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Posts tagged "Karl Holl"

Yet Another "New Start": Karl Holl on Luther's Vigorous Reinterpretation of the Christian Life

Yet Another “New Start”: Karl Holl on Luther’s Vigorous Reinterpretation of the Christian Life

The following is an excerpt from Karl Holl’s booklength essay, “What Did Luther Understand by Religion?” (trans. Meuser & Wietzke) in which Holl draws out Luther’s theology beginning with his history. As you’ll see, Holl maintains a refreshing emphasis on everyday heart-level matters, compared to other scholars of his caliber. Still, you might want to put on your academic spectacles for this one—but it’s worth it. I started transcribing the first paragraph and just couldn’t stop there. Enjoy!

Like Jesus, [Luther] tried to show his contemporaries that their apparently intense piety, the piety of good works, devotions, and mortifications, was actually…

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The Great Dissolving (According to Karl Holl)

The Great Dissolving (According to Karl Holl)

A few passages from Karl Holl’s classic “The Distinctive Elements in Christianity” (1937) that will never lose their urgency:

Jesus preaches a God who wants to have dealings with sinful men, a God to whom he who has sunk deep stands, in certain circumstances, especially near. And Jesus does not do this from undue consideration for weakness. His preaching begins with the proclamation of the Kingdom of God, which implies at the same an imminent ruthless judgment…

Jesus regards the will to forgiveness as rooted in God’s very innermost being.

He dealt a blow at everything that earnest ethical thinking about the relation…

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Karl Holl on Creativity, Heart, and 'Situation-Ethics'

Karl Holl on Creativity, Heart, and ‘Situation-Ethics’

In The Reconstruction of Morality (1979 Augsburg edition, as cited last week), Holl brushes up fairly close to what later American theologians would call ‘situation-ethics’. What we came to know in the 1960s as ‘situation-ethics’, the effects of which are still with us, sounds a little like what Karl Holl is saying when he talks about the ‘creative’, ‘flexible’ ‘genius of the heart’. For myself, Karl Holl’s version reads true to life, while the contemporary version of ‘situation-ethics’ sounds more like a rationalization of evolving fashions in behavior.

This is what Holl says, on page 133. The emphases are Mockingbird’s.

“For Luther, part…

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Karl Holl on Morality as Instinctive

Karl Holl on Morality as Instinctive

In his lecture on Luther’s earlier ethical views, which was published and then re-worked between 1919 and 1923, Karl Holl wrote in a way that today could be described as ‘luminous’. The American edition of that lecture, entitled The Reconstruction of Morality (Augsburg, 1979, translated by Fred W. Meuser and Walter R. Wietzke from the seventh German edition of 1948 and edited by James Luther Adams and Walter F. Bense) is a classic exposition of the Gospel. It is dense, deep, wide-ranging, and diagnostic. It’s hard to think of another book of its kind that just hits you between the…

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Karl Holl on Morality as Awakening

Karl Holl on Morality as Awakening

This is the last quote in Mockingbird’s Holl series from The Distinctive Elements in Christianity (1937). Next week we will feature Holl‘s lecture and book, The Reconstruction of Morality.  

Here the great one does away with distinctions between people. He also references by strange advanced knowledge a novel by James Gould Cozzens. Most important, Karl Holl here observes that Christ’s conception of God came to people like an awakening from a dream. As always, the emphases are Mockingbird’s, and the excerpt is from pages 29-30.

This conception of God which Jesus taught, though it ran so sharply counter to all natural religious…

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Karl Holl on Spontaneity and 'Situation-Ethics'

Karl Holl on Spontaneity and ‘Situation-Ethics’

Karl Holl understood the morality of Jesus as a kind of spontaneous response to situations of need, which would not involve reflection but were of the immediate moment. He understood the Lord to have taught a non-systematic approach to moral actions that approaches what some ‘liberal’ theologians wished to call, later, ‘situation-ethics’. The key element in Christ’s way of living is, according to Holl, a spontaneity born from love.

The following is also from The Distinctive Elements in Christianity (1937), page 22.  The emphases are Mockingbird’s.

“From this follows the most splendid feature of the ethic of Jesus, namely the naturalness, the…

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Karl Holl on Freedom and Exaction in the Moral Life

Karl Holl on Freedom and Exaction in the Moral Life

This quote for today, like last week’s, is from the 1925 essay translated as The Distinctive Elements in Christianity (T & T Clark, 1937). It is from page 21. Note here the insight, unique as we hear in that rare-to-hear item the Christian Gospel, that the dissolution of demand results in a new compunction. The italics are by Mockingbird.

“Jesus’s conception of God was new. He dealt a blow at everything that earnest ethical thinking about the relation between God and man had established, and everything that the common-sense understanding of mankind down to the present day has held to…

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Mockingbird 101: Karl Holl on the Shape (and End) of Moral Effort

Mockingbird 101: Karl Holl on the Shape (and End) of Moral Effort

Karl Holl was a German theologian who lived from 1866-1926. He taught at Tuebingen, and of the great Twentieth-Century theologians, Holl is among those who stand the closest to the animating concerns of Mockingbird. This is because he writes about issues of grace and law, freedom and bondage, spontaneity and calculation, in a forceful manner that is both analytic and feeling. He seems to have sight of the pastoral and experiential in a tone that is unusual for an academic theologian. He seldom loses sight of what we would call the ‘gut level’.

I don’t quite understand why Karl Holl’s theological…

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Slightly Expanded And Significantly More Organized Conference Book Table List

Slightly Expanded And Significantly More Organized Conference Book Table List

Here’s the full list plus a couple of relevant additions, linked to sites where they can be purchased. Although everything comes highly recommended, this is by no means meant to be a definitive list (stay tuned…). For the sake of newcomers we have divided the non-fiction into three itunes-inspired categories: Basics, Next Steps and Deep Cuts. In other words, the books are organized according to accessibility rather than importance.

NON-FICTION
Basics
1. Alcoholics Anonymous. The Big Book.
3. Manning, Brennan. The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News For the Bedraggled, Beat-up and Burnt Out
3. Martyn, Dorothy. Beyond Deserving: Children, Parents And Responsibility Revisited.
4. Norris, Sean….

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Flight or Fight?

“Luther laid the greatest emphasis of all on the fact that everything must be done freely and joyfully. At the very beginning of he Psalms Lectures we find references to the free, the joyful, the spontaneous will. God desires no forced service. Whatever action does not arise spontaneously from within, but is forced for a specific purpose at a particular moment, will not last; it is no real act of the will, and has no value at all in the eyes of God. ”
Karl Holl The Reconstruction of Morality p. 34

"The Distinctive Elements in Christianity" by Karl Holl (1866-1926)

"The Distinctive Elements in Christianity" by Karl Holl (1866-1926)

A few quotes from the late Rector of the University of Berlin:

“I begin with what is best known and least doubtful, i.e. with that item in the teaching of Jesus which struck His kinsfolk most strongly, and which in fact must have excited the greatest surprise. Jesus is called by His opponents the ‘friend of publicans (tax collectors) and sinners,’ and He frankly accepts the title. It is His commission to go to the lost.

Jesus preaches a God who wants to have dealings with sinful men.

This conception of a God who offers Himself to the sinner is so familiar to…

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