如何研究加尔文系列之三:基督教要义的形成和在加尔文思想中的位置

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在一开始,1536年出版的拉丁标题含义是“Of the Christian Religion, an Institution [or Instraction], embracing nearly an entire summary of piety and what is necessary to know of the doctrine of salvation: a work most worthy to be read by all those zealous for piety.””embracing”这个词包含了后面的summary 和doctrine, 指出Institutes , 我们目前中文世界翻译为要义,实际上原意更是指导,指南,这一版的标题指出了两个目的,作为敬虔的体系性总结和以教理问答结构形式的教义指导,而在1541年,法文版实际上的目的是有所不同的,“a work most worthy to be ready by all those zealous for piety.”也就是更为通俗性。(Muller, 102)到1539年拉丁版,才变为了通常意义下的基督教要义, “An Institution of the Christian Religion”,也成为后来要义的结构底本。这个变化是巨大的,39年版instituio这个词是参考了Quintilian 的institutio oratoria (A.D. 90),到伊拉斯谟的Institutio principis christiani (1516),institutio  的含义是基本的指导,而在提列结构的安排上则深受到了loci communes一书的影响。(Muller,104-06)


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在十六世纪,敬虔这个词含义非常宽泛,如要义根本没有提出敬虔的形式,而是和“教导”,“教义”,“辩论”等联系在一起。要义中所包含的“主题loci”和“争论disputations”是受到了布灵格(Bullinger)和布歇(Bucer)的影响。

对于经文的应用这点非常重要,要义的经文应用不仅仅是和加尔文的圣经注释是一种“交叉引用cross-references”的形式,如Muller 指出的”Indeed, when the biblical citations in the Institutes are not cross-references to Calvin’s own commentaries, they probably should be viewed as references to the exegetical tradition and not as ‘proof- texts’ in the sense of texts wrested out of their context in violation of the principles of biblical interpretation ”(Muller, 107).要义不能够代替圣经注疏的作品,事实上,一个人希望理解加尔文在要义中所讨论的主题和与他人的争论,就必须阅读这些不仅仅是加尔文的圣经注释也要阅读其他人的注释。一方面如T.H. L. Parker所指出的,在要义一开始加尔文所提供的方法论的评注(the methodological comments)能够让给我们认识到加尔文解经的一些独特性是和他同时代之人有所不同,但是也提醒我们在加尔文的这个“体系”中和同时代人的关联,特别是loci communes。 Muller, “The commentaries frequently shed light on the meaning of a passage in the Institutes; sometimes, offer indications of why topics are augmented in certain ways in the Institutes; sometimes, when topics has been expanded in the Institutes prior to the examination of a related text, the commentaries explicitly refer the readers to extended discussions in the Institutes.” (108)加尔文当代的一些争论问题,从解经的著作就被转移到了要义中,而在各种注疏中的一些神学争论的论证,加尔文并没有添加到要义之中。

在理解1539年要义时,必须联系到1540年加尔文的罗马书注释,“the nature of the Institutes as a set of loci communes is taken seriously and the various loci are examined in the context both of Calvin’s own commentaries and of the exegetical tradition, only then does it become clear precisely why certain issues are addressed, why particular collateral texts are employed as fundamental to explanation, and even (on occasion) why the specific section of the Institutes under examination takes on one particular argumentative cast rather than another.”(Muller,113)

一方面我们需要注意到要义一开始版本中受到要理问答体系的影响;另一方面,我们需要知道要义也反应了加尔文在论战和自己释经工作中进行的一种系统性的阐释工作。因此,在理解要义方面,只有要义并不足以提供一种对加尔文思想全面的理解,相反,要义是紧密联系在加尔文的圣经注释和他的讲道中,加尔文在要义中的评注,主题,放置的位置,讨论都受此影响。有些在注释中出现的,加尔文就没有放置在要义的讨论中,如对罗马书13:1-7节的讨论他聚焦在顺服民事civil 权威的上面,在此段经文解经中加尔文没有扩展论述,但在Acts 5:29节中却进行了详细的讨论,同时也出现在要义关于民事政府的主题上locus。(Muller,113)此外,在加尔文的圣经注释中,则少了辩论性的问题,而放置在了要义中,如要义序言所说,”the dogmatic disputations do not generally find a place in the commentraires.”(115)


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因此,在阅读要义时,我们首先要认识到几个前提,

首先,加尔文不是一位系统神学和教义神学的教师,他所讨论共同主题loci communes和与之伴随的争论disputationes的位置在体系中是为了预备读者理解经文的含义。如Steinmetz指出的,”Calvin did not offer lectures on doctrine in the academy; his Institutes, quite unlike the commentaries, did not arise directly out of his arouse out of his work in the classroom. Instead, the exegetical work was primary, while the Institutes arouse out of the further discussion of exegetical results and, in some sense,’ remained subordinate’  to the work biblical interpretation.” (Muller, 116)

因此,理解加尔文神学重要的一点就是要义是和要义是在加尔文解经的工作中发展出来的,加尔文的解经反应出一个更久远的传统,,“Calvin not only studied the exegetical works of contemporaries like Bucer, Bullinger, and Oecolampadius; he also read carefully in the commentaries of fathers like Ambrose, Augustine, and Chrysostom and quite possibly of medieval exegetes like Nicolas of Lyra and Denis the Carthusian.”

在这里必须要强调的一点是,在理解要义的时候,必须要放置在加尔文的圣经注释和注释传统,以及包括了讲道,讲座等持续与他人辩论争论的背景下,才能理解加尔文要义的内容,在理解中,必须要避免的是任何试图脱离了圣经经文背景的限制从加尔文的对此经文的注释中抽象出一些教义的做法

“What must be ruled out is nay attempt either to abstract dogmatic definitions from the commentaries as if the Institutes without recognition either of its polemical dimensions or of the background of its formulations in Calvin’s exegetical and polemical works. This type of exposition of Calvin’s thought—once quite prevalent—ignores the very nature of the Institutes and disregards Calvin’s division of labor.”(Muller, 116)

总之,一方面要义确实是一个神学的体系,另一方面不能够像阅读现代教义学和系统神学的方式脱离加尔文当时对话争论的背景来理解它。

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