The twentieth-century Dutch philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd (1894-1977) left behind an impressive canon of philosophical works and has continued to influence a scholarly community in Europe and North America, which has extended, critiqued, and applied his thought in many academic fields. Jonathan Chaplin introduces Dooyeweerd for the first time to many English readers by critically expounding Dooyeweerd's social and political thought and by exhibiting its pertinence to contemporary civil society debates.
Chaplin begins by contextualizing Dooyeweerd's thought, first in relation to present-day debates and then in relation to the work of the Dutch philosopher Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920). Chaplin outlines the distinctive theory of historical and cultural development that serves as an essential backdrop to Dooyeweerd's substantive social philosophy; examines Dooyeweerd's notion of societal structural principles; and sets forth his complex classification of particular types of social structure and their various interrelationships. Chaplin provides a detailed examination of Dooyeweerd's theory of the state, its definitive nature, and its proper role vis-a-vis other elements of society. Dooyeweerd's contributions, Chaplin concludes, assist us in mapping the ways in which state and civil society should be related to achieve justice and the public good.
"This superb study simultaneously introduces and critically engages the work of one of the most important and neglected Christian thinkers of the twentieth century, while showing its connection to the pluralist tradition and bringing it to bear on the contemporary debate about civil society. More than just providing an overview of Dooyeweerd's thought, it seeks to advance his intellectual project and show its contemporary relevance. It is essential reading not only for those interested in the neo-Calvinist tradition, but for anyone interested in Christian social thought, structural pluralism, or the nature and fate of civil society." --Kenneth L. Grasso, Texas State University
"The subtlety, scope, and insightfulness of Dooyeweerd's social philosophy were unparalleled among Protestant thinkers in the past century. Yet his contributions are not well known. Jonathan Chaplin promises to remedy this neglect. His lucid and masterful study brings a new and transformative voice to contemporary debates about the future of a democratic society." --Lambert Zuidervaart, Institute for Christian Studies and University of Toronto
"Finally, an authoritative book that brings to brilliant light and life Herman Dooyeweerd's Christian philosophy of law, politics, and society. For the past half century, the profound and original teachings of this prolific Dutch sage have been lost on most readers. Jonathan Chaplin has rescued Dooyeweerd from his own obscure prose, poor translations, and cultic mystique to reveal his astonishing and engaging insights into our lives as persons and peoples, rulers and citizens, preachers and parishioners, parents and children. This will be the go-to book on Dooyeweerd for many years to come." --John Witte, Jr., Emory University
"Herman Dooyeweerd was both deep and original. Much of his writing is an articulation of rather undeveloped lines of thought in his Dutch predecessor, Abraham Kuyper. In the course of his exposition, Chaplin effectively highlights Dooyeweerd's significance for a theory of civil society and for present-day social theory in general." --Nicholas Wolterstorff, Yale University and the Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Virginia