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The Finnish Luther: Reflections from a Buddhist Perspective

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Abstract:  The author argues that the debate regarding the “Finnish Luther” can be illuminated by the rhetoric of merit of Shinran, the founder of the Jōdoshinshū sect of Japanese Buddhism. Tuomo Mannermaa and his colleagues have argued that Luther's doctrine of justification has more in common with the Orthodox doctrine of theosis than the theology of forensic justification of subsequent Lutheran theologians. In faith, the sinner undergoes an existential transformation due to the ontological indwelling of Christ. Both Luther and Shinran begin with similar starting points: the unbridgeable chasm between the sinner and the savior. In Shinran, this sets in motion an affirmation of the existential transformation of the sinner. Shinran's Buddhist rhetoric of merit, therefore, lends plausibility to this interpretation of Luther.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations:  (Orbis), in addition to numerous articles. He has lectured in Japan, China, India, Iran, and Europe.

Publication date: September 1, 2011

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