John Owen between Orthodoxy and Modernity


Volume Editors: and
This volume offers fresh reflections on John Owen, a leading Reformed theologian who sat on the brink of a new age. His seventeenth- century theology and spirituality reflect the growing tensions, and pre-modern and modern tendencies. Exploring Owen in this context helps readers better understand the seventeenth-century dynamics of individualization and rationalization, the views of God and self, community and the world. The authors of this volume investigate Owen’s approach to various key themes, including his Trinitarian piety, catholicity, doctrine of scripture, and public prayer. Owen’s international reception and current historiographical challenges are also highlighted.

Contributors are: Joel R. Beeke, Henk van den Belt, Gert A. van den Brink, Hans Burger, Daniel R. Hyde, Kelly M. Kapic, Reinier W. de Koeijer, Ryan M. McGraw, David P. Murray, Carl R. Trueman, Willem van Vlastuin.

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Willem van Vlastuin, Ph.D. (2002), Theological University of Apeldoorn, is Professor of the Theology and Spirituality of Reformed Protestantism at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He published articles and monographs, including Be Renewed. A Theology of Personal Renewal (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2014).
Kelly M. Kapic is professor of theological studies at Covenant College (USA). He is an award-wining author and editor of numerous books, including The Ashgate Research Companion to John Owen’s Theology, Communion with God, Embodied Hope, and Mapping Modern Theology.
"There has been a serious re-evaluation of Protestant scholasticism in recent scholarship: no-one now seriously pushes the ‘Calvin against the Calvinists’ line, or doubts the influence of medieval thought on post-Reformation theology. Stressing how continuous early modern orthodoxy was with the medieval tradition, however, invites a new error: a distancing of orthodoxy from modernity. The essays in this volume address this question directly, and powerfully. Owen is judiciously located in different ways as someone who inherits much, and also prefigures much. We learn much about Owen, and much about intellectual history, from these important essays." — Dr. Steve Holmes, Senior Lecturer, University of St Andrews
"Recent scholarship has shown a growing interest in John Owen as one of the most important theologians of the Reformed Orthodox period. This carefully edited volume brings together some of the best contributions to a very stimulating conference, held at Apeldoorn on the four-hundredth anniversary of Owen’s birth. It not only presents the state of the art of research on Owen, but also opens up new vistas by discussing his complex relationship to modernity. The collected essays are written by experts in the field and deserve a wide readership. It is a pleasure to recommend this superb volume." — Prof. Dr. Andreas J. Beck, Rector and Professor of Historical Theology, Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, Leuven
Notes on Contributors

Part 1: Setting the Scene

1 Introduction, Overview and Epilogue
Willem van Vlastuin and Kelly M. Kapic

2 John Owen and Modernity: Reflections on Historiography, Modernity, and the Self
Carl R. Trueman

3 John Owen’s Theological Spirituality: Navigating Perceived Threats in a Changing World
Kelly M. Kapic

4 The Reception of John Owen in Early Modernity
Joel R. Beeke

Part 2: Theological Issues

5 Is the Right to Punish a Private or a Public Right? John Owen’s Debate with the Socinians on the ius puniendi in the Context of Early-Modern Developments
Gert A. van den Brink

6 Why Do You Believe That Scripture Is the Word of God? Owen’s Doctrine of Scripture Reconsidered
Hans Burger

7 Vocatio as Regeneration: John Owen’s Concept of Effectual Calling
Henk van den Belt

8 John Owen as a Modern Theologian: a Comparison of Catholicity in Cyprian and Owen
Willem van Vlastuin

Part 3: Spirituality and Christian Practices

9 Seeing Things Owen’s Way: John Owen’s Trinitarian Theology and Piety in Its Early-Modern Context
Ryan M. McGraw

10 Puritan Spirituality with a Dual Focus: John Owen and Meditation on Christ
Reinier W. de Koeijer

11 John Owen’s View of Human Happiness Compared with Orthodoxy and Modernity
David P. Murray

12 John Owen on Public Prayer: a Critical Reading
Daniel R. Hyde

Index of Names and Subjects
All interested in Puritanism and its influence, John Owen, spirituality, ecclesiology and anyone concerned with the interpretation and application of orthodox theology in a (post)modern context.
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