Body of Doctrine

Body of Doctrine

Body of Doctrine (Latin: "Corpus doctrinae") in Protestant theology of the 16th and 17th centuries is the anthology of the confessional or credal writings of a group of Christians with a common confession of faith. It was a term first used by Philipp Melanchthon, a collection of whose confessional writings was published as the "Corpus Doctrinae Philippicum" or the "Corpus Doctrinae Misnicum" (F. Bente, "Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church", St. Louis:CPH, 1921, p. 6-7). These writings were used as the normative proclamation and teaching of that group or denomination of Christians. For Lutheranism in the mid 16th century these anthologies ("corpora doctrinæ") were formulated for the various duchies and principalities of the German empire. They were the prototype of the Book of Concord, which historically is considered by Lutherans to be their definitive Body of Doctrine. However, because some of the "corpera doctrinæ" were considered to be faulty and to avoid confusion of the Book of Concord with the "Corpus doctrinæ Philippicum", the compilers of the Book of Concord deliberately refrained from using the designation "corpus doctrinæ" for it.

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