Dr. Mark Noll, the Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame, has penned the foreword for Volume 1 of the Mercersburg Theology Study Series—The Mystical Presence and the Doctrine of the Reformed Church on the Lord’s Supper (edited by Linden DeBie). Some excerpts from his excellent orientation:
“This is the first volume of what the organizers of this series plan as an extended edition of the works of John W. Nevin, of his colleagues at the Mercersburg Seminary in the 1840s and 1850s, and of some who in those same years objected to Mercersburg views. For a clearer picture of the United States’ unduly neglected theological history of the period—as well as a most welcome stimulus to theological reflection in our own day–the edition is a godsend.
Nevin, whose biography and general theological contributions are spelled out with helpful detail in the introduction to this volume, was one of a number of consequential American theologians in antebellum America whose works have never received the attention they deserve.
. . .
That historiographical slighting represents a significant loss. As readers of this volume will recognize immediately, John W. Nevin’s reflections on “the mystical presence” in the Lord’s Supper is a serious treatise about a perennially important Christian reality. Its historical learning, biblical amplitude, dialectical skill, philosophical self-consciousness, and theological insight are all at or near the level of acumen displayed by contemporary European theologians who have been the object of much more extensive historical attention.
. . .
In a word, those who take seriously the works to be featured in this exciting new publishing enterprise are in for the right kind of historical education and the best kind of theological challenge. May the announced later volumes come speedily, and may attentive readers multiply as they come forth.”
This volume is due out in Spring 2012.