chapter  1
24 Pages

Kepler, the supra-confessional Lutheran

WithMiklós Vassányi

In this paper, I am going after how Johannes Kepler (1571–1630) sought to clarify his stance with respect to religious toleration and church communion in the period between 1598 (the year religious persecution began in Styria) and 1628 (the year when Kepler corresponded with the Upper-Austrian Jesuit Father, Paul Guldin). In order to do that, I am considering in detail how he related to his native Lutheran church and theology (and tangentially, Calvinist doctrine and Roman Catholic dogma and practice) over these years of religious and political unrest. My analysis is specifically dedicated to Kepler’s issue with the doctrine of divine omnipresence, incorporated in the Lutheran interpretation of the Eucharist and understood as a symbol of irreducible denominational difference among the Christian churches. I am then embedding this issue into the context of Lutheran luminary Johannes Brenz’s political theology. I am also drawing a parallel between Kepler’s personal theological position and the natural scientific methodology by which he defended the Copernican system in his astronomical works. As a final upshot, I am interpreting his carefully honed posture towards church communion in general.