Dooyeweerd's New Critique Online

Thanks to the tireless efforts of K.J. Hollingsworth (and perhaps others at the Reformational Publishing Project & Paideia Books), A New Critique Of Theoretical Thought (3 vols) by Herman Dooyeweerd is no longer restricted to near-impossible to find, long out-of-print used editions, nor to insanely over-priced reprints.

Dooyeweerd's seminal 1953 work New Critique is now online in pdf.
Here are the first and second volumes, respectively entitled The Necessary Presuppositions of Philosophy and The General Theory of Modal Spheres.
Here is the third volume, entitled The Structures of Individuality of Temporal Reality, with the extensive index 'fourth' volume.

A New Critique is an English language translation and revision of Dooyeweerd's original (Dutch language) 1935 work entitled
De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee (roughly, "philosophy of the law-idea" or cosmonomic philosophy). This original work is available online here, and can be accessed in pdf from The Association for Reformational Philosophy here.

Paul Robinson is developing a study guide for New Critique here.
Glenn Friesen offers some English notes on WdW here.

Dooyeweerd's work is a model for my own approach to Christian scholarship. Hopefully, Reformed/Calvinistic scholars in the English-speaking world will become increasingly familiar with his ideas, because they offer the most faithful and fruitful understanding for a distinctly Christian view of philosophy and all academic disciplines, or sciences.


One Among Ten Thousand

Extended quotations are always good for getting back in the groove of writing. The following is (as always) for those with ears to hear. Anyone?
" George Knight observes [as noted by Tim Keller] that the practice of the American Presbyterian church has 'always' been to distinguish between 'what was required in a confession of faith... for salvation and church membership and what was required in a confession of faith' for ordination to special ecclesiastical office. As a matter of history this seems to be the case in modern times, but it is also true that it has not always been the case. It is not obvious that establishing two levels of subscription, one for laity and another for ordained officers, is either biblical or consistent with the Reformation. From where in Scripture [or the Confessional documents] would one deduce that God expects one level of subscription for officers and another for laity? Certainly it is possible for one to be a Christian without affirming every proposition in the Reformed confession, but that is beside the point. On that rationale, why should we bother establishing Reformed congregations at all? If the Reformed confession defines what it is to be Reformed, then establishing two distinct relations to the same constitutional document would seem to be a recipe for confusion and effectively two churches within one.

...From 1647 to the beginning of the ambiguity in the American Presbyterian church in 1729 [and arguably even beyond that, into the 1890s in many congregations and presbyteries], the Westminster Confession was subscribed 'because' it is biblical [as opposed to only affirmed 'in so far as' it may be biblical]... in the European [continental] Reformed tradition, ministers and members alike have been expected to subscribe the confessions in the same way... Why should a church [hypocritically] adopt a 'confession' that some or even most of the church believes to be at least partly unbiblical?
From R.Scott Clark's Recovering the Reformed Confession: our theology, piety, and practice; pages 179-180.


Last Night Of The Fair*

I'm seriously bummed out that Postum is gone. Alas, I drank the last of my own stash a week ago. So, I'll have to look around for this reputedly superb Polish substitute called Inka (45% Roasted Barley, 27% Rye, 25% Chicory, and 3% Beet Roots).

This month I'm taking some dance lessons with my friend Tara. Yes, really. Foxtrot and waltz. Don't expect any videos.

Hoping to catch the fair this week and explore more local cuisine and customs.

Heard this song mentioning Baltimore tonight (you can listen), it's kind of a love&driving-themed song. I'm feeling a little nostalgic for the hometown.


Last Hurrah Of Summer

So, it's been a while. Here's some occurrences since July and recent thoughts.

Went camping with friend Rick. We were looking for a genuinely secluded, rustic woodsy area. It turned out alright. The weather was great, and the forests and surrounding farms and small towns were ideal. Had it only lasted longer.

Visited friends down in Vienna/Fairfax, VA. I think the highlight was the Amphora, 29 Diner, grocery trip to H-mart.

I've really been digging Christ the Center podcast at the 'Reformed Forum' (formerly called "Castle Church").

Been reading A.W. Pink's work on monergistic sanctification. The last two chapters are phenomenal.

Heroes, third season got off to a good start. They managed to work in one of my favorite poems ever.

Constitution Day has come and gone. Speaking of which, I'm planning on buying silver before the dollar crashes. See mises.org for help, and take a cue from Ron Paul by voting for Chuck Baldwin in November. Consider the vote pact if you were planning to vote for a "lesser" evil.


We'll Meet Again

My friend and former professor, Theo Plantinga, died last week. I suspected this had happened when I noticed in the site data that someone had come to my blog by searching for his name and "obituary". He was only 61, but had prostate cancer.

