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Lund, Theology of

(Swed. lundateologi). Theol. of Lundensian School, which includes G. E. H. Aulén,* A. T. S. Nygren,* and Ragnar Bring (b. 1895 Skara, Swed.; Aulén's successor at U. of Lund).

The Lundensian School has tried to set forth a strictly scientific methodology to be used in systematic theol. Bring and esp. Nygren have tried to demonstrate positive relationships bet. theol. and other branches of scientific research. Nygren's objective in earlier writings (e.g., Religiost apriori, 1921; Dogmatikens vetenskapliga grundläggning, 1922; Filosofisk och kristen etik, 1923) was to lay a solid foundation of dogmatics and ethics by means of a philos. of religion that can guarantee not only them but, on the whole, all kinds of science. The keynote of this speculation is the concept of eternity. It belongs, Nygren claims, to the religious sphere, but secures the validity of all other knowledge as well, since that which is true cannot be true or valid if it is not true always and everywhere, i. e., has the characteristics of that which is eternal.

After trying to show a religious a priori, Nygren turned to the study of the hist. of ideas, to show how religion, or the religious a priori, is realized. He began the “motif research,” to which Aulen, Bring, et al. have made valuable contributions. Aulén broke with K. G. A. v. Harnack's* interpretation of ch. hist. and showed that the Luth. Reformation* went back to the early ch. The best examples of the theol. approach of “motif research” are perhaps Nygren's Agape and Eros and Aulen's Christus Victor, the former a study of religious ideas of Gk. philos. and the NT that follows the hist. of religious motives until the Reformation, the latter an analysis and evaluation of the most influential ideas about the essential meaning of the atonement. Nygren sharply contrasts the Platonic idea of love* (eros) and the Christian agape. Whereas eros is a desire of good for self (man's effort to ascend to God and, primarily, human love), agape is God's way to man: free, spontaneous, unselfish, and self-giving love. Aulén emphasizes the “classical” theory of the atonement held, e.g., by Irenaeus* and Luther: the atonement is primarily God's action taken in Jesus Christ to set man free from death, sin, and all destructive powers (see also Atonement, Theories of, 7; Christus Crucifixus). This classical theory is contrasted with more anthropocentric and legalistic views, e.g., of Anselm* of Canterbury. Similar ideas are set forth by Aulén in The Faith of the Christian Church.

The Lundensian School strongly emphasized Luther's theol. as the legitimate renewal of NT thoughts. Bring has contributed works on Luther (e.g., Förhaallandet mellan tro och gärningar inom luthersk teologi) which have stimulated further Luther research (see also Luther Renaissance). As to evaluation of Luther and Lutheranism, there is a marked tendency to stress that P. Melanchthon* differed from Luther and that the orthodox period (see Lutheran Theology After 1580) did not always grasp the depths of Luther's thought.

The foremost representatives of the Lundensian School have played an important role in contemporary ecumenical debates. Aulén's and Nygren's books have been studied as textbooks at theol. schools outside Swed. and outside Lutheranism. The Lundensian School has also met opposition, e.g., in the criticism of Gustav Wingren (b. 1910 Tryserum, Swed.; taught in Lund, Aabo, and Basel; prof. dogmatics U. of Lund 1951). GH

See also Sweden, Lutheranism in, 6.

A. T. S. Nygren, Agape and Eros, tr. P. S. Watson, 2 vols. in 3 parts, rev., and in part retranslated, and pub. in 1 vol. (London, 1953); G. E. H. Aulén, Christus Victor, tr. A. G. Hebert (New York, 1931) and The Faith of the Christian Church, 2d ed., tr. E. Wahlstrom from the 5th Swed. ed. (Philadelphia, 1960); P. S. Watson, Let God be God! (Philadelphia, 1947); E. M. Carlson, The Reinterpretation of Luther (Philadelphia, 1948); G. Hillerdal, “La théologie de Lund,” Positions luthériennes, V (1957), 49–61; G. Wingren, Theology in Conflict, tr. E. H. Wahlstrom (Philadelphia, 1958).

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

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