Archive Civic Polity Miles Smith Natural Law

The Heretical South: Slavery and Christian Betrayal

The Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia flies no more on the lawn of the South Carolina capitol grounds. In the rush of emotion that followed Dylan Roof’s killings, the debate among Christians shifted from the subject of race and Christianity to a debate—though it wasn’t really a debate, more of a en-masse […]

Archive Nota Bene Philosophy Reformed Irenicism Stephen J. Hayhow

Edward Reynolds On the Use of Pagan Learning

Edward Reynolds, in the Preface to his A Treatise of the Passions and Faculties of the Soul of Man (1647) gives a brief apology for the use of pagan learning and natural knowledge in this Christian treatise. Reynolds was a puritan preacher, sometime bishop of Norwich, but a conformist Presbyterian by persuasion. He was preacher at […]

Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Natural Law Nota Bene

Decapitated Righteousness

  In Institutes 2.8.11, John Calvin gives an account of some of the reasons for which the moral law as summarized in the Decalogue is divided into two tables. In brief, the Law is a seamless whole, and its primary matter is placed first. It is absurd, in Calvin’s view, to talk about righteousness or justice (coram […]

Andrew Fulford Archive Authors Philosophy

Peter Westen’s “The Empty Idea of Equality”

About 33 years ago Peter Westen wrote a seminal article for the Harvard Law Review, “The Empty Idea of Equality”. Though he uncovered some profound flaws in the way modern legal discourse conceptualizes the term, to this day none of his warnings have been heeded. The following will summarize some of the more perennial aspects […]

Archive Authors Civic Polity E.J. Hutchinson Natural Law Nota Bene The Two Kingdoms

On Rebuking the Prince

One might conclude, if he reads John Calvin’s political theology selectively (especially the passages on obedience to the magistrate howsoever despotic he may be), that the disciplinarian master of Geneva (sic) doesn’t do much more than make citizens into toadies for tyrants. That’s not quite the case, however, as is well known from his doctrine of […]

Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Natural Law Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism

Hemmingsen on the Tripartita Legis Distinctio (1)

In the Enchiridion theologicum,  Niels Hemmingsen holds to the traditional threefold distinction of the Law (ceremonial, judicial, moral). His comments on the lex ceremonialis are exceedingly brief: it is entirely abolished (tota…abolita est), together with the Aaronic priesthood–insofar the matter pertains to its use (usum), not its “signification” (significationem). Nam res quas figurabant, ceremoniae sunt aeternae: “For the […]

Archive Authors E.J. Hutchinson Natural Law Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism

Oliver O’Donovan on Niels Hemmingsen

Sort of; that’s a bit of a stretch, actually. This post is really on Craig Bartholomew on Oliver O’Donovan and the way his gloss of O’Donovan relates to Niels Hemmingsen. In his introduction to A Royal Priesthood?, Bartholomew has this to say of O’Donovan: Realism means that this [creation] order is truly present in the creation. […]

Authors Eric Parker Natural Law Nota Bene

Reason is “the Candle of the Lord”

The Puritan Nathaniel Culverwell (1619-1651), like many of those who graced the walls of the various colleges at Cambridge in the mid-17th century, elegantly defends the rationality of faith. He expounds upon the relationship between faith and reason in his An Elegant and Learned Discourse of the Light of Nature (1652), in which he affirms […]

Archive Eric Parker Natural Law Nota Bene Philosophy Reformed Irenicism

A Public Conscience: Ralph Cudworth on the Religious Foundation of Civil Government

Ralph Cudworth (1617-1688) is perhaps the most famous and influential of the group of Anglican divines that scholars since the 19th century have dubbed the Cambridge Platonists. These divines were some of the first, if not the first, English philosophers to discuss and critically engage with the new philosophy of René Descartes. They were certainly attracted to […]

Archive Civic Polity Corpus Iuris Civilis Natural Law Reformed Irenicism Ruben Alvarado

The Roman-legal Background of the Concept of Equity

Equity makes its appearance in theological and confessional treatments, as a way of understanding the place of Old Testament law in the New Testament era. It is invoked e.g. in the Westminster Confession of Faith as such an interpretive principle. A good treatment of the theological usage of equity can be consulted here, but, there […]