by Theodore Plantinga
Irrational Man: A Study in Existential Philosophy (Garden City, New York: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1958). In his Unionville lectures he also pointed students to this book and told them: "This book you should all certainly read. You will never be sorry." See The Relation of the Bible to Learning, fifth revised edition (Jordan Station, Ontario: Paideia Press, 1982), pp. 52 and 153 (the existentialism quotation). He also quoted from Barrett in Scriptural Religion and Political Task (Toronto: Wedge Publishing Foundation), 19740, see pp. 78, 82, 87-98, 119. Such enthusiasm for books that were not specifically Christian or reformational often had us, as his students, racing to the college bookstore after a lecture to pick up a book he had recommended in class. In the same Unionville lecture we read: "Rush to the book table at the back of the room after the lectures. The lectures ought to set you to reading important books." [Page 73] For Runner, there were more such books than just the writings of William Barrett (1913-92), who is, for the rest, also a gifted interpreter of the arts, which should likewise make him a figure of interest to reformationals. In this regard, his book Time of Need: Forms of Imagination in the Twentieth Century (New York: Harper and Row, 1972) is well worth reading. Barrett is a former Marxist who came to his senses and told his life story in an engaging manner in an autobiography entitled The Truants: Adventures Among the Intellectuals (Anchor Press/Doubleday, 1982). Return to text of Essay 1.
Bartholomew declared: "We have the Reformational philosophy of Dooyeweerd, Vollenhoven and their students, and the phenomenally influential Neo-Calvinist work of Plantinga and Wolterstorff." [For Such a Time as This, published by Redeemer in its Inaugural Lecture Series, p. 26] Also significant in this regard is the range of collaborators on which Bartholomew draws in his "Scripture and Hermeneutics" project, which he heads up. This project has resulted in the publication of a series of substantial volumes, each one edited by Bartholomew and some others. To date the series includes: (1) Renewing Biblical Interpretation (2000); (2) After Pentecost: Language and Biblical Interpretation (2001); (3) A Royal Priesthood? The Use of the Bible Ethically and Politically: A Dialogue with Oliver O'Donovan (2002); (4) "Behind" the Text: History and Biblical Interpretation (2003); (5) Out of Egypt: Biblical Theology and Biblical Interpretation (2004). The series is projected to include eight volumes. Return to text of Essay 1.
After leaving Redeemer and taking a professorship at Calvin Seminary, Bolt made partial atonement by publishing a big book on Abraham Kuyper entitled A Free Church, a Holy Nation: Abraham Kuyper's American Public Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001). The general flavor of Bolt's thinking can be read in his books Christian and Reformed Today (Jordan Station, Ont.: Paideia Press, 1984) and The Christian Story and the Christian School (Grand Rapids: Christian Schools International, 1993). Like me, Bolt has read widely in the Dutch original writings of the forerunners of the reformational movement. His doctoral dissertation (St. Michael's College, University of Toronto, written under the supervision of Herbert Richardson) was entitled The Imitation of Christ Theme in the Cultural-Ethical Ideal of Herman Bavinck. Return to text of Essay 1.
Westerse denkstructuren: Een probleemhistorisch onderzoek (Amsterdam: VU Uitgeverij, 1986), p. 110. Bril's book includes considerable information about Vollenhoven's method. Return to text of Essay 1.
Burckhardt's classic work on the subject is entitled The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (published in German in 1860, and in English translation in 1935). It is echoed in reformational treatments, such as B.J. van der Walt's discussion of the relation between the Reformation and the Renaissance. We read: "The Renaissance, with all the philosophical schools it revived in the sixteenth century, was at heart a religious movement to the left, away from the Word of God and the God of the Word. Calvin's religious bias was to the right. He was imbued by a different spirit." See "Renaissance and Reformation: Contemporaries But Not Allies," in Anatomy of Reformation, (note vanderwalt33), p. 207. Was there then nothing Christian about the Renaissance? Was it pure Humanism? Van der Walt writes: "... in this brief survey I do not distinguish sharply between Humanism and the Renaissance." [Page 204] What about Calvin? Don't some scholars find influence of Renaissance Humanism in his thought? Van der Walt assures us: "Calvin's use of Humanism, Stoicism and Platonism can be said to be eclectic rather than systematic." [Page 208] Return to text of Essay 1.
The "cargo cults" of the Asian Pacific rim were composed of people who had picked up a bit of Christianity and associated salvation with the material goods enjoyed by the Westerners in their midst, which goods came to their area in boat and later in planes -- hence the term "cargo." Marvin Harris presents a very entertaining account of them in Chapter 7 of Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches: The Riddles of Culture (New York: Random House, 1974). North American Christians are also in danger of confusing salvation with "cargo" to be brought home from the shopping mall. Ron Sider's Anabaptist thinking is an effective antidote to this tendency. Return to text of Essay 1.
See On Heroes and Hero Worship, delivered as a set of lectures in 1840 and published in various editions. I am quoting from the Everyman's Library edition (London, 1908; reprinted 1973, where it follows Sartor Resartus), p. 239. Return to text of Essay 1.
Christ and Culture, trans. G. van Rongen and W. Helder (Winnipeg: Premier, 1977). Return to text of Essay 1.
Bill Clinton is no follower of Churchill on this score. His lengthy autobiography (entitled My Life, published in 2004), which includes his eight years in the White House, is more of a chronicle than a history, according to Dick Morris, Clinton's long-time political advisor and booster. Morris is puzzled as to why Clinton, surely a figure in history, did not try to give shape to how others would assess his role in American history. Morris goes into these matters at great length in his book Because He Could (New York: Regan Books, 2004), see especially pp. 28-29. Return to text of Essay 1.
"Reformed Apologetics and the Challenge of Post-Modern Relativism," in Calvin Theological Journal, Volume 28, No. 1 (April 1993), see pp. 108-9. Return to text of Essay 1.
Salvation in History, trans. Sidney G. Sowers (New York & Evanston: Harper & Row, 1967), pp. 294 (entirely italicized in the original), 299, 301, 300, 310. Return to text of Essay 1.
His book is entitled Stepping Forward in Faith: Redeemer University College, 1974-1994 (Belleville, Ontario: Guardian Books, 2001). Return to text of Essay 1.
Mr. Thomas Gradgrind is a teacher in Charles Dickens' Hard Times. He thought of his students as "little pitchers before him, who were to be filled so full of facts." Dickens writes that "... he seemed a kind of cannon loaded to the muzzle with facts, and prepared to blow them clean out of the regions of childhood at one discharge." Mr. Gradgrind told his students: "You are to be in all things regulated and governed ... by fact. We hope to have, before long, a board of fact, composed of commissioners of fact, who will force the people to be a people of fact, and of nothing but fact." Return to text of Essay 1.
During part of the time that this project was being published by Paideia Press (four volumes, 1977-81), I was its managing editor. I did a fair amount of editing on the project myself and also, in collaboration with my late wife Mary, came up with the English title Promise and Deliverance. Return to text of Essay 1.
It was not that Dooyeweerd was incapable of striking a different note. Those who regard him as lacking in this regard should read his very moving tribute to the biologist Johann Heinrich Diemer (1904-45), who is the author of Natuur en wonder, which was translated by Wilma Bouma and published by Wedge in 1975 under the title Nature and Miracle. Although Dooyeweerd reveals that Diemer was known as "Harry," he signs his piece simply as "Dooyeweerd." What made Diemer different from others and worthy of a personal note is the fact that he joined the underground resistance to the Nazis, was captured and imprisoned in a concentration camp, and died shortly after the British liberated the camp in 1945 and made him a free man. Dooyeweerd's piece is entitled "Ter nagedachtenis van Harry Diemer" and is published in Natuur en wonder (Amsterdam: Buijten en Schipperheijn, 1963), pp. 158-165. Return to text of Essay 1.
