Herman Dooyeweerd, Dr. jur., Professor of Law at the Free University of Amsterdam, has accepted the invitation of the Reformed Fellowship to lecture in this country. Professor Dooyeweerd is to be on this continent from June 1 to November 1 of this year. The Reformed Fellowship, publishers of TORCH AND TRUMPET, are grateful for the honor of present ing this distinguished Dutch scholar.
The guest lecturer is to appear first at the Christian Reformed Ministers’ Institute in Grand Rapids in the first week of June. He is scheduled for three lectures there. Arrangements are being made with the authorities at Calvin College and Seminary for lectures before faculty and students in the early fall. Appearances are also being scheduled at Westminster Theological Seminary and at various universities in the United States and Canada. A limited number of popular lectures will no doubt also be included at various points in the United States and Canada.
Professor Dooyeweerd received his doctorate at the Free University in 1917. His thesis was on the subject The Cabinet in Dutch Constitutional Law. In 1926 he was appointed Professor of Law at his alma mater.
He was made a Fellow of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences and Humanities in 1948 and since 1950 has been secretary of the section Humanities. He is Vice President Curator of the International Institute of Social Studies in The Hague. He is President of the Dutch Association of Philosophy of Law, and is founder of the stimulating political review Anti revolutionaire Staatkunde. As delegate for the Dutch government he has attended many international congresses of criminal law, criminology and history.
In recognition of these distinguished services Dooyeweerd has been appointed Knight in the Order of Orange Nassau and in the Order of the Dutch Lion.
A New School of Thought
Dooyeweerd is founder of a new movement of thought in Christian philosophy. In this development he has been closely associated with his colleague at the Free University, Professor D. H. Th. Vollenhoven. This movement has broken with all forms of Scholasticism and requires a sharp distinction between Christian philosophy and dogmatic theology. This philosophy begins with a radical criticism of theoretical thought in order to lay bare the necessary presuppositions of any philosophical effort. These underlying ideas reveal them selves to be rooted in a religious starting point, a basic religious motif.
Dooyeweerd shows that Western thought in its development from the Greek heritage to contemporary philosophy has been dominated by four different basic ideas or motifs of a central religious character. The radical Christian commitment involved in the Christian religion demands an inner reformation of philosophical thought. Dooyeweerd contends that the Christian philosophical adventure has been impeded by various unwarranted accommodations to philosophical views which have been dominated by religious motifs alien to the Christian faith.
This new movement is attracting increasing attention in Europe. It is a noteworthy distinction that five chairs have been established in lead ing universities in The Netherlands for the teaching of this new approach. Dooyeweerd has lectured in Belgium, France (the Sorbonne) and South Africa, and in other points in Europe. His views are championed by Professor H. Evan Runner at Calvin College in the U.S.A. These views have received sympathetic attention in Ro man Catholic scholarly circles at well.
Dooyeweerd is editor-in-chief of the philosophical journal Philosophia Reformata, organ of this new movement.
The character of this movement in Christian philosophy is indicated in the following concluding quotation from the foreword to the first edition of Dooyeweerd’s first major work, the three-volume De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee: “As a matter of fact the precarious and changing opinion of our fellow-men is not even comparable with the inner happiness and peace that accompanies scientific labour when it is based upon Christ, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life!”