I want to make a few comments on this book, but not a full-fledged review. This is an excellent doorway into the world of post-Reformation Reformed theologians. It condenses the best in some of the most recent scholarship, particularly from the Netherlands. It continues the program of deflating anti-scholastic biases. For example, the authors illustrate in a number of places ways in which John Calvin employed scholastic methods in his writing and teaching. Calvin’s issue was never with scholasticism as a method in general, but with the specific theologians of the Sorbonne. The authors demonstrate how the high orthodox period was not, as is often portrayed, rationalistic, nor did it contain the seeds of the Enlightenment.
One of the important contributions of this volume is to the history of apologetics in this period. It includes a translation of a disputation from Gisbertus Voetius on “The Use of Reason in Matters of Faith.” There is also a reading guide to assist the novice in understanding his approach. Elsewhere Van Asselt briefly surveys the development of “physico-theology,” a form of theology based on the study of nature, developed in response to the pressures of Enlightenment skepticism and atheism. Fascinating stuff, this.
Richard Muller is usually touted as the go-to man for getting to know the post-Reformation. Rightly so. However, novices to this field can sometimes find him difficult to access. Introduction to Reformed Scholasticism is now the best place to start. Albert Gootjes deserves our thanks for translating it and Reformation Heritage Books for publishing it. I’m going to be turning to it often.