Thursday, September 28, 2006

Questions about the Sola's

Googling and my previous reading hasn't helped me here. Without meaning to give anyone a research assignment, I wonder whether any of my erudite readers have links or book-citations to answer the following questions:

1. History. Who first used the Sola's? What was the earliest documented use?

2. Latin -- that is, the Latin form and meaning of the Sola's. I know some Latin words and phrases, but have not studied Latin per se. You see (for instance) both solus Christus and solo Christo. What is the grammatical difference, and why are there two? Is it "Grace alone," as subject, or (as some say), "by grace alone"? That is, are some of the phrases grammatically equivalent to Greek instrumentals? Are they all nominative, do they vary?

This is background work for a sermon I have been invited and plan to preach on the Sunday before Reformation Day. Thanks in advance.


Chris said...

Sol stem

From here it looks like solo is the verb, and solus is the adjective.

Kim said...

The difference between the ending -us or -o depends on the grammatical meaning in a sentence. Whether a noun is used a subject, predicate, direct object or in prepositional phrase depends on the ending (I'm sure you already know this). The endings change depending on whether or not the noun us masculine or feminine. Adjectives, like "sola" are masculine, feminine, and neuter. I'm sure you know all this, too.

Christus is second declension masculine noun, therefore it takes a masculine adjective, solus. That is its nominative form. Its accusative form would be Solum Christum. Scriptura is feminine noun, hence sola scriptura. Solo Christo is the dative and ablative forms.

Probably more than you wanted to know, and maybe what you weren't asking, but I wanted to show off my paltry Latin capabilities.

DJP said...

No, that's part of exactly what I'm asking. Thanks. So solus Christus simply means Christ alone, and solo Christo means... what? By Christ alone, in Christ alone?

And are the others all simply nominatives?

Kim said...

The dative and the ablative endings are the same in the second declension masculine, so it could by Christ alone, for Christ alone, to Christ alone, although if memory serves me correctly, the preposition to meaning toward may have to be used with the accusative.

Fidei is feminine, gratia is feminine, and scriptura is feminine, so yes they are all in their nominative forms.

Deo is not nominative. Its nominative form is Deus, which means its masculine. It's either ablative or dative, which I don't really understand, because soli is the genitive form of the adjective and gloria is also in the nominative.

Garry Weaver said...

WOW! Kim knows everything!

Rick Potter said...

Hi Dan,

I don't know if this will help you but I found this (concerning history). I figure you were referring to the 5 Sola's but I found this interesting. If you'd like I can email you the article?


"If Evangelicals are so vigilant against any theory that would undermine the authority of Scripture, the reason is obvious: the stakes for them are high, because of the Sola Scriptura principle. Although it is found expressis verbis in St Thomas Aquinas—'Sola canonica scriptura est regula fidei' was his comment on John 21*—the role of Tradition in Catholic theology produces a very different situation."

World Evangelical Fellowship. Theological Commission. (2000, 1997). Vol. 21: Evangelical review of theology : Volume 21,1997, Scripture and Tradition: An Evangelical Response,
Henri Blocher

*Quoted by F. F. Bruce, The Canon of Scripture (Downers Grove, Ill.: Intervarsity Press, 1988) p. 18 (see n. 5) from On the Gospel of John, lesson 6 on John 21. Cf. the Summa theologica, Ia, Q. 1, art. 8, ad 2m: ‘Auctoritatibus autem canonicae Scripturae utitur proprie, ex necessitate argumentando. Auctoritatibus autem aliorum doctorum Ecclesiae, quasi arguendo ex propriis, sed probabiliter.’


DJP said...

Thanks, Rick! That's a great addition.

It's funny, isn't it? You read so often about the sola's being the Reformer's rallying-cry, but ask when or where that started -- not so easy!

Rick Potter said...

Indeed it is not easy. Stunning. Ever since you asked the question I've been searching through my database. I really wanted that answer...but I can't find it. I'm glad you brought this up. We really need this answer.

Susan said...

And here am I, Dan, almost 3-1/2 years after you have posted this, totally blown away--because I had Googled "difference between solus christus and solo christo"--and this post came up at #3 on the search results! I will now go back to read the #1 item on the list and see what it says....

Unknown said...

Wow!!! Glory be to God! It's now over 10 years later and and I not only was googling the difference between the Latin words of sola, soli, and solus as a Reformed Theonomic Christian, to understand why they're commonly referred to the "5 solas" and the question is a great one but I have to say Kim AWESOME SAUCE!!!! I literally couldn't find anything but wiki and theopedia and neither of them answer this question.