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Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics: The Rise and Development of Reformed Orthodoxy, ca. 1520 to ca. 1725 (4 vols.) Hardcover – August 1, 2003
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About the Author
Richard A. Muller (Ph.D., Duke University) is P. J. Zondervan Professor of Historical Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary and the author of several books, including Biblical Interpretation in the Era of the Reformation and The Unaccommodated Calvin. He also serves as the editor for the Texts and Studies in Reformation and Post-Reformation Thought series (Baker Academic).
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Richard Muller's work is an welcome antidote for decades of abusive misreadings of the Reformed Scholastics (the theologians who came after the Reformation and stood in the Reformed tradition). Muller has done us the great (and laborious) service of examining the theology of the generations of Reformed Scholastics by their own works, not through the eyes of their various theological interpreters.
The work is ordered with clarity and precision. Vol. 1, Prolegomena to Theology, discusses the nature of theological knowledge. Vol. 2, Holy Scripture, developes various aspects of the doctrine of Scripture. Vol. 3 discusses the essence and attributes of God and vol. 4 his triunity. These volumes do not deal directly with other aspects of Christian theology (e.g., anthropology, hamartiology, soteriology, eschatology, etc.). We all hope that Muller lives another 50 years in order to analyize these doctrines, too.
Within each section, Muller identifies "trajectories" of theology from the Middle Ages, through the Reformation, and into the period of "orthodoxy" following the Reformation. As he demonstrates these various trajectories, he tries by them to show that Reformed theology (especially that of the Reformed Scholastics) relies heavily upon theological thought in the Middle Ages and the early Church. Ordinarily, his analysis begins with Calvin's thought and moves forward chronologically. As he proceeds, Muller shows how the magisterial Reformers as well as the Reformed Scholastics draw from the pre-Reformation church.
These volumes are well bound and will last a long time. Each volume is indexed and makes the mass of information contained in it quickly accessible. Further, Muller has given us 135 pages of bibliographical information at the end of the final volume and many of the entries are the works of modern scholars, with which Muller interacts throughout the body of his work.
I think Muller's volumes will pay huge dividends to those who are willing to spend their time studying through them. They are accessably written, but, again, they are a quantum leap forward from the so-called theological books on the best-seller list. Not for kids (whether they have a Ph.D. or not)!
Dr. Richard A. Muller of Calvin Theological Seminary (Grand Rapids, MI) has finally completed his magnum opus which he undertook some twenty-five years ago. The first two volumes, published in 1987 & 1993, respectively, are re-typeset and thus uniformly easier to read.
Additionally, exhaustive indices are present in these two volumes which are not included in the first editions of the first two volumes.
The Table of Contents is a welcome addition as is the excellent bibliography ably name-checking all the standard works on a given topic. Every historian working in this specialized area and even peripheral disciplines will have to come to grips with Muller's research and subsequent theses. His primary interlocutors here are the German and Swiss historians and theologians of the past two centuries, who maintained that there are well-defined discontinuities betwixt the theology of the magisterial Reformers (both Lutheran & Calvinist) and that the Post-Reformation period ca. 1520-1725. Other subtleties and nuances of discussion will be left for the prospective reader to discover and dispute.
The subtitles of the four volumes, occupying 2100 pages, are as follows: Prolegomena to Theology; Holy Scripture; The Divine Essence and Attributes; and The Triunity of God. Perhaps some mention of the potentially misleading title of these volumes is in order: This is not in any sense of the term a 'systematic theology'; rather it's a chronicle of the theological methods used by the Reformers and their epigones to construct, codify, and defend their particular dogmatic systems. As mentioned above, the end of the fourth volume contains a vast bibliography of 124 pages, 57 of which are comprised of primary sources.
Dr. Muller's thesis is exhaustively documented, soundly argued, lucidly presented, and judiciously argued. Read, learn, and enjoy.
Soli Deo Gloria.
I would agree that this work is not for children. If you are not interested in theological topics and there history then this series is not for you.
This is a very Excellent work! I cannot say enough good things about it. I will echo the first two reviewers of this work. It is very clear and precise. Today is really not that much different than in the time period of the Reformation. We have more modern conveniences but mankind is still the same.