Gesammelte Schriften, Vol. 16, p. 100. Return to text of Essay 1.
Gesammelte Schriften, Vol. 7, p. 233. Return to text of Essay 1.
The topic was Wilhelm Dilthey's philosophy of history. A revised version of my dissertation was eventually published in book form by the University of Toronto Press (1980) under the title Historical Understanding in the Thought of Wilhelm Dilthey and reprinted in 1992 by the Edwin Mellen Press of Lewiston, New York. Return to text of Essay 1.
Entitled Algemene genade: Uiteenzetting, vergelijking en beoordeling van de opvattingen van A. Kuyper, K. Schilder en Joh. Calvijn over "algemene genade" (Goes: Osterbaan & Le Cointre, 1974). Return to text of Essay 1.
See George Puchinger, Is de gereformeerde wereld veranderd? (note puchinger33), pp. 85-86. Return to text of Essay 1.
On "Christian" vs. Calvinistic," see the introduction to his essay "Christian Philosophy: An Exploration," in Christian Philosophy and the Meaning of History (note newcritique33), pp. 1ff; see also New Critique, Vol. 1, p. 524. On the other hand, Dooyeweerd does affirm that his "radically Christian philosophy" could only have developed "in the line of Calvin's religious starting point" (see pp. 515-527). Return to text of Essay 1.
On this point, Ellens and Cooper are out of step with their revered teacher Calvin Seerveld, who affirms the term "reformational and defines it as follows: "`Reformational' identifies (1) a life that would be deeply committed to be the scriptural injunction not to be conformed to patterns of this age but to be re-formed by the renewal of our consciousness so that we will be able to discern what God wills for action on earth (cf. Romans 12:1-2); and (2) an approach in history to honor the genius of the Reformation spearheaded by Martin Luther and John Calvin in the sixteenth century, developed by Groen van Prinsterer and Abraham Kuyper in the nineteenth century, as a particular Christian tradition out of which one could richly serve the Lord; with (3) a concern that we be communally busy reforming in an ongoing way rather than standing pat in the past tense (ecclesia reformata semper reformanda est)." Seerveld offered this definition in 1980 in Balaam's Apocalyptic Prophecies: A Study in Reading Scripture (Toronto: Wedge Publishing Foundation), p. 46, and reaffirmed it 22 years later in Contact, an insert published within the IAPCHE newsletter (October 2002 issue), see p. 2. Ellens and Cooper learned philosophy from Seerveld at Trinity Christian College, as did a third member of Redeemer's faculty, Thea Van Til Rusthoven. Return to text of Essay 1.
See "The Mystical Dooyeweerd: The Relation of His Thought to Franz von Baader," available at http://www.arsdisputandi.org/publish/articles/000088/index.html. Friesen writes: "Herman Dooyeweerd has been praised as one of the most original philosophers of the Netherlands. But many of Dooyeweerd's most important ideas were first set out a hundred years earlier by the nineteenth century German philosopher, Franz Xaver von Baader (1765-1841). Dooyeweerd nowhere acknowledges the influence of Baader, but the similarity of so many of their key ideas must be more than coincidental." Friesen's website contains many articles and other items of information on Dooyeweerd, Vollenhoven and reformational philosophy in general: www.members.shaw.ca/jgfriesen/Mainheadings/Dooyeweerd.html Return to text of Essay 1.
Fukuyama gave classic expression to the fleeting Hegelian mood that came over many Western intellectuals at the end of the Cold War when he decided that Western liberal democracy had achieved a definitive and final triumph over all its foes: see his book The End of History and the Last Man (New York: Free Press, 1992). Return to text of Essay 1.
Peter Gay deals with these issues in Freud for Historians (New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985). He admits: "Whatever its performance or its possibilities, psychoanalysis has remained a stranger in the company of historians ringed, like an exotic and probably contagious newcomer, by distrust. The psychoanalytic penetration of the historian's defensive fortifications remains marginal ...." [Page 17] Using arguments that would appeal to reformationals, Gay informs his readers that one cannot remain theoretically neutral when engaging in historical reconstruction and narration: "The professional historian has always been a psychologist -- an amateur psychologist. Whether he knows it or not, he operates with a theory of human nature; he attributes motives, studies passions, analyzes irrationality, and constructs work on the tacit conviction that human beings display certain stable and discernible traits, certain predictable, or at least discoverable, modes of coping with their experience. He discovers causes, and his discovery normally includes acts of the mind." [Page 6] In short, Gay is willing to run the risk of some "Germanization." Return to text of Essay 1.
We read in Genesis 3:14-15: "The LORD God said to the serpent, `Because you have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.'" Return to text of Essay 1.
Runner warns against hagiography: "From time immemorial, it would seem, men have felt a need ... to recall to mind those deeds they deem most worthy of celebration in speech or writing .... But whereas prevailingly such examination of memorable deeds becomes a recital in praise of Man, that shall not be so among us. We here today dare to call ourselves by the name of Christ. By the law of His Kingdom self-adulation is wholly contraband; it does not belong to the Way He came to reveal." See Can Canada Tolerate the C.L.A.C.? The Achilles Heel of a Humanistic Society, which was a 1967 address published separately by the C.L.A.C. Such aversion to hagiography was probably a factor in Runner's own autobiographical reluctance. Return to text of Essay 1.
Hartmann writes about his methodology for studying the history of philosophy in his essay "Der philosophische Gedanke und seine Geschichte," which can be found in Kleinere Schriften, Vol. 2 (Berlin: Walter De Gruyter, 1957), pp. 1-48, and also in an essay entitled "Zur Methode der Philosophiegeschichte," in Vol. 3 of the Kleinere Schriften (1958), pp. 1-22. Vollenhoven's reluctance to acknowledge the influence of Hartmann on his work is paralleled by a similar reluctance in Dooyeweerd (see Verburg, Herman Dooyeweerd (note verburg33) pp. 80-82. In Dooyeweerd's case, the issue is whether Hartmann contributed to the theory of the modal law-spheres. Dooyeweerd says no, but some scholars have their doubts: see The Legacy of Herman Dooyeweerd (note mcintire33), pp. 14-15 and 74-75. Return to text of Essay 1.
Another of Runner's favorite historians was Paul Hazard, especially his books The European Mind and European Thought in the Eighteenth Century. He also warmly recommended J.B. Bury's explication of the doctrine of progress in his book The Idea of Progress. Runner had me reading -- and buying, for he was a first-class bookseller! -- both these historians when I was a first-year student in his introduction to philosophy class. He also praised Hazard and Bury in his Groen Club Syllabus (note syllabus33), see p. 146. Return to text of Essay 1.
The testimony of the Holy Spirit was a subject dear to Hepp's heart. His 1914 Free University doctoral dissertation is entitled Het testimonium Spiritus Sancti generale. Return to text of Essay 1.
