Abraham Kuyper

Abraham Kuyper

Basic information

  • Author(s):
  • Included in: Library of Religious Biography
  • Published: May 1, 2013
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
  • Page count: 499
  • ISBN: 0802869068

Abraham Kuyper

The definitive biography of Abraham Kuyper, giant of Dutch Calvinism

This is the first full-scale English-language biography of the highly influential and astonishingly multifaceted Abraham Kuyper (1837-1920) -- theologian, minister, politician, newspaper editor, educational innovator, Calvinist reformer, and prime minister of the Netherlands from 1901 to 1905.

James Bratt is the ideal scholar to tell the story of Kuyper's remarkable life and work. He expertly traces the origin and development of Kuyper's signature concepts -- common grace, Christian worldview, sphere sovereignty, Christian engagement with contemporary culture -- in the dynamic context of his life's story.

Based on voluminous primary and secondary Dutch sources, Bratt's Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democratwill prove to be the go-to biography of this major figure whose ideas and influence extend far beyond his own time and place.


“Bratt is an invaluable guide, with a sprightly, erudite style and a sharp grasp on Kuyper’s sprawling career and writings. To be clear, this is anything but a heroic gloss; Bratt’s Kuyper is prescient, canny, profound, and flawed. But above all, he is significant, and Bratt shows us that significance by centering out attention on Kuyper’s public voice.”
--Christianity Today

“Bratt’s biography is a persuasive combination of intellectual and social-political history, and only that combination could adequately capture Kuyper’s life. . . . An outstanding presentation of a very complex figure.”

--Journal of Church & State

“Bratt’s richly detailed, balanced and readable biography will give readers more than enough data to ponder.”

--Presbyterian Outlook

“This book is so well researched that it is sure to become the standard work on Kuyper. . . . I highly recommend the work to anyone who has interest in theology, politics, and history. It is a fascinating story about a rare person.”

--Christian Scholar’s Review

“This is not a reactionary picture trying to recover or protect Kuyper. To the contrary, it is just the sort of capacious, well-researched, comprehensive account we need. . . . Bratt’s prose is lively and engaging. . . . His mastery of the archival materials is remarkable. . . . Perhaps above all, in Bratt’s biography I finally met Kuyper the human being, in all his beautiful brokenness and tortured complexity.”


“A valuable study of an important thinker who demands to be rediscovered.”


“Richly textured prose deftly interweaves the like of Kuyper with the history of his time. Bratt has a keen eye for ideas, trends and movements that are contemporary to Kuyper. . . . This biography paints a convincing portrait and is sure to become a classic in the growing body of literature about Abraham Kuyper in the English language.”

--Journal of Reformed Theology

"At last! This is what many of us have been waiting for -- a careful, detailed, and highly readable(!) biography of Kuyper in all of his human complexity. Jim Bratt has given us the comprehensive study of 'Father Abraham' that will serve English speakers for years to come." 

--Richard J. Mouw, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Abraham Kuyper was such a titanic figure in the Netherlands during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, such a volcano of prodigious energy and imagination in so many areas of life, that I have long assumed that his genius would elude capture by any biographer. James Bratt's biography, Abraham Kuyper: Modern Calvinist, Christian Democrat, proves that I was mistaken. This is Kuyper -- not always likable, but always astounding. And it's a page-turner besides."

--Nicholas Wolterstorff, Yale University

"James Bratt has written what can only be called the definitive biography of Abraham Kuyper. With engrossing scholarship and style, Bratt provides indispensable reading for anyone interested in postindustrial Christian social thought. . . . Will undoubtedly become a classic."

--Anthony B. Bradley, The King's College, New York City

"Bratt has done a marvelous job of setting Kuyper's multifaceted interests, activities, and ideas in their historical contexts. With wit and insight Bratt depicts Kuyper not only as a great man but also as a real person of his times, complete with faults and blind spots that Calvinists recognize as inevitable even among their saints."

--George Marsden, University of Notre Dame


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