1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Dogma

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DOGMA (Gr. δόγμα, from δόκεῖν, to seem; literally “that which seems, sc. good or true or useful” to any one), a term which has passed through many senses both general and technical, and is now chiefly used in theology. In Greek constitutional history the decision of—“that which seemed good to”—an assembly was called a δόγμα (i.e. decree), and throughout its history the word has generally implied a decision, or body of decisions or opinions, officially adopted and regarded by those who make it as possessing authority. As a technical term in theology, it has various shades of meaning according to the degree of authority which is postulated and the nature of the evidence on which it is based. Thus it has been used broadly of all theological doctrines, and also in a narrower sense of fundamental beliefs only, confession of which is insisted upon as a term of church communion. By sceptics the word “dogma” is generally used contemptuously, for an opinion grounded not upon evidence but upon assertion; and this attitude is so far justified from the purely empirical standpoint that theological dogmas deal with subjects which, by their very nature, are not susceptible of demonstration by the methods of physical science. Again, popularly, an unproved ex cathedra statement of any kind is called “dogmatic,” with perhaps an insinuation that it is being obstinately adhered to without, or beyond, or in defiance of, obtainable evidence. But again to “dogmatize” may mean simply to assert, instead of hesitating or suspending judgment.

Three pre-Christian or extra-ecclesiastical usages are recorded by a half-heretical churchman, Marcellus of Ancyra (in Eusebius of Caesarea, Contra Marcellum, i. 4);—words which Adolf Harnack has placed on the title-page of his larger History of Dogma. First there is a medical usage—empirical versus dogmatic medicine. On this old-world technical controversy we need not dwell. Secondly, there is a philosophical usage (e.g. Cicero, Seneca and others). First principles—speculative or practical—are δόγματα, Lat. decreta, scita or placita. The strongest statement regarding the inviolability of such dogmas is in Cicero’s Academics, ii. chap. 9. But we have to remember that this is dialogue; that the speaker, Hortensius, represents a more dogmatic type of opinion than Cicero’s own; that it is the maxims of “wisdom,” not of any special school, which are described as unchangeable.[1] Marcellus’s third type of dogma is legal or political, the decree (says Marcellus) of the legislative assembly; but it might also be of the emperor (Luke ii. 1; Acts xvii. 7), or of a church gathering (Acts xvi. 4), or of Old Testament law; so especially in Philo the Jew, and in Flavius Josephus (even perhaps at Contra Apionem, i. 8).

While the New Testament knows only the political usage of δόγμα, the Greek Fathers follow one which is more in keeping with philosophical tradition. With few and early exceptions, such as we may note in the Epistle of Greek Fathers. Barnabas, chap, i., they confine the word to doctrine. Either dogma (sing.) or dogmas (plural) may be spoken of. Actually, as J. B. Lightfoot points out, the best Greek commentators among the Fathers are so dominated by this new usage, that they misinterpret Col. ii. 14 (20) and Eph. ii. 15 of Christian doctrines. Along with this goes the fundamental Catholic view of “dogmatic faith”—the expression is as old as Cyril of Jerusalem (died 386), if not older—according to which it consists in obedient assent to the voice of authority. All doctrines are “dogmas” to the Greek Fathers, not simply the central teachings of their system, as with the philosophers. Very noteworthy is Cyril of Jerusalem’s fourth Catechetical Discourse on the “Ten Dogmas” (we might render “Ten Great Doctrines”). The figure ten may be taken from the commandments,[2] as in Gregory Nazianzen’s later, and more incidental, decalogue of belief. In any case, Cyril marks out the way for the subsequent division of the creeds into twelve or fourteen “articles” or heads of belief (see below). In saying that all doctrines rank as “dogmas” during the Greek period, we ought to add a qualification. They do so, in so far as they are held to be of authority. Clement of Alexandria or Origen would not call his speculations dogmas. Yet these audacious spirits start from a basis of authority, and insist upon ὀρθοτομία δογμάτων (Stromata, vii. 763). The “dogma” or “dogmas” of heretics are frequently mentioned by orthodox writers. There can be no question of confining even orthodox “dogma” to conciliar decisions in an age when definition is so incomplete; still, we do meet with references to the Nicene “dogma” (e.g. letter in Theodoret, H.E. ii. 15). But dogma is not yet technical for what is Christian or churchly. The word which emerges in Greek for that purpose is “orthodox,” “orthodoxy,” as in John of Damascus (d. 760), or as in the official title still claimed by the Holy Orthodox Church of the East.

