Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Herman Dooyeweerd (1894-1977) initiated a small but steady stream of juridical scholarship of a unique quality. He was appointed Professor of Law, Encyclopaedia of Jurisprudence and Ancient National Law at the Free University (VU Amsterdam) in 1926 and was accorded emeritated in 1965. Today, his philosophy of law is represented in at least five national jurisdictional indigenizations:
1.) Bernard Zylstra who studied directly under Dooyeweerd at the Free University (VU) in Amsterdam, after receiving his first law degree at the University of Michigan, a theological degree at Calvin Seminary, and his Bachelor's at Calvin College. Zylstra became the first professor of political philosophy at the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Several of his graduate students are professors in a number of countries today. Dr Zylstra died early in his important work, and his student Dr Paul Marshall succeeded him at ICS; among Marshall's students was Dr Ryuichiro Taniguchi who kindly uses "Julius" for the benefit of Western friends and who now teaches at Sophia Christian University in his homeland, Japan. Dr John Hiemstra professor at The King's College, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Dr David Koyzis, professor of political science at Redeemer University College, Ancaster, Ontario, Canada; Dr Keith Pavlischek , professor at the US War College ; and Mr Harry Kits , MPhil, a leading officer of Citizens for Public Justice (Canada) and numerous others also studied under Professor Bernard Zylstra. This line of transmission and development involves already four generations of Juridical and politicological scholarship.
2.) John Witte, Jr (Harvard Law School graduate, now Professor, Emory Law School, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia) in the United States of America;
3.) Johan van der Vyver formerly Law Faculty, Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education in the Republic of South Africa (now also at Emory Law School, Atlanto, Georgia, USA);
4.) Ponti Venter , who is now Law Professor at North-West University (formerly Potchefstroom) in the Western Cape, South Africa.
5.) Alan Cameron (Senior Lecturer, Law Faculty, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand), and by Dooyeweerd's successor in the Law Faculty, Free University in Amsterdam, and
6.) by Dooyeweerd's student and successor on the Law Faculty at the Free University in Amsterdam, Hendrik van Eikema Hommes (deceased), as well as several others in the Netherlands.
7.) Another important figure among the political scientists who found their foundational perspective in Dooyeweerd's work is Dr James Skillen who initiated the Center for Public Justice, Washington DC. Among other matters, Skillen and his colleagues at CPJ USA have pioneered the juridical thinking of Dooyeweerd in application to the previously anit-religious nonpluralists that prevailed in American courts at all levels. The work of Skillen and
8.) Dr Stanley Carlson-Thies had already laid the intellectual groundwork for the Bush administration's espousal of Faith-based and Community Initiatives in social welfare work by nongovernmental agencies. The team of scholar-practioners maintains that process of development in theory through practice, with their colleague Mr Stephen Lazarus (MPhil, ICS).
9.) Dr Jonathan Chaplin now occupies the Dooyeweerd Chair of Social and Political Philosophy at ICS where he studied before receiving his doctorate from the London School of Economics. His detailed study of Dooyeweerd's ideas of sphere sovereignty in relation to the Roman Catholic political societal theory of subsidiarity is forthcoming.
Profile of a political and juridical philosopher
Dooyeweerd (pronounced: doe*yuh*vaird) was an unusual intellectual, originating from the discipline of law which would have qualified him for the profession of lawyer or judge. Instead, he completed his doctorate in Jurisprudence. He wrote his dissertation on the role of the Cabinet in the Dutch political system. He then served in the Dutch Civil Service in the bureaucracy of the Cabinet Minister in charge of Labour Relations. He then was appointed the first Researcher for the Foundation of a Dutch political party often involved in Dutch coalition governments, and sometimes supplying its own parliamentary Leader as Prime Minister and head of Cabinet. Dooyeweerd began writing theoretical studies on the nature of the State, and the role of a Christian-democratic party in policy-formation. and in legislating while in a shifting condition of conflict and cooperation with other parties in the same parliamentary system. Most of the Juridical scholar's works in this period became in-house communcations within the Anti-Revolutionary Party founded by Groen van Prinsterer, a party which then was led to parliamentary victory and leader of the governing coalition by Abraham Kuyper. But, while Dooyeweerd was in his Research post be also began publishing many of his theories and analyses publicly in the quarterly, Anti-Revolutionaire Staatkunde (ARP Statecraft). During the time of Dooyeweerd's work in the Labour Ministry and for ARP's Abraham Kuyper Foundation, the head of government was also ARP, Dr Hendrik Colijn who was political leader of the ARP from 1920-1944, and under whom the ARP drifted to a more conservative stance.
Dooyeweerd regarded his work as essentially done in that venue after a few years, when the call came to become Professor of Law at the Free University (VU) in Amsterdam. In the Dutch system, first-year students at the University make an early choice of curricular direction, and would-be lawyers begin taking law courses in their first year of university study. Dooyeweerd tought these courses and additional more adcvances courses as demand grew. Few students among the prospective lawyers wanted to continue doctoral work toward the degree that Dooyeweerd had won; but for a select few, they found themselves students of a fully-developed philosopher of law who yet retained empirical knowledge of details important to young lawyers heading directly into practice. At the same time, this philosopher of law became a philosopher beyond any specialist qualifier. Dooyeweerd became a philosopher, yet retained as the central problem of his thought a concern for the meaning of law in its fullest and diverse secondary senses. He became the advocate, with his colleague in the chair of Philosophy at the Free University, of "the philosophy of the law-idea." And this is the translation of Dooyeweerd's two-volume work published in 1935-36, in Dutch De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee, for which he became famous throughout the Netherlands; and later internationally when the work was translated and expanded into the 3-volumes A New Critique of Theoretical Thought (1953-1957, includes a 4th volume devoted entirely to the full work's Index).
But we misunderstand the scope of this thinker, if we think he taught law by rote in the daytime, and penned a philosohy by night. Rather, we must realize that Dooyeweerd was an active thinker about the postiive law of his country and its political subdivisions. This becomes most clear when we consider another multivolume work of his, the 5-volumes of his Encyclopedia of the Science of Law. (1) Happily his mimeograph editions of this work are now being translated, and the first volume, Introduction, appeared in English in 2002. The third volume will appear next, with the second, fourth, and fifth ensuing in that order.
The Dooyeweerd Centre: navigate to the page for Encyclopedia of the Science of Law: Vol I - Introduction (1st of 5 volumes). []
John Witte, Jr: A Brief Biography of Dooyeweerd, based on Hendrik van Eikema Hommes, Inleiding tot de Wijsbegeerte van Herman Dooyeweerd (The Hague, 1982; pp 1-4,132). To reach the proper page, click on top menu tag Biography. []
Alan Cameron. []
Johan van der Vyver. []
Hendrik van Eikema Hommes. Besides his Introduction to Dooyeweerd's Philosophy, one of Van Eikema Hommes' most important studies was State and Law - The Limits of the Legal Competence of the State, Rechtstheorie 9, 1978 []
John Witte, Jr. []
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