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HT611 Reformed Scholasticism Seminar

Course Description

A study of the theology and methods of Reformed orthodoxy from 1561–1725. Special attention will be given to soteriology.

Course Goals

— Academic Goal:

  • To enable the student to understand and discuss intelligently the development of Reformed academic theology from 1560s through the 17th century.
  • The student "demonstrates understanding of the dogmatic (theological) development in the history of the church" (Source: WSC Student Learning Outcomes).

    — Pastoral Goal: To gain a sympathetically critical appreication of an important period in the Reformed tradition.

  • The student "exhibits growing integrity, teachability/humility, perseverance, self-discipline" (Source: WSC Student Learning Outcomes).
  • The student "gives reasons for convictions rather than merely asserting them." (Source: WSC Student Learning Outcomes).


    1. Attend all classes, complete all readings, prepare seminar discussion papers, lead and participate in class discussion (50%). After the initial orientation, each class session will be led by a student who shall have prepared a brief (limit 1,000 word) seminar paper analyzing an assigned reading or introducing an assigned author/reading. Every student shall produce an outline of the assigned reading for the class session. Each member must bring to class a hardcopy of the readings assigned for that session.

      The seminar leader will be responsible for leading discussion and seminar participants will be expected to interact with the seminar paper intelligently. Participation is essential in a seminar. If you cannot be present for a seminar, you must give the instructor reasonable notice and explanation.

    2. Essay (50%). Limit 2,500 words (approximately 10 pages). Each student shall present and defend his completed paper to the seminar. Each paper must be distributed to each member of the seminar at least 48 hours in advance of presentation to the seminar.
    3. Penalties: Students who do not meet the class time deadline shall be marked down 1/2 a grade. An essay shall be marked down a full grade for every day it is late for either the seminar or the final deadline.
    4. After reading the paper to the seminar, the student shall revise and re-submit it to the instructor for a final mark. The final draft is due at 10:00AM on the last day of class. Send the essay as a PDF to clark at wscal dot edu.

    Required Reading (in the order assigned):

    The readings are either published or provided online.

    To be Done Before the First Class:

    Muller Bibliography

    R. Scott Clark, Christ and Covenant

    Carl R. Trueman and R. S. Clark, eds, Protestant Scholasticism: Essays in Reassessment (Carlisle: Paternoster, 1999).

    Part 1:
    Part 2:
    Part 3:

    Audio: Recovering the Past for Use in the Present

    To be Read According to the Schedule Below

    Theodore Beza, The Christian Faith, trans. J. Clark (East Sussex: Focus Christian Ministries Trust, 1992)

    Theodore Beza, A Complete Summary of Christianity

    Zacharias Ursinus, A Commentary on the Heidelberg Catechism(Phillipsburg: P&R, 1985), 82–116, 205–58; 324–40; 356–440.

    William Ames, Sketch of the Christian's Catechism, Classic Reformed Theology (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2008), all.

    Johannes Wollebius, Compendium of Christian Theology in J. W. Beardslee, ed. and trans., Reformed Dogmatics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1965), 29–190.

    Gisbertus Voetius, Select Theological Disputations in J. W. Beardslee, ed. and trans., Reformed Dogmatics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1965), 262–334

    John Owen, Two Short Catechisms

    Johannes Cocceius, The Doctrine of the Covenant and Testament of God (to be provided)

    Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, trans. G. M. Giger, ed. J T Dennison, 3 vols (Phillipsburg: P&R, 1992–1997, vol. 2, topics 16–17, pages 633–723.

    P. Van Mastricht, A Treatise on Regeneration (Soli Deo Gloria, repr. 2002), all.

    J. H. Heidegger, The Concise Marrow of Christian Theology (Zurich, 1697), to be provided.


    Hour/Date Author/Topic Leader
    1/Sep Historiography rsc  
    2/Sep Historiography rsc
    3/Sep Beza Bio/Intro Student
    4/Sep Beza, Christian Faith Student
    5/Sep Beza, Summa Student
    6/Sep Ursinus, Intro/Bio Student
    7/Sep Ursinus, Commentary Student
    8/Sep Ames, Bio/Intro Student
    9/Oct Ames Sketch Student
    10/Oct Wollebius, Bio/Intro Student
    11/Oct Wollebius, Compendium Student
    12/Oct Voetius, Bio/Intro Student
    13/Oct Voetius, Select... Student
    14/Oct Owen, Bio/Intro Student
    15/Oct Owen, Catechisms Student
    16/Oct Cocceius, Bio/Intro Student
    17/Nov Cocceius, Summa Student
    18/Nov Turretin, Bio/Intro Student
    19/Nov Turretin, Institutes Student
    20/Nov Van Mastricht, Bio/Intro Student
    21/Nov Van Mastricht, Treatise Student
    22-26/Nov Papers Student  

