Archive for the ‘Reviews’ category

Rushdoony on Runner et al.

22 July, 2006

Westminster Theological Journal 24 (1) (Nov 1961): 106-109
H. Van Riessen, A. L. Farris, H. E. Runner: Christian Perspectives 1960. Pella, Iowa: Pella Publishing, Inc. 1960. viii, 159. $1.50.

Christian Perspectives 1960, published by the Association for Reformed Scientific Studies in Canada, is a series of lectures given to an audience drawn mainly from students of various universities, colleges and high schools. They are therefore popular lectures, but, in the main, profound and stimulating. Van Riessen and Runner, in particular, as representatives of epistemologically self-conscious Calvinism, are especially telling in their critique of non-Christian thought and culture, and able in their development of the Christian perspective.

Van Riessen, dealing with “The Christian Approach to Science”, concerns himself immediately with the problem of neutrality. If science were neutral, a Christian approach would be unnecessary, and science beyond the need of biblical thought or God’s grace. It “would be beyond the effects of sin, a sector of life not in need of God’s grace. It would be a kingdom by itself, self-existing and separate from the kingdom of Christ.” If neutrality is a false premise, “then science will always be determined by faith. In that case the Christian approach to science will not only be useful but obligatory” (p. 5). But the neutrality, autonomy and superiority of theoretical thought with regard to religion is one of the premises of our culture, of scientific thought, and of extensive areas of religious thinking.

The Thomistic division of faith and reason into two independent spheres has its counterpart in Protestant circles. Science, however, has not been able to assert its objectivity and neutrality without attacks and uncertainties within its own camp, all heightened by Einstein’s physics. The Christian, unlike the unbeliever, is able to deny the concept of neutrality without falling into relativism, and indeed preserves scientific truth by his very denial of neutrality, in that God, rather than autonomous man or the principle of relativism, becomes the source of interpretation.

Neutralism, by positing an area of life unaffected by the fall, accordingly offers a redemption apart from Christ. Neutral science, it is believed by neutralists, provides hope of redemption in a planned society. “Christ or this science: that is the choice thrust upon us” (p. 34). In America, the community, served by neutral science, and calling for neutrality on the part of diverse groups with reference to itself, has become an idol of major dimensions, a redeeming community. The central idol, however, is neutrality itself, which “has never existed in science” (p. 42), and which is guided by extensive pre-philosophical presuppositions which are a false faith. Christian faith alone can ensure valid science in the long run, in that it restores God to his proper place as Creator and the source of interpretation. A faith, however, like Tillich’s which “short circuits the Christ of the Scriptures and the Scriptures of Christ” becomes only “a new form of an old idol” and “an expression of autonomy” (p. 47). Only truly biblical faith “offers us real escape from the secularization of science…guarantees the sacredness of man’s vocation in the field of science…(and) sees in the sphere of science the signs of the Kingdom of God” (p. 54).

Farris’ briefer lectures are concerned with “The Christian Approach to History”. The Greek, Marxist, humanist and Christian interpretations are analyzed briefly and contrasted, as are the divergent approaches to historical necessity, freedom and the eternal decree. Farris lays a welcome and strong stress on the significance of the resurrection to the philosophy of history, as the declaration of the triumphant sovereignty of God and the assurance of victory in time as well as eternity. He lacks, however, the sharp epistemological awareness of Van Riessen and Runner. Nonetheless, noteworthy emphases appear throughout his study. Of especial interest, as an illustration of “Christ’s victory over evil” and the conquering aspect of Christ’s work, is his comment on an observance of the sacrament of the Lord’s Table in Scotland:

Many years ago I conducted a communion service in an old parish church in…Scotland. As I walked into the Church that morning twothings startled me. In the first place there was a fine white linen over the back of every pew. One had the feeling that one had walked into a banquet hall and that was precisely the feeling that was meant to be engendered. In the second place, there were no communion vessels or elements on the communion table. I began the service and preached the sermon. Then I announced the metrical psalm based on Psalm 24. While we were singing the elders retired to the vestry and when we reached the word “Who is the Lord, the Lord mighty in battle?” they returned bearing the plates of bread and the flagons of wine. I realized then that I was participating in a victory celebration and that the elders were carrying in not only the symbols of Christ broken body and shed blood offered as an atonement for sin, but they were bearing aloft the spoils of victory. From that day to this the communion service has had no funereal overtones for me (p. 69).