Latin Fathers borrow the word “dogma,” though sparingly, and employ it in all the Greek usages. Something novel is added by Jerome’s phrase (in the De viris illustribus, cc. xxxi., cix.) ecclesiastica dogmata,—found again in the Latin Fathers. title of the treatise now generally ascribed to Gennadius, and occurring once more in another writer of southern Gaul.[3] The phrase is a serviceable one, contrasting church teachings with heretical “dogmas.” But the main Latin use of dogma in patristic times is found in Vincent of Lerins (d. c. 450) in his brief but influential Commonitorium; again from southern Gaul. Medieval usages. Thereafter the usage gradually drops. In Thomas Aquinas[4] it does not once occur. On the other hand Thomas has his own technical name—doctrine (sing.) or rather sacra doctrina; and this expression holds its ground, though the usage of Abelard, Theologia, was destined to an even more important place (see Theology). Another medieval usage of importance is the division of the creed into twelve articles corresponding to the number of the apostles, who, according to a legend already found in Rufinus (d. 410) On the Apostles’ Creed, composed that formula by contributing each a single sentence. The division is found applied also to the “Nicene-Constantinopolitan” creed, both in East and West. Sometimes fourteen articles are detected (in either creed), 7 + 7; the sacred number twice over.[5]

The Reformation set up a new idea of faith, or recurred to one of the oldest of all. Faith was not belief in authoritative teachings; it was trust in the promises of God and in Jesus Christ as their fulfilment. But the Protestant view The Reformation. was apt to seem intangible, and the influence of the learned tradition was strong—for a time, indeed, doctrine was more cultivated among Protestants than in the Church of Rome. The result was a structure which is well named the Protestant scholasticism. The new view of faith is bracketed with the old, and practically neutralized by it; as was already the case in Melanchthon’s theological definitions in the 1552-1553 edition of Loci Communes, also printed in other works by him. This brings back again the Catholic view of “dogmatic faith.”

The word “article” for a time holds the field. Pope Leo X. in 1520 condemns among other propositions of Martin Luther’s the twenty-seventh—”Certum est in manu Papae, aut ecclesiae, prorsus non esse statuere articulos fidei (imo nec Article. leges morum seu bonorum operum).” The Augsburg Confession (1530) is divided into numerous “articles,” while Luther’s Lesser Catechism gathers Christianity under three “articles”—Creation, Redemption, Sanctification. Where moderns would speak of the “doctrine” of this or that, Lutherans especially, but also churchmen of other communions, wrote upon this or that “article.” Nikolaus Hunnius (διάσκεψις, &c., 1626), A. Quenstedt (c. 1685) and others—in a controversial interest, to blacken the Calvinists still more—distinguished which articles were “fundamental.” Modern Lutheranism (G. Thomasius, Dogmengeschichte, 1874-1876, influenced by T. F. D. Kliefoth 1839) speaks rather of “central dogmas”;[6] and the Roman Catholic J. B. Heinrich[7] is willing to speak of “fundamental dogmas,” those which must be known for salvation; those for which “implicit” faith does not suffice. When Addis and Arnold’s Catholic Dictionary denounces the conception of central dogmas, what they desire to exclude as uncatholic is the belief that dogmas lying upon the circumference may be questioned or perhaps denied.[8] This suggests the great ambiguity both in Roman Catholic and Protestant writers of the 17th century as to the relation between “articles” and “dogmas.” Many writers in each communion felt that an “article” is a higher thing. Others, in each communion, made the identification absolute. Perhaps the Roman theologians of that age were more concerned than the Protestants to draw a line round necessary truths. This attempt was made by Dr Henry Holden (Div. Fidei Analysis, 1652) in connexion with the word “articles.[9]

