Løgstrup and Luther

I came back recently from a conference of the European Reformation Research Group, at which I gave a paper on Løgstrup and Luther. Here is the abstract:

This paper will consider the impact of Luther on twentieth century theology and philosophy in Denmark. In particular, it will focus on an important Lutheran strand in the thinking of K. E. Løgstrup (1905-81). It will be shown how Løgstrup takes up Luther’s conception of sin as ‘incurvatus in se’, and treats this as fundamental to the wickedness of the self. However, while for Luther the theological conception of grace is required if this turning in on the self is to be overcome, it will be argued that Løgstrup seeks for a more secular conception, whereby this in-turning is resolved by the ethical encounter with the other person. Thus, Løgstrup argues, ‘we can only be freed by our fellow man’. The paper will consider whether this secularised conception of grace can be made cogent, or whether something closer to Luther’s original picture is required.

I will be developing this paper further at a forthcoming conference at Westminster Abbey and at Aarhus.

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