The Bavinck Institute congratulates Society member Hanniel Strebel, whose fine Olivet University PhD dissertation on Herman Bavinck’s philosophy of education has been published:
Eine Theologie des Lernens: Systematisch-theologische Beiträge aus dem Werk von Herman Bavinck [A theology of learning: systematic-theological contributions from the work of Herman Bavinck] (Bonn: VKW, 2014).
Dr. Strebel provides the following abstract:
This study is the first German dissertation on Herman Bavinck (1854-1921). Thematically, it builds on the place where Bavinck research took its beginning in the 1920s and 30s: with his educational philosophy. Starting with his “Principles of Pedagogy” (1904), three key questions regarding learning are examined: What is the purpose of learning? Who can learn? How does one appropriate human knowledge?
See also Strebel’s recent articles on the same topic:
Germanophone Bavinckians will be interested as well in Strebel’s German Bavinck bibliography.
Congratulations to Timothy Shaun Price on his recent dissertation: “Pedagogy as Theological Praxis: Martin Luther and Herman Bavinck as Sources for Engagement with Classical Education and the Liberal Arts Tradition” (PhD diss., University of Aberdeen, 2013).
This thesis seeks to put two theologians, Martin Luther and Herman Bavinck, and their theological traditions in conversation with emphasis upon how they approach the topic of education. Specific emphasis is placed upon their understanding and application of the classical education tradition.
The purpose of such a conversation is to point to what returning to Luther and Bavinck as sources can add to a discussion on pedagogy as well as to examine how their theological positions lead to a different emphasis in regards to pedagogy. The thesis is entitled “Pedagogy as Theological Praxis” because it makes the case that there are definite ethical implications in how one approaches pedagogy. In a broader spectrum, the thesis also examines how the epistemological presuppositions of these two traditions may effect the application of their theology.
The first half of the thesis deals primarily with Martin Luther. Luther’s understanding of the three estates of ecclesia, oeconomia, and politia are used as a lens by which to examine his writings. The three estates are used specifically to examine Luther’s 1524 letter, “To the Councilmen of all Cities in Germany that they Establish and Maintain Christian Schools.”
The thesis then shifts to an examination of Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck and his theological tradition of neo-Calvinism. Several prominent themes in neo-Calvinism are noted, and the distinctive contributions of Bavinck are also examined. As the thesis previously applied the framework of Luther’s theology to his work, the thesis also applies the Reformed neo-Calvinist framework to Bavinck’s article “Classical Education” and his book Pedagogical Principles. The thesis ends by putting Luther and Bavinck, as well as their traditions, into conversation in regards to the subject of Christian classical education. Emphasis is placed upon the North American context, which has seen a recent resurgence in the practice of classical education. Luther’s and Bavinck’s distinct contributions are placed alongside the contemporary practice of classical education for the purpose of fruitful dialogue and engagement.
Student: Hanniel Strebel, Olivet University
Title: Eine Theologie des Lernens. Systematisch-theologische Beiträge aus dem Werk von Herman Bavinck (“A Theology of Learning: Systematic-Theological Contributions from the Work of Herman Bavinck”)
Content: Following the structure of Bavinck’s Principles of Education I outline the why (teleology), the who (anthropology), and the how (epistemology) of learning followed by a critical assessment.
Supervisor: Thomas K. Johnson
The Bavinck Institute is pleased to announce its second publication this spring: John Bolt, A Theological Analysis of Herman Bavinck’s Two Essays on the Imitatio Christi: Between Pietism and Modernism (Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 2013).
Professor Bolt defended his original dissertation in 1982 at the University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto, under the title, ”The Imitation of Christ Theme in the Cultural-Ethical Ideal of Herman Bavinck.” For the published edition he has updated the scholarship and added a concluding chapter on application and relevance. Also, he has included the first available English translations of Bavinck’s two imitation articles of 1885/86 and 1918.
