Festschrift for Barend Kamphuis

Weergaloze kennis - Onder redactie van Ad de Bruijne, Hans Burger en Dolf Te Velde

Weergaloze kennis (Zoetermeer: Boekencentrum Uitgevers, 2015)

Last week marked the end of an era at my former workplace, the Theologische Universiteit Kampen: the retirement of Prof. dr. Barend Kamphuis, who had served as Professor of Systematic Theology since 1987. His farewell lectureVerborgen in God: Christologie na de hemelvaart (‘Hidden in God: Christology after the Ascension’) was live streamed via the Nederlands Dagblad website.

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Summer 2015

The blog has been quiet this summer, largely because the summer has been so busy. Alongside the usual teaching-based parts of a lectureship that carry on when the undergraduates are away (supervising PhD students, examining Masters dissertations, conducting PhD review boards, marking exams and resits, writing lectures for the new academic year etc.), the summer is a key time for ongoing research projects and research trips. So, amongst other things, my summer has been taken up with…

Archival Research at the VU Amsterdam

In July I spent a week conducting research in the Bavinck Archive at the Historische Documentatiecentrum voor het Nederlandse Protestantisme, at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. My current monograph project is an intellectual biography of Bavinck, charting the development of his ideas within the context of his life, and this research trip was largely focused on gathering (and copying) sources: letters, unpublished notes and books, journals etc.

Bavinck briefkaart

Postcard from Abraham Kuyper to Bavinck Continue reading

A short story: Moya shostra!

A short story. For translation of the Gaelic line, hold your cursor over the text.


It was mid-November. I was sitting in the Starbucks on Leith Street, reading something in the G2 about faddish, non-necessary gluten-free diets while I waited to pick up my sons from nursery. Edinburgh being Edinburgh, I was surrounded by tourists – Americans, Chinese, some people speaking what I think was Swiss German. This being Edinburgh, there was always a familiar face somewhere in the ever-shifting sea of holiday-makers. This morning it was a doctor I had worked under a decade before, while I was still a student. Not someone I knew well enough to talk to (or at least, I didn’t think she would remember me, and if she did, she wouldn’t have approved of my extended career break), but still, someone familiar sitting at a table across the room. Continue reading

On choosing a theologian

In response to my earlier post On training as a systematic theologian, DTKLeven asked:

How would you recommend one go about choosing which master to apprentice under?

I don’t think there is one definitive answer to this. Here, though, are my initial thoughts based on the model of training in systematic theology outlined previously (that prior to writing one’s own constructive systematics, there is much worth in a period, as a PhD student and early career academic, spent interpreting the works of another established theologian): Continue reading

On theology and language learning

Theology, done well, addresses the whole person: body, soul, affections, desires, virtues, faults, history, present and destiny. It also addresses all of human life and culture. It was only with hindsight that I began to see the shape that theology itself gave my own studies while a seminarian. In learning to be a theologian, I learned to be a historian, a constructive systematician, a reader of ancient texts (in their original languages), an interpreter of those texts and a translator of those languages, a preacher, a pastor, an analyst of culture(s), a writer, and many other things. Or at least, I started trying to learn those things. Continue reading