Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Origin of TULIP? (Updated!)

A question for readers: does anyone know the origin of the anglicized acronym T.U.L.I.P.?

I'm not referring to the conceptual original (I know it's from the Canons of Dordt)--but rather to the first time that the doctrines were given these English titles and order to form the word tulip?

(The 5 mains points of doctrine in dispute at Dordt were in this order--ULTIP--though of course with different terminology.)

I'm not doing a research project or anything--just curious, as I've never seen the answer to this question!

Update: In the comments below Ken Stewart provides the surprising answer: apparently the first recorded use of the acronym is in Loraine Boettner's popular book, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, published in 1932. Stewart doesn't believe that Boettner himself devised it, but has been unable to document any earlier use of it.

You can read more about this in Stewart's essay, “The Points of Calvinism: Retrospect and Prospect,” Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology, 26. 2 (2008): 187-203, which will be revised into a chapter for his forthcoming book, Ten Myths About Calvinism (IVP, 2010).

Update 2: See the comments. It's now been pinpointed back to 1913, and the author records hearing it eight years earlier. So it goes back at least to 1905. Unless someone can locate an earlier reference, I'm going to say 1905 is the best date we have, with 1913 as the first documentation in the historical record. Nice work Ched and Bart (and Google Books!).