Book Review – Synopsis of a Purer Theology

Book Recommendation

William den Boer and Riemer A. Faber (eds.), Synopsis of a Purer Theology. Burford:Davenant Press, 2023. 2 volumes. 408 + 448 pages

If you are seeking a profound and comprehensive exploration of Reformed theology from the seventeenth century, look no further than the Synopsis of a Purer Theology. This newly translated and published work offers a treasure trove of theological wisdom that is both historically significant and highly relevant for today’s scholars, pastors, students, and theology enthusiasts.

Written by four esteemed professors at Leiden University in the period spanning 1620 to 1625 (Antonius Thysius, Johannes Polyander, Andreas Rivetus, and Antonius Walaeus), this work offers a comprehensive yet compact overview of theology as it was understood during the years following the Synod of Dort, which convened between 1618 and 1619. This collection of theological disputations known as the Leiden Synopsis represents the consensus after the Synod of Dort (1620-1624), making it a codification of Reformed orthodoxy. Its concise and precise presentation of early modern Reformed theology is a testament to its importance.

What makes this two-volume set invaluable is its clear organization, careful distinction-making, and its unwavering commitment to transparency in scriptural sources. It respectfully engages with the entire Christian tradition and maintains an organic coherence as a theological system, which is a tool that should be regularly used in the study of Reformed theology. With this English translation, it is now accessible to a global readership, making the essence of Reformed theology available to a wider audience.

In the wake of the Arminian controversy, the Leiden Synopsis emerged as a theological work grounded in Scripture, razor-sharp in its distinctions, and deeply conversant with the history of doctrine. It brings clarity and precision to doctrinal formulation, focusing on the doctrines that all Reformed Christians confess. The title Synopsis of Purer Theology can be interpreted as a indication of the authors’ intention to emphasize their commitment to promoting the orthodox Reformed (“purer”) doctrine that was officially established during the recent Synod of Dort.

Whether you are a pastor, theologian, or someone interested in Reformed theology, this work deserves a place on your bookshelf. It offers not only a historical perspective but also a contemporary provocation to engage deeply with its wisdom and insights.

The Synopsis of a Purer Theology is an extraordinary contribution to the study of Reformed theology, and it is an essential resource for anyone serious about understanding the rich ecclesiastical tradition that has shaped the Christian faith. Thanks to the dedicated efforts of the translators, editors, and the publisher, this monumental work is now accessible and affordable to all who wish to delve into the depths of Reformed thought. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this theological masterpiece that bridges the past with the present, providing clarity, precision, and theological wisdom for today’s seekers of truth and faith.