Another term to be considered is decretum, the old Latin equivalent for δόγμα. Another of Luther’s assertions branded by the pope in 1520—the twenty-ninth—claimed liberty judicandi conciliorum decreta. On the other Decreta. hand, the Augsburg Confession protests its loyalty to the decretum of Nice. What Protestantism saw in the distant past, Trent naturally recognized in the present. Every one of its own findings is a decretum—except five, among the sacramental chapters, each of which is headed doctrina. Holden again quotes the (indefinite) decretum of the Council of Basel regarding the Immaculate Conception.

The word “dogma” was however to revive, and, with more or less success, to differentiate itself from “doctrine.” Early writers of the modern period, Protestant or Roman Catholic, use it frequently of heretics; thus the Augsburg Confession protests Dogmata in revived use. that the Protestants have carefully avoided nova dogmata. A Roman Catholic writer, Jan Driedo of Louvain, revives the reference to Ecclesiastica dogmata—De ecclesiasticis scripturis et dogmatibus (1533)—using the word, though not exclusively yet emphatically, of teachings extra canonem scripturae sacrae. Philip Melanchthon’s preface to his Loci communes (ed. 1535) protests that he has not expressed himself de ullo dogmate—on any point of doctrine—without careful consideration of what has been said before him. Richard Hooker (d. 1600) in bk. viii. of Eccl. Polity (pub. 1648 or perhaps 1651) quotes Thomas Stapleton, the Roman Catholic (De principiis doctrinalibus fidei, 1579), on the royal right or duty to enforce “dogmas,” and adds a gloss of his own—“very articles of the faith,”—a surprising and probably isolated usage. Many identified Dogmas and Articles by levelling down or broadening out; but Hooker levels up. The statement of the Council of Trent (1545-1562) may be quoted here. The Council will rely chiefly upon Scriptures[10] in reformandis dogmatibus et instaurandis in ecclesia moribus; the Roman reply to the two sets of articuli of Augsburg, and the Roman counterpart to the (later) Protestant assertion that the Bible[11] is the “only rule of faith and practice.” At Trent, therefore, once more, dogma means doctrine. It still means “doctrine” when the collected decreta of Trent bear on their title-page (1564) reference to an Index dogmatum et reformationis; but here “dogma” is already verging towards the narrower and more precise sense—truth defined by church authority. In other words, it is already edging away from its identification with (all or any) doctrines. On the Protestant side the identity is still clear in the Lutheran Formula of Concord (1577). This creed formulates its relation to Scripture over and over, as the one regula by which all dogmata are to be tried. That characteristic Protestant assertion had been still earlier pushed to the front in “Reformed” creeds, e.g. the First Helvetic Confession (1536), and more notably in the Second (1566).

Protestant creeds had clearly affirmed that nothing possessed authority which was not in Scripture: in a short time, Protestant theologians—following an impulse common to all Christian communions—define more sharply the Definition in Protestant scholasticism. identity of what is authoritative with the letter of Scripture, and call these entire contents dogmas. Here then, under Protestant scholasticism (Lutheran and Reformed), we have the first perfectly definite conception of dogma, and the most definite ever reached. Dogma is the whole text of the Bible, doctrinal, historical, scientific, or what not. Thus dogma is revealed and is infallibly true. Dogma is doctrine, viz. that body of doctrines and related facts which God Himself has propounded for dogmatic faith. Every true dogma, says Johann Gerhard[12]—the most representative figure of Lutheran scholasticism—occurs in plain terms somewhere in Scripture.

