New Book by NSA Alum Brad Littlejohn, Winner of the Douglas Murray Prize
Brad Littlejohn, a two-time alumnus of New Saint Andrews College (B.A., 2007; M.A., 2009) has just published a new book, Richard Hooker: A Companion to His Life and Work (Cascade Companions series), as part of an ongoing project to get this tremendously important early Protestant theologian back on the radar of contemporary evangelical Protestants. Brad completed a Ph.D on Richard Hooker's theory of liberty and authority at the University of Edinburgh in 2013, and in this crisp and concise introductory work seeks to bring to bear some of the fruits of that research for a popular audience. He particularly highlights how Hooker can help contemporary Protestants think about the role of Scripture in guiding our ethical and ecclesiological disputes, and how we can still navigate these challenges even in the absence of direct Scriptural guidance.
This fall he also received the Douglas Murray Prize (worth £1000) for his essay "The Search for a Reformed Hooker: Some Modest Proposals," as the best article to be published in the journal Reformation and Renaissance Review in 2014. This article, which one of the judges called "masterful," argued for the importance of seeing Hooker as part of the broad early Reformed tradition, rather than simply as a theologian of Anglicanism, a theme that also plays a prominent role in his new book.
The book has already received high praise from several scholars. Anglican historian Torrance Kirby describes it it as "a splendidly accessible introduction to the life and work of this eminent but popularly neglected early-modern English theologian and philosopher . . . an excellent point of departure for both scholars and non-specialist readers,” and Reformed theologian Oliver Crisp has called it "a resource of choice for those seeking a way into the thought of this great post-Reformation divine." An interview with evangelical blogger Alastair Roberts about the book can be found here.
Brad's mission to retrieve the theological and ethical thought of neglected early Protestant masters is no mere academic project, but (he hopes) his life's work. With Peter Escalante (recently hired as Lecturer in Rhetoric at New Saint Andrews) he has worked over the last two years to build up The Davenant Trust, a nonprofit organization aiming to network evangelical historical scholars and pastors and provide resources for the retrieval and renewal of classical Protestantism today. One of their first initiatives, in fact, was to provide a small grant to help launch the Wenden House program at New Saint Andrews College, translating key texts from early modern Protestantism, and this year they have established the Davenant Latin Institute, which offers online instruction in theological Latin to seminarians and grad students around the world. You can read more about them here.
Dr. Littlejohn hopes that his recent work on Hooker will serve as just one example of how much the church still has to learn from the forgotten giants of the Reformation and post-Reformation periods.
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