Saturday, 30 April 2011

Elizabeth A. Clark, Romanizing Protestantism in Nineteenth-Century America: John Williamson Nevin, The Fathers, and the "Mercersburg Theology"

Although the name of Philip Schaff is far better known to modern Anglophone patristic scholars than is that of Nevin, Nevin spearheaded the interest in the Church Fathers at the nineteenth-century seminary at Mercersburg, Pennsylvania.  The "Mercersburg Theology" was the most distinctive expression of a "high-church" Reformed Protestantism in that era.  Nevin appealed strongly to the Fathers in his (largely failed) effort to put the German Reformed Church on a more theologically rooted, historically informed, and liturgically rich basis.  Predictably, Nevin's approach was criticized by other American Protestants as "Catholicizing."  Nevin's numerous articles in the Mercersburg Review, which he and Schaff edited, offer a rich resource for uncovering his patristically-oriented theology.

Elizabeth A. Clark
Duke University
Durham, USA

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