Called "one of the great systematic theologies in the modern era" and "a classic from a leading Reformed theologian of the 1800s," Shedd's Dogmatic Theology is one of those monumental works that has truly stood the test of time. The editor, Alan Gomes, considers Dogmatic Theology "one of the finest theological systems ever produced...unequaled by anything produced by modern evangelicals."
“The difference between a divine attribute and a divine person is that the person is a mode of the existence of the essence; while the attribute is a mode either of the relation or of the external operation of the essence.” (Page 275)
“Divine omnipresence means the presence of all things to God, rather than God’s presence to all things. They are in his presence, but he is not in their presence.” (Page 278)
“Theology, then, as the science of God aims to obtain a knowledge of him free from contradictions and is as profound as is possible, considering the nature of the subject and the limitations of the human mind.” (Page 56)
“Theology (theou logos)1 is the science of God. The Supreme Being is the object and theme of theological investigation.” (Page 52)
“There are two general classes of trinitarian texts: (1) those which mention all of the three persons of the Godhead and (2) those which teach the deity of one or another of the persons singly.” (Page 224)
It is a profound work that sets forth the deepest themes of religion with a grandeur and majesty of expression that has rarely been equaled and that never will be outdated.
— Alan Gomes, editor
Since its publication more than one hundred years ago, Shedd's Dogmatic Theology has held a place of honor among the magisterial theological works of the Christian faith.
—Robert L. Saucy, Talbot School of Theology
One of the largest and best systematic theologies.
[Ranks] second only to the works of Jonathan Edwards.
—Monica M. Grecu
Reading Shedd is like discovering a family heirloom in the attic. By making him available again to a wide audience, the editor, Alan Gomes, has rendered a great service. Gomes has actually improved Shedd's classic by taking material from the third somewhat 'miscellaneous' volume and inserting it into the body of the work. Many other helps (viz., glossaries, clear notations, illuminating editorial comments) make this the best edition of this work. If the questions of the authority of Scripture, God's omniscience and omnipotence, human helplessless, the substitutionary atonement, justification, the scope of salvation, and the doctrine of endless punishment are as fiercely contested in our day as in Shedd's, we will find Dogmatic Theology as relevant as ever.
—Michael S. Horton, Westminster Theological Seminary in California
Dogmatic Theology occasions pure joy for all who are devoted to biblically sound and historically alert theology. Here they will encounter an energetic and well-stocked mind laboring diligently to perceive the truths of Scripture, chart their interrelations, and follow their implications through high and reasoned speculation. Alan Gomes's introduction—itself an inviting invitation to the delights of historical and systematic theology—identifies not only the peculiar strengths of Shedd's work, but also ways it can correct many errors of more recent theology. The English translations of Shedd's many untranslated quotations enhance the work's accessibility, as do the glossaries, which by themselves may instruct readers in theological terminology and biography alike. An eminently useful publication and a significant service to the church.
—E. Calvin Beisner, Knox Theological Seminary
Shedd, William Greenough Thayer (1820–1894). Calvinist theologian and church historian. A sixth-generation descendant of Massachusetts Puritans, Shedd appropriated many of the leading intellectual trends of the nineteenth century without sacrificing his commitment to Reformed orthodoxy. His speculative interests in Romanticism, historical consciousness and evolution made him remarkably sensitive to the powerful new thinking of his century. Yet Shedd did not create any controversy, for his firm Calvinist faith was never altered by his novel speculations.
While a student at the University of Vermont, Shedd was profoundly influenced by his philosophy professor, James Marsh. Thereafter his thinking reflected an intimate familiarity with the leading luminaries of European Romanticism. Upon his graduation from Andover Theological Seminary, Shedd served a Congregational church in Brandon, Vermont, and later a church in New York City. But his pastoral labors were brief, less than four years in all. The greater part of his career was devoted to teaching. His diversified appointments included seven years as professor of English literature at Vermont, two years as professor of sacred rhetoric at Auburn Theological Seminary and eight years as professor of church history at Andover. In 1863 he accepted a position at Union Theological Seminary (New York), beginning an affiliation with that institution which would continue for twenty-eight years. After 1874 he served as professor of systematic theology, succeeding Henry Boynton Smith.
One of the eminent theologians of his era, Shedd exhibited literary gifts, historical interests and a speculative spirit in his many works, including a History of Christian Doctrine (1863) and Dogmatic Theology (1889). As an Old School Presbyterian he opposed any revision of the Westminster Standards and remained a great advocate of Baconianism and its inductive reasoning.
Alan W. Gomes (Ph.Dd, Fuller Theological Seminary) is associate professor of historical theology at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University.
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