The Dutch language has two words which we translate into English as "Reformed." The word "Gereformeerd" is used in the names of the churches that stem from the Secession of 1834, which include both the Kuyper and Bavinck streams that came together in 1892. (The "Gereformeerd" correspond roughly to the "Free Church" in Scottish Calvinistic history). The "Hervormd" church is the body from which they seceded (it corresponds to the "Church of Scotland"). It should be noted that among the "Gereformeerd" churches in the Netherlands are a significant group of churches (called "Christian Reformed") that are non-Kuyperian in theological orientation -- and even somewhat anti-Kuyperian. Their sister churches in North America are called "Free Reformed." The story of the church union of 1892 and of the dissent from that union on the part of the "Christian Reformed" minority is told in Hendrik Bouma's book Secession, Doleantie and Union (Neerlandia, Alberta: Inheritance Publications, 1995), which I translated and to which I added a chapter on the position taken by the "Christian Reformed" entitled "The Dissenters of 1892" (pp. 213-221). Now that the union of the "Hervormd" denomination and the 1892 "Gereformeerd" denomination has taken place, under the name "Protestant Church in the Netherlands" (there is also a Lutheran group in the newly formed denomination), the "Christian Reformed" and the "liberated" Reformed (those who were expelled in 1944) are the two major old-fashioned Reformed denominations operating in the Netherlands. They have been involved in church-union talks for many years, but those talks appear to be headed nowhere. The "liberated" Reformed are very articulate and write a great deal, following the good example set by Schilder, but the "Christian Reformed" (especially in their Canadian wing) are not often heard from. Their objection to Kuyperian and "neo-Calvinistic" thinking has been articulated in English to some degree by Rev. Cornelis Pronk in a Th.M. thesis (for Calvin Seminary) entitled F.M. Ten Hoor: Defender of Secession Principles Against Abraham Kuyper's Doleantie Views (1987). Foppe Martin Ten Hoor (1855-1934) was an opponent of Kuyper who served as a minister and theology professor in the North American denomination officially known as "Christian Reformed," after beginning his career as a minister in the "Secession" churches in the Netherlands. Eventually Pronk raises and answers the question what Ten Hoor would have thought of Dooyeweerd's philosophy: "He would undoubtedly have recognized it for what it is, namely a further, more radical development of Kuyper's view of theology as a cosmological science. Indeed, he would have felt entirely justified in his fear and suspicion that theology would become secularized, especially if he could have read what some of Dooyeweerd's North American disciples are saying about the relationship between philosophy and theology." [Page 160] Pronk then draws on "liberated" Dutch thinkers and writers as he carries his critique further. Return to text of Essay 1.
Hönigswald wrote about these matters in Philosophie des Altertums: Problemgeschichtlich und systematische Untersuchungen (Munich, 1917). Return to text of Essay 1.
Leendert Kalsbeek (1903-95), Contours of a Christian Philosophy: An Introduction to Herman Dooyeweerd's Thought, ed. Bernard & Josina Zylstra. Toronto: Wedge Publishing Foundation, 1975. There is a recent reprint by the Edwin Mellen Press of Lewiston, N.Y. Return to text of Essay 1.
See Kalsbeek, Contours of a Christian Philosophy, pp. 97-99. A critic might ask: why criticize Kalsbeek here? Why not just ignore him if his book is inadequate? Part of the answer is that he is regarded in some circles as the best introductory guide to Dooyeweerd. His book is required reading in some Redeemer courses (not mine). Yet when it comes to this point (i.e. Dooyeweerd's position on the historical modality), J.M. Spier (1902-71) offers a longer and much better account in Inleiding in de Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, fourth edition (Kampen: J.H. Kok, 1950), pp. 82-88. Spier's introduction to Dooyeweerd has been translated into English as well (I don't have a copy), but it is generally regarded as inferior to Kalsbeek's, partly because it is based on the first edition of Dooyeweerd's magnum opus (published only in Dutch) and could not take account of changes and additions Dooyeweerd made in his second edition, published in English only and entitled A New Critique of Theoretical Thought. Ronald Jager says of Spier's book that it "... tends to make everything trivial trivial and boring." See "Dooyeweerd and the Irony of Rationalism," Part I, in Reformed Journal, September 1964, p. 10. Return to text of Essay 1.
See "Honderd jaar filosofie aan de Vrije Universiteit," in a book of 1980 entitled Wetenschap en rekenschap: Een eeuw wetenschapsbeoefening en wetenschapsbeschouwing aan de Vrije Universiteit (Kampen: J.H. Kok, 1980), p. 561. Calvin Seerveld is of a different mind on this point: he pronounces the respective methods and results of Dooyeweerd and Vollenhoven when they study the history of philosophy "complementary." See "Dooyeweerd's Contribution to the Historiography of Philosophy," in Philosophy and Christianity: Philosophical Essays Dedicated to Professor Dr. Herman Dooyeweerd (Kampen: J.H. Kok, and Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing Company, 1965, no editor listed), pp. 200-201. C.T. McIntire reports that at ICS, belief in Dooyeweerd's ground-motives as driving forces (rather than as themes in historical narration or general interpretations) gradually faded away: "... it appears that no Institute scholar continues to work with the idea of religious ground-motives in Western civilization." See his essay "Herman Dooyeweerd in North America" (note mcintire66), p. 181. B.J. van der Walt also distinguishes between Dooyeweerd and Vollenhoven when it comes to these matters and sides with Vollenhoven: see "The Consistent Problem-Historical Method of Philosophical Historiography," in Anatomy of Reformation (note vanderwalt33), pp. 539ff. He characterizes Vollenhoven's method as "the only truly reformational, biblically-founded method which we have so far" (p. 554, italics omitted). John Kok's book Patterns of the Western Mind (Dordt College Press, 1998) represents a contemporary application and implementation of what Vollenhoven had in mind. Return to text of Essay 1.
The book is to be published by Dordt College Press. Also forthcoming from Kok in a separate volume is a translation of Vollenhoven's introduction to philosophy, entitled Isogoge Philosophia. Al Wolters explores Vollenhoven's method for studying the history of philosophy in an essay entitled "On Vollenhoven's Problem-Historical Method," in Hearing and Doing (note kraay33), pp. 231-262. It should also be noted that Kok wrote his dissertation on Vollenhoven: see Vollenhoven: His Early Development (Dordt College Press, 1992). Return to text of Essay 1.
This is precisely what Wilhelm Kolfhaus does in Dr. Abraham Kuyper, 1837-1920: Ein Lebensbericht (Elberfeld: Buchhandlung des Erziehungs-Vereins Chr. Buyer, 1924). We read: "The sketch of Dr. Kuyper's life is an illustration of that beautiful saying of Thomas Carlyle: `Universal History is at bottom the history of the Great Men who have worked here.'" [Page 6] Kolfhaus's book has not been translated; I picked up my copy in a used book store in Friesland during my student days. Kolfhaus writes that he hoped to encourage the Reformed and Protestant population of Germany by pointing to Kuyper's example. Christians can and should be active in politics and public life. Sad to say, Hitler came to power eight years after the Kolfhaus book appeared. But even during Hitler's reign, a book about Kuyper (essentially a dissertation) appeared in German: Die politischen Ideen Abraham Kuypers und seine Entwicklung als Staatsmann (Würzburg: Buchdruckerei Richard Mayr, 1937). The book's author, Leroy Vogel (an American), includes in his treatment of Kuyper's political ideas and accomplishments a brief survey of Christian political parties and movements in Germany. This survey leads him to comment on the relationship between Kuyper and Adolf Stoecker (1835-1909), his would-be counterpart in Germany, insofar as he headed an allegedly Christian political party. But Stoecker has gone down in history as an anti-Semite, for he talked about the danger of "Verjudung" (Jewification): German culture was being corrupted by the Jews. Hence Vogel's discussion of Kuyper (one of Carlyle's "Great Men," according to Kolfhaus) also touched on Kuyper's relation to "the Jewish question." Vogel may have wondered whether the Nazis were looking over his shoulder, for he wrote: "From a theological standpoint Kuyper could not be an enemy of the Jews, since he recognized the Jewish people as the Old Testament chosen people. This idea, combined with his democratic stance, kept him from taking civil rights away from the Jews through racial laws or through force and from limiting their influence. For Kuyper, the Jewish question was exclusively a practical problem. He had to deal with this question because the Jewish spirit and Jewish ideas sought to dissolve the Dutch spirit and morality. Kuyper fought against this in a positive way by strengthening Dutch self-consciousness. [Kuyper's] ecclesiastical group had broken the power of the liberals in its struggle for its principles without ever attacking persons or making use of laws, and in such fashion the Dutch spirit could also triumph over other foreign spirits." [Page 107] Here we have a hint of Kuyper the closet Nazi! (Remember that Kuyper gets criticized for his sympathies for the German side in World War I.) When Hitler was in power, even the writers of dissertations had to choose their words very carefully. Return to text of Essay 1.
