Bavinck: A Critical Biography

James Eglinton. Baker Academic, $44.99 (480p) ISBN 978-1-5409-6135-8
Eglinton (Trinity and Organism), professor of theology at the University of Edinburgh, explores the work and life of Dutch Protestant theologian Herman Bavinck (1854–1921) in this dry biography. Bavinck’s work was most significant within his own tradition of the Dutch Reformed Church, and readers outside this sect may be unfamiliar with his name—a fact Eglinton sets out to remedy. Unfortunately, those hoping for a picture of Bavinck as a person will be disappointed, as Eglinton is primarily interested in the development of neo-Calvinist thought at the end of the 19th century. Eglinton opens the book with a history of the Reformed Church in Holland and biographies of Bavinck’s parents, then follows Bavinck’s career as a theologian, which saw the introduction of “modern thought” into the neo-Calvinism of the Reformed Church; the majority of his work focused on applying philosophical concepts of objectivism and subjectivism to the doctrine of revelation. While Eglinton makes a strong case for the influence of Bavinck’s thought on Calvinism, his narrow focus and painstaking analyses bog down the narrative of Bavinck’s life. This dense, overlong work will have limited appeal beyond academics of European Protestantism. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 06/23/2020
Release date: 09/01/2020
Genre: Religion
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