SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.44 issue3-4The necessity of reckoning with metatheoretical assumptions in scientific practical-theological researchDoing trinitarian theology: Primary references to God and imagination author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand



Related links

  • On index processCited by Google
  • On index processSimilars in Google


In die Skriflig

On-line version ISSN 2305-0853
Print version ISSN 1018-6441

In Skriflig (Online) vol.44 n.3-4 Pretoria Jan. 2010




The role of the Bible in reformational philosophy: Historical and systematic notes


Die rol van die Bybel in reformatoriese filosofie: Historiese en sistematiese opmerkings



R. Coletto

School of Philosophy, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, POTCHEFSTROOM. E-mail:




In this article the role of the Bible in the elaboration of reformational philosophy, a neo-calvinist school founded in the 1930s by Dooyeweerd and Vollenhoven, is analysed. According to the author of this article, these two authors had somewhat different approaches to this problem, but their intentions were similar and the strategies they devised are compatible and even integrating each other. In practice, one might say that Vollenhoven favoured a more "textual" approach, while Dooyeweerd emphasised the importance of the biblical religious ground motive. The proposals of a more recent thinker in this movement, Jacob Klapwijk, are also explored and the promises and the "perils" of his approach are pointed out. The main purpose is to show that, in this philosophical tradition, the issue of the role of the Bible in philosophy has been tackled with discernment and devotion, stemming from a genuine commitment to the inscripturated Word.

Key concepts: belief and philosophy, relationship between philosophising, role of the Bible in scriptural philosophy, Dooyeweerd's view of scriptural philosophy, Klapwijk's view of scriptural philosophy, Vollenhoven's view of worldview, Scripture and philosophy


In hierdie artikel word die rol van die Bybel in die uitbou van die reformatoriese filosofie, 'n neo-calvinistiese beweging wat in die dertigerjare van die vorige eeu deur Dooyeweerd en Vollenhoven begin is, geanaliseer. Volgens die outeur van hierdie artikel, het hierdie twee outeurs verskillende benaderings tot hierdie probleem, maar hulle bedoelings was dieselfde en die strategieë wat hulle uitgedink het, was wel met mekaar versoenbaar en selfs met mekaar integreerbaar. 'n Mens kan sê dat Vollenhoven in die praktyk 'n meer "tekstuele" benadering gevolg het, terwyl Dooyeweerd die belangrikheid van die hooftemas in die bybelse religieuse grondmotief beklemtoon het. Die voorstelle van 'n meer resente denker in hierdie beweging, Jacob Klapwijk, word oorweeg en daar word op die beloftes en gevare van sy benadering gewys. Die hoofdoel is om aan te toon dat in hierdie filosofiese tradisie, die rol van die Bybel in filosofie met toewyding en ernstige ondersoek aangepak is - 'n houding wat uit 'n egte verbintenis aan die skrifgeworde Woord spruit.

Kernbegrippe: filosofering, rol van die Bybel in geloof en filosofie, verhouding tussen skriftuurlike filosofie, Dooyeweerd se siening van skriftuurlike filosofie, Klapwijk se siening van skriftuurlike filosofie, Vollenhoven se siening van wêreldbeskouing, Skrif en filosofie



“Full text available only in PDF format”



List of references

AUGUSTINUS, A. 1995. De doctrina Christiana. T. 2.39. Oxford: Clarendon.         [ Links ]

BERKOUWER, G.C. 1971. The authority of Scripture: a responsible confession. (In Gehaan, E.R., ed. Jerusalem and Athens. Nutley: Presbyterian & Reformed Publication Company. p. 197-202.         [ Links ])

CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH. 1972. Acts of synod. Grand Rapids: Christian Reformed Church.         [ Links ]

COLETTO, R. 2002. Models of scholarship in the reformed tradition. Potchefstroom: PU for CHE. (M.A. thesis.         [ Links ])

COLETTO, R. 2009. Strategies towards a reformation of the theology-based approach to Christian scholarship. In die Skriflig, 43(2):291-313.         [ Links ]

DOOYEWEERD, H. 1959. Cinq conferences. La revue reformée, 10(3):3-76.         [ Links ]

DOOYEWEERD, H. 1966. Het oecumenisch-reformatorisch grondmotief van de wijsbegeerte der wetsidee en de grondslag van de vrije universiteit. Philosophia reformata, 31(1-2):3-15.         [ Links ]

DOOYEWEERD, H. 1979. Roots of western culture: pagan, secular and christian options. Toronto: Wedge.         [ Links ]

DOOYEWEERD, H. 1980. In the twilight of western thought. Nutley: Craig.         [ Links ]

DOOYEWEERD, H. 1984. A new critique of theoretical thought. Jordan Station: Paideia.         [ Links ]

DOWNS. H.L. 1974. The distinction between power-word and text-word in recent reformed thought: the view of Scripture set forth by some representatives of the philosophy of the law-idea. Nutley: Presbyterian & Reformed Publishing Company.         [ Links ]

DUVENAGE, B. 1985. Christian scholarship as Word-bound scholarship. Potchefstroom: PU for CHE. (Potchefstroom Studies in Christian Scholarship.         [ Links ])

