Essay / Theology

Polanus: Life, Sources, Theology

We recently finished our series of conversations on seventeenth-century theologian Amandus Polanus’ 18 Axioms on the Trinity. Now Ryan Hurd and I are going to have a few conversations with people who know a thing or two about Polanus, Protestant Scholasticism, trinitarian theology, and related issues. Partly this is just our idea of fun and worthwhile work, and partly it’s to help dispel the impression that we are the only people who think about Polanus and to quell the rumor that we made him up, name and all, and forged the documents. So we’re calling witnesses to testify to the importance of Polanus.

This week’s guest is Steve Tipton, who has recently defended his Leuven dissertation on the theology of Polanus. Steve is a pastor in Pennsylvania, and has especially focused on Polanus’ prolegomena and doctrine of God.

We asked Steve to start us out with an overview of Polanus’ life and education. One interesting note is that Polanus began “collecting definitions and distinctions” while studying under Beza, and that this collection became the kernel of his systematic writings. From there, Steve describes the development of Polanus’ theological writings, especially the Partitiones and the Syntagma. Finally, we interact with Steve a bit on the question of how we should characterize Polanus as a theologian: Creative genius? Gifted teacher? Mere compiler? Systematizer? Neglected? Misunderstood?

We ran longer than usual, because Steve Tipton knows a great deal about Polanus. This one’s a little over an hour long. Here’s the video:

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