Aarne Siirala


Personal knowing is shaped by the uniqueness of the person; it is biographical and particular. Luther claimed that experience alone makes a theologian, 'sola experientia facit theologum'. 'A theologian is born by living, nay dying and being damned, not by thinking, reading, or speculating'. Anyone familiar with Luther's theology knows, however, that he did not always remain faithful to this view. He often claims verifiable objectivity and universal authority for his theological abstractions. These reflections respond to those trends in Luther's theology and in the Lutheran heritage, which failed to express the personal and communal dynamics of faith. The focus of this presentation is on Luther's search for personal, biographical knowing. [excerpt].