Religion Past and Present

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Servum arbitrium
(1,165 words)

[German Version]

I. Dogmatics

M. Luther’s insight into the servum arbitrium (“unfree will”) is at the heart of his Reformation ontology of created personhood (Person). Its core content is recognition of the radically passive constitution of the conditions that make it possible and necessary (unavoidable) for an individual to will self-consciously and freely (Freedom: VII) – that is, rationally and responsibly – and to act accordingly. These conditions are (a) the “being affected” of the individual’s appetitus (being-out-for) by …

Cite this page
Herms, Eilert, “Servum arbitrium”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 12 June 2021 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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