The Mystical Presence (1846), John Williamson Nevin's magnum opus, was an attempt to combat the sectarianism and subjectivism of nineteenth-century American religion by recovering the robust sacramental and incarnational theology of the Protestant Reformation, enriched with the categories of German idealism. In it, he makes the historical case for the spiritual real presence as the authentic Reformed doctrine of the Eucharist, and explains the theological and philosophical context that render the doctrine intelligible. The 1850 article "The Doctrine of the Reformed Church on the Lord's Supper" represents his response to his arch critic, Charles Hodge of Princeton Seminary, providing what is still considered a definitive historical treatment of Reformed eucharistic theology. Both texts demonstrate Nevin's immense erudition and theological creativity, contributing to our understanding not only of Reformed theology, but also of the unique milieu of nineteenth-century American religion. The present critical edition carefully preserves the original text, while providing extensive introductions, annotations, and bibliography to orient the modern reader and facilitate further scholarship. The Mercersburg Theology Study Series is an attempt to make available for the first time--in attractive, readable, and scholarly modern editions--the key writings of the nineteenth-century movement known as the Mercersburg Theology. An ambitious multi-year project, this aims to make an important contribution to the academic community and to the broader reading public, who may at last be properly introduced to this unique blend of American and European, Reformed and Catholic theology.
John Williamson Nevin
Wipf & Stock Pub
Wipf & Stock Pub
Wipf & Stock Pub
Wipf & Stock Pub
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Anyone who desires to have a grasp on Reformed theology needs to be reading Nevin. Now, finally, an edition of Nevin's masterpiece, The Mystical Presence, that has clearly received the scholarly attention it deserves. The extensive annotation in this volume is quite impressive and extremely helpful for a thorough understanding of Nevin's thought. Having thumbed through earlier publications of the Mystical Presence, I see now that I was unable to penetrate the depth of Nevin's theology on a number of fronts (and now I don't have to go look up Nevin's seemingly obscure references to historical events, theologians, and ideas). I'm also impressed by the lineup of historical and theological "big hitters" who have given their endorsement and pledged their support for this 13-volume project. Volume 1 has set the bar very high. My advice to any potential reader - do not buy another edition of the Mystical Presence. This one will not disappoint
I confess I had a hand in helping to edit this volume, but the true credit goes to Brad Littlejohn and Linden DeBie for the overwhelming bulk of the work. Besides, I am here to sing the praises of Nevin.
This volume contains one of the masterpieces of Reformed literature, Nevin's work on the Lord's Supper. Here, and in Nevin's supplementary articles in the Mercersburg Review (also reprinted here), the classical 16th and 17th century Reformed doctrine of the Supper is expounded by a master historical theologian. It's a work of genius. It leaves "memorialist" understandings of the Supper no Reformed leg to stand on. And although there are other editions of Nevin, this one now has to be the gold standard, thanks to Littejohn and DeBie.
Read this and sample the best that American Reformed theology had to offer in the 19th century, and still has to offer today. Who knows, it may even turn your theology of the sacraments upside down...
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