1. Scott, you wrote the foreward for this book. Why is this book significant to you? And can you tell us more about your relationship with Lowell C. Green?
I only knew Dr. Green for 16 weeks, and had him for just one class. I think the class was called: “The impact of Melanchthon on the Lutheran Reformation.” His book, How Melanchthon Helped Luther Discover the Gospel, was one of the texts for the class. I had already been interested in Philip Melanchthon, and had, in fact, read Dr. Green’s book before the class. But, meeting and studying under Dr. Green inspired me to dedicate a good portion of my academic study to learning more about, and teaching others about, Philip Melanchthon. Dr. Green was an old-school professor, and, by today’s standards, a difficult one. But, he was an inspiring instructor and a consummate professional and academic.
2. In your foreward, you have a section titled, “Why Melanchthon.” Can you briefly summarize for the reader who Philip Melanchthon was and why he is an important character in the Reformation?
Philip Melanchthon was one of the great minds of the Reformation. As a young professor he helped shape the whole of evangelical (Lutheran) theology with his Loci Communes Theologici. In his Loci he helped set the stage for the distinction between law and gospel as well as forensic justification. He supported Luther throughout his career and is the author of many of the Lutheran Confessions. Melanchthon was known as the teacher of Germany and drove much of the theological conversations in the Lutheran Reformation for over 40 years.
3. This book is the first title in the Melanchthon Library. Can you tell us a little bit more about The Melanchthon Library and what 1517 hopes to accomplish through it?
Our goal with the Melanchthon Library is to shine a new light on Melanchthon and help recover his evangelical legacy. Following this cherished and established work by Green, we hope to support new scholarship on Melanchthon as well as original translations of many of his works. These efforts should bring Melanchthon and his influence to new audiences while simultaneously increasing academic interest in him and his work.
4. Are there opportunities for new scholars and students of Melanchthon to get involved with The Melanchthon Library?
Yes! In fact, that is one of the primary goals of The Melanchthon Library. We hope to involve new Melanchthon scholars, or scholars and translators in general who have an interest in the Reformation broadly, the Lutheran Reformation more narrowly, and Melanchthon specifically. I encourage you to visit www.melanchthon.org and submit your information so we can get in touch.
5. If you could give the readers one piece of advice or thought as they approach Melanchthon and his writings, what would it be?
Melanchthon was a teacher. Knowing that, the reader ought to approach his work as one might if they got their hands on the lecture notes from the greatest professor they ever had. Absorb every word. Look for patterns and arguments being made, and supported. Notice the lists––he makes many lists. Investigate what he says and the Scripture passages he cites in order to see if his theological teachings are in accordance with Scripture. Lastly, enjoy reading once of the most astute scholars and best writers you will encounter.