Thursday, July 06, 2006

Princeton mania

Here are some fascinating resources related to the history of Princeton Theological Seminary.

In the Special Collections dept of PTS library you can choose to browse from this list of stuff. And just look at this list of personal papers and archives. Talk about being spoiled for choice...

In the digital collection, I tried to read Hodge's manuscript of his trip to Europe, but his hand writing was too bad. Perhaps the real thing will be easier to scan!

And, interest in Benjamin Warfield's legacy continues to grow on the web. Here is one site with resources, including this link to a dissertation on Warfield's method that puts my own work in proper perspective. I have considered doing more work on Warfield over the next year or so, but I'm not sure where to go with it. Riddlebarger's essay is pretty good, but, like my own dissertation, it is basically a historical survey of aspects of Warfield's work.

I would love to be able to assess, theologically, Warfield's thought. It looks like his use of Scottish common sense philosophy is well acknowledged. However, his use of higher critical approaches to the Bible, his textual criticism, and his exegetical method still require anaylsis because they were far from being 'fundamentalist' even if they were still essentially conservative. In fact, despite Riddlebarger's claims that Warfield was not solely responsible for introducing higher critical methods to the Princeton tradition, I still think that, in conjunction with Warfield's doctrine of scripture, this is his main influence on evangelical theological method - the combination (the tension?) of a high view scripture with historical critical methods of reading (or defining!) that scripture.


Ian said...

I wondered if you'd seen these posts at Reformata:
In it the author evaluates the use of Warfield and Kuyper in Van Til's apologetic. A lot of this is found in Bahnsen's work, but it is a helpful read none-the-less.

David Shedden said...

Ian, thanks for the link to Reformata - I'd not come across it.

I guess I read a little about the Warfield Kuyper debate for my dissertation on Warfield, and I have to confess that I really don't know, or care much for, Van Til - I just find him too obtuse and dry, and that's when I can understand what he is saying!

The blog posts you highlighted were really helpful - but I was disappointed in the conclusion, and in this paragraph just before the conclusion - 'Apologetics is no more fruitless than preaching or evangelism in this age before the final consummation. Preaching and witnessing have no innate powers to convert the sinner. This is the work of the Holy Spirit. However, the Holy Spirit uses preaching and witnessing in His work of conversion and so He can similarly use apologetics.'

If preaching and witnessing have no innate powers to convert, then why bother at all with them - what is so special about them that we spend so much time over them. What is the difference between preaching and witnessing or apologetics.

And, is it really true that apologetics is no more fruitless than preaching? If Reformed Christians really believed this, our churches would be radically different. But, we don't believe it - for good reason - it is not true!