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THE present volume is the first of three, which will reproduce in English the contents of Vol. III. of Harnack’s great work in the German original, third Edition. The author’s prefaces to the first and second Editions and to the third Edition are here translated. This volume deals with the epoch-making service of Augustine as a reformer of Christian piety and as a theological teacher, and with the influence he exercised down to the period of the Carlovingian Renaissance. The following volume will complete the history of the Development of Dogma by telling the story of Mediæval Theology. The concluding volume will treat of the Issues of Dogma in the period since the Reformation, and will contain a General Index for the whole work.




There does not yet exist a recognised method for presenting the History of Dogma of the Mediæval and more modern period. There is no agreement either as to the extent or treatment of our material, and the greatest confusion prevails as to the goal to be aimed at. The end and aim, the method and course adopted in the present Text-Book, were clearly indicated in the introduction to the first volume. I have seen no reason to make any change in carrying out the work. But however definite may be our conception of the task involved in our branch of study, the immense theological material presented by the Middle Ages, and the uncertainty as to what was Dogma at that time, make selection in many places an experiment. I may not hope that the experiment has always been successful.

After a considerable pause, great activity has been shown in the study of our subject in the last two years. Benrath, Hauck, Bonwetsch, and Seeberg have published new editions of older Text-Books; Loofs has produced an excellent Guide to the History of Dogma; Kaftan has given a sketch of the study in his work on the Truth of the Christian Religion; Möller and Koffmane have devoted special attention to the sections dealing with it in their volumes on Ancient Church History. The study of these books, and many others which I have gratefully made use of, has shown me that my labours on this great subject have not remained isolated or been fruitless. The knowledge of this has outweighed many experiences which I pass over in silence.

This concluding volume counts, to a greater extent than its predecessors, on the indulgence of my learned colleagues; for its author is not a “specialist,” either in the history of the Mediæval Church or in the period of the Reformation. But the advantage possessed by him who comes to the Middle Ages and vithe Reformation with a thorough knowledge of ecclesiastical antiquity perhaps outweighs the defects of an account which does not everywhere rest on a complete induction. One man can really review all the sources for the history of the Ancient Church; but as regards the Middle Ages and the history of the Reformation, even one more familiar with them than the author of this Text-Book will prove his wisdom simply by the most judicious choice of the material which he studies independently. The exposition of Augustine, Anselm, Thomas, the Council of Trent, Socinianism, and Luther rests throughout on independent studies. This is also true of other parts; but sections will be found in which the study is not advanced, but only its present position is reproduced.

I have spent a great deal of time on the preparation of a Table of Contents. I trust it will assist the use of the book. But for the book itself, I wish that it may contribute to break down the power that really dictates in the theological conflicts of the present, viz., ignorance. We cannot, indeed, think too humbly of the importance of theological science for Christian piety; but we cannot rate it too highly as regards the development of the Evangelical Church, our relation to the past, and the preparation of that better future in which, as once in the second century, the Christian faith will again be the comfort of the weak and the strength of the strong.

Berlin, 24th Dec., 1889.


Since this volume first appeared, there may have been published about fifty monographs and more extensive treatises on the Western History of Dogma, most of which have referred to it. I have tried to make use of them for the new Edition, and I also proposed to make other additions and corrections on the viioriginal form of the book, without finding myself compelled to carry out changes in essential points. I have thankfully studied the investigations, published by Dilthey in the Archiv f. Gesch. d. Philosophie, Vols. V. to VII., on the reformed system of doctrine in its relation to Humanism and the “natural system.” He has examined the reformed conceptions in connections in which they have hitherto been seldom or only superficially considered, and he has, therefore, essentially advanced a knowledge of them.

Among the many objections to the plan of this work, and the critical standards observed in it, four are especially of importance. It has been said that in this account the development of Dogma is judged by the gospel, but that we do not learn clearly what the gospel is. It has further been maintained that the History of Dogma is depicted as a pathological process. Again, the plan of Book III., headed “The threefold outcome of Dogma,” has been attacked. And, lastly, it has been declared that, although the account marks a scientific advance, it yet bears too subjective or churchly a stamp, and does not correspond to the strictest claims of historical objectivity.

As to the first objection, I believe that I have given a fuller account of my conception of the gospel than has been yet done in any text-book of the History of Dogma. But I gladly give here a brief epitome of my view. The preaching of Jesus contains three great main sections. Firstly, the message of the approaching Kingdom of God or of the future salvation; secondly, the proclamation of the actual state of things and of thoughts, such as are given in Matthew VI. 25-34; VII. 7-11; IX. 2; X. 28-33, etc. (see Vol. I., p. 74 f.); thirdly, the new righteousness (the new law). The middle section connected with Matthew XI. 25-30, and therefore also combined with the primitive Christian testimony regarding Jesus as Lord and Saviour, I hold, from strictly historical and objective grounds, to be the true main section, the gospel in the gospel, and to it I subordinate the other portions. That Christ himself expressed it under cover of Eschatology I know as well (Vol. I., p. 58) as the antiquarians who have so keen an eye for the everlasting yesterday,

