How Good Is Ames’ Marrow, Really?

Discussion in 'The Literary Forum' started by Rutherglen1794, Jan 3, 2020.

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  1. Rutherglen1794

    Rutherglen1794 Puritan Board Junior

    I want to hear from any of you who have read Ames’ Marrow.

    What is it’s strength? Weakness?

    Is there another similar book that is worth reading instead?
     
  2. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    The strengths are clarity and brevity. The weaknesses are compression and the method of bifurcation. It's an important book, and could be quite handy as an introduction to Reformed doctrine and Protestant Scholasticism. For a similar length but a different format and approach you might also consider James Ussher's Body of Divinity, John's Brown's Systematic Theology, and Louis Berkhof's Manual of Christian Doctrine.
     
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  3. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    The organization is quite good. I think Turretin is a better investment, though.
     
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  4. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritanboard Colporteur

    The importance of Ames as a theologian is incalculable. He and Perkins were highly influential amongst the Nadere Reformatie movement. Ames was present at Dordt. Both of their theological treatises were also widely influential amongst the Puritans. If you are interested in Puritanism and the development of their theology, reading Ames is non-negotiable. Ames' theological works are a model of succinct statements of Reformed theology.
    If you are less interested in Puritan theology, there are better works to read. If your goal is to get started with Systematics, I would begin with John Brown, Benedict Pictet, Berkhof, or Bavinck's Our Reasonable Faith. Calvin's 1541 Edition of the Institutes is an excellent introduction to Reformed theology. I would still suggest you read Ames at some point.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2020
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  5. Rutherglen1794

    Rutherglen1794 Puritan Board Junior

    How is the bifurcation a weakness?

    Thanks for the other tips. I’m going to think about it a bit and then ask some more questions.
     
  6. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    I love Ames. The format and brevity of his Marrow allow for quick reference and citation for addressing particular matters. The only weakness in my eyes is that, as far as I can remember, he doesn’t treat the Ten Commandments.
     
  7. Shanny01

    Shanny01 Puritan Board Freshman

    He actually does treat them in the second section on Observance.
     
  8. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    Clarity and brevity.

    It is not a comprehensive work of dogmatics in the manner of something like Francis Turretin's Institutes. Some people dislike his alleged commitment to Ramism, but I am not well enough informed to comment on that point any further.
     
  9. kainos01

    kainos01 Puritan Board Senior

    For those who may not know, it is available free here (as a .pdf)
     
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  10. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Oh, good! I honestly couldn’t remember, and I didn’t have my copy readily available. Thanks!

    This is an older translation. Does anyone here know if there is a particular advantage of the most recent translation by Eusden (sp?), other than more contemporary English? Or is the older translation perfectly fine?
     
  11. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritanboard Colporteur

    The introduction in the Baker edition is worth the price.
     
  12. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Because not everything splits neatly into two. The clearest example would be that in treating the Divine Persons, the natural division is triple, not double. I don't think it's a huge deal, since Ames clearly covers what he needs to, but you definitely notice the splitting as you are reading along.

    A similar criticism can be made of other authors, of course. Frame and Poythress notwithstanding, "triads" are not inevitable
     
  13. JTB.SDG

    JTB.SDG Puritan Board Sophomore

    What does bifurcation mean? :bueller:
     
  14. kainos01

    kainos01 Puritan Board Senior

    If you consider 2014 old... ;)
    That's when Bill Gross modernized the English text. He does note, "In 1968 John Dykstra Eusden did a fresh translation from the 1629 Latin edition, which may be more helpful to you than this modernization of the original English."
     
  15. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    "Bi-perspectivalism" apparently.
     
  16. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritanboard Colporteur

    As you know, translation and modernization are two different processes.
     
  17. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritanboard Colporteur

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  18. Rutherglen1794

    Rutherglen1794 Puritan Board Junior

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  19. kainos01

    kainos01 Puritan Board Senior

    Of course. That's why I included the quote about Eusden (and the wink). But this edition of the earlier translation is likewise readable - and free.
     
  20. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Ah, I didn't see that the text had been modernized. That's neat! I'm glad to have found the website of the gentleman who modernized it, too. He has a lot of good stuff there.
     
  21. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

  22. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Splitting everything into two. E.g., the overall treatment is divided into doctrine and practice.
     
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