Over against these sweeping assumptions and deductions, the Roman Catholic Church had to build up its own statement of the basis of belief. Its early controversialists—like Driedo or Cardinal Bellarmine—meet assertions such as Roman Catholic replies. Gerhard’s with a flat denial. The great dogmas are not, literally and verbally, in the Bible. Along with the Bible we must accept unwritten traditions; the Council of Trent makes this perfectly clear. But not any and every tradition; only such as the church stamps with her approval. And that raises the question whether the church has not a further part to play? A. M. Fairbairn holds that D. Petavius’s great work De theologicis dogmatibus (especially the 1st vol., 1644) made the word “dogma” current for doctrines which were authoritative as formulated by the church. We must keep in mind, however, that the question is not simply one as to the meaning of a word. The equation holds, more firmly than ever; dogma=the contents of faith. It has to be established on the Roman Catholic side that faith (or dogma; the two are inseparable) deals with divine truths historically revealed long ago but now administered with authority, according to God’s will, by the church. The Englishman Henry Holden (see above), the Frenchman Veronius (François Veron, S.J., 1575-1649) in his Règle générale de la foy catholique (1652), the German Philipp Neri Chrismann,[13] in his Regula fidei catholicae et collectio dogmatum credendorum (1792),[14] all work at this task. Dogmas or articles of faith (taken as synonymous) depend upon revelation in Scripture or tradition, as confirmed by the church whether acting in general councils or through the pope (in some undefined way; Holden)—in general councils or by universal consent (Chrismann; of bishops? the definite Gallican theory?). Veronius is willing to waive the difficult point of church infallibility as the Council of Trent did not define it. Holden insists strongly upon infallibility. Church traditions are infallible; and church dogmas reach us (from the original revelation) through an infallible medium, the Catholic Church, which the Protestants sadly lack. In Chrismann the word “dogma” has superseded the word “article”; Holden uses both, though “article” has the preponderance. All three writers seek to draw a sharp line round what is “of faith.” Hence in Chrismann (who is in other respects the most definite of the three) we have a view of dogma almost as clear-cut as that of the Protestant schoolmen. Dogmas are revealed; dogmas are infallible; the church is infallible on dogmas (for this statement he cites Muratori) and on nothing else.

This whole period of theology, Protestant and Roman Catholic, is statical. Men are defining and protecting the positions they have inherited; they do not think of progress. And yet the Roman Catholic Church had upon its hands one great unsettled question—the thesis of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin. This became the standing type of an assertion which, while favoured by the church and on the very verge of dogma, was yet not a dogma[15]—till the definition came through Pius IX. in 1854. Here then the frontier of dogma had unquestionably moved forward. Its conception must become dynamic; there was need of some theory of development like J. H. Newman’s (1845). It does not happen, however, that the papal definition of 1854 employs the word “dogma”; that honour was withheld from the word until the Vatican decrees of 1870 affirmed the personal infallibility of the pope as divinitus revelatum dogma. With this, one line of tendency in Roman Catholic doctrine reached its climax; the pope and the council use “dogma” in a distinctive sense for what is definitely formulated by authority. But there is another line of tendency. The same council defines not indeed dogma but faith—inseparable from dogma—as[16] (1) revealed, (a) in Scripture or (b) in unwritten tradition, and (2) taught by the church, (a) in formulated decrees, or (b) in her ordinary magisterium. This is a correction of Chrismann. Not only does the correction involve the substitution of papal authority for a universal consent of “pastors” and “the faithful”; it also deliberately ranks the unformulated teachings of the church on points of doctrine as no less de fide than those formulated. This amounts to a serious warning against trying to draw a definite line round dogma. The modern Roman Catholic temper must be eager to believe and eager to submit. New dogmas have been precipitated more than once during the 19th century; there may still be others held in solution in the church’s teaching. If so, these are likely one day to crystallize into full dogmas; and, even while not yet “declared,” they have the same claim upon faith.

