posted August 25, 2008

Talk to Discuss Area Theologian Nicholas Steffens

Visiting scholar Dr. George Harinck of the Netherlands will present the address "Nicholas Steffens and Trans-Atlantic Relationships within the Reformed Church" on Thursday, Sept. 4, at 4 p.m. at Hope College in the Maas Center conference room.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

Harinck is on campus as the Netherland-America Foundation (NAF) Visiting Research Professor at the college's Van Raalte Institute.  He is conducting biographical research on the theologian Dr. Nicholas Martin Steffens (1839-1912), who taught at both Hope College and Western Theological Seminary in addition to serving churches locally and in Iowa.

Steffens was at Hope as professor of didactic and homiletic theology from 1884 until he joined the Presbyterian Church in 1894, and then at Western Seminary from 1903 to 1912.  He also served pastorates at First, Zeeland, 1878-82; First, Holland, 1883-84; and First, Orange City, Iowa, 1898-1900.  According to Harinck, he had substantial influence, was internationally oriented, and was a respected scholar, theologian and church leader.

The focus of Harinck's research, in general, is in the field of Dutch-American relations within the Reformed/Presbyterian tradition, and it was while doing that research that he gradually became interested in learning more about Nicholas Steffens.  The Joint Archives of Holland has many of Steffens's papers; furthermore, Holland resident Dr. Eugene Heideman has been doing research on Steffens's theology.

Harinck is a professor of history at the Free University in Amsterdam and at the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Churches (liberated) at Kampen.  He also serves as the director of two research institutes for the history of (Reformed) Protestantism, in Amsterdam and in Kampen.

Harinck has published extensively, including an article in the Princeton Seminary Bulletin (2007), "The Position of the Church as Institute in Society: A Comparison between Bonhoeffer and Kuyper," and many articles and books in Dutch.  He has also served as one of the editors of the three-volume "Bibliografie van Nederlandse Protestantse Periodieken."

Harinck is the third NAF Visiting Research Professor at the Van Raalte Institute and has been at the college since July.

The Van Raalte Institute is located in the Theil Research Center at 9 E. 10th St. and specializes in scholarly research and writing on immigration and the contributions of the Dutch and their descendants in the United States.  The institute is also dedicated to the study of the history of all the people who have comprised the community of Holland throughout its history.