It is significant that both ministers were also intellectual leaders in the Canadian Reformed community. Kouwenhoven was to teach Old Testament studies at the theological college (seminary) in Hamilton but died shortly after the college opened. Van Popta had been appointed by the 1968 synod to teach dogmatics or systematic theology, but he died unexpectedly before even learning of his appointment. He had a strong interest in philosophy and was undertaking further study in that field at the time of his death. He was a member of a local B.C. chapter of the ARSS. His chair was then offered to Jelle Faber, who occupied it until his retirement in 1990. Return to text of Essay 1.
See John Kraay and Anthony Tol, eds. Hearing and Doing: Philosophical Essays Dedicated to H. Evan Runner (Toronto: Wedge Publishing Foundation, 1979), pp. 333-361. Return to text of Essay 1.
From "Calvinism and the Future," in Lectures on Calvinism (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1961; first published in 1931), p. 190. These lectures were delivered in 1898. Return to text of Essay 1.
Philosophy as Social Expression (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1974). Levi also relates philosophy to politics, literature and art in other works, such as Humanism and Politics (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1969) and Literature, Philosophy and the Imagination (Indiana University Press, 1962). Return to text of Essay 1.
Lovejoy's main methodological exposition occurs in "The Historiography of Ideas," in Essays in the History of Ideas (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1960), pp. 1-13. Lovejoy demonstrated how to go about these things in his best-known book, entitled The Great Chain of Being: A Study of the History of an Idea (New York: Harper & Row, 1960). While I was at Johns Hopkins (I arrived after Lovejoy was off the scene), I learned more about these matters from Maurice Mandelbaum (1908-87), in particular, for he was then the resident philosopher of history. Mandelbaum dealt with Lovejoy's method in "Arthur O. Lovejoy and the Theory of Historiography," in Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 9, No. 4 (October 1948), pp. 412-423, and also in "The History of Ideas, Intellectual History, and the History of Philosophy," in The Historiography of the History of Philosophy, which is Beiheft 5 to History and Theory: Studies in the Philosophy of History, (1965), pp. 33-66. As for George Boas, he articulated some of the methodological thinking behind the "history of ideas" school at Johns Hopkins in The History of Ideas (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1969). Boas is also the author of Dominant Themes in Modern Philosophy: A History (New York: Ronald Press, 1957). Return to text of Essay 1.
Confessions of a Philosopher (London: Phoenix, 1997), p. 80; see also pp. 168-170. As an Englishman, Magee had extensive experience with the analytic philosophers and ultimately came to question their commitment to philosophy in the highest and best sense. He complains: "In the course of my adult life I have encountered more serious interest in real philosophy outside the profession than in it." [Page 114] Some of the continental critics of the analytics maintain that the latter are forever sharpening their tools but never seem to put them to any real philosophical use. Magee agrees: see p. 112. Michael Ayers speaks of the analytic tendency to take a "purely philosophical" attitude toward the history of philosophy, by which he means that one ignores historical context and treats statements from the past as though they were being uttered right now. He uses Bertrand Russell's interest in the work of Leibniz as an illustration. Ayers observes: "A principle of the analytic movement is the belief that a gulf exists between traditional philosophers and ourselves such that we now have, not merely new theories, but virtually a new discipline." If we accept this principle, we need not concern ourselves with the proper methodology for studying the history of philosophy, for there really is no such thing. Philosophy has sprung into being just recently, although we might admit that there were some past writers, such as Leibniz, in whom bits of what we now recognize as philosophy may be found. See Ayers, "Analytical Philosophy and the History of Philosophy," in Philosophy and Its Past, by Jonathan Rée, Michael Ayers and Adam Westoby (Hassocks, England: Harvester Press, 1978), pp. 42ff, 52ff. Return to text of Essay 1.
My own copy of this stirring book bears the title The Bloody Theatre, or Martyrs Mirror of the Defenseless Christians. In smaller print, as a sort of subtitle, we read further "... who baptized only upon Confession of Faith, and who suffered and died for the testimony of Jesus, their Savior, from the time of Christ to the year A.D. 1660." We are told that the book was "compiled from various authentic chronicles, memorials, and testimonies, by Thielem J. van Braght" and that it was "translated from the original Dutch or Holland language from the edition of 1660, by Joseph F. Sohm." My copy was published by the Mennonite Publishing Company of Elkhart, Indiana, in 1886 and comprises some 1,093 big pages, each one consisting of two columns of print. Not exactly Reformed stuff, some would think. But I have a Reformed historical book in my library of comparable size, called Opdat wij niet vergeten (That We Might Nor Forget). Its subtitle explains further: "De bijdrage van de Gereformeerde Kerken, van haar voorgangers en leden, in het verzet tegen het Nationaal-Socialisme en de duitse tyrannie" (The Contribution Made by the Reformed Churches, and Their Ministers and Members, to the Resistance to National-Socialism and the German Tyranny). This massive book (752 pages), which rivals Martyrs Mirror in weight, was commissioned by the General Synod of the Reformed Churches in 1946 and was published by J.H. Kok of Kampen (no date). Its preface was signed by Klaas Dijk (1885-1968), G.M. den Hartogh (1899-1959) and Doede Nauta (1898-1994). The book strikes an "ecumenical" note in that the admirable role in the resistance to Nazism that was played by Klaas Schilder (who was deposed in 1944) is recognized throughout. And so we see that a "Martyrs Mirror" could also be compiled by Reformed folks: remember what happened to the Huguenots. Return to text of Essay 1.
William Masselink, who propagated Hepp's criticisms in North America, summed up the objectionable views as follows: "The major part of the philosophy is based upon speculative philosophic reasoning, instead of being anchored in the Bible. The church Confessions are hardly ever mentioned. The Scripture texts referred to are frequently misinterpreted by their Biblicistic method of interpretation. Many Christian doctrines, not to speak of specifically Reformed doctrines, are either partially or completely denied. For example, there is a partial denial of the immortality of the soul, the one person and two natures of Christ. There is a complete denial of the Christian conception of the death of the godly; for instance, they claim that the Bible never speaks of immortality of the Christian before death." [General Revelation and Common Grace (note masselink44), pp. 329-330] And whereas Hepp named no names, Masselink was explicit in identifying the foe: "It [TP: the position which Masselink rejects] is not only firmly established in the Liberated church of the Netherlands, but also has a firm foothold in the philosophic department of the Free University through Vollenhoven and Dooyeweerd, as well as in some respects in the Westminster Theological Seminary through the influence of Dr. C. Van Til and others connected with that institution. It must also be remembered that Schilder taught this new system of theology for years at the Kampen Seminary, and likewise Vollenhoven and Dooyeweerd had been teaching this system for decades before the issue became public. ... In other words many of these views have become established in the Reformed circles almost unobserved. The first one to counter them openly was the late Professor Hepp." [Second page of the Preface] Another North American critic who related the philosophy of Dooyeweerd to Schilder (and the redemptive-historicals) is Lester De Koster: see his editorial in The Banner, April 19, 1974, p. 5; see also note wolterstorff22. Return to text of Essay 1.