Thus there seems to be a measure of uncertainty as to what the Church of Rome now calls “dogma”—only in part relieved by the distinction between “dogmas strictly” and mere “dogmatic truths.” Again, the assertion that the church is infallible upon some questions, not belonging to the area of revelation (properly so-called in Roman Catholic theology), destroys the identification of “dogmas” with “infallible certainties” which we noted both in the Protestant schoolmen and in Chrismann. The identification of dogma with revelation remains, with another distinction in support of it, between “material dogmas” (all scriptural or traditional truth) and “formal” or ecclesiastically formulated dogmas.[17] On the other hand, there is absolute certainty on a point long disputed. Questions about church authority are henceforth questions about the pope’s authority. What he calls heresy, under the sanction of excommunication or that more formal excommunication known as anathema, is heresy. What he finds it necessary to condemn even in milder terms as bad doctrine is infallibily condemned; that is certain, Roman Catholic theologians tell us, though not yet de fide.

Finally we have to glance at a new list of definitions which perhaps in some cases seek more or less to formulate modern Protestant ideas, but which in general represent rather the world of disinterested historical scholarship. That world of the learned offers us non-dogmatic definitions, drawn up from the outside; definitions which do not share the root assumptions either of Catholicism or of post-Reformation Protestant orthodoxy. It might have been best to surrender the term “dogma” to the dogmatists; but few scholars have consented to do so.

1. We may brush aside the view[18] for which J. C. Döderlein, J. A. A. Tittmann, and more recently C. F. A. Kahnis are quoted. According to this definition, “dogma” means the opinion of some individual theologian of distinction. That might be a conceivable development of usage. It has been said that persons who dislike authority often show great devotion to “authorities”; and the word dogma might make a similar transition. But, in its case, such a usage would constitute a violent break with the past.

2. Though there is no formal definition in the passage, it is worth recording that, towards the end of his Chief End of Revelation (1881), A. B. Bruce sharply contrasts “dogmas of theology” with “doctrines of faith.”[19] While he manifests no wholesale dislike to doctrine, such as is seen in the Broad Church school, Bruce inverts the Catholic estimate. Dogma stands lowest, not highest. It seems hardly better than a caput mortuum, out of relation to the original faith or the original facts that are held to have given it birth. There is more than a touch of Matthew Arnold in this; though, while Arnold held nothing in religious experience beyond morality to be objectively genuine, Bruce believed in God’s “gracious” purpose.[20]

3. Much more like Chrismann’s view is the “generally accepted position” among Protestant scholars, as its leading representative to-day, F. Loofs, has called it;[21] the doctrine enforced within any one church community is dogma. This definition is significant. It means that historians recognize the peculiar importance of those beliefs which are constitutive of church agreement; and it finds some support from the philosophical and political associations of ancient “dogma.” Also Roman Catholic writers could accept the definition in so far as their own church’s authoritative teachings are concerned. But can a historian separate the opinions which rose to authority in the church from the other opinions which succumbed? Or the accepted modifications of a theory from those which were rejected? Again, can we substitute church authority for that which is always the background of “dogma” as interpreted from inside—divine authority?[22] Or, again, can we say definitely which doctrines are “enforced” in Protestant communions and so are “dogmas”? It has even been asserted by A. Schweizer (Christliche Glaubenslehre nach prot. Grundsätzen, 1863-1872) that Protestantism ought not to speak of dogmas at all, except as things of its imperfect past.[23] And historically it seems plain that—since the age of Protestant scholasticism—there has been nothing in Protestant church life to which the name “dogma” can be assigned, without dropping a good deal of its original connotation. Dogma is no longer[24] held to be of immediate divine authority. Hence Catholic, and scientific or historical, definitions of dogma are on different planes. They never properly meet.[25]

