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Passionate About the Poor: The Social Attitudes of Abraham Kuyper



Peter Heslam has provided a fine synopsis of the leading themes in Abraham Kuyper’s political thought. Kuyper’s positive commitments to divine sovereignty and sphere sovereignty, his sharp distinction between State and society, his value-charged rhetoric of “organic” and “mechanical,” and his suspicions of both popular- and State-sovereignty are the coin of this particular realm, and Heslam has assayed their value efficiently and accurately. He has also given some attention to the origins of these concepts and to the contexts in which Kuyper deployed them. I have two questions to raise concerning Heslam’s account, one of them more modest, the other more fundamental, the answers to which will lead back to my principal concern, the issue of context. More particularly, I would like to reflect on what might be called the emotional context of Kuyper’s ideas, the passions behind the principles.

James D. Bratt, "Passionate About the Poor: The Social Attitudes of Abraham Kuyper," Journal of Markets & Morality 5, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 35-44

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