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Willem van Asselt

This volume deals with the Federal theology of Johannes Cocceius, who lived in the seventeenth century (1603-1669). German by birth, he taught at Bremen, Franeker and Leiden, where he was Professor of Theology (1650-1669). As foremost biblical interpreter he sought to formulate a Covenant theory which described all of human history by introducing the structure of consecutive covenants or foedera. The book poses a surprising alternative to the readings of earlier scholarship on Cocceius by its careful presentation of the pneumatological components of the doctrine of covenants. Cocceius' Federal theology was of considerable importance in the theological and political history of Europe and the United States and formes the framework for much of the Reformed theology in the past three centuries.
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Willem J. van Asselt

This article addresses a controversy between Reformed theologians on the exegesis of Psalm 8 which arose in the Dutch Reformed Church during the late seventeenth century. The followers of the Leiden theologian Johannes Cocceius proposed an eschatological (even apocalyptic) reading of this Psalm which was vehemently contested by the followers of the Utrecht professor Gisbertus Voetius. Both parties appealed to Calvin’s exegesis of this Psalm and argued that their opinions were in continuity with those of Calvin. By comparing Calvin’s exegesis of this Psalm to Cocceius’s explanation, it is possible to illuminate the seventeenth-century debate on this issue. This may also be instructive for explaining the variegated views on Biblical prophecy within the Reformed tradition. At the same time, an investigation of the sources of both theologians enables us to locate them in the history of exegesis.

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Willem van Asselt

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Can Human Friendship Yield Knowledge of God?

Towards a Religious Epistemology Embodied in the Spirituality of Everyday Life

Willem J. van Asselt and Marcel Sarot

While friendship is a perennial phenomenon, it adopts characteristic forms in contemporary culture. These are reflected in the contemporary revival of thought on friendship. The authors build on this revival by inquiring whether friendship could be developed into a key concept for religious epistemology. Does friendship contain an implicit knowledge that might be called religious, and that lends itself to explication by religious epistemology? The authors argue that it does, and that an embodied epistemology is capable of teasing out the spiritual dimensions of friendship. Thus, examining friendships between human beings may yield knowledge of God. Finally, the authors argue that since epistemology and spirituality are closely related, the move from a foundationalist epistemology to an epistemology embodied in friendship also involves a move to a different type of spirituality that is neither rationalistic nor fideist in nature.

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Series:

Willem Van Asselt, Paul Van Geest, Daniela Müller and Theo Salemink