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B. B. Warfield’s Scientifically Constructive Theological Scholarship (Smith)

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Pickwick Publications

B. B. Warfield, the "Lion of Princeton," is perhaps America's most prolific and preeminent biblical and theological scholar, and yet he has been largely misunderstood and misrepresented. In this landmark work, David Smith penetrates to the defining features of Warfield's thought and helps us understand its revolutionary character. Warfield's detractors have maligned his thought as static and beholden to an outdated epistemology, yet Smith debunks this myth.

Placed within his historical context, we discover Warfield expressing the organic and dynamic nature of truth, overcoming the subject-object dilemma that plagues Western epistemological rationalism and mysticism, and all through his explaining the doctrinal system warranted by the Bible. Theological scholarship and American church historiography will have to reckon with this fresh and much-needed apologetic on America's preeminent apologist. 


Table of Contents: 

  1. A Historiographical Review of Old Princeton and Warfield
  2. B.B. Warfield: A Biographical Summary
  3. Contextual Issues: Biblical Criticism, Theology, and Philosophy in the Nineteenth Century
  4. Princeton and Warfield: Responses to Contextual Issues
  5. Theology and Epistemology: Science and the Context of Apologetics
  6. Systematic Theology’s Legitimacy: What Is Christianity?
  7. Apologetics in Principle: Establishing the Biblical Gospel
  8. Apologetics in Practice: Biblical Doctrines, Morality, Subjectivity, and the Supernatural 



David P. Smith holds a BA in Psychology from Carson-Newman College, an MDiv from Covenant Seminary and a PhD in historical theology from Trinity International University. He is the author of 'B. B. Warfield's Scientifically Constructive Theological Scholarship' (Wipf & Stock, 2011). He currently pastors Covenant Fellowship ARP church in Greensboro, North Carolina.



"Smith's analysis of Warfield's conception of theological science presents a formidable challenge to the standard interpretation of the Princeton mind. Bold, judicious, and compelling, Smith establishes that Warfield was a thoroughgoing Calvinist who recognized that truth is 'organic and unified,' and in so doing dismantles what has come to be known as the Ahlstrom thesis. This book is an important addition to the literature reassessing the place of Old Princeton in the history of American Evangelicalism." -Paul Kjoss Helseth, author of "Right Reason" and the Princeton Mind: An Unorthodox Proposal

"For too long scholars have advanced the mistaken notion that Warfield's theology and/or theological method resulted from his previous commitments to Scottish Common Sense Realism. Thanks to David Smith's work, we may now pronounce that thesis dead. David provides the most thorough analysis of Warfield's theological methodology available, and I doubt his dismantling of the supposed SCSR connection will ever be answered. He has read Warfield well, and he has set the record straight. Many thanks!" -Fred G. Zaspel, author of The Theology of B. B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary

"Warfield believed in the unitary nature of truth: as a result, he rejected the fact/value dichotomy, affirmed both the objective and subjective in his epistemology, and, sensitive to history and the coordination of philosophy and theology, viewed apologetics as a partner of evangelism and integral to Christian discipleship. David Smith's first-rate work is commended to the reading public in the demonstration of these assertions." -Alan D. Strange, Asociate Professor of Church History, Mid-America Reformed Seminary