08 June 2014

Concluding Convivium Thoughts: Part 1

You can read my pre-Convivium Calvinisticum thoughts here and some brief comments about Dr. James Bratt's remarks about Abraham Kuyper here. Bratt had much more to say, of course, but you can read his Kuyper biography for yourself but a couple of insights are worth sharing.

I had known generally of Kuyper's opposition to what today would be characterized as libertarian political theory and neo-classical economics but Bratt succeeded in fleshing out Kuyper's positive conception of the state's role in more detail. Bratt articulated Kuyper's debt to the German historical school for an "organic" conception of the development of society. I also found his observation that the 19th century represented a series of national unifications forced by northern industrial powers (German, Italy, and the United States) very helpful.

I had not known of Kuyper's religiously "charismatic" phase that lead to a nervous breakdown, five months of convalescence, and a book that I own, The Work of the Holy Spirit. Nor was I aware of the man's substantial shortcomings when it came to developing a cadre of successors and his children.

All in all, a great man with his fair share of weaknesses but one whose ideas remain relevant. I'm continuing to plow through Bratt's biography and can only more highly recommend it now than when I started a week ago. (Of course, my adoption into the Dutch-Reformed world through my undergraduate alma mater, Dordt College, and marriage gave us lots of inside-Dutch-baseball topics for discussion.)

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