreement in hopes of unity, and should really be brought out some in the article to balance the "Estimates of his Works and Character" section.

Not an astrologer[edit]

I removed the longstanding Astrologer categories because Melanchthon was not an astrologer. He was an author of textbooks on many subjects including natural philosophy, which included a bit of astrology, but he never (AFAIK) cast horoscopes or wrote a definitive book on astrological theory, and he considered himself not to be an expert in mathematics (a prerequisite to astrology). It would make at least as much sense to call him a historian or a physicist. It would make a lot more sense to call him a rhetorician or similar, since that's what he was originally trained in. Maestlin 19:41, 8 May 2006 (UTC)

  • I would suppose that you might have some idea of what you are talking about... 1) Didn't Melanchthon translate Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos into Latin and 2) Didn't he lecture on Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos at Wittenberg for parts of 2 decades? What would that make him? I'm sorry but you need to do at least some homework when you begin to offer your obviously (less than erudite) unresearched opinions... But just the basics would infer that you should stay home and watch the commercials on TV rather doing writing on Wikipedia... Stevenmitchell (talk) 00:32, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

No one was just a rhetorician back then, were they? But all astrologers were mathematicians, and everyone with a basic education was a rhetorician to some extent.

It'd be useful if someone could get around to writing up Melanchthon's reform of natural philosophy, which is what I came to the Wiki looking for. This article is too heavily dominated by theological interests. 10:08, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

  • While Melanchthon may or may not be an astrologer in any modern sense, he certainly was an advocate of astrology and did in fact attempt a philosophy extending astrology as the 'hand of god.' "Melancthon's Circle" was inclusive of this and there is substantial research that has been done in Germany in the last 20 years or so that demonstrates and argues this. Melancthon wrote several prefaces to Claudius Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos that substantiate his interest and advocacy of astrology and actually taught the text at Wittenberg. So for Maestlin to have removed this information essentially just creates a one-sided perspective of Melancthon that provides an unbalanced perspective and characterization of the person that did not actually exist... Stevenmitchell (talk) 15:33, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
  • Describing Melanchthon as an astrologer seems not right, but astrology was part of the commonly accepted wisdom of the day, and along with his extensive contribution to the Reformation was work in astrology, as noted above. Elizabeth I had not only an archbishop, but also an astrologer, Dr. Dee. The so-called Elizabethan Prayer Book of 1559 included, in its "Almanac," pp. 36-47, notations of the signs of the Zodiac, "Sol in aquario," etc. (talk) 17:25, 31 July 2010 (UTC)Kendrick Lee
  • The opening post said he never "wrote a definitive book on astrological theory". But actually Melanchthon is notable for being the first to produce the Paraphrase of the Tetrabiblos, which included his own Preface. This was a significant introduction of an important astrological text, which had not been made available in Latin beforehand. I have included some details which does not suggest he was an astrologer, but does demonstrate how he was influenced by Ptolemaic ideas. -- Zac Δ talk! 16:29, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

Generally not NPOV[edit]

Repeated from above:

  • he was no saint, he would have objected vigorously,
  • we have to source the alleged intentions behind his and Luthers conflicts,
  • the text is kind of non-NPOVish,

Added by me:

  • the text says the reason for his vague position seems to be "weak", "diffident", and lack of "political ambition" or some such which contradicts the fact that he took a major leadership after the death of Luther;

This makes the logical discourse decidedly weak! What if he, instead, was strongly intent on keeping the unity of church by deliberately designing vague and ambiguous statements? The strains and illnesses he exhibit, looks to me, like a general stress syndrom of being attacked from all directions, while keeping his temper. This my hypothesis, cannot be the basis for the article, but it must be kept in mind, as an example of different possible interpretations on his intentions. Said: Rursus 09:28, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Retract own statement: OK, for some lutherans he is a "saint" extraordinaire, see Calendar of Saints (Lutheran)! Acc2 protestantism, everybody is a saint, which is democratic and fine, although my sainthood doesn't make me feel any better, so in some sense Melanchton is a saint. Said: Rursus 10:01, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Opening Paragraphs[edit]

The opening paragraphs (especially the second) should be re-written almost in their entirety. Quote:

Melanchthon made the distinction between law and gospel the central formula for Lutheran evangelical insight. By the "law" he meant the Papacy and rigid rituals controlled by priests; the "gospel" meant an individual directly confronting Christ through Bible reading, hymns and prayer.

