Dooyeweerd entered the scene as a talented academic who soon caught the eye and was offered the position of Deputy Director of the Kuyper Foundation in 1922.
A mere four years later he accepted a position at the Faculty of Law at the Free University as professor in Philosophy of Law, Encyclopedia of the Science of Law and Ancient Dutch Law. Apart from an extensive series of articles on the struggle for a Christian politics Dooyeweerd presented his Inaugural Address in 1926 onThe Significance of the Cosmonomic Idea for the Science of Law and Legal Philosophy.
This Inaugural Address marks a significant shift away from the biblicistic appeal to "Scriptural principles" which obstructed the inner reformation of the special sciences and opened up an alternative approach to Christian scholarship. Moreover, this is not done in isolation but explicitly in confrontation with the dominant trends of thought within the discipline of law. At the same time he succeeded in advancing a novel and penetrating insight into the deepest dialectical motivation directing modern philosophy since the Renaissance, designated by him as the science ideal (nature) and the personality ideal (freedom).
The basic antinomy entailed within this dialectical ground motive of modern humanistic philosophy manifested itself in multiple theoretical antinomies also within the science of law. His new intermodal understanding of theoretical antinomies is equally novel and innovative and it undergirded his analysis of the various sphere sovereign modal aspects of reality.
The promise entailed in this Inaugural Address came to fruition in two directions: elaborating his philosophical foundation of the science of law in his multi-volume Encyclopedia of the Science of Law and presenting his new insight in the form of a general philosophical account to the academic world - in the publication of his magnum opus, De Wijsbegeerte der Wetsidee (three volumes in 1935-1936), translated into English in the four volume work, A New Critique of Theoretical Thought (1953-1958).
This Inaugural Address may be appreciated as the cradle of his immensely encompassing and penetrating intellectual legacy.
Strauss, D.F.M. - University of the Free State