FERNHOUT, H. 1979. Man faith and religion in Bavinck, Kuyper and Dooyeweerd. Part 3. Tydskrif vir christelike wetenskap, 15(3 & 4):119-140.         [ Links ]

FRAME, J.M. 1976. Van Til: the theologian. Chattanooga: Pilgrim.         [ Links ]

FRAME, J.M. & COPPES, L. 1972. The Amsterdam philosophy: a preliminary critique. Phillipsburg: Presbyterian & Reformed Publication Company.         [ Links ]

GAFFIN, R.B. 1994. A new paradigm in theology? The Westminster theological journal, 56(2):379-390.         [ Links ]

GEERTSEMA, H.G. 1987. Christian philosophy: transformation or inner reformation? Philosophia reformata, 52(2):139-165.         [ Links ]

GROENEWOUD, G. 1987. Scripture, philosophy and worldview: a comparison between Herman Dooyeweerd and Jacob Klapwijk. Philosophia reformata, 52(2):166-181.         [ Links ]

HART, H. 1984. Understanding our world: an integral ontology. Lanham: University Press of America.         [ Links ]

KLAPWIJK, J. 1987. Reformational philosophy on the boundary between the past and the future. Philosophia reformata, 52(2):101-134.         [ Links ]

KLAPWIJK, J. 1989. On worldview and philosophy: a response to Wolters and Olthuis. (In Marshall, P.A., Griffioen, S. & Mouw, R.J., eds. Stained glass: worldviews and social science. Lanham: University Press of America. p. 41-55.         [ Links ])

KLAPWIJK, J. 1991. Epilogue. (In Klapwijk, J., Griffioen, S. & Groenewoud, G., eds. Bringing into captivity every thought: capita selecta in the history of christian evaluation of non-christian philosophy. Lanham: University Press of America. p. 241-266.         [ Links ])

KLAPWIJK, J. 2008. Purpose in the living world? Creation and emergent evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.         [ Links ]

MARSHALL, P. 1991. A calvinist political theory. Potchefstroom: PU for CHE. (Institute for Reformational Studies.         [ Links ])

OLTHUIS, J.H. 1976. The Word of God and biblical authority. Potchefstroom: PU for CHE. (Instituut vir die bevordering van Calvinisme.         [ Links ])

RUNNER, H.E. 1970. The relation of the Bible to learning. Toronto: Wedge.         [ Links ]

SCHROTENBOER, P.G. 1969. A reply to professor Sheperd. International reformed bulletin, 12(38):21-26.         [ Links ]

SHEPERD, N. 1969. God's Word of power. International reformed bulletin, 12(38):17-20.         [ Links ]

SPYKMAN, G.J. 1985. Spectacles: biblical perspectives on christian scholarship. Potchefstroom: PU for CHE.         [ Links ]

SPYKMAN, G.J. 1991. Reformational theology: a new paradigm for doing dogmatics. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.         [ Links ]

TALJAARD, J.A.L. 1976. Polished lenses. Potchefstroom: Pro Rege.         [ Links ]

VAN DER WALT, B.J. 2010. At home in God's world: a transforming paradigm for being human and for social involvement. Potchefstroom: Institute for Contemporary Christianity in Africa.         [ Links ]

VAN TIL, C. 1971. Response by C. van Til. (In Gehaan, E.R., ed. Jerusalem and Athens. Nutley: Presbyterian & Reformed Publication Company. p. 202-203.         [ Links ])

VOLLENHOVEN, D.H. Th. 1935. Die Grundlagen der calvinistischen oder schriftgemaszen Philosophie. Theologische Blatter, 24:46-56.         [ Links ]

VOLLENHOVEN, D.H. Th. 1941. Historia philosophiae. Amsterdam: Vrije Universiteit. (Stenciled syllabus.         [ Links ])

VOLLENHOVEN, D.H. Th. 1953. Schriftgebruik en wijsbegeerte. Mededeelingen van de Vereeniging voor Calvinistische Wijsbegeerte: 6-9, Sept.         [ Links ]

VOLLENHOVEN, D.H. Th. 1992. Schriftgebruik en wijsbegeerte. (In Tol, A. & Bril, K.A., eds. Vollenhoven als wijsgeer: inleidingen en teksten. Amsterdam: Buijten & Schipperhijn. p. 97-106.         [ Links ])

VOLLENHOVEN, D.H. Th. 2005. Introduction to philosophy. Ed. by J.H. Kok & A. Tol. Sioux Center: Dordt College Press.         [ Links ]

WILLIAMS, M. 1992. Review of G.J. Spykman: Reformational theology: a new paradigm for doing dogmatics. Pro rege, 20(4):30-32.         [ Links ]

WOLTERS, A.M. 1989. On the idea of worldview and its relation to philosophy. (In Marshall, P.A., Griffioen, S. & Mouw, R.J., eds. Stained glass: worldviews and social science. Lanham: University Press of America. p. 14-25.         [ Links ])

ZYLSTRA, B. 1975. Introduction. (In Kalsbeek, L. Contours of a christian philosophy: an introduction to Herman Dooyeweerd's thought. Amsterdam: Buijten & Schipperheijn. p. 14-33.         [ Links ])

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License