Runner’s study of “The Relation of the Bible to Learning” returns to the basic problem of epistemological self-conciousness. The crux of the problem, as Runner states it, is, “What, after all, is the Word of God?” (p. 95). The Scriptures cannot be known or understood if alien categories of thought, or moralizations, are imported into the preaching thereof. Similarly, God and his Word remain alien to us if the divine order is not understood, if God, man, and “the law-order of God” are not seen as related rather than independent “pieces of knowledge”. In the Greek conception of Law, for example, one still decisive in contemporary culture, Law is abstract and a necessity above all duties. The medieval inheritance of Hellenic categories of thought led to abstract Laws (the Law of Reason, and Natural Law) which were in effect independent of God. For Occam, God and Law became irreconcilables, Law implying universals, so that “God is ex-lex: Deus Exlex” (p. 101). Calvin, by rejecting Augustine’s theory of ideas with their abstract and Hellenic realism, and also “the Occamist view of the Deus Exlex”, related the Law to God. (Van Til has stated it succinctly: “God does not have a law; He is law”, Intro. to Theol., 1947,II, 214). To know Law, one must therefore know God, and, similarly, to know the self, we must know God, in whose image man was created. God’s Law is “the very condition of our existence as selves…the Law is the condition of man’s freedom” (p. 104). Scripture, the Word of God, is the power by which God opens our hearts to see and know reality. In the world of learning, however, those holding apostate principles have not only failed to see the “inner connection that exists between the Word of God and our life in this world, more particularly just now the intrinsic connection between that Word and the world of learning” (p. 109), but have deepened and widened the disunity of the Fall by those developing apostate principles. Unhappily, many Christian thinkers, from early days to the present, as Runner points out in an able and concentrated survey, have sought common ground with apostate principles and thereby in effect surrendered the faith. A rejection of all synthesis is requisite to truly Christian thinking.

To understand Synthesis perfectly, and its consequences, just imagine what would have happened if our second representative or Office-bearing man, Christ Jesus, when, like Adam, he was tempted of Satan in the wilderness, had taken each of the devil’s tempting words and looked for, even expressed a measure of agreement with, the ‘moments’ of truth in them (without which the Lie cannot even exist since it is only a Distortion of the Truth)! That is precisely what our first parent did, and fell from his place. But the heart of the man Christ was held in the grip of the Truth, and he gave to each of Satan’s tempting words the integral answer of the Truth. Because of what He did it is possible for the apostle to enjoin us to ‘stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage’ (Gal 5:1) (pp. 156f).

Christian Perspectives 1960 is a delight to read and is deserving of wide circulation and use.

Rousas John Rushdoony
Santa Cruz, California


Review of Hearing and Doing

22 July, 2006

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society  23 (3) 1980: 279-81
Hearing and Doing. Edited by John Kraay and Anthony Tol. Toronto: Wedge, 1979, 370 pp., n.p.

Hearing and Doing is a Festschrift of 16 philosophical essays written in honor of H. Evan Runner, professor of philosophy at Calvin College, by his former students. The editors indicate that Runner impressed his students with the view that life is religion, that life “derives its meaning from the creational situation of God speaking and man responding (p. x). Given this perspective on life, religion must have implications for all areas of life. This line of reasoning provides the rationale for the book’s title and content. The essays are on widely divergent philosophical topics, intending to show the importance of hearing and doing for all areas of life. Runner introduced his students to the Calvinistic philosophy of the Netherlands as expounded in the works of such thinkers as Vollenhoven and Dooyeweerd, and the articles in this volume reflect that philosophy. For someone versed in that school of philosophy this volume will prove to be of special interest.

The essays are divided into five categories. First there are those dealing with current political and social approaches to problems (Hart, Zylstra, Langerak). A second group is concerned with matters directly pertaining to Scripture (Olthuis, Cook, De Graaff). The third and fourth groups are historically oriented, focusing respectively on medieval scholasticism (Helleman, Steen, Van Dyk, Vander Stelt) and on post-Kantian and post-Hegelian German philosophical thought (Vander Goot, Plantinga, Kraay). A final section focuses on topics of scientific foundational import (Wolters, Seerveld, Tol). The volume also includes an interview with Runner.

While I enjoyed all the essays, I found those on post-Kantian and post-Hegelian German thought to be the most helpful. In particular, Vander Goot has given a very thorough and clear exposition of the relation of religion and culture in the early thought of Schleier-macher. Some of the articles will probably prove to be unobjectionable to most, but they also seem to be of little philosophical value and relevance. Articles that fall into this category are Cook’s work on “Thoreau and the King James Bible” and Helleman’s “Augustine’s Early Writings on a Liberal Arts Education.” There are, on the other hand, several articles that will prove to be of philosophical interest and to serve as a basis for debate. I should like to comment on a few of them.