William's Masselink's main publication relating to matters of this sort was General Revelation and Common Grace, which bore an imposing subtitle: "A Defense of the Historic Reformed Faith Over Against the Theology and Philosophy of the So-called `Reconstructionist' Movement" (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1953). There was also a syllabus of almost 200 pages, which was never published in book form, entitled Common Grace and Christian Education (no date). Its cover informs the reader that it represents a "Calvinistic Philosophy of Science" and also that it is "A presentation and defense of the Historic Reformed Conception of Common Grace over against the views of the `New Movement' as drastically advocated by Schilder, De Graaf and others; and less drastically set forth by Van Til, Vollenhoven and Dooyeweerd." In those days they knew how to polemicize! "Uncle Bill," as I knew him, was nevertheless a kindly man who preached the gospel with such passion and fervor, sometimes with tears running down his cheeks, that he was popularly known as "Weeping Willie." John J. Timmerman of Calvin College remembers him with great fondness and writes that he was "one of the kindliest persons I have known." His touching tribute to William Masselink is to be found in Through a Glass Lightly (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987), pp. 177-178. Almost every time I would see Uncle Bill, he would ask: "Is Runner still around with his fourteen modalities?" And I would reply: "There are fifteen modalities now, Uncle Bill." The kinematic had been added since the days when Uncle Bill took a keen interest in these things. Whether Dooyeweerd is correct is distinguishing the kinematic from the physical is a disputed point in reformational circles. Return to text of Essay 1.
"Dooyeweerd's Philosophy of History" in The Legacy of Herman Dooyeweerd, ed. C.T. McIntire (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 1985), pp. 91, 96. Return to text of Essay 1.
"Dooyeweerd's Philosophy of History" p. 113; see also pp. 114 and 115n5. McIntire reports that all the professors at ICS came to reject the doctrine of the historical modal aspect: see "Herman Dooyeweerd in North America" (note mcintire66), pp. 182-183. Return to text of Essay 1.
Published in History and Historical Understanding, ed. C.T. McIntire and Ronald A. Wells (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1984), pp. 17-40. Return to text of Essay 1.
See "Herman Dooyeweerd in North America," in Reformed Theology in America, ed. David F. Wells (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985), p. 177. Return to text of Essay 1.
See Die Entstehung des Historismus, ed. Carl Hinrichs (Vol. 3 of his Werke, published in 1965, p. 496; see also p. 4, and what Meinecke says under the heading of "Geschichte und Gegenwart" (History and the Present) in Zur Theorie und Philosophie der Geschichte, ed. Eberhard Kessel (Vol. 4 of his Werke, published in 1959), p. 94. Return to text of Essay 1.
Since quite a few students draw a blank when I use this venerable English word in class, a small explanation may be in order. "Meliorism" means, simply, "betterism." (If you have studied French, you will hear echoes of "meilleur.") William James was a proponent of meliorism and is therefore an opponent of the revolutionary tradition. Genuine revolutionaries maintain that small changes do not really count as improvements or accomplish anything in the long run: first the whole shebang must be flattened, so that we can start over. Then we'll build anew and make everything right. Return to text of Essay 1.
See How Memory Shapes Narratives: A Philosophical Essay on Redeeming the Past (Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1992), especially pp. 117ff, 157ff. Return to text of Essay 1.
See note memory33. I informed my readers that it is no mere coincidence that an essay on "redeeming the past" is written by someone who teaches at a college named Redeemer: "The college's name gives me extra reason to reflect on what redemption means; therefore I offer this philosophical essay as an expression of the college's mission." [Page 4] On the connection between the concept of anachronism and a philosophy of history inspired by a redemptive-historical reading of Scripture, see pp. 60-63, 93-95, 172, and 189. For other connections between redemptive history and philosophy of history, see pp. 108-109, 126-129, 148-150, 159, 166ff, 171-177, 183ff. Return to text of Essay 1.
This thesis is one of the underlying themes in my book How Memory Shapes Narratives (note memory33), see especially pp. 3-4, 12-14, 73ff, 83-4. Return to text of Essay 1.
See "Klaas Schilder as Public Theologian," in Calvin Theological Journal, Vol. 38, No. 2 (November 2003), pp. 288, 286. Return to text of Essay 1.
The discussion of "the historical" as a law-sphere begins on p. 192 of Volume 2. Dooyeweerd writes that the term "culture" stands for "... an original and irreducible modal nucleus by means of which a genuine law-sphere is delimited which is to be indicated as the historical." [Page 195] He explains that his approach to the study of history will not lead to a narrowing of its field of study as normally understood (p. 197) but then affirms that "culture" is always at the heart of the study of history: "It is always the cultural viewpoint, the controlling manner of giving form to the social process, which characterizes historical inquiry proper." [Page 197] What happens in "nature" therefore falls outside the purview of the historian: "A spider spins its web with faultless certitude. But it does so after a fixed and uniform pattern, prescribed by the instinct of the species. ... Even the admirable works built by beavers and termites in social cooperation do not have a cultural character." [Page 198] Human beings function as historical subjects -- animals do not. "Mastery or control, in its original modal sense, elevates itself above what is given and actualized after a fixed pattern apart from human planning. It pre-supposes a given material whose possibilities are disclosed in a way exceeding the patterns given and realized by nature, and actualized after a free project of form-giving with endless possibilities of variation." [Pages 197-198] For the parallel discussion in Dooyeweerd's book In the Twilight of Western Thought (Presbyterian and Reformed edition of 1960), see p. 95 and also pp. 83ff. An earlier formulation of these matters worth consulting is to be found in "The Meaning of History," published in Christian Philosophy and the Meaning of History (Series B, Vol. 1 in the Collected Works), pp. 39-46. Return to text of Essay 1.
The Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life, translated by Peter Preuss (Indianapolis and Cambridge: Hackett Publishing, 1980). This essay has also been published in English as The Use and Abuse of History, second edition, trans. Adrian Collins (Indianapolis and New York: Bobbs-Merrill, part of the Library of the Liberal Arts, 1957). Return to text of Essay 1.
See Advantage and Disadvantage (note nietzsche33), pp. 10, 14, 40-41. Return to text of Essay 1.
See his warning against "inborn gray-headedness" in Advantage and Disadvantage (note nietzsche33), p. 49. Return to text of Essay 1.
Out of Concern for the Church: Five Essays (Toronto: Wedge, Publishing Foundation, 1970). The authors of the essays were John Olthuis, Hendrik Hart, Calvin Seerveld, Bernard Zylstra, and James Olthuis (John and James are brothers). Seerveld, in an allusion to Jonathan Swift that passed most people by (even though the Swift connection was made explicit), entitled his essay "A Modest Proposal for Reforming the Christian Reformed Church." He opened with a stirring exhortation: "... Close Calvin Seminary. Disband all denominational boards and standing committees. Strip yourselves of ministerial status; and let the ruling elders in the congregations designate as instructors in the Word whoever can bring the Word of Life from the Scriptures and is practising a daily walk of prayer and fasting in the spirit of the Gospels." [Page 47] Grand Rapids was not amused; I have no information on what the Queen thought of Seerveld's proposal. The "young turks" promised a sequel, and they delivered it: Will All the King's Men ...: Out of Concern for the Church, Phase II (Wedge Publishing Foundation, 1972). The same authors again contributed essays and were joined this time by John Van Dyk of Dordt College (not the John Van Dyk who edits Christian Renewal) and Arnold De Graaff. The essays in the sequel had first been presented to the public as lectures in the "Discovery" series. Much of the material in the initial volume (including Seerveld's provocative piece) had also originated as speeches and lectures. Return to text of Essay 1.