I am most grateful to Theo for his frequent warmth and kindness to me, and his intellectual and moral support in my philosophical studies. He had a terribly rare kind of good humor and lack of pretense that was nevertheless full of conviction and socially refined. He was broadly and well read, and his breadth of life experience, and depth of reflection will always stand as an inspiration for me. When I was living in Amsterdam for grad school, his correspondence was a real comfort and help.

I first met Theo as my adviser in my single year at Redeemer University College in Hamilton, Ontario where I finished up my BA in philosophy in 2002-2003. I thoroughly enjoyed his courses in Asian and Aesthetic philosophy. I was happy to attend his wedding (he was a widower and married again), and help him move some things to a new place. We would often discuss ethical issues and the church.

More than once we also commiserated about institutional "officialdom," as he called it. In his last few years especially, Theo was treated shamefully by certain administrators at the college. He deserved better than that, and was an example of Christian charity and principle to the end.

I feel I had much more to learn from him. His development of the CPRT index, the "reading room" and a reformational movement history were particularly promising. Steve Bishop has more of Theodore Plantinga's writings linked here and here. David Koyzis has the public announcement here.


Experiment, part 8

I watched the fireworks from the diner window. The waitress told us they were from the neighboring town's country club. I hadn't known there was a country club, or that you could see the fireworks from the diner, but it turned out quite nicely.

This American Independence Day I want to offer you several readings. First, in case you missed it, check out this little manifesto.

And in keeping with the above, here are two reviews of a slightly larger and more recent manifesto: 1, 2. Highly recommended.

And since Ron Paul is out of the presidential running, we will be voting for one of his supporters. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's true: you do not have to choose between evils (or between baddest and worser, if you're squeamish about calling spades). You can hold your head up and vote with a clear conscience for Chuck Baldwin. You even have a second option (after Baldwin) for a conscientious vote, but the philosophy of the Constitution Party is preferable.

This is a campaign worth joining too.


Experiment, part 7
now updated with photo and annotation in last paragraphs

I stained a little more of the deck with a friend, but it began to rain. So we cleaned the house instead and had a late lunch. If you can do your chores with a friend, I highly recommend it.

As I've largely cut my own hair for the past 17 years, I'm thinking about going to a real barber to get my hair cut. I'll let you know what comes of this wild idea.

This evening was spent in conversation. Sometimes these evening-long conversations are like debates, sometimes they are like dances, sometimes they are like dadaist literature, and sometimes they are like diplomatic missions. Tonight I have no confidence that anything I said was taken seriously, and am almost sure my pleas will be forgotten. I really have mixed feelings about it, but the feeling of disgust is prominent... or maybe it's resignation.

Tonight I stopped by my parents' to exchange cars with them because I have a wagon and they needed to transport some stuff. Anyway, as I approach the door my mind is deeply occupied by profound sundries... I lift the key to the lock, and out of the bottom corner of my vision a mass of shining black skirts to the left. I gaze down, and in a single moment a rush of adrenalin floods me as I stumble backwards into the rocking chair on the porch. I completely lose my breath; I mean it has utterly gone out of me from shock. Finally my higher brain functions kick back in and I realize I am face to face (or toe to face) with a (four foot?) black rat snake.

For a while neither of us move as I regain my composure and decide that since I almost stepped on him, and he surely saw me coming, if he was going to strike then it would be done already. So I take a few steps and unlock the door and go in. I grab my parents' camera and go out the side of the house and around and snap a few photos. Then I find some info on Pantherophis obsoletus. Wikipedia still has him mis-taxonomied as a sub-species of Elaphe obsoleta.


Experiment, part 6

I had a hard time falling asleep last night. Which reminds me: did you hear the one about the agnostic dyslexic insomniac? He would lay awake all night wondering if there really was a dog. Eh-hem. Yeah so, this morning I hit the 15 minute snooze about 8 times. For you math wizzes, that's 2 hours of unproductive half-sleeping. I'll never do it again. Thanks for hearing my confession.

A friend's car broke down, so I drove out to the parents' and borrowed Dad's car battery recharger. Alas, it looks like an alternator problem. This evening consisted of two very long conversations and shrimp&veggie kabobs minus the kabobs.

Spend some time with this one. Scroll down for audio links.


Experiment, part 5

I met up with some friends to see (yet another) flick. It's just that time of year. I can't decide at this point if it dealt with profound issues in any depth, or just referred to them somewhat less than superficially. I'll get back to you on that (not a promise) after more reflection.