Hart (“Struggle for a New Direction”) discusses the relation of positivism to the political order. Some have argued that positivism and totalitarianism fit hand in glove. Hart agrees and argues further that the North American commitment to democracy tends toward totalitarianism itself, for it excludes plurality of political convictions. Hart suggests that the answer is to maintain a critical mind toward existing political orders in light of the message of the gospel and the truth of the coming kingdom of God. In relation to Hart’s treatment I find several difficulties. First, Hart presents much theory about the relation of positivism and totalitarianism, but not much evidence is offered to support the theory. Second, throughout the article the impression is given that any form of order (democracy or whatever) leads to totalitarianism and that only self-criticism of one’s institutions to the point of overturning such institutions avoids totalitarianism. One has to ask, however, whether such an approach is not itself totalitarian since it suggests that one’s relation to political order should always be of the sort described. Third, after much discussion on the need for pluralism to avoid totalitarianism Hart introduces Christianity and the kingdom of God as the answer. But is this not a totalitarian answer itself?. Moreover, are we to take a posture of criticism toward this totalitarian answer? It seems that Hart needs to think out more carefully the implications of what he is suggesting. Finally, throughout the article there is an underlying assumption that totalitarian situations are always undesirable. But is it true that all such situations are negative? I would argue that it is false in view of the coming kingdom of God. When Hart opts for the Christian answer, a totalitarian answer, he seems to contradict the basic thrust of his article. Certainly it would help to have some of these issues clarified.

Langerak (“Freedom: Idea and Ideal”) suggests that it is hard to define “freedom.” Moreover, he distinguishes between the idea or meaning of freedom and the most ideal form of freedom. He argues that the idea of freedom is so broad that the really interesting issue is the matter of which freedoms are ideal. In all of this, the fundamental problem seems to be that Langerak suggests and evaluates various ideas of freedom but never actually states which definition(s) he holds. From this problem stems the other main difficulty—that is, we are told that the ideal of freedom is the key issue, but in trying to determine which is ideal he has to incorporate some idea of what freedom is. Since he does not tell us exactly what it is, however, it is hard to judge whether his evaluation of which freedom is ideal is accurate.

Olthuis (“Towards a Certitudinal Hermeneutic”) claims in relation to the Bible that “the overriding, pre-eminent concern of this type of literature is the terminal matter of certainty” (p. 71). The result is that “since neither the political, economic, psychic, or lingual are independent themes in Scripture, they can only rightly be treated when their certitudi-nal coloring is acknowledged” (pp. 71-72). Any reading of Scripture that ignores the certitu-dinal focus of the Bible is illegitimate (p. 72). I think that OIthuis’ discussion, while generally helpful, has some serious difficulties. First, Olthuis nowhere proves that the Bible’s focus is certitudinal. He merely assumes and asserts it. In fact, he does not even offer a hermeneutic for proving that Scripture’s focus is certitudinal. Second, when one reflects on Olthuis’ certitudinal focus he recognizes that this is a tool to tell us the use of Biblical statements, whatever they mean, but it does not help us know what they mean. If Olthuis is right about certitude he has helped us greatly in the overall task of understanding the purpose of Scripture, but I do not see that what he is claiming turns out to be the kind of key that he suggests to unlocking the meaning of any given passage of Scripture. Put differently, his emphasis may be helpful in understanding the illocutionary force of Scripture’s statements but not their locutionary force.

De Graaff (“Towards a New Anthropological Model”) proposes a model for man that views man in functional terms. De Graaff expresses displeasure with various forms of dualism and monism and then suggests that Scripture always pictures man’s functioning in the world as a result of his relatedness to God. He writes: “We need to learn to trace more fully the functional expression of man’s religious nature—his unity, his centeredness, his religious motivation, and his knowing and doing as religious service unto God or a pseudo-god” (p. 108). Even man’s bodily functioning is said to be expressive of man’s spirituality or God-relatedness. Though I appreciate De Graaff’s emphases I find his analysis to be too reductive. This theory is problematic in that it does not properly distinguish between function and ontology. Man indeed functions as a whole person, but there is much that needs to be said about man. The functional views cannot be an answer to the ontological question of what man is. Moreover, while I would agree that the purpose of Biblical writers is not primarily to set forth an ontology of man, Scriptural statements nonetheless do have ontological import and implications. For example, it would be hard to deny the ontological implications of such statements as the Lord’s in Luke 24:39. Furthermore, even if one looks at man totally from a functional perspective, De Graaff’s suggestion that man’s God-relatedness is what constitutes his functionality (even bodily functioning) will be hard to accept for some. For example, I find it difficult to understand how the body’s functioning in digesting food is expressive of man’s spirituality.

