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A Historian's Comment on the Use of Abraham Kuyper's Idea of Sphere Sovereignty

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Abstract

As a theoretical thinker, Kuyper did not surpass his contemporaries. A Free University professor stated at the burial of Abraham Kuyper in November 1920, that it was understandable that Kuyper, unlike his Dutch co-theologian Herman Bavinck, never was elected a member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences. He said: “For the official academic world Kuyper has been more an object of study than a subject.… He was never taken seriously as an academic.” How doubtful this rather critical judgment may seem to us, it does not stand alone. In the 1930s the Dutch Reformed philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd made it clear that, though Abraham Kuyper was crowned with the most extraordinary gifts, he certainly had some blind spots. And the Reformed theologian Klaas Schilder was right, too, when he observed in 1947 that Abraham Kuyper, the theologian, often had had to make place for Kuyper the tactical general. In the Netherlands of the 1930s and 1940s, Abraham Kuyper’s theories were certainly not generally cherished as everlasting hallmarks of Christian thought.

George Harink, "A Historian's Comment on the Use of Abraham Kuyper's Idea of Sphere Sovereignty," Journal of Markets & Morality 5, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 277-284


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