Synopsis of A Purer Theology

Over the past decade, the project of Protestant resourcement has exploded, giving pastors, scholars, and lay-people access to the great thinkers who shaped their tradition. Despite this great progress, many treasures of Reformed theology remain obscured from the lay-person, confined to academics with a working knowledge of Latin and Biblical languages–or, if translated, affordable only by libraries with large budgets.

Synopsis of a Purer Theology, otherwise known as “the Leiden Synopsis,” is one such work. Collecting theological disputations delivered at the University of Leiden in the early 1600s, it is one of the most historically important and theologically comprehensive handbooks of Reformed theology, being a key influence for many Reformed theologians including Herman Bavinck, Abraham Kuyper, Karl Barth, Louis Berkhof, and Richard Muller. And yet, it has remained largely forgotten and left to a handful of Latin-reading scholars.

Now for the first time, the Davenant Press has published this significant work in a full English-only translation, in an affordable and concise two-volume set that includes introductory material to orient the reader to the text.

The Synopsis offers both a snapshot of the state of confessional theology in the 17th-century Dutch Reformed tradition, and also an enduring example of how the project of systematizing doctrine can serve the church. The Leiden professors modeled thoroughness and clarity of thought in the face of confusion, and a vision of irenic Christian unity over brittle doctrinal uniformity.

As Protestants endeavor both to recover their forgotten heritage and to pass it down to the next generation, we need examples of how this has been done before us. The Synopsis of a Purer Theology will serve to bring such illumination and perspective to a generation desperately in need of its boldness, clarity, and wisdom.

Two Volume Set


Table of Contents


Volume I
William den Boer & Riemer A. Faber
Synopsis of a Purer Theology 1625
  1. Concerning the Most Sacred Theology
  2. On the Necessity and Authority of Scripture
  3. Concerning the Canonical and Apocryphal Books
  4. On the Perfection of Scripture, and the Futility of Adding
  5. About the Perspicuity and the Interpretation of Holy Scripture
  6. About the Nature of God and his Divine Attributes
  7. On the Holy Trinity
  8. Concerning the Person of the Father and of the Son
  9. On the Person of the Holy Spirit
  10. Concerning the Creation of the World
  11. On the Providence of God
  12. Concerning the Good and Bad Angels
  13. About Man Created in the Image of God
  14. On the Fall of Adam
  15. On Original Sin
  16. On Actual Sin
  17. On Free Choice
  18. Concerning the Law of God
  19. On Idolatry
  20. Concerning the Oath
  21. On the Sabbath and the Lord’s Day
  22. On the Gospel
  23. On the Old and the New Testament
  24. On Divine Predestination
  25. On the Incarnation of the Son of God and the Personal Union of the Two Natures in Christ
  26. On the Office of Christ
  27. On Christ in his State of Humiliation
  28. On Jesus Christ in his State of Exaltation
  29. On the Satisfaction by Jesus Christ
  30. On the Calling of People to Salvation
  31. On Faith and the Perseverance of the Saints
Volume II
  1. On Repentance
  2. On the Justification of Man in the Sight of God
  3. On Good Works
  4. On Christian Freedom
  5. On the Religious Practice of Invocation
  6. On Almsgiving and Fasting
  7. On Vows
  8. On Purgatory and Indulgences
  9. On the Church
  10. On Christ as Head of the Church, and on the Antichrist
  11. On the Calling of Those Who Minister to the Church,
  12. On the Sacraments in General
  13. On the Sacrament of Baptism
  14. On the Lord’s Supper
  15. On the Sacrifice of the Mass and Its Abuses
  16. On the Five False Sacraments of the Papists
  17. On Church Discipline
  18. On Ecclesiastical Councils or Meetings
  19. On the Civil Magistrate
  20. On the Resurrection of the Body and the Last Judgment
  21. On Life and Death Everlasting and on the End of the World
End Matter