We are occasionally mistaken for one another, partly because we are both active in philosophy of religion. At one point I was getting royalty checks for a philosophy of religion book of his published by Eerdmans in 1974 (entitled God, Freedom and Evil), which the publisher confused with a philosophy of religion book of mine also on its list (entitled Learning to Live with Evil, published in 1982). To add to the confusion, we both have a younger brother in theology who also has a strong interest in philosophy of religion. Alvin's younger brother, Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. (often called Neal), is president of Calvin Seminary and is the author of Not the Way It's Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin (Eerdmans, 1995), while my younger brother, Richard Plantinga (often called Rick), is the editor of Christianity and Plurality: Classic and Contemporary Readings (Blackwell, 1999) and is a theology professor at Calvin College. Rick was a student of Evan Runner during his Calvin undergrad days (he was also my student), while Neal, who was one of my classmates at Calvin, was not but did study under his brother Alvin. Return to text of Essay 1.
Plantinga did not seem to think much of Randall's approach to philosophy. Another continental philosophy professor I admired in those days was Walter Kaufmann (1921-80) of Princeton, who wrote illuminating books on Nietzsche and Hegel that I had read and was known especially for his skillful intertwining of themes from philosophy and literature: see especially From Shakespeare to Existentialism (1959) and Critique of Religion and Philosophy (1958). Kaufmann was also on Alvin Plantinga's list of philosophers to be avoided. Nevertheless, I got good practical and financial advice from Cousin Alvin in his capacity as my faculty advisor. During my first year or two, before I switched to an advisor in the philosophy department (I was a philosophy major), I was assigned to Gordon Spykman, who noted from my file that I had studied Latin and said to me: "Ora et labora" (work and pray). I have not forgotten. Return to text of Essay 1.
Evangelie en geschiedenis (Amsterdam: Buijten en Schipperheijn, 1972), p. 79. Popma also wrote about these matters many years before in a book entitled Calvinistische Geschiedenisbeschouwing (Franeker: T. Wever, 1945. Return to text of Essay 1.
Popma declared: "... for more than ten years I held the view that the liberation of Reformed church life [TP: a reference to the aftermath of 1944, i.e. the fact that Schilder and company organized a separate body of churches] was a necessary reformation but one that had been undone by errors of great consequence. And when I had the opportunity to reconsider this matter from the ground up, it still took almost two years before I got the clarity I wanted and found the courage to cast aside as incorrect the view I used to hold. Even so, there are still various points about which I am in the dark." See Vrijmaking: Een getuigenis (Amsterdam: Buijten en Schipperheijn, 1957). The quotation is from p. 8. Return to text of Essay 1.
See his essay "The Criteria of Progressive and Reactionary Tendencies in History," published in Christian Philosophy and the Meaning of History, which is Series B, Volume 1, in The Collected Works of Herman Dooyeweerd (Edwin Mellen Press, 1996), pp. 47-66. Return to text of Essay 1.
An exception is a lively interview conducted by George Puchinger with both Dooyeweerd and his critic Cornelis Van Peursen (1920-96) in a book of interviews entitled Is de gereformeerde wereld veranderd? (Delft, W.D. Meinema, 1966), see pp. 77-100. Puchinger has a wonderful record of getting Dutchmen who are prominent in church, politics and academic life to submit to such questioning: the volume in which the Dooyeweerd interview appears is part of a series of ten such books, all of them interesting and worth reading. Return to text of Essay 1.
Randall was the author of The Career of Philosophy. Its first volume was subtitled From the Middle Ages to the Enlightenment (New York: Columbia University Press, 1962). The second volume was subtitled From the German Enlightenment to the Age of Darwin (1965). There was a partial third volume Philosophy After Darwin and Other Essays (1977). Randall is also the author of a well-known work entitled The Making of the Modern Mind: A Survey of the Intellectual Background of the Present Age. My own copy is the revised edition published by Houghten Mifflin of Boston in 1940. Finally, the second chapter of Randall's How Philosophy Uses Its Past (Columbia University Press, 1963) is relevant to the methodology of the history of philosophy. Return to text of Essay 1.
Published by Paideia Press of St. Catharines in 1980. The book includes some material on the history of higher education in Canada but is for the most part an articulation of the philosophy of higher education with which mainstream members of the movement to launch Redeemer could identify. Return to text of Essay 1.
Reading the Bible as History (Burlington, Ontario: G.R. Welch, 1980). Return to text of Essay 1.
Reading the Bible as History (note reading33), pp. 6-7, 12-13, 18-18, 55, 72, 85. Return to text of Essay 1.
For example, René Wellek: "The actual application of the term `romantic' to English literature of the early nineteenth century is much later. Also the terms, `a romantic,' `a romanticist,' `romanticism,' are very late in English and occur first in reports or notes on Continental phenomena." See Wellek's book Concepts of Criticism, ed. Stephen C. Nichols, Jr. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1963), p. 149. Return to text of Essay 1.
Roots of Western Culture: Pagan, Secular and Christian Options, trans. John Kraay, and ed. Mark Vander Vennen and Bernard Zylstra. Toronto: Wedge Publishing Foundation, 1979. This work is a translation of about two-thirds of Dooyeweerd's book Vernieuwing en bezinning: Om het reformatorisch grondmotief, ed. J.A. Oosterhoff (Zutphen: J.B. van den Brink, 1959). The book consists of articles previously published in a periodical called Nieuw Nederland. The decision to publish the first two third without the last third is regarded as a major error by some Dooyeweerd followers in the Netherlands: see Verburg, Herman Dooyeweerd (note verburg33), p. 298. Return to text of Essay 1.
In the interview with Wolters and Van Dyke, Runner affirmed the importance of Simon Gerrit De Graaf (1889-1955) and Johannes C. Sikkel (1856-1920) and declared that the "new covenantal preaching" which they advocated "was really the religious setting of the development of the Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee" (philosophy of the law-idea). See Hearing and Doing (note kraay33), p. 349. Return to text of Essay 1.
The Development of Aristotle Illustrated from the Earliest Books of the Physics (Kampen: J.H. Kok, no date). Return to text of Essay 1.
In the Wolters and Van Dyke interview, conducted five years before his retirement, he declared: "So there's lots of work to be done! I still hope to do some of that work myself. I want to write especially for my Evangelical people -- about the task in philosophy and why this type of Christian philosophy, and what we mean by a Christian philosophy. I want to explain all that very simply -- prolegomena. And then I'd like to write on Greek philosophy, and on phenomenology ...." see Hearing and Doing (note kraay33), p. 361. Return to text of Essay 1.
Runner's strong opposition to atomistic ways of thinking came to expression in what he said about truth. For example, when asked whether it is not a "truth" that 2 + 2 = 4, he would answer: "To all such questions I reply that we must distinguish between a more or less correct description of those limited states of affairs that immediately press upon all of us and the truth about those states of affairs. The truth cannot be seen in isolation from the whole coherence of meaning of the creation-order as seen in the light of God's Word. ... Truth in the Scripture has to do with the whole of reality in its central religious meaning." See The Relation of the Bible to Learning (note barrett33), p. 61. Return to text of Essay 1.
Schilder obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Erlangen in Germany. His dissertation, supervised by Eugen Herrigel, was entitled Zur Begriffsgeschichte des "Paradoxon": Mit besonderer Berücksichtigung Calvins und des nach-kierkegaardschen "Paradoxon" (Kampen: J.H. Kok, 1933). He also dealt at length with the concept of paradox in his essay "De paradox in de religie," published in his book Bij Dichters en Schriftgeleerden (Amsterdam: Uitgeversmaatschappij Holland, 1927), pp. 65-147. Return to text of Essay 1.
