John McLeod Campbell and the Philosophers

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Stephen Cowley


Stephen Cowley’s paper contends that the breaking of a formerly vital link between philosophy and theology has compromised the work of the Church of Scotland. To this end, he examines the connection between philosophy and theology in the work of John McLeod Campbell (1800–72), arguing that the link has either been neglected or significantly misrepresented. He demonstrates that Campbell ascribes a positive role to philosophy and reason in his work, a position partly drawn from rethinking the views of his teacher, James Mylne (1757–1839). He goes on to show how Campbell’s rejection of legal metaphors in understanding the atonement may have developed from Mylne’s philosophical theology. The paper marks a break from the suggestion that Campbell’s conclusions in The Nature of the Atonement emerge primarily from an outworking of his pastoral experience in the light of a reading of Calvinist theologians.

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