Definitions – Latin maxims in theology

amor Dei

the love of God

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analogia entis

the analogy of being

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analogia fidei

the analogy of faith

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analogia Scripturae

analogy of Scripture

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aseitas

aseity, self-existence Referring to the nature of God.

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atreptos kai asynchytos

without change and without confusion. The divine and human natures of Christ are united without change or confusion in the person of Christ.

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auctor primarius Scripturae sacrae

primary author of sacred Scripture,i.e. God.

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communio fidelium

communion of the faithful. (the Church).

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communio sanctorum

communion of the saints (the Church).

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consensus ecclesiae catholicae

consensus of the church catholic.

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coram Deo

before God.

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corpus Christi

the body of Christ.

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creatio ex nihilo

creation out of nothing.

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Crede, ut intelligas

Believe in order that you may understand (Augustine made use of this idea and believed he saw this in Isaiah 7:9)

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Credo, ut intelligam

I believe in order that I might understand (Anselm in his Proslogion, echoing Augustine, above).

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credena

things to be believed (agenda: things to be done)

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Deus propter Christum absolvens sive iustificans

God absolving or justifying on account of Christ.

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ecclesia

church

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Extra ecclesiam non sit salus

Outside of the church there may be no salvaion.

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gratia

grace (in Greek: charis)

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heteroousios

of a different essence. In reference to the Son’s nature in relation to the Father’s nature.

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homoiousios

of like substance. Note: not same substance, but like substance.

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homoousious

of the same substance.

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Hie est sanguis meus

This is my blood.

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Hoc est corpus meum

This is my body.

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homo peccator

man the sinner (as in man after the fall)

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hypostasis

person (roughly). Often used as the equivalent to the Latin “persona” (person). a key term in the development of Trinitarian theology.

Latin theologians spoke of “one substantia, three persona” (substance/persons)

Greek theologians spoke of “one ousia, three hypostases” (essence/persons)

The difficulty here is that when Latin theologians would read the Greek term hypostasis, it could denote something like essence or substance. Thus, to the Latin ear, it sounded like the Greek theologians were saying something like “one essence, three essences/substances,” which sounded tritheistic.

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imago Dei

image of God (see Gen. 1:26ff.)

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imitatio Christi

imitation of Christ

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imputatio

imputation, an act of attribution. As in, the (1) imputation of sin to human beings, or (2) the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to believers. “Imputation” may be a new word. “to impute” means basically “to reckon,” as in “to reckon” someone righteous.

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instrumentum coniunctum

instrument of justification. i.e. faith.

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intercessio Christi

the intercession of Christ. This “priestly work of Christ refers to his prayers for believers, and does not include his “priestly work of offering himself on the cross as a satisfaction for sins.

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iustificatio

justification, a counting or reckoning righteous. Muller: “that actuality, or act, of grace (actus gratiae) in which God forgives individuals, counts them as righteous on the basis of their faith in Christ, and accepts them as his own reconciled children, apart from all human merit and solely because of the superabundant merit of Christ’s work of satisfaction.”

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iustitia imputata

imputed righteousness

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kenosis

emptying. Specifically, the self-emptying of Christ in his incarnation. (e.g. Phil 2:5-11).

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lex Mosaica

Mosaic law

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Lex orandi est lex credeni et agendi

The rule of prayer is the rule of belief and of action.

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liber naturae, liber gratiae, liber gloriae

the book of nature, the book of grace, the book of glory. As in three sources of knowledge of God: through nature, through Scripture, and through the final vision of God (at the end of one’s earthly life)

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locus classicus

literaly, classic place, as in a standard or classic passage.

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Logos classicus

the Word/Logos without the flesh

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massa perditionis

mass/lump of perdition

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meritum Christi

the merit of Chirst

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munus triplex

threefold office. Refers to the threefold work of Christ as prophet, priest, and king.

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non posse non peccare

not able not to sin This terminology can be traced to Augustine. According to Augustine. being “not able not to sin” is the condition of fallen/sinful humanity. In the final state of glory humanity will be non posse peccare (not able to sin). Adam and Eve before the Fall were posse non pecarre (able not to sin) as well as posse peccare (able to sin).

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norma normans non normata

the norm that norms that cannot be normed

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obedientia Christi

obedience of Christ. Often theologians speak of (1) the obedientia activa (active obedience) of Christ–his perfect life, including keeping all of God’s commands, and (2) the obedientia passiva (passive obedience) of Christ–allowing himself to be sacrificed for sin.

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omne pecatum in Deum committitur

All sin is committed against God.

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Opera Trinitatis ad extra sunt indivisa

The external works of the Trinity are undivided. That is, since God is one, whatever “external works” the Trinity performs (e.g. creation, redemption) are ultimately an act of all three persons, even if one person is more dominant in a certain work. For example, it is the Son who became incarnate, but this work is nonetheless “willed and affected by Father, Son, and Spirit,” (Muller, 213).

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Oratio, meditatio, tentatio facuint theologum

Prayer, meditation, and trial make the theologian. Martin Luther

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ordi salutis

order of salvation. “a term applied to the temproal order of causes and effects through which the salvation of the sinner is accomplieshed; vis. calling, regeneration, adoption, conversion, faith, justification, renovation, sanctification, and perseverance.”