Because the North American churches that look to Schilder for inspiration (called Canadian Reformed) are markedly conservative in their approach to theological issues, it may be hard to conceive of Schilder himself as a young turk who stirred things up. G.C. Berkouwer informs us that Schilder opposed the attitude that seeks to close off debate by maintaining that surely it is obvious to all what we must think, and so it goes without saying that such-and-such is the case: "Hij heeft geopponeerd tegen alle vanzelfsprekendheid." See Zoeken en vinden: Herinneringen en ervaringen (Kampen: J.H. Kok, 1989), pp. 246, 252. J.M. Batteau assures us that Schilder "eschewed conservatism." During my student days, Runner also detested the thought of being classified as one of the "conservatives": see the speech he delivered on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Groen Club. He also wrote: "Orthodoxy is not conservatism. Traditionalism is that quiet final stage of life that ushers in death." See The Relation of the Bible to Learning (note barrett33), p. 168. Even so, Schilder did start out with his feet planted squarely in Kuyper's tradition. Hence those who maintained that he was deviating from Kuyper and from what he himself had once believed were correct. Batteau writes: "... Schilder moved from being a warm defender of Kuyper on most issues in 1928 to being a sometimes severe critic of Kuyper (and particularly of Kuyper's followers) on some key issues in the 1930s and 1940s." See "Schilder on the Church," in Always Obedient: Essays on the Teachings of Dr. Klaas Schilder, ed. Jakob Geertsema (Phillipsburg, N.J.: P&R Publishing, 1995), pp. 70, 74. Return to text of Essay 1.
Schilder wrote a scholarly monograph on the subject to which he gave a lengthy title in the form of a question. The title (in English translation) was: "Is the term `common grace' justified from a scholarly point of view?" His answer was no. This monograph, which has never been translated, as far as I know, was published in Dutch by Ph. Zalzman of Kampen in 1947. Return to text of Essay 1.
De Openbaring van Johannes en het sociale leven, third printing (Delft: W.D. Meinema, 1951), pp. 45-46. We find similar talk in Benne Holwerda (1909-1952): see his 1949 address to young people entitled "The Church in the Last Judgment" (unpublished edition translated by P.Y. De Jong and circulated by Roelof Janssen). Holwerda writes: "Revelation 17 gives us at a glance all of world history and enables us to understand the times." [Page 16; see also pp. 23 and 29] History is all of one piece for Holwerda. Elsewhere he writes: "History always means both unity and progress. But whoever neglects the connection between the two and allows history to become a great number of independent events loses both the unity of history and its progress." See "De Heilshistorie in de prediking," in Begonnen hebbende van Mozes (Terneuzen: Uitgeverij D.H. Littooij, 1953), p. 89. Return to text of Essay 1.
Scholtens is not well known to posterity, although he pops up frequently in the correspondence between Schilder and Vollenhoven. Douwe van Dijk (1887-1985) salutes him: "The man who helped me especially in gaining insight regarding these matters is brother A. Scholtens, one of our elders, who died while he was a prisoner of the Nazis." See My Path to Liberation, trans. Theodore Plantinga (Neerlandia, Alberta: Inheritance Publications, 2004), p. 212. Scholtens was the author of Verbond en kenmerkenprediking (Groningen: J. Haan, 1936). As for Van Dijk, he was the main spokesman for Schilder's side of things at the famous synod that deposed Schilder in 1944. Van Dijk was expelled from the synod for his troubles. He tells the story of the synod and its colorful personalities at considerable length in his book, which also serves as his autobiography: pages 11-215 cover the years before the bitter struggle broke out. Van Dijk explains something of the change in his own thinking, to which Scholtens had helped him (see pp. 209ff). Return to text of Essay 1.
Out of Concern for the Church (note outofconcern33), p. 68). Return to text of Essay 1.
See Will All the King's Men ... (note outofconcern33), pp. 126ff. Return to text of Essay 1.
Readers might wonder: since when is history a science? The Dutch and German words usually translated as "science" (wetenschap and Wissenschaft respectively) are used much more broadly than the English term "science," for they can be applied to scholarship that English-speaking people would be inclined as assign to the "humanities," such as the study of literature. Thus historical science, in the Dooyeweerdian world, can simply be thought of as historical scholarship. The recognition of this difference between the English language, on the one hand, and Dutch and German, on the other, was a factor in the decision to drop the name ARSS (Association for Reformed Scientific Scholarship) and replace it with AACS (Association for the Advancement of Christian Scholarship). Return to text of Essay 1.
James Skillen's recent book With or Against the World? America's Role Among the Nations (Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005) is an example of such Dooyeweerdian criticism. Return to text of Essay 1.
In M.C. Smit, Toward a Christian Conception of History, ed. and trans. Herbert Donald Morton and Harry Van Dyke (Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America, 2002), pp. 229-230. Smit is less definite about these matters, however, when he concludes a later essay entitled "The Meaning of History": see pp. 325-326. Return to text of Essay 1.
Socrates: "... so far from pleading on my own behalf, as might be supposed, I am really pleading on yours, to save you from misusing the gift of God by condemning me. If you put me to death, you will not easily find anyone to take my place. It is literally true (even if it sounds rather comical) that God has specially appointed me to this city, as though it were a large thoroughbred horse which because of its great size is inclined to be lazy and needs the stimulation of some stinging fly [gadfly]. It seems to me that God has attached me to this city to perform the office of such a fly; and all day long I never cease to settle here, there, and everywhere, rousing, persuading, reproving every one of you. You will not easily find another like me, gentlemen, and if you take my advice you will spare my life." Translated by Hugh Tredennick and quoted from The Last Days of Socrates, Penguin edition, pp. 62-3. Return to text of Essay 1.
Gordon Spykman, who is the author of the chief explicitly reformational treatise in systematic theology, rooted in the tradition of Dooyeweerd and Vollenhoven, is of the same mind. His magnum opus is entitled Reformational Theology: A New Paradigm for Doing Dogmatics (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992). Note what he says about Schilder's role in helping him find the path that leads to a reformational understanding of theology (p. 91; see also pp. 6-7). Return to text of Essay 1.
Quoted from The Structure of Herman Dooyeweerd's Thought (Toronto: Wedge Publishing Foundation, 1983; originally a Th.D. dissertation at Westminster Theological Seminary in 1970), p. 34. Dooyeweerd accused Kuyper of clinging to scholastic elements, and Steen in turn accused Dooyeweerd: "... Dooyeweerd operates with a typically scholastic view of eternal life, a notion which involves leaving the temporal and entering into eternal life." [Page 142] He drew Popma to his side as a witness: "... Popma sees in Dooyeweerd's thinking an ontology type which is dualistic. Not only is it dualistic but it is specified to be a dualism with a dichotomy in its anthropology." [Pages 157-8] Return to text of Essay 1.
I knew Stob, but not well. I studied medieval philosophy under him in the days when he still taught part-time in the college. His brevity on the subject of Runner reflected something of the attitude summed up in the adage: "If you don't have anything good to say, then don't say anything at all." See Summoning Up Remembrance (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), pp. 285-288 and 312-313. Stob worked on a second volume of memoirs but did not live to complete it. What he managed to get down on paper is available at http://www.stobfamily.com/HJStob.html. In Chapters 16 and 18 he deals further with Runner and the difficulties he faced during the 1950s. Return to text of Essay 1.
The "Groen Club syllabus" (see note syllabus33) is a good indication of what reformationals who came into the movement under Runner believed and what sorts of books and essays they drew on as sources of their ideas. Each chapter ends with a list of "recommended readings." These lists include much more than just the writings of Dooyeweerd. Much of what is listed is in Dutch, but it should be remembered that in the early days of the Groen Club, many of Runner's students were immigrants who could read Dutch. The syllabus includes references to sources which Groen Clubbers had already translated into English or were planning to translate soon. Runner realized that he needed to reach students who could not read Dutch. Reformational organizations, including the ICS, used to have stacks of mimeographed papers on hand, some of which were translations of Dutch sources. In many cases, a segment of some worthy work would be made available in such a provisional translation. Someone should establish an archive of such material and should include in the archive the papers presented by students at Groen Club meetings. Return to text of Essay 1.
