K.H. Miskotte’s Biblical ABCs
An International Theology Conference
8-9th November 2021
K.H. Miskotte (1894–1976) was a Dutch Reformed pastor and theologian. He was also an intensive student of Hebrew Scripture, a sympathetic interpreter of contemporary Jewish thought, and a mediator of Karl Barth’s theology to the Netherlands. As such, Miskotte vocally opposed Dutch Nazism in the 1930s and participated in underground resistance to the German occupation of the Netherlands. He wrote several works to strengthen the spiritual resolve of other resisters—including a short Bible reading primer and anti-Nazi catechism in one, entitled Biblical ABCs.
First published in 1941, the book is urgent, even raw, and yet theologically focused. It concentrates on the form of Scripture, laying out biblical keywords across twelve chapters. These words draw from Hebrew Scripture, which Miskotte prioritizes relative to the apostolic writings of the New Testament; and they orbit the person and profile of God. They take departure from the A of the biblical ABCs, the Name of God, and they conclude with God’s work of sanctifying, which Miskotte identifies as a kind of divine sabotage.
Miskotte’s Biblical ABCs became a foundational text for the school of Dutch Reformed dialectical theology that arose after the war, and it remains popular; a Dutch eighth edition was published in 2016. It is now published in English for the first time. The online conference, was co-sponsored by the Protestant Theological University, the Aberdeen Centre for Protestant Theology, and the Miskotte Foundation.