JOS Trinity Term Lecture – Herman Bavinck

The John Owen Society is excited to announce the lecture for this Trinity Term:

Lecture Title: ‘Herman Bavinck and the late modern Dutch social experiment’

Speaker: Dr James Eglinton, Meldrum Lecturer in Reformed Theology @ University of Edinburgh

Abstract: ‘Prior to key recent developments in scholarship on the Dutch neo-Calvinist theologian Herman Bavinck (1854-1921), the dominant trend was to set his participation in orthodoxy and modernity in antithesis. This led to the creation of a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ view of Bavinck as a figure constantly torn between these poles. This tendency has now been replaced with a more united view, in which Bavinck is seen to have held modernity and orthodoxy in critical equipoise. Such a shift in perspective requires careful thought on the sense in which Bavinck participated in modernity, and why he did so. In this lecture, I will explore the historical and social circumstances of Bavinck’s orthodox Reformed participation in modern culture. It will focus in particular on the liberalisation of Dutch society in 1848, when the drafting of a new constitution created a free, level playing field for all religious groups (including the previously persecuted Seceder group to which Bavinck’s parents belonged), and required each group to carve out its own place in the late modern Dutch social experiment. This perspective will be used to explain, for example, Bavinck’s choice to pursue theological studies at a mainstream university, and his eventual support for a ‘pillarised’ model of society.’

Date: 8 May 2017
Time: 7:30pm
Location: Wycliffe Hall, Oxford.
Cost: Free, but the John Owen Society would welcome any contributions towards our hosting of these events.

RSVP: please do register for the evening at

Please join with us in praying that this event would be of great benefit.  We look forward to seeing you there and sharing drinks and nibblies with you afterwards.


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