As to the second objection I am at a loss. After the new viiireligion had entered the Roman Empire, and had combined with it in the form of the universal Catholic Church, the History of Dogma shows an advance and a rise in all its main features down to the Reformation. I have described it in this sense from Origen to Athanasius, Augustine, Bernard, and Francis, to mystic Scholasticism and to Luther. It is to me a mystery how far the history should nevertheless have been depicted as a “process of disease.” Of course superstitions accumulated, as in every history of religion, but within this incrustation the individual ever became stronger, the sense for the gospel more active, and the feeling for what was holy and moral more refined and pure. But as regards the development from the beginnings of the evangelic message in the Empire down to the rise of the Catholic Church, I have not permitted myself to speculate how splendid it would have been if everything had happened differently from what it did. On the other hand, I grant that I have not been able to join in praising the formation of that tradition and theology which has lowered immediate religion to one that is mediated, and has burdened faith with complicated theological and philosophical formulas. Just as little could it occur to me to extol the rise of that ecclesiastical rule that chiefly means obedience, when it speaks of faith. But in this there is no “pathology”; the formations that arose overcame Gnosticism.

My critics have not convinced me that the conception followed by me in reference to the final offshoots of the History of Dogma is unhistorical. But I readily admit that the History of Dogma can also be treated as history of ecclesiastical theology, and that in this way the account can bring it down to the present time. Little is to be gained by disputing about such questions in an either-or fashion. If we regard Protestantism as a new principle which has superseded the absolute authority of Dogmas, then, in dealing with the History of Dogma, we must disregard Protestant forms of doctrine, however closely they may approximate to ancient Dogma. But if we look upon it as a particular reform of Western Catholicism, we shall have to admit its doctrinal formations into that history. Only, even in that case, we must not forget that the Evangelical Churches, tried by the ixnotion of a church which prevailed for 1300 years, are no churches. From this the rest follows of itself.

Finally, as regards the last objection, I may apply chiefly to my account a verdict recently passed by a younger fellow-worker:—“The History of Dogma of to-day is, when regarded as science, a half thing.” Certainly it is in its beginnings, and it falls far short of perfection. It must become still more circumspect and reserved; but I should fear, lest it be so purified in the crucible of this youngest adept—who meantime, however, is still a member of the numerous company of those who only give advice—that nothing of consequence would remain, or only that hollow gospel, “religion is history,” which he professes to have derived from the teaching of four great prophets, from whom he could have learnt better. We are all alike sensible of the labours and controversies which he would evade; but it is one of the surprises that are rare even in theology, that one of our number should be trying in all seriousness to divide the child between the contending mothers, and that by a method which would necessarily once more perpetuate the dispute that preceded the division. The ecclesiastics among Protestants, although they arrogate to themselves the monopoly of “Christian” theology on the title-pages of their books, will never give up the claim to history and science; they will, therefore, always feel it their duty to come to terms with the “other” theology. Nor will scientific theology ever forget that it is the conscience of the Evangelical Church, and as such has to impose demands on the Church which it serves in freedom.

Berlin, 11th July, 1897.







Expansion and Remodelling of Dogma into a Doctrine of Sin, Grace, and Means of Grace on the basis of the Church.

CHAPTER I.—Historical Situation 3-13
    Augustine the standard authority till the period of the Reformation 3
Augustine and Western Christianity 3
Augustine as Reformer of Christian Piety 4
Augustine as teacher of the Church 4
Augustine and Dogma 5
Dogma in the Middle Ages 6
The German and Roman Peoples and Dogma 6
Method of Mediæval History of Dogma 9
Division into Periods 12

CHAPTER II.—Western Christianity and Western Theologians before Augustine

  Tertullian as Founder of Western Christianity 14

Elements of Tertullian’s Christianity as elements of Western Christianity as a whole

Law (lex) 15
Juristic element 16
Syllogistic and Dialectical 17
xiiPsychological 21
Biblical and Practical 22
Eschatology and Morality 23
Cyprian’s importance 24
The Roman Church 25

Revolution under Constantine: Origen’s theology and Monachism are imported into the West

Græcised Western Theology and the Old Latin type enter into Augustine 29

The importance to Augustine of the Greek scholars Ambrose (p. 29) and Victorinus Rhetor

The influence upon him of genuine Latins 37
Of Cyprian 38
The Donatist Controversy 38
Optatus 42
Ambrose as Latin 48
Results of Pre-Augustinian development 53
Doctrine of the Symbol 53
Death of Christ 54
Soteriology 55
The Church 59
Rome and Heathenism 59

CHAPTER III.—Historical Position of Augustine as Reformer of Christian Piety

  General Characteristics 61
Augustine’s new Christian self-criticism 66
Pre-Augustinian and Augustinian Piety 67
Sin and Grace the decisive factors in Augustine 69
The changed tone of Piety 72
Criticism of this Piety 75
Four elements constituting the Catholic stamp of Piety 77
α Authority of Church for Faith 78
β God and Means of Grace 83
γ Faith, Forgiveness of Sins, and Merit 87
δ Pessimistic view of Present State 91
Concluding remarks 93

