Joel Brondos

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Sacred Theology (STM)


Systematic Theology

First Advisor

Norman Nagel


In the Heidelberg Theses, we are confronted with the Augustinian Martin Luther who touted Augustine as Paul's most faithful interpreter. Later, however, we come to know a Luther who withdrew from Augustine: "At first I devoured, not merely read, Augustine. But when the door was opened for me in Paul, so that I understood what justification by faith is, it was all over with Augustine. This paper hopes to sail forward with Luther in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, steering cleanly between the Scylla and Charybdis of synergism and determinism, a way which neither Occam nor Augustine had plotted clearly.

The Heidelberg Disputation of April 1518 serves as the springboard for this study. It was in the prolegomenon and theses of that disputation that the praise of Augustine and the properties of opus operatum and opus operantis stand together. Other foundational works on opus operatum, such as the doctoral dissertation of Thomas Manteufel, provide the backdrop for an inquiry into the middle and late years of Luther's writings-years such as 1531 and 1540 when Luther expressed in his correspondence an apprehension that the opus operatum idea would show up again. As the study progresses, it is hoped that the reader will see that the connection between Augustinian theology and opus terminology are closely intertwined and that this observation would lead the reader to share Luther's later apprehensions with the result that something better may be received with thanksgiving.

Creative Commons License

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.