A warning from the past regarding Neology

I have been reading the life of Charles Hodge written by his son, Archibald Alexander and published by Banner of Truth. It is a different kind of biography, containing personal letters and excerpts from his journal with his son filling in much of the narrative. Anyway, as a young faculty member at Princeton, Charles realized his need for more training in the “Oriental languages” and headed to Germany for two years on leave from Princeton. His mentor, colleague, and close friend Archibald Alexander (yes, Charles’s son was given his name) wrote an interesting letter to Charles while in Germany and studying under the likes of Schleiermacher and others. He wrote,

I suppose that before I write you again you will have left Halle, but of this you must give me early notice … The air which you breathe in Germany will either have a deleterious effect on your moral constitution, or else by the strength of faith required to resist its effects your spiritual health will be conformed. I pray God to keep you from the poison of Neology! I wish you come home enriched with Biblical learning, but abhorring German philosophy and theology. I have been paying some attention to Kant’s philosophy, but it confounds and astonished me (172).

The term “neology” was used of German rationalism but at the core, it is the study of new things. That is a warning for all who dabble in the academic world.

Categories: Books, Charles Hodge, Education, Neology, Seminary, Theology

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