Marriage Theology Through The Protestant Reformation

1367 WordsAug 19, 20156 Pages
Marriage Theology through the Protestant Reformation The striking Christian concept of marriage theology, in which God is understood as having an allegorical and spiritual marriage with His people, showed both great change and great constancy in the face of the challenges of the Protestant Reformation. Some concepts, such as the importance of unity in conceptualizing mystical marriage, were constant characteristics of marriage theology, although varying in emphasis. Other concepts, such as mystical marriage as sacramental, were distinctly Catholic and rejected by later Protestants. By comparing the ideas of Bernard of Clairvaux and Gertrude of Helfta, monastic theologians preceding the Reformation, with the ideas of Francis Rous and Cotton Mather, Puritan theologians following the Reformation, the impact of early Protestant concerns on marriage theology will be observed. The Song of Songs was a particularly important text for Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153), a Cistercian monk who wrote often about love of various forms (Evans 1, 5-8). In his “Sermons on the Song of Songs,” Bernard explored the relationship between the soul and Christ as between the Bride and Bridegroom. First, Bernard explored what was distinctive about marriage among other human relationships: “If someone is a slave, he fears his master’s face…If he is a son, he honors his father. But she who asks for a kiss feels love…for to [Bridegroom and Bride] everything is common, nothing is the property of one and
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