Reading Systematic Theologies

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by Dekybo, Nov 30, 2018.

  1. Dekybo

    Dekybo Puritan Board Freshman

    Do you have any general advice on reading Systematic Theologies. Is there a smart way to read them or do I just need to dive in and read cover to cover? I've read a little on the forum where many have advised reading some authors before moving on to more difficult ones. Any advice is much appreciated.
     
  2. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Some STs are basically topical. Grudem, for example. that means you can read them in tandem with others. Other STs, especially those written from a more European tradition, build an argument throughout the work, so you have to start at the beginning. I think of Pannenberg, Jenson, etc.
     
  3. TheInquirer

    TheInquirer Puritan Board Freshman

    I am basically doing both cover to cover and topical right now. I am reading Bavinck vol. 2 with a couple guys and then working through topics in numerous systematics as I am teaching a theology proper Sunday School class. Both have their merits.

    I would say it has been very valuable (and eye opening) to compare several systematicians on the same topic. Some might not handle the topic thoroughly enough, some might spend too much time on info you really don't want or need at the moment, some are unnecessarily long winded, some are unnecessarily short winded ;), and some are flat out wrong. The process has basically confirmed for me the need to consult many counselors even though I tend to put a few at the top of my priority read list.
     
  4. Dekybo

    Dekybo Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you Jacob and Jim. I have Grudem's, Calvin's Institutes (If it is considered a systematic work), and I just received Hodge and Turretin in the mail today.
     
  5. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    Daniel Ritchie once described Michael Horton's ST as a "theological novel." That's a good way of putting it. If a thinker is framing his ST around a particular model or cipher of terms (Horton, Pannenberg, etc), then you need to read it cover to cover.

    The Hodges, Grudem, Berkhof, mostly Bavinck can be read topically.

    Calvin is somewhere in the middle.
     
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  6. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Freshman

    Which translation or edition of Calvin's Institutes do you have? Banner of Truth has a great companion book to the Institutes.
    David Calhoun - "Knowing God and Ourselves."
    https://banneroftruth.org/us/store/christian-living/knowing-god-and-ourselves/

    This probably wasn't what you had in mind but I enjoyed it when going through Institutes.
     
  7. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    I would advise against reading Turretin cover to cover. It has remained my favorite ST, but he approaches subjects in an extremely rigorous and closely reasoned manner such that it's better chewed on in smaller morsels. It's too easy to miss important details when you're trying to get through larger sections.
     
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  8. Dekybo

    Dekybo Puritan Board Freshman

    I have the Hendrickson Publishing, one-volume, translated by Henry Beveridge.
     
  9. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    If you are going to try to read Francis Turretin cover-to-cover, you can only read 10-20 pages at a time for the reasons Chris states. I read the three volumes over a few years by most reading several pages on a Sabbath afternoon. I recently re-read volume 1 in the space of a couple of months earlier this year. I will start to re-read volume 2 soon, dv.
     
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  10. reinink

    reinink Puritan Board Freshman

    Not sure if this would be interesting or helpful, because I haven't listened to it myself, but there is the Calvinist Batman Reads Systematic Theology podcast. Here's the description:

    Join Master Bruce as he creates systematic theology audiobooks, 20-30 mins at a time. Starting with Geerhardus Vos' "Reformed Dogmatics" and moving on to others after that, listen as Calvinist Batman reads the wealth of knowledge that the master theologians of the past have left us. If you like this, also listen to the original podcast "Calvinist Batman & Friends".
     
  11. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritan Board Freshman

    You can sign up for a free trial of Audible, Christian Audio, and Audiobooks.com. From there you can use it to get Institutes, Boice's Foundations of the Christian Faith, and another theology book for free to aid in your journey.
     
  12. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    I'm looking forward to Volume 1 of Joel R. Beeke's new systematic theology. It's the first of 4 volumes. Volume 1 will be 1,264 pages, but Beeke's a good writer so it probably won't seem too tome-y.
     

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