Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat
James D. Bratt
This is the first full-scale English-language biography of the highly influential and astonishingly multifaceted Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920)—theologian, minister, politician, newspaper editor, educational innovator, Calvinist reformer, and prime minister of the Netherlands from 1901 to 1905.
The definitive biography of Abraham Kuyper, giant of Dutch Calvinism
James Bratt is the ideal scholar to tell the story of Kuyper’s remarkable life and work. He expertly traces the origin and development of Kuyper’s signature concepts—common grace, Christian worldview, sphere sovereignty, Christian engagement with contemporary culture—in the dynamic context of his life’s story.
Based on voluminous primary and secondary Dutch sources, Bratt’s Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat will prove to be the go-to biography of this major figure whose ideas and influence extend far beyond his own time and place.
James D. Bratt is professor of history at Calvin College.
Richard J. Mouw
— Fuller Theological Seminary
“At last! This is what many of us have been waiting for — a careful, detailed, and highly readable(!) biography of Kuyper in all of his human complexity. Jim Bratt has given us the comprehensive study of ‘Father Abraham’ that will serve English speakers for years to come.”
— Yale University
“Abraham Kuyper was such a titanic figure in the Netherlands during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, such a volcano of prodigious energy and imagination in so many areas of life, that I have long assumed that his genius would elude capture by any biographer. James Bratt’s biography, Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat, proves that I was mistaken. This is Kuyper — not always likable, but always astounding. And it’s a page-turner besides.”
Anthony B. Bradley
— The King’s College, New York City
“James Bratt has written what can only be called the definitive biography of Abraham Kuyper. With engrossing scholarship and style, Bratt provides indispensable reading for anyone interested in postindustrial Christian social thought. . . . Will undoubtedly become a classic.”
— University of Notre Dame
“Bratt has done a marvelous job of setting Kuyper’s multifaceted interests, activities, and ideas in their historical contexts. With wit and insight Bratt depicts Kuyper not only as a great man but also as a real person of his times, complete with faults and blind spots that Calvinists recognize as inevitable even among their saints.”
“Bratt is an invaluable guide, with a sprightly, erudite style and a sharp grasp on Kuyper’s sprawling career and writings. To be clear, this is anything but a heroic gloss; Bratt’s Kuyper is prescient, canny, profound, and flawed. But above all, he is significant, and Bratt shows us that significance by centering out attention on Kuyper’s public voice.”
“Bratt’s richly detailed, balanced and readable biography will give readers more than enough data to ponder.”
Christian Scholar’s Review
“This book is so well researched that it is sure to become the standard work on Kuyper. . . . I highly recommend the work to anyone who has interest in theology, politics, and history. It is a fascinating story about a rare person.”
“This is not a reactionary picture trying to recover or protect Kuyper. To the contrary, it is just the sort of capacious, well-researched, comprehensive account we need. . . . Bratt’s prose is lively and engaging. . . . His mastery of the archival materials is remarkable. . . . Perhaps above all, in Bratt’s biography I finally met Kuyper the human being, in all his beautiful brokenness and tortured complexity.”
“A valuable study of an important thinker who demands to be rediscovered.”
Journal of Reformed Theology
“Richly textured prose deftly interweaves the like of Kuyper with the history of his time. Bratt has a keen eye for ideas, trends and movements that are contemporary to Kuyper. . . . This biography paints a convincing portrait and is sure to become a classic in the growing body of literature about Abraham Kuyper in the English language.”
Journal of Church & State
“Bratt’s biography is a persuasive combination of intellectual and social-political history, and only that combination could adequately capture Kuyper’s life. . . . An outstanding presentation of a very complex figure.”
Journal of Theological Studies
“Offers to the Anglophone world an outstanding and long-desired portrait of the nineteenth-century founder of neo-Calvinism. Bratt is a fair, balanced, and careful historian who makes much of Kuyper’s profound contextual insight, unique application of Calvinist theology, and lasting theological and political legacy without hiding Kuyper’s tendency towards sweeping generalization, blind hubris, and glaring defects. . . . Bratt’s contribution will stand as the definitive biography of Abraham Kuyper and an invaluable resource for historians, political philosophers, and theologians for many years to come.”
Books & Culture
“While the English-speaking world has long has access to Kuyper’s imaginative theological ideas, Bratt provides something it has lacked — a comprehensive, thoroughly researched, and fair-minded picture of the man behind the ideas. . . . Bratt’s biography will serve as an indispensable resource for scholars in theology, philosophy, political science, and cultural studies who are interested in drawing on Kuyper’s life and work.”