Finally, Seerveld has written on aesthetics (“Modal Aesthetics: Preliminary Questions with an Opening Hypothesis”). His purpose is to specify what constitutes an artistic work as art. As his analysis indicates, this is not an easy question to answer. According to Seerveld, what differentiates the ordinary from the artistic is the quality of allusiveness. Initially the suggestion is attractive, especially after reading Seerveld’s rejection of other candidates. Upon further reflection, however, one realizes that the implications of this suggestion would make everything art. What is there that does not in some way or other allude to something else? Seerveld may indeed be on the right track, but I think his theory needs some modification to avoid the problem mentioned.

All in all, Hearing and Doing contains some helpful articles and many thought-provoking ones. I would certainly not make it a priority item for my reading in philosophy, but it should not be ignored.

John S. Feinberg

Western Conservative Baptist Seminary, Portland, OR

Runner on Dooyeweerd’s NCTT

22 July, 2006

Westminster Theological Journal 21(1) 1958: 127-132.
Herman Dooyeweerd: A New Critique of Theoretical Thought. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co. Four vols. 1953-1958. XXXIX, 566; XXIX, 598; XXXIII, 784; V, 257. $36.00 for the four volumes.

The publication this year of the fourth and final (index) volume of this great work brings to an end the arduous and costly task of translating, editing, and publishing. We now have Dooyeweerd’s main philosophical work in a language that all the world can read. And now to read it! Or better, to study it; for Dooyeweerd himself warns us: “This philosophy, to be sure, is difficult and complicated, just because it breaks with much (sic!) traditional philosophical views. He who will make it his own must try to follow step by step its turns of thought, and penetrate behind the theoretical structure to the religious basic attitude of this whole mode of philosophizing. To those who … look at merely isolated sub-sections of the work this philosophy will not open its meaning” (I, viii f.).
Dooyeweerd is intensely relevant to the crucial discussions of our times. His almost unbelievable knowledge of the problems of the mathematical and physical sciences, biology, psychology, logic, sociology, his own field of. law, and theology enables him to address himself to the present situation. But especially in his rediscovery of the centrality of religion and in his elucidation of the various religious basic-motives that have governed the development of the west, he speaks significantly to our most recent understanding not only of the nature of Greek culture in general and of Greek philosophy in particular but, more broadly, of what culture itself is.
Take, as an example, the book of Jacques Maquet, The Sociology of Knowledge (Beacon Press, Boston, 1951). In the preface which he contributed to this book, Professor F. S. C. Northrop of Yale, speaking of the sociological studies of P. Sorokin of Harvard, says, “They reveal that a scientific study of any culture leads one to a connected set of basic predominant premises from which all the different predominant factors of that culture follow . . .” (p. xiii). And just a little farther on: “A further thesis of Prof. Sorokirt’s sociology must also be noted. Not only does a specific culture obtain its definition and its unity from an underlying set of premises, but these premises turn out also to be philosophical in character. One of the most notable developments of our time in the field of the cultural sciences is the independent demonstration of this conclusion by a large number of investigators who have approached the subject from quite different starting points. Prof. Sorokin’s sociology is one example. Recent study in the philosophy of the world’s cultures such as my Meeting of East and West is another instance. The investigations of the cultural anthropologists, such as Prof. Clyde Kluckhohn, have demonstrated that even the behavior and objective institutions of so-called primitive people such as the Navaho Indians cannot be understood until their philosophy is determined” (p. xiv).
Mr. Maquet, from the preface to whose book I have been quoting, concludes his examination of Karl Mannheim’s view of the “existential determination of knowledge” (i. e., of how social existence determines ideas) by deciding that by such “determination” scarcely more can be meant than coherence, correlation or harmony, and he makes the suggestion that to understand Mannheim’s finding in this way “may mean that ‘ontologically’ ideas and social existence come from a common factor” (cf. Northrop’s Preface, p. xvii).
