Day: June 13, 2009

keeping the Barthian in me honest

CalvinusThe time has come for me to launch into my final year project in earnest. I’m investigating the connection between the way Calvin welds the Old and New Testaments together and his Christology — an investigation I hope will shed some light on how this towering Reformer wove together what we might call biblical theology with systematic theology.

This warning sounded by Richard Muller (The Unaccommodated Calvin, p 14) will provide a touchstone for my investigation:

The sixteenth-century Calvin, the Calvin who was born a Catholic, whose theology was learned primarily in and through his work as a commentator and Reformer, whose work evidences the impact of humanist philology and rhetoric, of patristic study, but also, both positively and negatively, of the categories of medieval scholastic thought, and whose conclusions, together with those of a group of contemporary Reformed and Lutheran thinkers, became a basis for much of later Protestant theology — this Calvin cannot easily be accommodated to the needs and desires of modern Barthians or Schleiermacherians. Nor does this Calvin admit of intellectual or psychological bifurcation along the lines of twentieth-century prejudice. A reading of Calvin’s thought in its sixteenth-century context, in other words, yields the picture of a theology at once intriguing and intractible to twentieth-century concerns.

That’ll keep the Barthian in me honest!