I had a coffee "Italian ice" drink which amounted to a regular blended ice coffee drink as far as I could tell. I worried about how much high fructose corn syrup it contained between small bursts of brain (and belly) freeze.

I read about Obama's (apparently reversed, now 'pro') position on "faith-based initiatives," and at some point (not a promise) I'll have to explain why the whole idea is a horrible one no matter how you slice it, despite the fact that it is nearly the only present-day federal policy in the U.S. significantly influenced by certain neocalvinists. I really have an axe to grind about this. Can't you wait?

In any case, speaking of celluloid... Were you aware that I and this blog were mentioned in an American Dialect Society listserve message* about the use of the phrase "honest to blog" in the film Juno? Hilarious!

*For the historical record, I first conceived of the title in December of 2002 and thought I was being superbly clever and original. Although little exploited so far, I thought of the title "honest to pod," just after I discovered podcasting in January 2006.


Experiment, part 4

I bought some sausages and green salsa. Outside the grocery I saw a massive moth, the size of a bird. It gave me chills.

This evening I appreciated reading Lane Tipton's article on the Reformed "incarnational" analogy to Scriptural inspiration. He does not mention it, but no doubt he is responding to misconceptions promoted by Peter Enns' book Inspiration & Incarnation. Lane writes that any such "analogy we suggest will need to be clearly articulated, carefully qualified, and presented in a way that avoids ambiguity and misunderstanding... [such a concept must not] be introduced or applied in a popular or loose way." By 'popular' I take it he means something like 'simplification yielding imprecision yielding distortion or error.' In any case, Art Boulet has a list of debates provoked by Enns' book.

I suppose all this is not properly mundane in the sense I intended. So the experiment somewhat fails for today (and maybe yesterday too), minus the talk about rain, food and moths. But the idea is to post an entry every day (for some undetermined number of days) even if there's nothing besides "everyday" stuff to mention. Possible future topics include grooming, frogs, smoking, and sleep.


Experiment, part 3

I witnessed baptism in the service this morning. Inevitably the doctrine of "improving" baptism in Westminster Larger Catechism #167 came to mind:
[We must draw the benefits from our baptisms] "all our life long, especially in the time of temptation, and when we are present at the administration of it to others; by serious and thankful consideration of the nature of it, and of the ends for which Christ instituted it, the privileges and benefits conferred and sealed thereby, and our solemn vow made therein; by being humbled for our sinful defilement, our falling short of, and walking contrary to, the grace of baptism, and our engagements; by growing up to assurance of pardon of sin, and of all other blessings sealed to us in that sacrament; by drawing strength from the death and resurrection of Christ, into whom we are baptized, for the mortifying of sin, and quickening of grace; and by endeavoring to live by faith, to have our conversation in holiness and righteousness, as those that have therein given up their names to Christ; and to walk in brotherly love, as being baptized by the same Spirit into one body."
In the afternoon I enjoyed the company of my niece and nephew. After intermittent rain we noticed what seemed a tremendously wide rainbow on the eastern horizon.

Just for kicks: good song.


Experiment, part 2

I went to a group picnic at a nature reserve. From the exit where I had to follow directions, the park was only 10 minutes away, but the directions were wrong and I drove around for almost an hour in a big circle. By the time I arrived everyone had eaten, and I was feeling that special kind of angry that accompanies bad directions, getting lost, and missing meal time.

I ate two hot dogs and tried to calm down and played some volleyball and watched kids smash a piñata. Then I followed some friends back to their house and lounged and chatted until we went bowling. Between two entire frames of gutter balls, I got a strike on a "red pin" and won a free game... so I wasn't too frustrated by my otherwise un-zen performance.

One of my plans for this summer was to learn (start learning) how to read music so I can sightread and sing parts. Note to self: get old piano books from parents.

Why isn't honeysuckle a flavor or scent in flavored and scented products, I wonder.


An Experiment In The Mundane, part 1

I met up with some friends to see a flick. It was funny and entertaining. Then we stopped by a drive-in burger joint because I was in the mood. But I didn't have any cash and they were cash only, so a friend spotted me. It was all tasty. Also had a taste of mint chocolate chip ice cream, the green kind with the flat square-ish chips. Made me remember great-uncle Buddy as it always does.

I've noticed my clothes, though just washed, have a somewhat sour mildewy smell. I must have left them in the washer too long before drying. Or maybe buying that ultra-cheap detergent wasn't a good idea. On the way home I went to the 24-hour market and got some higher quality stuff and am re-washing everything.

I came across this article on the moral theology of William Ames. No opinion on it yet.

The may flies and lightning bugs are out in droves.


