2005 Conference - The Continental ReformationDeep in History

The Forerunners of the Reformation – Dr. Scott Hahn

Dr. Scott Hahn |
March 1, 2016 3 Comments

Dr. Scott Hahn, former Presbyterian pastor, journeys through the intellectual and cultural ideologies, as well as the historical figures, that led up to the Protestant Reformation. Dr. Hahn give special focus to the necessity of the papacy.

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Study Questions:

-Why must we ask ourselves if the language of Jesus is figurative or real? What are Dr. Hahn’s reflections on this idea?

-What is the importance of the “marriage metaphor” in understanding Christian theology?

-How does St. Thomas Aquinas’ musings on “freedom” help you better understand the “rules” of Christianity? How did the Via moderna affect the understanding of “freedom”?

-What difference do “intellectuals” actually make? Do you think ideas have consequences, in light of Dr. Hahn’s talk?

-In what intellectual environment did Martin Luther grow up? How do you think this affected his reformation?

-Dr. Hahn discusses the theological theory that God’s Law and Power are arbitrary, stemming from Machiavelli’s idea that “the ends justify the means.” How does this theory then portray God (“Despotic deity” vs. “Loving Father”)? What consequences could this theory have?

-Dr. Hahn described the importance of recognizing “how we think about things without thinking about them.” Did this talk open up your eyes to anything that you might have “thought of without thinking about”?

-Why is God’s “Fatherhood” important, according to Dr. Hahn? Consider one of the Protestant views on the importance of the papacy to Christianity, which Dr. Hahn lists. Did any of his reasons surprise you?


Via Antiqua: “Old Way”

Via Moderna: “Modern” or “New Way”

Marsilius of Padua: The Italian political philosopher (c. 1275-1342) who wrote Defensor pacis, which attacked many of
the arguments used to support the political and temporal authority of the papacy.

Manichaeism: A heresy that developed in the third century that was fundamentally gnostic and dualistic, positing an opposition between the realm of good (spirit) and evil (matter).

Donatism: A heresy that developed in the fourth century, which purported that only those living a blameless life belonged in the church, and, further, that the validity of any sacrament depended upon the personal worthiness of the priest administering it.

Resources mentioned:


Dr. Scott Hahn

Dr. Scott Hahn is an exceptionally popular speaker, teacher, and author, has delivered numerous talks nationally and internationally and written many books on topics related to Scripture and the Catholic faith. His talks and books including The Lamb’s Supper, Reasons to Believe, and Rome Sweet Home (co-authored with his wife, Kimberly) have been effective in helping thousands of Protestants and fallen-away Catholics to embrace or re-embrace the Catholic Faith. Some of his newest books are Many Are Called, Hope for Hard Times, The Catholic Bible Dictionary, Covenant and Communion, and Signs of Life. Scott earned his MDiv from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in 1982, and his PhD in biblical theology from Marquette University in 1995. He is currently a professor of theology and Scripture at Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he has taught since 1990. He is also the founder and president of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. Scott lives in Steubenville, Ohio, with his wife, Kimberly, and the youngest of their six children.