Dooyeweerd's Christian Philosophical Approach to the State and Civil Society

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* Book: Herman Dooyeweerd. Christian Philosopher of State and Civil Society. By Jonathan Chaplin. University of Notre Dame Press, 2011

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"This book introducesa distinctive christian philosophical approach to the question of the relationship between the polity and the plural institutions of “civil society.” This approach was developed by the twentieth-century Dutch Protestant thinker Herman Dooyeweerd (1894–1977), a remarkable and original philosopher and the most influential intellectual successor to the nineteenth-century Calvinist theologian and statesman, Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920). Recent years have witnessed stirrings of a revival of Kuyper’s thought in North America, in particular, among social and political theorists investigating potential religious resources for a renewed appreciation of civil society.1 The central principle of Kuyper’s social thought is the “sphere sovereignty” of many distinct social institutions, each expressing a certain facet of a dynamic order of divinely created possibilities and each fitted to make a unique contribution to the realization of justice and the public good. This principle is capturing attention as an illuminating way both to designate the distinctive identities of the institutions of civil society and to frame a conception of the role of the state capable of doing justice to those identities and their interrelationships."

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