Blogging Bavinck 1 – The Man

Part of my “Just Do Something” was to be active in this blog and use it as a place to publicly share my thoughts. Additionally, it forced me to put thoughts down in writing. Most of this is focused on working on two different projects. The one here today, is reading through and writing about Reformed Dogmatics. This is a massive four volume work (the shortest of which is just shy of 700 pages), and will likely take me more than a year to write about. So, here it goes.

Herman Bavinck was a badass Theologian in the Netherlands. He is not widely known in the US, as his work has just recently (2008) been completely translated to English. He is becoming quite well known in the Reformed community in the us, if you are in seminary or a theology nerd.

Born in 1854, he completed his theological training at Leiden in 1880. He went on to be appointed professor of Dogmatics at Kampen Theological Seminary before eventually coming to be a professor of theology at the newly formed Free University of Amsterdam in 1902 (free in this since of being under control of neither the church nor the state). Where he stayed until his death in 1921. He was a member of the Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences and named to the Senate of the Netherlands Parliment. He was a contemporary of Abraham Kuyper in Amsterdam and B.B. Warfield, even participating in the Stone Lectures in 1908.

His magnum opus, Gereformeerde Dogmatiek was published between 1895 and 1901; revised, expanded and republished between 1906 and 1911; published again, unaltered in 1918; with different pagination in 1928; finally translated to English and published between 2003 and 2008. There was also an abridged (from 3,000 pages to 850) edition in published in English in 2011. Many of his other work have also been or are currently being translated.

I am not too far (100 pages or so) into the first Volume, Prolegomena, but I can already say, it’s tough. Not only is it dense and academic (probably 30 pages on why we should use the term ‘dogmatics’) but it has a bit of an antiquated feel. You have references to metaphysics and the concern for these new scientific departments of religion, as opposed to Theology.

Anyway, should be interesting, check back next Monday as we dive deeper in to Prolegomena.

For more info on Bavinck:


Follow along with me, go buy the whole set here – Reformed Dogmatics (4 Volume Set)

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