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Title: The good news of adoption : a comparative study of Calvin and nineteenth century Scottish and American Calvinism
Author: Trumper, T. J. R.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2002
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Abstract:
As the overarching purpose of this thesis is to heighten the profile of Paul’s doctrine of adoption (huiothesia), the study begins with a confessional and literary survey of its widespread historico-theological neglect, together with an enumeration of what the author believes are the fundamental principles under-girding the Pauline doctrine. These serve as critical criteria throughout the thesis. The introductory survey uncovers several subsidiary aims that are subsequently pursued throughout the thesis. In Part One, the contours of John Calvin’s theology of adoption are sketched in an attempt to investigate Brian Gerrish’s claim that the Reformer defines the gospel quite simple as the good news of adoption. Thus, the first chapter seeks to discern the origin of Calvin’s use of adoption and its place in his corpus, while chapters two, three and four trace out thoroughly (but not exhaustively), the most salient characteristics of Calvin’s doctrine from protology to eschatology. In this way it is possible to attest, and ultimately to demonstrate, the accuracy of Gerrish’s claim. The second part of the dissertation opens in chapter five with an examination of the locus and content of adoption in the Westminster Standards, so providing continuity between Calvin and the subsequent emergence of nineteenth century Calvinism. This investigation highlights the fact that the Westminster Confession of Faith was the first confession in the history of the church to provide adoption with a distinct locus. Its presence in the Standards indicates that while the Westminster emphasis on adoption is continuous with Calvin in terms of content, it is less so in terms of form. Thus, we seek to make a modest contribution to the ongoing ‘Calvin versus Calvinism’ debate. Chapter five concludes with a brief overview of adoption’s fortunes from the publication of the Westminster Standards in 1647 until the early nineteenth century. It is shown how the theology of adoption faded from view so that by the 1820s the time was ripe for an ensuing backlash against Westminster Calvinism. Chapter six deals with the thought of two of the foremost protesters against the juridically-dominated Calvinism then prevalent in Scotland viz. Thomas Erskine of Linlathen and John McLeod Campbell.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.663060  DOI: Not available
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