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IS DOOYEWEERD A PANENTHEIST? — COMMENTS ON FRIESEN’S ‘95 THESES ON HERMAN DOOYEWEERD’

In: Philosophia Reformata
Author: Gerrit Glas
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What is the purpose of Friesen’s 95 theses and what is the audience he has in mind? The title refers to a major church historical event and suggests that — like in 1517 — we are dealing with a concise statement of a new and radical doctrine that is unfolded in opposition to an established canon. But who is the opponent in this case? What is the established canon that is rejected? And what is new or radical in the summary? Dooyeweerd’s philosophy was definitely new and radical at the time of its conception. It still has an enormous potential for the special sciences. It offers important resources for any (transcendental) critique of ‘immanence’ philosophies. However, on first reading and without knowledge of the context, Friesen does not seem to aim at offering a new or radical interpretation of Dooyeweerd’s philosophy. I read the 95 theses as an attempt to wipe off the dust, to provide the overall picture, doing justice to aspects that (maybe) were neglected or (maybe) were wrongly understood in the reformational tradition. However, the audience he has in mind seems to be one that is already familiar with the basic concepts and the thrust of Dooyeweerdian thinking; not an audience that is opposed to reformational philosophical thinking, but one that might be helped by a succinct summary in order to encourage further study and discussion.

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