Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Indifferent Theologians

In his introduction to Don Benedetto's On the Benefit of Jesus Christ Crucified, Leon Morris praises the Italian Reformer for stressing joy as a result of justification and sounds a necessary caution:

Joy runs through and through the New Testament but theologians for the most part have muted this happy note...Theologians as a race tend to be solemn folk, and it is good to see this emphasis on the sheer merriment of being a Christian. We are indifferent theologians if we have lost the song in the heart. (Because of Christ: Living Out the Gift of God Through Faith, pp. 28,29)
You can read Benedetto's work here thanks to Shane Rosenthal who offers this introduction:

The following treatise was arguably the most popular book of the short lived Italian Reformation. It is estimated that 40,000 - 80,000 copies were printed between 1541-1548, of which very few remain today due to the fact that most were burned once the title was placed on the list of prohibited books during the Inquisition. The treatise was originally published anonymously under the title Trattato Ultilissimo Del Beneficio Di Geisu Christo Crocifisso, and was for a few hundred years mistakenly attributed to Aonio Paleario (1503-1570), a martyr for the Reformation cause in Italy. But most scholars now agree, based on records from the Inquisition itself, that the "Trattato" was written by Don Benedetto, a student of the Spanish Reformer Juan de Valdes (1498?-1541) and friend of Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499-1562).

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