Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Richard Muller's "Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics"

The second edition of Muller's four volume "Post Reformation Reformed Dogmatics" is gaining much praise within the reformed community. Originally published in 1987, this (apprently) ground-breaking study explains and defends post-Calvinian Reformed orthodoxy, which is often referred to as "reformed scholasticism", which is not usually a very complimentary term. Muller's work shows us how much we really don't understand this era of theological reflection (ca. 1520-1725). Muller very effectively debunks many myths concering reformed scholasticism. Muller's work makes it much easier to see why Charles Hodge and Old Princeton routinely required Francis Turretin and other such reformed scholastics. (I found the discussion of theological method in volume 1 alone very interesting.) My interest in the theology of this era was piqued a few years ago when I read in George Marsden's biogrpahy a comment that Jonathan Edwards made concerning Peter van Mastricht. Edwards praised van Mastricht as one of the very best theologians, even superior to Turretin. He would have his students read van Mastricht above all others. I immediately began to search for volumes by him, but found that he originally wrote in Latin, and then it was translated into Dutch, but that there has been no English translation of his works to date. The only work of van Mastricht to be translated into English that I could find is "A Treatise on Regeneration" published by Soli Deo Gloria. So be aware of Muller's work. There are entire vistas of sweeping theological thought that are barred to us simply because we know English, but not Latin or Dutch. If you have any interest in reading Muller (and I would recommend reading Herman Bavinck or John Owen first), then a good place to start is this overview of his four volume work:

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