This paragraph is suspect as it hardly summarizes Melanchthon's work, and redefines "law" and "gospel" in a way that is highly misleading and inconsistent with his own writing: From his preface to Loci Communes as contained in Chemnitz's Loci Theologici

In this material many cases of renewal and restoration of the church are recorded, and interspersed with these accounts are the doctrines of the Law and the promise of the Gospel. Further, the apostles are witnesses to Christ, His birth, crucifixion, and resurrection. These are historical writings. And Christ’s speeches contain the articles of faith, the explanation of the Law and the Gospel. Added to this are the discourses of Paul, who as a master craftsman has developed in his Epistle to the Romans the art of distinguishing Law and Gospel, sin and grace or reconciliation, by which we are restored to life eternal. [1]

Again from Melanchthon's text:

The fourth reason is that we may clearly see the distinction between Law and Gospel, for even though the Law has a promise, yet it does not freely promise the remission of sins or reconciliation or imputation of righteousness, but pronounces only him righteous who offers complete obedience and is without sin, as these passages show: “Cursed is he who does not continue in all the things which are written in the Law” [Deut. 27:26; Gal. 3:10]; “He who does these things shall live by them” [Lev. 18:5; Gal. 3:12]. But the Gospel shows us the Son of God, the Mediator, and it proclaims to us that reconciliation is freely given to us for His sake.[2]

There is a debate in Lutheran / Reformation studies circles as to the very nature of this topic of Law and Gospel, the above paragraph is slanted heavily toward the 'newer' interpretation of Law and Gospel. My suggestion for this article would be that the opening paragraphs read like a CV, touching upon the major foci of Melanchthon's work. Mlorfeld (talk) 14:26, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

The Melanchthon Circle[edit]

It should be noted that Melanchthon was at the center of the eponymous "Melanchthon's Circle", so named by Lynn Thorndike (I believe it was in the 1920's), for his involvement in astrology and his extensive influence on the people that comprised that connective human tissue. It begins with the astrologer, Johannes Stöffler, who trained Melanchton in astrology, and extends all the way through Johannes Kepler, who brought the influence of Melanchthon's "Lutheran astrology" to its apex. There are many, many scholarly articles on the subject, beginning with Lynn Thorndike, and in the last 20 years much scholarly research has been done on the subject, especially in Germany. Authors such as Sachiko Kusukawa, Charlotte Methuen, Germana Ernst, Claudia Brosseder, Paola Zambelli, etc... Can anyone help with that? Stevenmitchell (talk) 11:24, 19 October 2010 (UTC)

I have started Melanchthon Circle, and linked it in here only via {{details}}. I agree with some of the comments further up the page about shortcomings of the article as it stands. It really should be edited to reflect more current views of "early modern" concerns, in the large. Charles Matthews (talk) 07:46, 23 September 2011 (UTC)

Shouldnt this be mentioned?[edit]

As this has featured in almost every book written from the catholic perspective ive ever read which has touched on the man while this protestant view omits any question of his sincerity. As an example of pragmatism rather than divine inspiration for his reforms. Quotes from a discussion with his mother on her deathbed, from the Most. Rev. M. J. Spalding's translation for his book History of the Reformation. 'You know thatI1 was a Catholic, and that you have induced me to abandon the religion of my fathers. Tell me now, for God's Bake, in what religion I ought to die.' Melancthon answered 'Mother, the new doctrine is the more convenient, the other is the more secure.' — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:59, 23 September 2012 (UTC)

Photo of Loci Communes[edit]

I'm a little bothered by this photo of the title page of Loci Communes. The caption says that it is the 1521 edition, but the Roman numeral date gives 1552. This bothers me a bit more, because following the link to the Loci Communes article itself lists several editions of this work but does not include 1552 among them. Maybe I'm just too picky? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:44, 11 January 2014 (UTC)


In Melanchthon is found not a great, impressive personality, winning its way by massive strength of resolution and energy, but a noble character hard to study without loving and respecting.

Is this really the right tone for an encyclopedia? --Unverbluemt (talk) 17:23, 29 June 2014 (UTC)

oh my gawd .. is this WP, or PWP ?[edit]

"The only care that occupied him until his last moment was the desolate condition of the Church. He strengthened himself in almost uninterrupted prayer, and in listening to passages of Scripture."

reference, please ... or should I take this by that gift of grace that is faith ? Or did I get that mantra/credo wrong ?

Try, "Some devout Lutherans believe that ..." and add a ref for THAT. (talk) 13:48, 18 October 2014 (UTC)


I am setting this as "start" level, as the pov pushing is really extreme, and mostly unsourced. this wont qualify as C class until its basically complete in its factual assertions, without the dross.Mercurywoodrose (talk) 18:01, 8 May 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ Martin Chemnitz and Jacob A. O. Preus, Loci Theologici, electronic ed., 35 (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999, c1989).
  2. ^ Martin Chemnitz and Jacob A. O. Preus, Loci Theologici, electronic ed., 516 (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999, c1989).