Bolt’s investigation of Bavinck’s essays on the imitation of Christ . . . immerses us in some of the most important aspects of the Christianity and culture debate. What is the relationship of God’s work of creation to his work of redemption? What is the relationship of nature and grace? What is the significance of common grace and natural law? What is the relationship of the Old Testament law, as summarized in the Decalogue, to New Testament ethics, especially as set forth in the Sermon on the Mount? Can the Sermon on the Mount really direct our social-cultural life and, if so, how? These will undoubtedly remain central questions to discussions about Christian cultural activity, and Bolt reflects on all of them as he expounds Bavinck’s essays. I predict that his conclusions will surprise many readers, challenge simplistic assumptions about Bavinck’s view of culture, and inspire many people to read Bavinck anew. (David VanDrunen, “Forward,” v–vi)
Next up in our series of author interviews is Willem J. de Wit, whose proefschrift at VU University Amsterdam under Professors A. van de Beek and C. van der Kooi was recently published as On the Way to the Living God: A Cathartic Reading of Herman Bavinck and an Invitation to Overcome the Plausibility Crisis of Christianity (Amsterdam: VU University Press, 2011). In chapters 2 and 3 Willem presents a “cathartic” reading of Bavinck based primarily upon Bavinck’s personal correspondence with Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje. In the remaining chapters Willem formulates a series of “invitations” as a way to (re)gain perspective on the living God in a post-Christian context.
Continue reading “Interview with Willem de Wit on his On the Way to the Living God”
Congratulations to Bavinck Society member Willem-Jan de Wit, who received his doctorate from the VU University Amsterdam on December 16, 2011 (see also this Reformed Daily exclusive).
De Wit’s dissertation, under the supervision of Prof. A van de Beek and Prof. C. van der Kooi, is titled, On the Way to the Loving God (VU University Press, 2011). It offers a “cathartic reading” of Herman Bavinck’s faith wrestlings, beginning with his student years at Leiden. The dissertation is available as a free download via his web site as is his related article in TBR 2: “Will I Remain Standing?”: A Cathartic Reading of Herman Bavinck.
Dr. de Wit works in Cairo on behalf of the Reformed Mission Union (Gereformeerde Zendingsbond), teaching at the Evangelical Theological Seminary.
Aart Goedvree, Theological University of Kampen (PThU)
Title: Een ondoordringbaar mysterie: Herman Bavinck en zijn concept van wedergeboorte en zijn bronnen (ET: An Impenetrable Mystery: Herman Bavinck and his concept of regeneration and its sources)
Description: My dissertation examines Herman Bavinck’s doctrine of regeneration. The extensive debates over this doctrine in 19th and 20th century Dutch neo-Calvinism form the context for my study. The scope of my research includes Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics (1st and 2nd eds.), his unpublished Reformed Ethics manuscript, and many sources relating to the doctrine of regeneration as developed from Calvin’s to Kuyper’s times. My study is divided into two parts: First I present a systematic-theological overview of the developments of regeneration from Calvin to Kuyper. Second, I analyze Bavinck’s formulation of the concept and sources of regeneration.
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. J. Hoek.
James Eglinton, New College, University of Edinburgh
Topic: Organic Thinking: The ‘Organic’ Motif in Bavinck’s Theology
Description: I am currently completing a PhD on Bavinck’s use of the ‘organic’ motif. My thesis attempts to prove that this ever-present motif is, for Bavinck, (1) the revelational consequence of God’s triunity, and (2) an essential continuation of Calvin’s earlier theology. As such, my work represents a new reading of Bavinck – one which departs from previous assertions that he drew the organic idea from Hegel, Schelling, the Dutch Ethical Moderns, the History of Religions School, et al. My reading of Bavinck is shaped by the relationship drawn between theos and cosmos in his thought: ‘Trinity ad intra’ leads to ‘organism ad extra’.
Supervisors: Professor David Fergusson, Dr Paul Nimmo
Wolter Huttinga, Kampen Theological University (Broederweg)
Topic: ‘Radical Orthodoxy and Herman Bavinck’.
Description: I am analyzing the ontology of the so-called “radical orthodoxy” (i.e., John Milbank, et al.) and am bringing this line of scholarship into conversation with Bavinck’s thought. The main question is this: How do the respective positions conceive of the relation between the being of God and creation? Within this focus upon “theological ontology” I will give special attention to the way Thomas Aquinas’ thought is appropriated by the radical orthodox and by Bavinck.
Supervisor: Professor B. Kamphuis
A revision of the author’s PhD dissertation at the University of Leiden (2006), this study of αὐτόπιστος /αὐτόπιστια centers in on the heart of Bavinck’s understanding of Scripture and faith. Henk van den Belt is a pastor in the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN) and an assistant professor in systematic theology at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam.
This is a superb study which brings together biblical-theological insight from the Johannine and Pauline writings, the historical-systematic riches of John Owen and Herman Bavinck, usinging it all to engage contemporary theologians Oliver O’ Donovan and Ingolf Dalferth. Refusing to set “representation” over against “participation,” the author brings them together in a fuller portrait.
Both books are reviewed in the inaugural issue of TBR.