CHAPTER IV.—Historical Position of Augustine as Teacher of the Church

  The new Dogmatic Scheme 95
The connection with the Symbol 95
Discord between Symbol and Holy Scripture 98
Discord between Scripture and the principle of Salvation 99
Discord between Religion and Philosophy 100
Discord between Doctrine of Grace and Ecclesiasticism 101
Contradictions within these series of conceptions 101
Impossibility of an Augustinian system 102
Universal influence of Augustine 103
Method of presenting Augustinianism; Dogma and Augustine 104
  1. Augustine’s Doctrines of the First and Last Things l06-140

Augustine’s Theology and Psychology (“Aristoteles Alter”) were born of Piety

Dissolution of the ancient feeling 108
Psychological and Neo-Platonic view of the soul 111
The ethical views interwoven with this (God, world, soul, will, love) 113
Influence of Christian ecclesiasticism 124
[On reason, revelation, faith, and knowledge] 125
Authority of Christ and Christology 125
Final aims in the other and this world 134
Concluding observation 138

The Donatist Controversy. The Work: De civitate Dei. Doctrine of the Church and Means of Grace

Introduction 140
The Church as Doctrinal Authority 143
Unity of the Church 144
Its Holiness 146
Catholicity 149
Apostolicity and other attributes 149
Church and Kingdom of God 151
Word and Sacrament 155
The Sacraments 156
Lord’s Supper 158
Baptism 159
xivOrdination 161
The Church as societas sacramentorum 163
As a heavenly communion 164
As primeval 164
As communio fidelium 165
As numerus electorum 166
Closing observations 167
  3. The Pelagian Controversy. Doctrine of Grace and Sin 168-221
Augustine’s Doctrine before the controversy 168

General characteristics of Augustinianism and Pelagianism, as of Pelagius, Cælestius, and Julian

Origin and nature of Pelagianism 172

§ 1. The outward course of the dispute


Pelagius and Cælestius in Rome and Carthage


Events in Palestine


Events in North Africa and Rome


Condemnation in Rome; Julian of Eclanum


Final Stages


§ 2. The Pelagian Doctrine


Agreement and differences between the leaders


The chief doctrines


The separate doctrines in their degree of conformity to tradition


§ 3. The Augustinian doctrine


The doctrine of grace, predestination, redemption, and justification


Doctrine of sin, original sin, and the primitive state


Criticism of Augustinianism


Augustine’s explanation of the Symbol (Enchiridion ad Laurentium). New system of religion

Exposition of Article I. 223
Article II. 225
Article III. 228
Criticism of this exposition; old and new system of religion 234

CHAPTER V.—History of Dogma in the West down to the beginning of the Middle Ages, A.D. 430-604

    Historical position 242
xv1. Conflict between Semi-Pelagianism and Augustinianism 245-261
The monks of Hadrumetum and in South Gaul, Cassian 246
Prosper 249
De vocatione gentium 250
Liber Prædestinatus 251
Faustus of Rhegium 252
Decree de libris recipiendis 255
The Scythian monks, Fulgentius, Hormisdas 255
Cæsarius of Arles, Synods of Valencia and Orange 257
Results 260
2. Gregory the Great 262-273
General characteristics 262
Superstition, Christology, Intercessions 263
Doctrine of Sin and Grace 266
Merits, satisfactions, saints, relics, purgatory 267
Penance 269
Gregory’s position between Augustine and the Middle Ages 270
CHAPTER VI.—History of Dogma in the period of the Carlovingian Renaissance 274-331

The importance of the Carlovingian epoch in the History of Dogma and of the Church

1 a. The Adoptian Controversy 278-292
Genesis of the problem 278

Spanish affairs and the dispute in Spain. Teaching of Elipandus, Felix and Beatus is Augustinian

Dispute before the Frankish and Roman tribunals 287
Alcuin’s teaching. Influence of Greek conception 289
Connection with doctrine of the Lord’s Supper 291
Result 292
1 b. Controversy about Predestination 292-302
The monk Gottschalk 293
Rabanus and Ratrainnus, his opponents 295

Controversy among Frankish and Lothringian Bishops. Objective untruthfulness of Gottschalk’s opponents. Synod at Chiersey

Synod at Valencia 299
Synods at Savonieres and Toucy 300

The theory consonant to Church practice holds the field under Augustinian formulas

2. Dispute as to the filioque and about images 302-308
The filioque, the Franks and the Pope 302
Attitude of the Franks to images 305

The libri Carolini and the self-consciousness of the Frankish Church. Synod of Frankfurt

Later history of images 308

Development of theory and practice of the Mass (the Dogma of the Lord’s Supper) and of Penance


The three causes of the development of theory of the Lord’s Supper in the West

The controversy defartu virgins 310
The Augustinian conception promoted by Beda checked by Alcuin 311
Paschasius Radbertus 312
Rabanus and Ratramnus 318
Ideas of the Mass as part of the institution of expiation 322
Practice of Confession:  

α The notion of God at its root


β Development of institution of penance from Roman Church and German premises, Influence of Monachism


γ Defective theory


δ Growth of satisfactions and indulgences

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