4. A. Harnack varies in his usage. He is not prepared to exclude the great medieval pronouncements, or the modern Roman Catholic definitions, from the list of dogmas; but on the whole he prefers to keep in view “one historical species”—Loofs suggests that he ought perhaps rather to say one individual type—that greatest group of Christian dogmas which “was created by the Greek spirit upon the soil of the gospel” (Hist. of Dogma, Eng. tr., vol. i. pp. 17, 21, 22). Thus Harnack agrees with Catholic theologians in holding that, in the fullest sense, there is no dogma except the Catholic. He differs, of course, in holding dogma to be obsolete now. While Protestants, he thinks, have undermined it by a deeper conception of faith,[26] Roman Catholics have come to attach more value to obedience and “implicit belief” than to knowledge; and even the Eastern Church lives to-day by the cultus more than by the vision of supernatural truth. Again, Harnack gravely differs from Catholic dogmatists in assigning a historical origin to what in their view is essentially divine—supernatural in origin, supernatural even in its declaration by the church. If they do not deny that Greek philosophy has entered into Christian doctrine, they consider it a colourless medium used in fixing the contents of revelation. In all this, Harnack speaks from a point of view of his own. He is no friend of Catholicism or of dogma. Perhaps his detachment makes for clearness of thought; Loofs’s friendliness towards dogma, but in a much humbler sense than the Catholic, involves the risk of confusion.

Both Loofs and Harnack contrast with “dogma” the work of individual thinkers, calling the latter “theology.” Hence they and other authorities wish to see “History of Dogma” supplemented by “Histories of Theology.” Our usual English phrase “History of Doctrine” ignores that distinction.

5. A place must be made for the definition proposed by a philosopher, J. M. E. McTaggart. In Some Dogmas of Religion (1906), he uses “dogma” of affirmations, whether supported by reasoning or merely asserted, if they claim “metaphysical” value, metaphysics being defined as “the systematic study of the ultimate nature of reality.” Briefly, a dogma is what claims ultimate, not relative, truth. This agrees with one feature in ordinary literary usage—the contrast between “dogmatizing” and suspending judgment, or taking refuge in conjecture. But it ignores another quality marked out in common speech—that in respect of which “dogmatism” is opposed to proof. Also it omits the political or social reference so much insisted on by Loofs and others. There are materials for misunderstanding here.

6. A very different view is implied in the symbolo-fidéisme of Athanase Sabatier and some other French Protestants: religious dogma consists of symbols in contrast to a scientific gnosis of reality. This is a radical version of the early Protestant idea of faith, and yields a theory of what in English we call “doctrine.” More precisely, it is a theory of what doctrine ought to be, or a deeper analysis of its nature; it is not a statement of what doctrine has been held to be in the past. And therefore the definition does not proceed from historical scholarship. Nor yet does it throw light upon “dogma,” if dogma is to be distinguished—somehow—from doctrine.

Literature.—Matthew Arnold’s Literature, and Dogma (1873) is important for literary usage: cf. A. B. Bruce, op. cit. Classical and early Christian usages, E. Hatch, Hibbert Lect. (1888), pp. 119, 120; J. B. Lightfoot on Colossians ii. 14 (20); W. Schmidt, Dogmatik, vol. i. (1895)—many quotations in extenso; C. Stange, Das Dogma und seine Beurteilung in der neueren Dogmengeschichte (1898)—a pamphlet protesting against what Loofs terms the “generally accepted view.” Articles in the (Roman Catholic) Kirchenlexikon of Wetzer and Welte, 2nd ed; (by Hergenröther and Kaulen), 1882-1901, Arts. “Dogmatik” (J. Köstlin), “Dogmengeschichte” (F. Loofs) in Herzog-Hauck’s Encykl. f. prot. Theol. (vol. iv., 1898). Art. “Glaubensartikel” in previous ed. (Herzog-Plitt, vol. v., 1879) by C. F. Kling and L. F. Schoeberlein. For works on the history of dogma see Theology. See also Dogmatic Theology.

(R. Ma.)