At this point Dooyeweerd’s discussion of the religious basic-motives is richly rewarding. But, of course, to understand the significance of his contribution here we must be acquainted with others of his great finds. There is, first, the important difference between the theoretical attitude of thought, with its “Gegenstand-relation” (having not an ontical but only an intentional character), and naive experience (where empirical reality offers itself in the integral coherence of cosmic time) with its subject-object relation. (On this difference see Dooyeweerd I, 38 ff., and III, 3-52, “The Misinterpretation of Naive Experience by Immanence-Philosophy”.) This important aspect of Dooyeweerd’s work has been described by a great Dutch philosopher, Kohnstamm, as the “rehabilitation of naive experience”, the attitude towards life of the man who, with the totality of his person, is involved in reality as a fellow-worker along with others. With this rehabilitation Kohnstamm links the praiseworthy openness of Dooyeweerd’s work with respect to the data of the positive sciences. According to Kohnstamm this openness cuts off, at the root, the great danger of every dogmatic philosophy of inclining to lace reality up in the corset of its conceptual apparatus. It may be added that the problem of the conflict between certain biblical statements and the estab. lished findings of the physical sciences will be seen in another light if the pre-scientific (not: primitive scientific) character of these biblical utterances is kept in mind. Think of certain aspects of Bultmann’s method of demythologizing. And, finally, Sorokin’s “philosophical” premises of a culture might, on the basis of Dooyeweerd’s distinction here, turn out to be something more fundamental which gives direction and structure to ideas and to social existence as well. But now we become involved in still other contributions of Dooyeweerd, viz., his biblical insight into the central religious nature of man as heart, and his conception of the basic-motive of the Word-revelation as divine dynamis or driving-force. (For the latter see his latest article, “De verhouding tussen wijsbegeerte en theologie en de strijd der faculteiten”, in Philosophia Reformata, 23e jrg., 1e kwartaal, 1958, pp. 4 f.)
The standpoint of Dooyeweerd is a challenging alternative to the reviving natural law theories (see Time, issue of May 5, 1958, pp. 16 ff. and the various issues of the young periodical Natural Law Forum edited by Prof. Chroust of the University of Notre Dame), and it also overcomes the historical or psychological relativism of much of the thought of our time. See I, 114-124 and, for a discussion of Wilhelm Dilthey in connection with this problem, Dooyeweerd’s volume Reformatie en Scholastiek in de Wijsbegeerte (T. Wever, Franeker, The Netherlands, 1949), pp. 42 ff.; both of these passages contain an accompanying discussion of the sense in which we may speak of a philosophic perennis and of the possibility of a western community of thought in the light of the absolute and radical antithesis between the basic-motive of the Christian religion and all the other religious basic-motives which have governed the development of western civilization.
Indissolubly tied up with the Christian transcendence standpoint ruled by the religious basic-motive of creation-fall into sin-redemption is the acceptance of the basic philosophic principle of modal sphere-sovereignty. “Every modal aspect of temporal reality has its proper sphere of laws, irreducible to those of other modal aspects, and in this sense it is sovereign in its own orbit, because of its irreducible modality of meaning” (I, 102; cf. 97 f.). Sphere-sovereignty, enunciated by Abraham Kuyper, has been purified of certain ambiguities and given specific meaning in the philosophical work of Dooyeweerd and Vollenhoven. See the Otter’s article “Souvereiniteit in eigen kring bij Kuyper en ons” in Mededelingenblad van de Vereniging voor Calvinistisch Wijsbegeerte, December, 1950, pp. 4-7.
It is of the greatest importance to become clear on this point – not merely in thought, but even more in our practice. The pragmatic drift in fact in the contemporary world is frightening to those who see that in that very drift principles are working themselves out. The matter is well discussed in the book of Van Riessen (of the same philosophical movement), of which we now possess an English translation, The Society of the Future (Philadelphia, 1957), especially in ch. III, “Structural Principles of Society”. No serious-minded Christian, at least so it appears to this reviewer, no, not even the theologian, may in these days neglect anything that is available on this momentous question; an adequate understanding of it is vital to knowing what we must do in the present fundamental crisis of our civilization. The interested reader ought to attend to the important statement of Dooyeweerd on the matter (11, 74 f.).
Based upon this doctrine of sphere-sovereignty which is developed in the first two-thirds of the second volume is the further doctrine of the individuality-structures of temporal things and of temporal societal relationships, both of which are discussed fully in Volume III. It would appear that Dooyeweerd’s analyses here are of the greatest importance for the sociologist but also for all who would know how the corpus Christianum is to work practically. Incidentally, Dooyeweerd’s explanation of the relation between positive sociology and the philosophy of human society is something that is badly needed (III, 262 ff.). For the reader who at first finds Dooyeweerd’s pages here a bit forbidding, recourse may be had to the dissertation of J. D. Dengerink, Critisch-Historisch Ondersoek near de Sociologische Ontwikkeling van het Beginsel der “Souvereiniteit in Eigen Kring” in de 19e en 20e Eeuw (Kok, Kampen, The Netherlands, 1948), to which is appended an English summary.
