Stephen Hampton on Richard Muller

Church and School in Early Modern ProtestantismTwo years ago, on the occasion of his 65th birthday, Brill published a Festschrift for Dr. Richard A. Muller, senior fellow of the Junius Institute, co-edited by myself, David Sytsma, and Jason Zuidema.

In the latest issue of the Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Stephen Hampton of Peterhouse, Cambridge, had this to say:

The contribution that Richard Muller has made to the study of early modern Protestant theology is little short of astonishing. A brief look at the full bibliography of Muller’s works, which appears towards the end of this excellent Festschrift, helpfully reminds the reader of the sheer breadth, subtlety and significance of his work. It is no exaggeration to say that he has transformed and enriched our understanding of the Reformed tradition to such a degree that much older scholarship seems to be addressing a quite different phenomenon. In Muller’s hands, early modern Reformed theology has become more diverse, more subtly textured, more intellectually flexible and ambitious, and much more closely related to the other intellectual trends of the period.

Hampton proceeds to survey the various components of the volume, and concludes that “this volume is both a worthy tribute to the scholar whom it celebrates, and an excellent introduction to the kind of work which he has inspired in others.”

You can read the entire review in the Journal of Ecclesiastical History.

Muller and Helm on Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards.jpg

“Jonathan Edwards”. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

One of the reasons the Junius Institute exists is to help disseminate scholarship on the Reformation and post-Reformation eras, and so when some of our scholars and associates publish items, we’re happy to take note.

To wit, JI senior fellow Richard Muller has had an ongoing discussion with Paul Helm on the place of Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) in relationship to the Reformed tradition. The most recent issue of Jonathan Edwards Studies, a notable online journal of scholarship relating to the “greatest American theologian,” has the latest installments.

Here’s a list of the essays in order so you can catch up on the state of the question:

To access the articles, all you need to do is register on the JES site and you can download these and other offerings for free. Jonathan Edwards Studies is a publication of the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University, which offers a wealth of other resources as well.

Muller Festschrift Presented at CTS PhD Anniversary Celebration

Church and School in Early Modern ProtestantismLast Wednesday Calvin Theological Seminary held a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the school’s doctoral program. Part of the agenda included a lecture by Richard A. Muller, the P.J. Zondervan Professor of Historical Theology at Calvin, who also serves as senior fellow of the Junius Institute. Dr. Muller and Dr. Ronald Feenstra were two of the key faculty appointments at the founding of the doctoral program, and Dr. Muller’s talk focused on the past, present, and possible futures of the doctoral program.

After Dr. Muller’s lecture, Dr. Feenstra introduced an item for the event that did not appear on the schedule: the presentation of a Festschrift to Dr. Muller on the occasion of his 65th birthday this past weekend. I served as a co-editor of the volume along with Dr. David Sytsma, the research curator at the Junius Institute, and Dr. Jason Zuidema. The three of us spoke about the volume and presented a copy to Dr. Muller at the event, who was taken by surprise at the gift and treated to a standing ovation.

Richard Muller (holding book) stands with the editors of his Festschrift (from left to right): David S. Sytsma, Jordan J. Ballor, and Jason Zuidema

Richard Muller (holding book) stands with the editors of his Festschrift (from left to right): David S. Sytsma, Jordan J. Ballor, and Jason Zuidema

The Festschrift is published by Brill, and appears as no. 170 in the Studies in the History of Christian Traditions series, a series which was founded by Heiko A. Oberman, who was the doctoral supervisor of Dr. Muller’s own supervisor, David Steinmetz of Duke Divinity School. The theme of the volume is captured by the title: Church and School in Early Modern Protestantism: Studies in Honor of Richard A. Muller on the Maturation of a Theological Tradition. As we write in the acknowledgements and dedication:

The scope and scale of Richard Muller’s influence on more than a generation of scholarship of the Reformation and post-Reformation periods is unlikely to be properly appreciated in the near future. But this volume represents an initial attempt toward that end. The size of this collection of essays produced in his honor is merely emblematic of the literature inspired by his helpfully revisionist career. The variety of the essays, both in terms of content as well as in terms of the institutional affiliations of the authors, speaks to the diverse audiences in which Richard’s insights have found positive reception. In attempting to find a unified theme around which to organize this Festschrift, the dynamic relationship between the church and the academy, between the pulpit and the lectern, was chosen, not because it exhausts the implications of Richard’s work, but because it represents one of the key insights of his approach to the sources.

The volume includes work from 55 different contributors, whose variety of institutional affiliation, geographical location, and research interests speaks directly to the significant of Richard Muller’s intellectual legacy. The volume runs in excess of 800 pages, including a 40 page bibliography of Dr. Muller’s work.

You can view photos from the celebration here, and the video of the entire event is available here. A full list of the contributors to the Muller Festschrift in alphabetical order follows, and you can download a table of contents for the volume here:
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Save the Date: The 20th Anniversary of the Doctoral Program at CTS

CalvinSemLogoGiven the connections between the Junius Institute and Calvin Theological Seminary, and in particular the relationship between the doctoral program in historical theology at the seminary and the work of the institute, it seems appropriate to note the following “save the date”:

20th Anniversary Celebration of the Ph.D. Program

Save Wednesday, October 9, 2013 for the 20th Anniversary Celebration of Calvin Theological Seminary’s Ph.D. Program. There will be a special lecture by Dr. Richard A. Muller from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. in the Auditorium, and a reception in the atrium from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Watch for an official invitation in August 2013.

Dr. Muller is the P.J. Zondervan Professor of Historical Theology at the seminary and a senior fellow with the Junius Institute. Among his many contributions to scholarship and the church, Dr. Muller gave a noteworthy inaugural address at CTS in 1995, “Scholasticism and Orthodoxy in the Reformed Tradition: An Attempt at Definition.”

More details about the program will be posted as they become available.

Digital Research Is Not Optional


Church History

“We believe that the newer technology, understood broadly, is no longer optional. The scholar who neglects current technological advances in the manipulation and accessing of sources puts himself or herself in the position of the student who refuses to adopt the methodological advances of the Enlightenment; they become, by definition, precritical. The areas in which students can safely ignore the new methods and source mediums are becoming fewer, and even those scholars working in areas as yet untouched by this technology can still benefit from an exposure to the conceptual elegance of unimpeded research, and exhaustive, near-perfect bibliographies.”

–James E. Bradley and Richard A. Muller, Church History: An Introduction to Research, Reference Works, and Methods (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), p. 74.