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Lutheran orthodoxy was an era in the history of Lutheranism, which began in 1580 from the writing of the Book of Concord and ended at the Age of Enlightenment. Lutheran orthodoxy was paralleled by similar eras in Calvinism and tridentine Roman Catholicism after the Counter-Reformation.
Martin Luther died in 1546, and Philipp Melanchthon in 1560. After the death of Luther came the period of the Schmalkaldic War and disputes among Crypto-Calvinists, Philippists, Sacramentarians, Ubiquitarians, and Gnesio-Lutherans.
The Book of Concord gave inner unity to Lutheranism, which had many controversies, mostly between Gnesio-Lutherans and Philippists, in Roman Catholic outward pressure and in alleged "crypto-Calvinistic" influence. Lutheran theology became more stable in its theoretical definitions.
Lutheran scholasticism developed gradually, especially for the purpose of disputation with the Jesuits, and it was finally established by Johann Gerhard (1582-1637). Abraham Calovius (1612-1686) represents the climax of the scholastic paradigm in orthodox Lutheranism. Other orthodox Lutheran theologians include (for example) Martin Chemnitz, Aegidius Hunnius, Leonhard Hutter (1563-1616), Nicolaus Hunnius, Jesper Rasmussen Brochmand, Salomo Glassius, Johann Hülsemann, Johann Conrad Dannhauer, Valerius Herberger, Johannes Andreas Quenstedt, Johann Friedrich König and Johann Wilhelm Baier.
The theological heritage of Philip Melanchthon arose again in the Helmstedt School and especially in the theology of Georgius Calixtus (1586-1656), which caused the syncretistic controversy of 1640–1686. Another theological issue was the Crypto-Kenotic Controversyof 1619–1627.
Late orthodoxy was torn by influences from rationalism and pietism. Orthodoxy produced numerous postils, which were important devotional readings. Along with hymns, they conserved orthodox Lutheran spirituality during this period of heavy influence from pietism and neology. Johann Gerhard, Heinrich Müller and Christian Scriver wrote other kinds of devotional literature.The last prominent orthodox Lutheran theologian before the Enlightenment and Neology was David Hollatz. A later orthodox theologian, Valentin Ernst Löscher, took part in a controversy against Pietism. Mediaeval mystical tradition continued in the works of Martin Moller, Johann Arndt and Joachim Lütkemann. Pietism became a rival of orthodoxy but adopted some orthodox devotional literature, such as those of Arndt, Scriver and Stephan Prätorius, which have often been later mixed with pietistic literature.
Congregations maintained the full Mass rituals in their normal worship as suggested by Luther. In his Hauptgottesdienst (principal service of worship), Holy Communion was celebrated on each Sunday and festival. The traditional parts of the service were retained and, sometimes, even incense was also used.Services were conducted in vernacular language, but in Germany, Latin was also present in both the Ordinary and Proper parts of the service. This helped students maintain their familiarity with the language. As late as the time of Johann Sebastian Bach, churches in Leipzig still heard Polyphonic motets in Latin, Latin Glorias, chanted Latin collects and The Creed sung in Latin by the choir.
Church music flourished and this era is considered as a "golden age" of Lutheran hymnody.Some hymnwriters include Philipp Nicolai, Johann Heermann, Johann von Rist and Benjamin Schmolck in Germany, Haquin Spegel in Sweden, Thomas Hansen Kingo in Denmark, Petter Dass in Norway, Hallgrímur Pétursson in Iceland, and Hemminki Maskulainen in Finland. The most famous orthodox Lutheran hymnwriter is Paul Gerhardt. Prominent church musicians and composers include Michael Praetorius, Melchior Vulpius, Johann Hermann Schein, Heinrich Schütz, Johann Crüger, Dieterich Buxtehude and Bach. Generally, the 17th century was a more difficult time than the earlier period of Reformation, due in part to the Thirty Years' War. Finland suffered a severe famine in 1696-1697 as part of what is now called the Little Ice Age, and almost one third of the population died. This struggle to survive can often be seen in hymns and devotional writings.
The era of Lutheran orthodoxy is not well known, and it has been very often looked at only through the view of liberal theology and pietism and thus underestimated. The wide gap between the theology of Orthodoxy and rationalism has sometimes limited later theological neo-Lutheran and confessional Lutheran attempts to understand and restore Lutheran orthodoxy.
More recently, a number of social historians, as well as historical theologians, have brought Lutheran orthodoxy to the forefront of their research. These scholars have expanded the understanding of Lutheran orthodoxy to include topics such as preaching and catechesis, devotional literature, popular piety, religious ritual, music and hymnody, and the concerns of cultural and political historians.
The most significant theologians of Orthodoxy can be said to be Martin Chemnitz and Johann Gerhard. Lutheran orthodoxy can also be reflected in such rulers as Ernst I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Altenburg and Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden.