The Bible and the Life of the Christian. Listed as published simply by the Groen van Prinsterer Society ("Groen Club") of Grand Rapids. The title page bears no indication of authorship, but the foreword, signed by Runner, reveals that the material in the book was composed by H. de Jongste and Rev. J.M. van Krimpen. In the process of translation, the material was compressed and adapted somewhat. I gather that the work was done party by Runner himself and partly by the keenest of his students. Return to text of Essay 1.
See Promises to Keep: A Centennial History of Calvin College (published jointly by Calvin College and Eerdmans in 1875), p. 191. Return to text of Essay 1.
The ten volumes were published by Paideia in my translation and adaptation in 1978 and 1979. The entire series was eventually reprinted by Covenant Press of Grand Prairie, Alberta. Another project of ours, which never really got off the ground, was a series of redemptive-historical Bible study books written by Cornelis Vonk (1904-93) and F. Van Deursen. Return to text of Essay 1.
B.J. van der Walt thinks Vollenhoven's method may be applicable to the history of theology: see "The Consistent Problem-Historical Method of Philosophical Historiography," in Anatomy of Reformation: Flashes and Fragments of a Reformational Worldview (Potchefstroom, South Africa: Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education, 1991), p. 555. It seems to me that if Vollenhoven could somehow be wedded to Arthur Lovejoy, whose "history of ideas" school and methodology traced ideas or "unit-ideas" across recognized disciplinary boundaries, we might have the beginning of an integration of the histories of philosophy, theology, art history, and perhaps other fields as well. On Lovejoy, see the literature cited in note lovejoy33. Seerveld explores the art history angle in "Vollenhoven's Legacy for Art Historiography," Philosophia Reformata, Vol. 58, No. 1 (1990), pp. 49-79. Return to text of Essay 1.
Years ago Gerald Vandezande published a memorable brochure under the title "Must Christians Form Power Organizations?" (no date, 11 pages). Return to text of Essay 1.
See also Dale Van Kley, who was writing during the era in question: "Dooyeweerd as Historian," in A Christian View of History? ed. George Marsden and Frank Roberts (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975), p. 139. Return to text of Essay 1.
Van Kley: "Professor Vollenhoven has in fact written a Dooyeweerdian history of ancient philosophy." See "Dooyeweerd as Historian," note vankley39, p. 150. Return to text of Essay 1.
See "Dooyeweerd as Historian" (note vankley39), pp. 178, 160, 168. Return to text of Essay 1.
Quotations taken from In Kuyper's lijn (Goes: Oosterbaan & Le Cointre, 1939), pp. 3, 19, 21. Return to text of Essay 1.
See Om de "Unica Catholica": Een beschouwing over de positie van de bezwaarden onder en over de synodocratie. (Goes: Oosterbaan & Le Cointre, 1949), pp. 52-53. Return to text of Essay 1.
Om de "Unica Catholica" (note veenhof44), p. 53. Return to text of Essay 1.
Entitled Herman Dooyeweerd: Leven en werk van een Nederlands christen-wijsgeer (Baarn: Ten Have, 1989). Verburg does not trace all the shifts in Dooyeweerd's terminology. Danie Strauss observes: "... Dooyeweerd's thought evinces an on-going dynamics -- he was constantly reconsidering certain basic distinctions and there is also a noticeable shift in facets of his terminology." Strauss then points to John Kraay's work on the development of Dooyeweerd's thought through three phases or "conceptions." Kraay's study was published in Philosophia Reformata, Vol. 44 (1979), pp. 137-149, and Vol. 45 (1980), pp. 1-46. Strauss makes these remarks in "Intellectual Influences upon the Reformational Philosophy of Dooyeweerd," in Philosophia Reformata, Vol. 69 (2004), No. 2, p. 152. Return to text of Essay 1.
The Vos thesis is presented in his book Aquinas, Calvin, and Contemporary Protestant Thought: A Critique of Protestant Views on the Thought of Thomas Aquinas (Washington: Christian University Press, 1985). Wrote Vos: "... many have criticized Aquinas for making a distinction between nature and grace. They maintain that such a split inevitably leads to a dualism from which nature emerges as an independent, self-sufficient order, and grace emerges as a superfluous option. In fact, however, this is a position that Aquinas combatted with all his energy throughout his life; he always held grace preeminent over nature." [Pages 162-163] Vos explained further: "... new scholarship on the Middle Ages produced during the past century has convincingly shown that later Thomists departed significantly from Aquinas's original teaching some time during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and that in fact the later Thomist tradition resembles fairly closely the position that Protestants have long attributed to Aquinas himself." [Pages 152-153] Return to text of Essay 1.
I am not the only one who has picked up the pen, so to speak, since Runner's death. See also Al Wolters, "The Importance of H. Evan Runner," available at http://wrf.ca/comment/2003/0701/25, and Harry Van Dyke, "H. Evan Runner and the Groen Club," available at http://wrf.ca/comment/2004/0101/34. Return to text of Essay 1.
The discussion began in the Reformed Journal (now defunct) in December of 1974 and was carried over to The Banner, which is the official publication of the Christian Reformed denomination. His three articles appeared in the issues of January 3, 1975 (pp. 13-15), January 10 (pp. 18-20), and January 17 (pp. 12 and 21). Between March 8 and August 30 of 1974, Lester De Koster had published a series of articles as editorials in which he severely criticized "cosmonomia," by which he meant Dooyeweerd, Runner and many other reformationals associated with Amsterdam and Toronto. Wolterstorff's series (entitled "The AACS in the CRC: Will It Guide Us Or Divide Us?") was intended in part as a response to De Koster. Return to text of Essay 1.
In 1975 Wolterstorff made it clear that although he had some respect and appreciation for the AACS, he was not an adherent. He offered himself as an example of one who was a Kuyperian and believed in sphere sovereignty without following either Dooyeweerd or the AACS. See his three articles entitled "The AACS in the CRC: Will It Guide Us Or Divide Us?" (note wolterstorff22). Return to text of Essay 1.
Nicholas Wolterstorff, who is much more enamored of Kuyper than of Dooyeweerd, points to the latter as lending unwitting support to the Afrikaner cause: see Until Justice and Peace Embrace (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983), pp. 58-59. It is worth noting that the book consists of the Kuyper Lectures delivered at the Free University in 1981. Return to text of Essay 1.
If you don't understand this reference, you need to watch Woody Allen's movie Zelig (1983). Return to text of Essay 1.
The appropriate reformational thing to do would be to adopt a critical stance toward the New Left. This is what S.U. Zuidema (1906-75) did in his book on Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979), whom he criticized severely after spending some 200 pages reviewing his ideas. See De revolutionaire maatschappijkritiek van Herbert Marcuse (Amsterdam: Buijten en Schipperheijn, 1970), pp. 201ff. Edwin Plantinga, my younger brother, was a student at Calvin (beginning in 1970), and he remembers Runner recommending books by Marcuse. The ICS academic calendar for 1969-70 announced planned publications by AACS leaders, including In Critique of the Revolutionary Mind, by Runner (see p. 14). No such book ever appeared. Of course the reformationals could not help but see a measure of vindication in the general phenomenon of the New Left and the attention it drew to certain problems in North American society. In a course description of a course taught by Runner at ICS during the 1970-71 academic year we read: "Here what was learned in the first part of the course is related to the central problems of contemporary unrest." See the 1970-71 academic calendar, p. 15. Return to text of Essay 1.
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