  1. Sextus Empiricus (c. a.d. 240) denounces all forms of dogmatism, even perhaps the scepticism of definite denial. Blaise Pascal and Immanuel Kant, among others, have Sextus’s grouping in mind when they oppose themselves to “dogmatism” and “scepticism” alike. A new shade of condemnation for dogmas as things merely assumed comes to be noticeable here, especially in Kant.
  2. But there is a variant reading—eleven—supported by a different arrangement.
  3. Quoted by C. H. Turner in Journal of Theol. Studies (Oct. 1906, and cf. Oct. 1905). G. Elmenhorst’s statement, that Musanus and Didymus in an earlier age wrote treatises with the name De ecclesiasticis dogmatibus, seems a plain blunder, if we compare Jerome’s Latin with Eusebius’s Greek.
  4. ”So viel uns bekannt”—J. B. Heinrich, “Dogma,” in Wetzer and Welte’s (Catholic) Kirchenlexikon.
  5. See G. Hoffmann, Fides implicita, vol. i. (1903), pp. 82, &c.; and cf. the 17th-century creed of Bishop Mogilas adopted by the whole Greek Church.
  6. A. Schweizer’s Protestant Central Dogmas (1854-1856) was an historical study of Reformed, i.e. Calvinist-Zwinglian theology.
  7. “Dogma,” &c., in Wetzer and Welte’s Kirchenlexikon.
  8. The distinction of pure and mixed articles—those of revelation and those taught in common by revelation and natural theology—reappears in modern Roman Catholic theology as a distinction between pure and mixed dogmas.
  9. Luther’s Schmalkalden Articles and the Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England should also be mentioned.
  10. That seems to be what is meant.
  11. Early Protestantism lived too much in the thought of justification to mark out the boundaries of creed with this scholastic precision.
  12. Loci communes (1610-1622), on Interpretation of Sacred Scripture, ix. 149.
  13. Three writers mentioned in Wetzer’s and Welte’s Kirchenlexikon.
  14. Also quoted as having appeared 1745, but that is an error; he quotes F. A. Blau, On the Rule of Faith (Mainz, 1780). See further the sketch of Chrismann in Allgemeine deutsche Biographie, supplement.
  15. G. Perrone, e.g. De immaculato B. V. Mariae conceptu; an dogmatico decreto definiri possit? (1847).
  16. These divisions and subdivisions are not numbered in the Decrees, as for clearness they have been numbered above.
  17. Three zones apparently (1) the church’s formal decrees, (2) the church’s general teaching, (3) points of revelation which the church may not yet have overtaken. Per contra, much that was only “implicit” in the deposit of faith has become “explicit” in dogma. (The reader must note that “implicit” is used here in a different sense from that referred to earlier in this article. Here, church dogma has explicated what was implicit in revelation. There, the unlearned accept by implication, i.e. by a general acceptance of church belief and teaching, dogmas they perhaps have never heard of. Both usages are current in Roman Catholic theology.)
  18. Or the view of D. Schenkel, that dogma is what is enforced by civil and criminal law.
  19. Cf. also preface to 2nd ed. pp. ix., x.
  20. Cf. pp. 279, 280; the undogmatic words of religious emotion are “thrown out,” not at “a cloud mistaken for a mountain,” but at a “majestic” and “veritable mountain range.”
  21. See art. “Dogmengeschichte” in Herzog-Hauck’s Realencykl. für prot. Theol. Cf. also Prof. Loofs’s Leitfaden zum Studium der Dogmengeschichte.
  22. It should be noted that Loofs does not speak merely as a historian. He places himself in a sense within the dogmatic circle by his declaration that guidance is to be expected from developments—in a “free Protestant evangelical spirit”—out of the old confessions of the Protestant churches. This belief may be called what Loofs has called Harnack’s definition of dogma—individuell berechtigt, and perhaps nur individuell. Others, who hold no less strongly to theological progress by evolution, not revolution, will hesitate to grant that the line of advance passes through the symbolical books.
  23. Cf. Dogmatic Theology, and the footnote above.
  24. Unless in certain confined circles.
  25. When Loofs declares (art. “Dogmengeschichte” in Herzog-Hauck’s Realencykl., 1898) that dogma is historically equivalent to regula fidei, he is in flat contradiction to the “dogma” of his own church as stated in the Formula of Concord. See above.
  26. Here perhaps Harnack speaks from inside his own type of religious faith; but not from inside dogma.