Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Historical Theology

First Advisor

Timothy Dost

Scripture References in this Resource



Schmeling, Timothy R. “Slaying the Syncretistic Chimera: A Study of the Consensus Repetitus in Light of Confessionalization Theory.” Ph.D. diss., Concordia Seminary, 2014. 478 pp.

The Syncretistic Controversy (ca. 1645–86) was the most important controversy of seventeenth-century Lutheranism. It was inaugurated by Helmstedt theology professor Georg Calixt (1586–1656), who sought mutual tolerance between Christendom’s confessions on the basis of the fundamental agreement all shared by virtue of their adherence to the Apostles’ Creed and theology of the first five centuries. In response the Electoral Saxon theological faculties promulgated the Consensus Repetitus fidei vere Lutheranae (1655), a confession against syncretism and reaffirmation of the Augsburg Confession. The convergence of this new act of confession building with Electoral Saxon alliance formation, social disciplining, identity formation, and state building suggests that a new analysis of the Syncretistic Controversy in light of Heinz Schilling’s confessionalization paradigm is now in order. This dissertation addresses two questions: first, can the confessionalization paradigm provide a more penetrating and comprehensive explication of the development and propagation of the Consensus Repetitus than the limited number of previous studies? Second, what elements or aspects of the aforementioned confessionalization paradigm prove warranted or unwarranted in light of the development and propagation of this Lutheran symbol? To answer these questions the dissertation reviews the current state of syncretistic and confessionalization studies. It then narrates how Calixtine or Helmstedt theology came to challenge Lutheran identity. The Electoral Saxon and Ducal Saxon ecclesial-political engagement with Helmstedt theology leading up to the development of the Consensus Repetitus is then discussed. Finally, the breakdown of Electoral Saxony’s ecclesialpolitical machinery against Helmstedt theology is explicated. The dissertation argues that the matrix of confessionalization theory provides a more comprehensive interpretation of the Consensus Repetitus by elucidating the interconnectivity of the rise and fall of Electoral Saxon confession building with the other marks of confessionalization. It also maintains that the unique process behind the Consensus Repetitus warrants a modification of the classical confessionalization paradigm, although ultimately this particular process collapsed or failed to reach fruition, preventing an assessment of its macro-historical impact.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.