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Calvin at the Centre$
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Paul Helm

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199532186

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532186.001.0001

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Descartes and Reformed Theology

Descartes and Reformed Theology

(p.40) 2 Descartes and Reformed Theology
Calvin at the Centre

Paul Helm

Oxford University Press

Calvinistic theology after Calvin came to be heavily influenced by the philosophy of Aristotle. It developed an essentially scholastic method. This chapter raises the question of why Descartes was not more influential in Reformed circles. His actual influence on theologians such as Francis Burman is discussed, as is the nature of the opposition to Cartesianism as expressed by Gisbertus Voetius. A comparison is made between the theological thought of Descartes and Calvin. It is concluded that on balance, and given the eclectic nature of the attitude of Reformed theologians to philosophy, there is no compelling reason why Cartesianism could not have been more influential in the era of Reformed Orthodoxy than it was.

Keywords:   Burman, Calvin, Cartesianism, Reformed Orthodoxy, Voetius

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