Neologie versus (Re-)Union
Johann Salomo Semlers kommentierte Ausgabe der Cusanusschrift De pace fidei
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In 1787 the famous Enlightenment theologian Johann Salomo Semler (1725–1791) published a German translation of De pace fidei, which was originally written by Nicholas of Cusa (1401–1464), one of the first German proponents of Renaissance humanism and an important figure in the Roman Church at the time. Reacting to the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Nicholas outlined a vision of eternal religious peace prompted by an imagined meeting in heaven of seventeen representatives of nations and different religious communities. On the one hand this »una religio in rituum varietate« is based on an epistemological scepticism concerning human knowledge of God, on the other it is founded substantially on a clear Christian or, more specifically, Roman-Catholic, perspective. Despite knowing the works of Nicholas very well, Semler did not take a historical-critical approach to De pace fidei by commenting on the text in the preface and his annotations, but instead used the work to set out his own position in the debates on inter-confessional unity. Indeed, Semler drew on his own theological patterns in such a fundamental and nuanced way that Nicholas's vision of eternal religious peace is changed into a neological summation against (re)union.