The third volume concludes (Part III) with the doctrine of the encaptic inter-structural interlacements and an important statement about the character of encapsis in contrast to the relation of the whole and its parts (pp. 634 ff.). Dooyeweerd treats here first the forms of encaptic interlacement of thing-structures and second the forms of encaptic interlacement of human societal structures. Finally, in chapter III (pp. 694 ff.) we are presented with the theory of the encaptic structural whole, which Dooyeweerd calls the indispensable keystone to the theory of the encaptic interlacements. The problem is formulated as follows: “How is it possible that in such interlacements new structural wholes are constituted?” This problem cannot be avoided. “For it has appeared that in itself the figure of enkapsis is sharply opposed to the relation of a whole and its parts. But if temporal reality were built up only in inter-structural interlacements not embraced by integral structural wholes, it would be impossible to account for the naive experience of things as individual totalities. For we have seen that not any of these things displays a simple structure of individuality but that they are much rather constituted on the basis of enkaptic inter weavings of structures.” “This new theory”, Dooyeweerd tells us, “… is no more the result of an a-priori construction than any other part of the philosophy explained in this work. Rather it has ripened only little by little in a continuous confrontation with empirical, scientifically established states of affairs. In this respect too the idea of the enkaptic structural whole is opposed to the a priori substance-concept of metaphysics. In the present chapter we shall continually confront these two conceptions with each other and with the empirical states of affairs. From this confrontation it will also appear to what degree in modern theoretical biology and philosophy of nature the substance-concept has Impeded a satisfactory solution of the structural problems” (pp. 694 f.). I have quoted Dooyeweerd’s text here at some length to show something of his method and further because we here get an inkling of what we have been studying towards through three thick volumes. We are trying to understand what a thing is, what an institution or association is, what man is, as these are given in empirical reality.
The work is concluded with a brief statement about “the position of man in the temporal world”. “So it appears”, we read, “that the theory of the enkaptic structural whole forms the necessary connective link between the theory of the individuality-structures and their temporal interweavings, and what is called a philosophical anthropology” (p. 781). Dooyeweerd gives no philosophical anthropology in the present work. From his words it would seem that many problems have yet to be considered. He further warns us against any exaggerated expectation concerning a philosophical anthropology. “The ultimate and central questions about human existence cannot be answered by any philosophy in an autonomous way since they are of a religious character. They are only answered in the divine Word-Revelation. But our transcendental critique of theoretical thought has shown that this answer has an intrinsic connection with the philosophical questions concerning man’s position in the temporal world” (p. 782). One point he would make: “Man, as such, has no temporal qualifying function like temporal things and differentiated societal structures, but at the root of his existence he transcends all temporal structures. Therefore the search for a ‘substantial essential form’ of human nature, in the sense of the Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysical anthropology, is incompatible with what the Scriptures have revealed to us about created human nature” (p. 783). We are likewise warned against expecting any true self-knowledge from the existentialist’s “encounter”.
For more light on anthropological questions from Dooyeweerd we shall have to wait. That we are willing to do. He has given us much more than many of the greatest figures of western philosophical history. And his great hope that his unmasking of the dogmatism of the schools of philosophy (by showing that their so-called theoretical “axioms” are really religious presuppositions) will ultimately bring a more genuine discussion among the schools has already been realized to some extent in the fruitful discussion that is taking place in The Netherlands between the men around Dooyeweerd and Vollenhoven and the men of the Thomistic philosophical movement. I refer specifically to the both excellent and amazing disserta.tion of M. F. J. Marlet, S. J., Grundlinien der kalvinisfischen “Philesepkie der Gesogsesidee” alts clristlicher transzendental-philosopie (Muenchener Theologische Studien, 11. Systematische Abteilung, 8. Band, Karl Zink Verlag, Muenchen, 1954).
Men have worked hard and sacrificed much to make this major phil.osophical work available. We thank them. We pray that through a study of it men may come to experience the Word of God as salvation even in philosophical work. What experience could be more wonderful or more in the line of the Protestant Reformation!
Calvin College, Grand Rapids