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date: 24 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In an oft-quoted passage, Paul Tillich maintained that although Protestantism was born from the struggle for the doctrine of justification by faith, the idea had become strange. One might have predicted on the basis of such statements that there would be little future discussion of the doctrine of justification. Yet by the end of the twentieth century, a flurry of publications began to appear, and the earlier pronouncements regarding the irrelevance of justification to modern people suddenly seemed overstated. This article considers four developments in theological scholarship in the last third of the twentieth century that led to renewed vitality in the discussion of justification. Many of the contested issues are simply new attempts to grapple with the old church-dividing questions. Insofar as theologians are unwilling to move behind or beyond the language of the sixteenth-century debates, it is unlikely that this renewed interest in justification will spread far.

Keywords: justification, Paul Tillich, Protestantism, church divide, theological scholarship

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