Of Spheres And Such

On Tuesday, I voted for Ron Paul in the Pennsylvania Republican primary. Find out why I did, at http://knowbeforeyouvote.com
It was my first time ever voting for a GOP candidate, and while I intend to vote for Ron Paul in the main election, I'm going to return my registration to the Constitution Party.

This past week I was substitute teaching first grade (yes, really) at the local Christian school. Sure enough I caught a cold. But the regular teacher is out recovering from surgery, so I'm praying for strength to persevere another week.

Speaking of education, I enjoyed the Kuyper Center conference on Civil Society and Sphere Sovereignty at Princeton Theological Seminary. I think my presentation went well (read it here). You can view the video below. Part 1 is about 35 minutes, and the Q&A starts at about 29 minutes. Part 2 is the remainder, about 8 minutes. Thanks to Brian Dijkema, Jonathan Chaplin, Russ Kuykendall, and others for the good questions. I may revise and expand the paper for submission to the Kuyper Center Review.

Thanks to my friend Scott Graybill for driving out to the conference with me, and buying the most expensive brunch I've ever eaten.

We couldn't have asked for better weather, and Princeton was in full Spring bloom. Here I am at the sepulcher of Archibald Alexander. We searched for the grave of Jonathan Edwards, but somehow couldn't find it. Alas.

Before heading home, we saw Ben Stein's documentary Expelled. I believe in academic freedom, so I liked the film and its main point. It makes me wonder if Stein would enjoy reading The Myth of Religious Neutrality. Anyway, it's sad and hilarious to see the dogmatic natural positivists going ape.


Sunday Post

  • Monergism mp3 library

  • Christ the Center :doctrine for life at the Reformed Forum

  • Grace OPC in Hanover Park, Illinois

  • New Hope PCA in Fairfax, Virginia

  • Providence OPC in Fitchburg, Wisconsin

  • The Upper Register, with Lee Irons

  • Westminster Seminary California

  • The Academy at Christ Reformed

  • Presbyterian Polity, with Stuart Jones

  • These are sermon and theology audio sites that I visit. My audio section was starting to get too long, so I'll be linking to this post on the sidebar.


    To Look For America

    I wish I could tell you about my Valentine's weekend. Perhaps privately over beer. There's nothing scandalous; just a literature-worthy character or two. The less dramatic events involve my car breaking down, and my having to walk about 10 miles in the freezing cold and dark along a windy shoulderless highway. It was a 2hr30min hike home.

    So I'm working night shift at the Susquehanna Nuclear Power Plant, which resides in my back yard. It's temp work, and I'm proctoring National Academy for Nuclear Training e-Learning (NANTeL) and other computer-based training (cbt) exams for the contracted outage workers. Some of these guys travel all over the U.S. for outages. The parade of Americana is interesting. I was invited to a bar with mud wrestling. Not kidding. If I go, maybe that'll be one for private conversation too.

    I've also been working with the Susquehanna Valley Community Education Project (SVCEP) as acting secretary. Mostly, I just take meeting minutes, but I'm learning a bit about institution building. Here's some local news coverage (post commercial). You can see part of the back of my head briefly [at 2:08 - 2:12], on the left, front row.

    Here is a recent photo of me and nephew Owen doing some coloring.

    Rural Pennsylvania life must be getting to me, because lately I've had a hankerin' for scrapple. And did I tell you about my occasional hangout in Sunbury, The Squeeze-In? Five bar stools. Hotdogs and coffee.

    Exterior and interior photos (below) courtesy of Denny Gibson, road trip photographer extraordinaire.



    I'm officially scheduled to attend the conference on Civil Society and Sphere Sovereignty at Princeton seminary 17 thru 19 April 2008 (about 12 weeks from now) and to present a paper Friday morning (10:30am til noon) at a session on "education as a sovereign sphere".

    The purpose of the conference is to explore and critically examine neocalvinist thought concerning its relevance to contemporary debates about the relations between religion, society, and politics. I can't tell you how tremendously I'm looking forward to this. Any of you showing up?

    I've been to Princeton once before, in 1998, for the 100th anniversary of Kuyper's "Stone Lectures" on Calvinism. I had just dropped out of college, sans degree, and it was like a pilgrimage to my intellectual motherland with a heavy heart, seeking inspiration and direction. Ten years later, I find myself in an oddly similar state. I'll be sure to update you on what comes of this opportunity.

    In other news, I had a good week-long visit from brothers Jeff and Gary. We imbibed in our traditional DS9 fest, bowling and bar routine without incident. Our dear Garçon, natural enemy of oppression that he is, thoughtfully joined la cause pressante.

    Be sure to examine my sidebar for a new 'about' page (top), audio and book link sections (above archives).