The Dutch Effect: Kuyper and Neo-Calvinism in Professor Cochran’s Scholarship

The Dutch Effect: Kuyper and Neo-Calvinism in Professor Cochran’s Scholarship

Essay By: David S. Caudill

47 PEPP. L. REV. 419 (2020)

One of the obvious influences on Bob Cochran’s scholarship is the Dutch Calvinist tradition, especially as represented in the writings by or about Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920). Even though Cochran was neither Dutch nor a member of a Reformed church, Cochran found inspiration and compelling insights (with respect to legal processes and institutions) in the Dutch Calvinist tradition. This interest reflected Cochran’s generous ecumenism and his well-known respect for religious diversity. Three prominent conceptions—the trilogy of sphere sovereignty, antithesis, and common grace—provide a guide to Cochran’s recourse to Kuyper and Calvinism in his scholarly writing. Following a brief explanation of the term “Dutch Calvinism,” I examine Cochran’s appropriation of those three concepts from the Neo-Calvinist intellectual tradition. I conclude that Cochran has helped to popularize, and advance the cause of, Neo- Calvinism by applying some of its principles in new legal contexts.

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