Charles Hodge or Louis Berkhof?

Discussion in 'The Literary Forum' started by OPC'n, Feb 14, 2009.

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  1. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    I already have Berkhof's Systematic Theology, but I was wondering if Hodge is better. If Hodge is better, why do you think so? If you think Berkhof is, then why? I really do enjoy Berkof, but I've heard so many good things about Hodge. If it is just a matter of writing style, then I won't spend the money. If it is more a matter of accuracy, then I will.
  2. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    It would be difficult for me to emphatically say one is "better" than the other. I also am not going to say that everyone needs to read Hodge, as he can be quite dry at times. But he is a worthwhile read if you like reading systematics (and if you've read Berkhof, you do!). But if you are unsure, instead of plunking down money for the whole set, try this abridged version of Hodge; I bought it years ago, have found it to be quite informative, and it costs less than $15.
  3. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    If you want to read some and try it, you can find the complete first volume on google books. In general, Hodge presents Reformed theology as an Americanized Turretin (whose text he replaced at Princeton), whereas Berkhof represents Americanizes the Dutch Reformed tradition, specifically Bavinck.

    Both are solid, though I am sure both have flaws. If you can find cheap used copies of Hodge, or the occassional $30 CBD sale, he's probably worth it.
  4. Southern Presbyterian

    Southern Presbyterian Moderator Staff Member

  5. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    What are you a genius?! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  6. Southern Presbyterian

    Southern Presbyterian Moderator Staff Member

    It's about time someone noticed! You are obviously a woman of discernment and high intelligence yourself. [​IMG]
  7. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    And they even encourage signing up for VOM news letter! I just bought it! thanks!
  8. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    There Southern Pres goes, stealing my thunder!

    I plead the midnight rule! The late hour has clouded my mental faculties!

  9. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    Yeah, I keep trying to tell that to my debating buddy and they won't listen! :doh:
  10. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Heh. I just bought it too. I bet CB's server is wondering what's going on. Thanks for the head's up!
  11. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    You guys are confusing the folks at CBD. They're not used to reaching for Hodge, as Osteen and The Shack are taking up all their order time. They have to give away Berkhof and Hodge just to make room. :lol:
  12. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    :lol: BTW, a few years ago I got the 10 volume Warfield set for $25 from them.
  13. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    At $22 it almost doesn't matter how good he is. Buy it now.

    Once you have Berkhof and Hodge, you may want to consider adding Reymond, Kelly, or Grudem to get up to date bibliography and interaction with current writers. If you want something a little older, what about Dabney or (a century older) a'Brakel?
  14. JohnGill

    JohnGill Puritan Board Senior

    Hodge's is available online for free if you want to read it before you buy it. It can also be found as MP3s through this blog: Charles Hodge’s Systematic Theology Backwoods Presbyterian

    However you may also wish to consider buying Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics upon which Berkhof's Systematic Theology was based and Turretin's Institutes of Elenctic Theology which, if I remember correctly, was the basis for Hodge's work. I own all four and prefer Bavinck to Berkhof and Turretin to Hodge. I would also recommend a Brakel's A Christian's Reasonable Service. I find it more "comforting" than the other two.
  15. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    Good to know for the future...I already bought Hodge.
  16. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    BTW, if you are open to reading books on your computer, the following are all available in digital form (many of them for FREE!).

    a Brakel
    Boice, JM
    Boice, JP
    Hodge, A
    Hodge, C
    Smith, Morton
    van Til

    A few of those are not exactly "Reformed" (e.g., Arminius, Finney, Geisler, Chafer, Oden, etc.).
  17. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    Thanks for the very long list! Why the arminian writers? You said etc who else fits that description?
  18. Michael Doyle

    Michael Doyle Puritan Board Junior

    As I was checking into CBD`s deal, I realized they have an 8.00 international shipping rate. At Westminster Bookstore, Hodge is $27.00 with $3.00 shipping. So you can get it for $29.95 at CBD with shipping, or $30.00 at Westminster Bookstore with shipping.

