Bavinck: A Critical Biography HBBy: James Eglinton
Dutch Calvinist theologian Herman Bavinck, a significant voice in the development of Protestant theology, remains relevant many years after his death. His four-volume Reformed Dogmatics is one of the most important theological works of the twentieth century.
James Eglinton is widely considered to be at the forefront of contemporary interest in Bavinck's life and thought. After spending considerable time in the Netherlands researching Bavinck, Eglinton brings to light a wealth of new insights and previously unpublished documents to offer a definitive biography of this renowned Reformed thinker.
The book follows the course of Bavinck's life in a period of dramatic social change, identifying him as an orthodox Calvinist challenged with finding his feet in late modern culture. Based on extensive archival research, this critical biography presents numerous significant and previously ignored or unknown aspects of Bavinck's person and life story. A black-and-white photo insert is included.
This volume complements other Baker Academic offerings on Bavinck's theology and ethics, which together have sold 90,000 copies.
Part 1: Roots
1. The Old Reformed Church in Bentheim
"From the farmhouse to the town"
2. Jan Bavinck and Geziena Magdalena Holland
"At that time, we were still pariahs."
3. Herman's Childhood and Schooling: 1854-72
"The modern youth has come under the influence of the modern society."
Part 2: Student
4. Kampen: 1873-80
"The education there did not satisfy me."
5. Leiden: 1874-80
"O God, protect me in Leiden!"
Part 3: Pastor
6. Franeker: 1881-82
"It is quite a big and, for an inexperienced candidate, fairly difficult congregation."
Part 4: Professor in Kampen
7. Gathering Materials: 1883-89
"My books are my true company."
8. Writing a Modern Reformation: 1889-1902
"It is the theology needed by our age."
Part 5: Professor in Amsterdam
9. Christianity in the Age of Nietzsche: 1902-9
"In reality there are only two worldviews."
10. Showing His Colors: 1910-20
"Mr. Chairman! Our modern culture and Christianity are inseparable."
11. Bavinck's Final Years: 1920-21
"Do not put it in the newspaper; that does not befit me!"
Appendix 1: "My Journey to America"
Appendix 2: "An Autobiographical Sketch of Dr. H. Bavinck"
Appendix 3: "Propositions: The Concept and Necessity of
Key Figures, Churches, Educational Institutions, and Newspapers
James Eglinton (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is Meldrum Senior Lecturer in Reformed Theology at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland. He previously served as senior researcher in systematic and historical theology at the Theologische...
"Doctrine is forged on the anvil of life, and thus any attempt to understand a theologian's works must factor in the foundry of personal history. Devotees of Herman Bavinck can celebrate that they now have a biography that serves this task. James Eglinton has written an exceptionally well-researched account for anyone seeking to understand Bavinck and the modern Reformed tradition. Eglinton pairs in-depth research with insightful analysis. Readers will not be disappointed with the fruit of his outstanding labors."
J. V. Fesko, professor of systematic and historical theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi
"James Eglinton's biography of Bavinck is outstanding. Scholarly but accessible, it offers an account of Bavinck's life and work in its historical context, resisting the temptation to co-opt him to, or interpret him via, the concerns of later theological parties and conflicts. The picture that emerges here is neither that of a reactionary conservative nor that of a man divided against himself, as others have claimed, but that of a churchman navigating the waters of modernity with the tools of a deep and devout theological tradition. A wonderful companion volume to the Dogmatics."
Carl R. Trueman, Grove City College