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Introduction: The Dogma Is Not Necessarily the Drama

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Chapter Summary

To reduce human beings to mere puppets in some larger drama of the flow of capital or of psychological forces inaccessible to the historical agents seems self-evidently reductionist and contrary to human experience: one can know that ideas can be powerful forces in shaping history. The development of Reformed orthodoxy, like the development of Christian dogma in general, is not the quasi-Hegelian outworking of inner dynamic principle; rather it is the result of complex interplay of intellectual and material factors. Richard Muller has played a key role not only in deepening the understanding of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; he has also demonstrated in the evolution of his own work the importance of sound historical method in exploring the nature of texts. The dogma may sometimes be dramatic, but it is rarely if ever the whole of the drama. That is perhaps the greatest of Richard Muller's many methodological contributions.

Keywords: Christian dogma; Reformed orthodoxy; Richard Muller

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