Office Hours: German Influences On Charles Hodge’s Theology

Office Hours 2016Princeton Theological Seminary was founded in 1812 in order to train men for pastoral ministry in the Presbyterian Church. Within a century of her founding, however, those features that had helped to make old Princeton a bulwark of Reformed orthodoxy had been weakened. The Presbyterian Church was broadening theologically and those leading that movement wanted Princeton to fall in  line. So, in 1929 the seminary was formally re-organized. In protest, several members of the faculty resigned to form Westminster Theological Seminary. Few institutions are as important to the identity, theology, and piety of confessional American Presbyterians than old Princeton and few figures as central to that story as Charles Hodge (1797–1878). When we think about the roots and influences upon Hodge and old Princeton the first thing that scholars usually mention is a philosophy known as Scottish Common Sense Realism. Some scholars have left the impression that it was CSR (not theology and Scripture) that was running the show at Princeton. That suggestion has been challenged by a few scholars, today’s guest among them. There were other influences, however, on Hodge’s theology including the mediating theology and what we might call German evangelicalism. Dr Annette Aubert  is a historian specializing in nineteenth-century Protestant theology. She is an adjunct professor of church history at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and she is the author of The German Roots of American Nineteenth-Theology.

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