Two religions?

Christian Contradictions: The Structures of Lutheran and Catholic Thought. By Daphne Hampson. Cambridge University Press, 323 pp., $59.95.

Is there some single basic difference between Catholics and Protestants? Did the Reformation spring from a theological disagreement so fundamental that schism was inevitable, and which no amount of good will could have settled? According to Daphne Hampson, the answer to both questions is yes.

Hampson, a post-Christian feminist theologian, thinks "Lutheran" and "Catholic" represent different structures of thought and faith so radically dissimilar that they are "incomparable." Her account of Lutheran-Catholic differences closely parallels that of certain German and American Protestants who have opposed the recent Lutheran-Catholic Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification. At first glance, her explanation owes little to her own theological views, though, as we will see, there is a significant connection.


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