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peccatum oringale

original sin

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perseverantia sanctorum

preserverance of the saints

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prima causa

the first cause i.e. God as the cause of all things

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principia theolgiae

fundamental principles or foundations of theology

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privatio boni

privation of good. A term/concept particularly developed by Augustine to deal with the “problem of evil” Since God created all things good, Augustine argued that evil is ultimately a privatio boni, a privation of good.

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prosopon

person. Another term which was key in the development of the doctrine of the Trinity. Although God is one ousia (essence), each member is a distinct prosopon (person).

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protevangelium

the protogospel, or “first gospel.” In Reformed theology, the idea that in Gen 3:15, where God in speaking to the serpent issues the first promise of the Gospel when he says, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” It is argued that in the cross Christ bruises/crushes Satan’s head, while Satan “bruises” Jesus.

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rationes aeternae

eternal/divine ideas. Eternal ideas in the mind of God which, especially according to Augustine, are available to humans through illumination. These eternal/divine ideas are the ground of human certainty.

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recapitulatio

recapitulation. Latin equivalent of Greek “anakephalaiosis.” Roughly speaking/translating, one might say, “putting under the head again” (The Latin “cap” and the Greek “kephalos” mean “head”). The theological idea here is that of Adam and Christ as “heads”: Adam as “head” of all humanity–and in his sin bringing sin to all mankind, and Christ as “head of the Church/believers–and if one is in Christ, Christ is now their proper head, which removes them from the lostness of having Adam as one’s only head.

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regnum Christi

the rule/kingdom of Christ.

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regula fidei

rule of faith. In the early Church, the “rule of faith” was a creedal formula (rooted in the baptismal formula), used to insure proper orthodoxy, and to define true Christianity over against the Gnostics. Later the “rule of faith” was equated with Scripture itself.

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revelatio generalis, revelatio specialis

general revelation, special revelation

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Salus extra ecclesiam non est

[There is] no salvation outside of the Church. From Cyprian of Carthage.

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Sanctus Spritus

Holy Spirit

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satifactio vicaria

vicarious satisfaction. i.e. Christ’s work o the cross in which he suffered vicariously–for others, and satisfied the justice of God.

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Scripturea sacra locuta, res decisa est

Holy Scripture has spoken, the issue is decided.

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Scripturam ex Scriptura explicandam esse

Scripture is to be explained from Scripture.

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sessio Christi

the sitting or act of sitting of Christ.i.e. at the right hand of the Father. After Christ rose from the dead, he ascended to the Father, where he now sits at the right hand of the Father, interceding for the saints.

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Si homo non periisset, Filius hominis non venisset

If man had not perished, the Son of man would not have come. From Augustine. The theological concern behind this maxim is to maintain the necessary connection between the Incarnation and the need for an atoning work on the cross. i.e. Christ came because of sin, and there would have been no need for the appearance/incarnation of Christ.

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simul iustus et peccator

at once righteous/just and a sinner.From Luther

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sola Christus

by Christ alone. Christ is the only ground of our salvation.

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sola fide

by faith alone. The only means by which a sinner is reckoned righteous is by faith alone, apart from works.

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sola gratia

by grace alone. “grace alone is the ground of salvation and that individuals are justified by grace alone through faith.” Salvation is rooted in grace of God alone, and is not rooted in any merit in the sinner.

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sola Scriptura

Scripture alone. Scripture is the sole infallible norm of doctrine.

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soli Deo gloria

glory to God alone.

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sub specie aeternitatis

under the aspect or form of eternity.i.e. seeing something from the viewpoint of eternity, or in a sense, from God’s “point of view.”

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substantia

substance. “the underlying ‘stuff,’ material or spiritual, of things; that which exists.”

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summum bonum

the highest good. i.e. God.

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testumonuim internam Spiritus Sancti

internal testimony of the Holy Spirit..“The inward work of the Spirit that testifies to faith concerning the truth of Scripture.” Seen in John Calvin and later reformers.

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theologia naturalis

natural theology

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theologia supernaturalis sive revelata

supernatural or revealed theology.

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theologia gloriae

the theology of glory. Versus theology crucis: the theology of the cross. Luther contended that the rationalistice speculation of theologians into the glorious attributes of God (theologia gloriae) was misguided, and that attention should be placed on how God has revealed himself in the cross (theologia crucis).

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Trinitas

Trinity. Tertullia (c.220) established this term.

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unio cum Christo

union with Christ. When someone believes, they are united with Christ.

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Verbum Dei

Word of God. Could refer to (1) the eternal Word of God (the Second Person of the Trinity), (2) the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, (3) the inspire Word of Holy Scripture, (4) the internal Word of the Holy Spirit.

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veritas

truth

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verus Deus/verus homo

true God/true man. Christ as fully God, fully man.

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vivificatio

vivification, quickening. i.e. “the spiritual awakening that is described in Scripture as putting on the new man (Col. 3:9-10).”

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vocatio

calling

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voluntas Dei

will of God

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voluntas revelata Dei

the revealed will of God. i.e. what God has revealed concerning human obedience, human salvation in the law and the gospel. Distinguished from voluntas abscondita Dei, the hidden will of God, which is “the ultimate divine purpose underlying the voluntas revelata.”

Confessions, revelations and discourse welcome here

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