    Hope this helps

    Upon further review, I stand corrected, CBD`s standard shipping is only $5.99
  19. Denton Elliott

    Denton Elliott Puritan Board Freshman

    HAHAHA...wait...why I laugh? :(
    I guess if we didn't laugh we'd cry...
  20. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    The list was just a copy of the theologians on my own computer so it included the Reformed, the dispensational, and the heterodox (sorry, Fuller grads were taught to read all sides of all issues so my library is full of heretics and apostates including a half dozen Ehrman books!). The "etc." was to guard against Grymir giving me the raz for listing Barth. With all of his criticisms of Calvin and his neo-orthodox views, he would not be counted as Reformed by most of us on the PB. Mainliners. however, consider him an exemplar of a 20th century "Reformed" scholar. Here is the first line of standard dictionary entries on him: "Karl Barth was a Swiss Reformed theologian whom some critics held to be among the most important Christian thinkers of the 20th century."
  21. shackleton

    shackleton Puritan Board Junior

    It all started with Turretin. Hodge is a simpler version of Turretin, which was the standard theology textbook in schools for quite a while. I personally like Hodge better because he goes into more depth, after reading Hodge I feel like I have a thorough understanding of the subject. Then after reading Hodge I will go and read Turretin to pick up some finer points, plus after reading Hodge, Turretin is easier to follow.
    But if you read Berkhoff you are technically getting Hodge and Turretin. It gets right to the point and says basically the same thing without all the extensive explanations. Berkhoff is sort of a summary of Hodge/ Turretin.
  22. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    Yes, but Berkhoff is even more directly a summary of Bavinck.
  23. PresbyDane

    PresbyDane Puritanboard Doctor

    Works for me.. just keep them coming :book2::book2::book2::graduate::)

    -----Added 2/16/2009 at 06:44:49 EST-----

    where does one find these FANTASTIC authors for free???????
    please tell me ...:drool:
    I must know :gpl:
  24. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    Sorry for the confused syntax. "Many" means "many." "Most" of them are for $$$ on Libronix, Biblesoft, etc.

    If you use the e-Sword software (free and VERY good), you can find the following theologians: Berkhof, Boyce, Calvin, Chafer, Clarke, Dagg, Evans, Finney, Fisher, Gill, Hodge, Torrey, Candlish, Pink, aKempis, Athanasius, Augustine, Edwards, Owen, Kuyper, Carroll, Ryrie, plus MANY more for free on . . .
    The free WordSearch format has Spurgeon, Pink, Chesterton, Torrey, Hodge, Evans, Orr, Luther, Melancthon, Bullinger, Calvin, Chafer, Dabney, Finney, Schaff, Arminius, Wesley, Bunyan, Carradine, Henry, Athanasius, Ryle, Augustine, Law, Wesley, Schaff, Edersheim, Foxe, Haldane, Manton, as well as the Scrivener, Stephanus, Tischendorf, and Westcott-Hort Greek NTs for free.

    If you open yourself up to PDF format materials, you can build a digital library of Reformed classics for free from a number of sites.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2009
  25. Hamalas

    Hamalas whippersnapper

    Yes it is undoubtedly better, but is it cheaper?
  26. GD

    GD Puritan Board Freshman

    SJonee, The only significant difference I recall between Hodge & Berkhof are that Hodge was postmillennial andBerkhof amillennial. I liked Hodge very much, hope you do too!
  27. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    Oh, David! Where were you when I needed you? It's too late! I've already bought them! :(
  28. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Sarah, you will greatly enjoy Hodge. I prefer, unlike Dennis, to have my books in solid, visible form. To each their own. You will hardly spend a better $22 in your life than to spend it on Hodge and then read him. I find him extremely clear, extremely orthodox, and surprisingly up to date. His section on justification is exceptionally helpful. But his delineation and demolition of all the non-orthodox views of the atonement was equally helpful. If, after reading Hodge, you wanted more, I would say you had already outgrown Berkhof, and needed to go straight to the source, which is Bavinck.
  29. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    Oh, good Rev Lang. I'm glad to hear you say this. I don't like having to be leery of what I'm reading...trying to find mistakes instead of just learning in comfort.
  30. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Perhaps those who know more can weigh in. I understood that there were some issues with Hodge on the questions of creations and the peccability of Christ. I thought there were a couple of other issues as well, but I am not in a leisurely enough situation right now to lay my mental hand upon them.
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