Herman Dooyeweerd is one of the most impenetrable, complex Christian theorists of the twentieth century, and therefore his work has had a limited if intense appeal to thinkers and practitioners. Dooyeweerd was primarily a legal philosopher, and his work reads with that density and care for detail. Yet it was his aim to extend the tradition of an earlier generation of Dutch Reformational luminaries—historian and politician Groen VanPrinsterer and, especially, theologian and Prime Minister Abraham Kuyper—far beyond the practice of law. His many volumes included Roots of Western Culture, In the Twilight of Western Thought, and, most famously, the multivolume set, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought.
Jonathan Chaplin, director of the Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics at Cambridge, published a new book on Dooyeweerd called Herman Dooyeweerd: Christian Philosopher of State and Civil Society (UND Press, 2011) as part of an emerging effort to update and refresh the thought of Dooyeweerd and his disciples for a new generation. His book has been heralded as the finest writing on Dooyeweerd in the English language.
Comment asked two leading Christians who work in politics—Paul Brink, a theorist and Associate Professor of Political Science at Gordon College, and Ray Pennings, a practitioner and Director of Research at Cardus—to reflect on how Chaplin’s new book might illuminate the work and theory of politics for this, and coming, generations. Their essays will come on Wednesday and Friday, respectively.
Today, however, we break new ground: a playful distillation of Dooyeweerd’s work is presented in graphic form. This series of sketches by Sean Purcell provides a light and clear glimpse into the often dense world of Dooyeweerd’s thought. We hope that this strip will mark the beginning of renewed study of this philosopher’s important work. Enjoy!