George Major was a Lutheran theologian of the Protestant Reformation. He was born in Nuremberg and died at Wittenberg.
Pietism is a movement within Lutheranism that combines its emphasis on biblical doctrine with the Reformed emphasis on individual piety and living a vigorous Christian life.
Johann Arndt was a German Lutheran theologian who wrote several influential books of devotional Christianity. Although reflective of the period of Lutheran Orthodoxy, he is seen as a forerunner of pietism, a movement within Lutheranism that gained strength in the late 17th century.
Crypto-Calvinism is a pejorative term describing a segment of German members of the Lutheran Church accused of secretly subscribing to Calvinist doctrine of the Eucharist in the decades immediately after the death of Martin Luther in 1546.
High Church Lutheranism is a movement which began in 20th-century Europe that emphasizes worship practices and doctrines that are similar to those found within both Roman Catholicism and the Anglo-Catholic wing of Anglicanism. In the more general usage of the term it describes the general High Church characteristics of Lutheranism in the Nordic countries such as Sweden, Finland and the Baltics. The mentioned countries, once a part of the Swedish Empire, have more markedly preserved Catholic traditions.
Lutheranism as a religious movement originated in the early 16th century Holy Roman Empire as an attempt to reform the Roman Catholic Church. The movement originated with the call for a public debate regarding several issues within the Catholic Church by Martin Luther, then a professor of Bible at the young University of Wittenberg. Lutheranism soon became a wider religious and political movement within the Holy Roman Empire owing to support from key electors and the widespread adoption of the printing press. This movement soon spread throughout northern Europe and became the driving force behind the wider Protestant Reformation. Today, Lutheranism has spread from Europe to all six populated continents.
Christian Scriver was a German Lutheran minister and devotional writer.
The Philippists formed a party in early Lutheranism. Their opponents were called Gnesio-Lutherans.
Aegidius Hunnius the Elder was a Lutheran theologian of the Lutheran scholastic tradition and father of Nicolaus Hunnius.
The Leipzig Interim was one of several temporary settlements between the Emperor Charles V and German Lutherans following the Schmalkaldic War. It was presented to an assembly of Saxon political estates in December 1548. Though not adopted by the assembly, it was published by its critics under the name "Leipzig Interim."
Fredrik Gabriel Hedberg was a Finnish Lutheran priest and vicar. He was a Neo-Lutheran theologian, a prominent figure in the Finnish evangelical revival movement and a leader of confessional Lutheranism in Finland.
Gnesio-Lutherans is a modern name for a theological party in the Lutheran churches, in opposition to the Philippists after the death of Martin Luther and before the Formula of Concord. In their own day they were called Flacians by their opponents and simply Lutherans by themselves. Later Flacian became to mean an adherent of Matthias Flacius' view of original sin, rejected by the Formula of Concord. In a broader meaning, the term Gnesio-Lutheran is associated mostly with the defence of the doctrine of Real Presence.
Lutheran scholasticism was a theological method that gradually developed during the era of Lutheran Orthodoxy. Theologians used the neo-Aristotelian form of presentation, already popular in academia, in their writings and lectures. They defined the Lutheran faith and defended it against the polemics of opposing parties.
Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism that identifies with the teachings of Martin Luther, a 16th-century German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation. The reaction of the government and church authorities to the international spread of his writings, beginning with the 95 Theses, divided Western Christianity.
Viktorin (Victorinus) Strigel was a Philippist Lutheran Theologian and Protestant reformer.
Johann Stössel was a Lutheran Theologian and Reformer.
Tilemann Heshusius was a Gnesio-Lutheran theologian and Protestant reformer.
Joachim Mörlin April 5, 1514, Wittenberg, Electorate of Saxony – May 29, 1571, Königsberg, Duchy of Prussia was an Evangelical Lutheran theologian and an important figure in the controversies following Martin Luther's (1483-1546) death. He was the older brother of Maximilian Mörlin, another Lutheran theologian and Reformer.
Johann Wigand was a German Lutheran cleric, Protestant reformer and theologian. He served as Bishop of Pomesania.
Hymnody in continental Europe developed from early liturgical music, especially Gregorian chant. Music became more complicated as embellishments and variations were added, along with influences from secular music. Although vernacular leisen and vernacular or mixed-language Carol (music) were sung in the Middle Ages, more vernacular hymnody emerged during the Protestant Reformation, although ecclesiastical Latin continued to be used after the Reformation. Since then, developments have shifted between isorhythmic, homorhythmic, and more rounded musical forms with some lilting. Theological underpinnings influenced the narrative point of view used, with Pietism especially encouraging the use of the first person singular. In the last several centuries, many songs from Evangelicalism have been translated from English into German.