Thinking from Justification Towards a New Perspective – in and with Martin Luther

Andrea Vestrucci


In this article I present a new perspective on the theological concept of justification, by focusing not on the content (the meaning) but on the form (the condition of formulation) of this concept. I start with the semantic overabundance related to justification, with specific reference three meanings: the forensic, the effective, and the ontological-theotic. Then, I confront these meanings with Luther's idea of justification as in his De servo arbitrio (1525). Thanks to this, I stress that the theological concept of justification plays a meta-conceptual function: it affirms the priority of divine justification over any standard condition of conceptualization and thinkability of justification – in specific, the structure of imputative justice. This leads to a reconsideration of the role of this concept as "articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiæ".


Justification, Martin Luther, Theology, Forensic Justification, Effective Justification

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