    Recommended Reading:
    Willem J. van Asselt, Introduction to Reformed Scholasticism. Reformed Historical-Theological Studies (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2011).
    Heinrich Heppe, Reformed Dogmatics: Illustrated and Set Out From the Sources, ed. E. Bizer, trans. G. T. Thomson (Grand Rapids: Baker, repr. 1978).
    Richard Muller, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, 2nd edition, 4 vol. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002).
    Christ and the Decree: Christology and Predestination in Reformed Theology from Calvin to Perkins (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1986).
    After Calvin: Studies in the Development of a Theological Tradition, Oxford Studies in Historical Theology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).
    William van Asselt and Eef Dekker, eds, Reformation and Scholasticism: An Ecumenical Enterprise (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001).
    Carl Trueman, The Claims of Truth: John Owen’s Trinitarian Theology (Carlisle, UK: Paternoster, 1998).
    —John Owen, Reformed Catholic, Renaissance Man.
    Sebastian Rehnman, Divine Discourse: The Theological Methodology of John Owen (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2002).
    Robert D. Preus, The Theology of Post-Reformation Lutheranism, 2 vols (Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1970-72 )
    W. R. Godfrey, "Tensions within International Calvinism: The Debate on the Atonement at the Synod of Dort, 1618–1619," (Ph.D. Thesis, Stanford University, 1974)
    Mark E. Dever, Richard Sibbes. Puritanism and Calvinism in Late Elizabethan and Early Stuart England (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 2000).
    —[with Dr. Joel Beeke], "Ursinus, Oxford and the Westminster Divines," The Westminster Confession into the 21st Century: Essays in Remembrance of the 350th Anniversary of the Publication of the Westminster Confession of Faith, 3 vols, ed. Ligon Duncan (Ross-Shire, Scotland: Mentor, 2003-), 2.1-32.
    —ed. and trans., Classic Covenant Theology
    —"Janus, the Well-Meant Offer of the Gospel and Westminster Theology," in David VanDrunen, ed., The Pattern of Sound Words: A Festschrift for Robert B. Strimple (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2004).
    J. E. Platt, Reformed Thought and Protestant Scholasticism (Leiden: Brill, 1982). 
    Jeffrey Mallinson, Faith, Reason, and Revelation in Theodore Beza 1519-1605 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).
    Willem J. van Asselt, "The Fundamental Meaning of Theology: Archetypal and Ectypal Theology in Seventeenth-Century Reformed Thought," Westminster Theological Journal 64 (2002): 319–35.
    The Federal Theology of Johannes Cocceius 1603–1669 (Leiden: Brill, 2001).
    — "The Theologian's Tool Kit: Johannes Maccovius (1588–1644) and the Development of Reformed Theological Distinctions," Westminster Theological Journal 68 (2006): 23–40.
    J. Mark Beach, "The Doctrine of the Pactum Salutis in the Covenant Theology of Herman Witsius," Mid-America Journal of Theology 13 (2002): 101–142.
    Backus, Irena Dorota. Life Writing in Reformation Europe: Lives of Reformers by Friends, Disciples and Foes. Aldershot, Hampshire, England: Ashgate Pub, 2008.
    Backus, Irena Dorota. The Reformed Roots of the English New Testament: The Influence of Theodore Beza on the English New Testament. Pittsburgh, Pa: Pickwick Press, 1980.
    Raitt, Jill. Shapers of Religious Traditions in Germany, Switzerland, and Poland, 1560-1600. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981.
    Raitt, Jill. The Eucharistic Theology of Theodore Beza: Development of the Reformed Doctrine. Chambersburg, Pa: American Academy of Religion, 1972.
    Raitt, Jill. The Colloquy of Montbéliard: Religion and Politics in the Sixteenth Century. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.