Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Two book reviews

... in the recent Winter 2006 edition of the Sixteenth Century Journal:

The Christology of John Owen, by Richard Daniels. Reviewed by E. M. Tay.

This book is the published form of Richard Daniels's 1990 doctoral dissertation undertaken at Westminster Theological Seminary, with some revision and additional materials ... It has the principal objective of providing for students of Puritanism and theology "a comprehensive systematic exposition of the Christology of a representative Puritan" (516), and seeks to demonstrate the central importance of Christology in Owen's thought ... "there is one motif so important to John Owen, so often and so broadly cited by him, that this writer would go so far as to call it the focal point of Owen's theology ... the doctrine that in the gospel we behold, by the Christ given Holy Spirit, the glory of God 'in the face of Christ' and are thereby changed into his image" (92). How this is worked out is seen from the structure of the book ...

Puritan Reformed Spirituality, by Joel R. Beeke. Reviewed by Chris Ross.

Joel R. Beeke is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He also pastors a church in that city. He has written several books and articles on the Reformed tradition and has translated and edited a number of Dutch Reformed writings. As with many of his other works, Beeke has written this book with pastoral objectives in mind. It shines some new and helpful light on early Reformed spirituality, in spite of its somewhat misleading title and inelegant composition ...


John W. Tweeddale said...

Great work, brothers!


Anonymous said...

Is there a copy somewhere of the review? While it's a massive work, there isn't the same breadth of scholarship that one finds in, say, Rehnman's work IMO. I think he could have benefited from EEBO! Crawford Gribben mentioned to me that EEBO is going to be determinative for Puritan studies in particular.

H.C. Ross said...

Anonymous, I assume you're referring to the review on Daniels's Owen book.

I don't believe the review is available online. The newest online editions of SCJ are from 2001, and a subscription is required to view them. I will alert Edwin to your interest, and he can let you know if there's any other way to get the review to you.

Of course, if you have a university that stocks lots of periodicals nearby, you can find the hardcopy there.

Best wishes, Chris

Edwin Tay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Edwin Tay said...

If it is Daniel's work that is referred to, then yes, it's certainly much weaker than Rehnman's in scholarship. My review is a critical one.

Among other things in the review, the following points are mentioned:

1. Despite revisions and updated footnotes, it does not take into consideration Owen scholarship in the last 10 years (e.g. Trueman, Rehnman, Kapic, Spence, etc).

2. Use of other sources (e.g. other Puritans, Reformed Orthodox theologians, etc) serves merely as contextual markers rather than conversation partners.

3. It's strength is in exposition, not critical or comparative analysis.

4. For the above reasons among others, Owen's distinctive contribution to Christology is missed. I referred readers to Alan Spence's doctoral dissertation in this regard.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts exactly Edwin! I'll try to get the review soon! Thanks,
Mark J.(anonymous - I normally put my name down, but forgot).


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