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REFORMATION PERIOD.

47

ing of a better

cept the Book of Revelation, which were so highly esteemed in England that it was required of every parish church to possess a copy of the English translation. These publications introduced a new era in biblical learning, and went far toward supplanting the scholasticism of the previous ages by better methods of theological study.'

With the Reformation of the sixteenth century the mind of Germany and of other European states broke away from The Reformathe ignorance and superstition of the Middle Ages, the tion the mornHoly Scriptures were appealed to as the written reve- day. lation of God, containing all things necessary to salvation, and the doctrine of justification by faith was magnified against priestly absolution and the saving meritoriousness of works. The great commanding mind and leader of this remarkable movement was Martin Luther, who, in October, 1517, published the famous theses which were like the voice of a trumpet sounding forth the beginning of a better day. Five years later he put forth his German translation of the New Testament. This was one of the most valuable services of his life, for it gave to his people the holy oracles in the simple, idiomatic, and racy language of common life, and enabled them to read for themselves the teachings of Christ and Luther's Gerthe apostles. It was followed by successive portions of man Bible. the Old Testament until, in 1534, the whole Bible was completed and became of incalculable influence in effecting the triumph of Protestantism. The arduous effort of Luther to make his translation of the Bible as accurate as possible went far toward the establishing of sound methods of criticism and exegesis. His helps in this great enterprise consisted of Erasmus' edition of the New Testament, the Sepuagint, the Vulgate, a few of the Latin fathers, and an imperfect knowledge of the Hebrew. He also received valuable assistance from Melanchthon, Bugenhagen, Jonas, Cruciger, and several learned rabbis. He spent twelve of the best

years

of his life upon this monumental work. Portions of the original autograph are still preserved in the royal library of Berlin, and show with what anxious care he sought to make the version as faithful as possible. Sometimes three or four different forms

His exegetical of expression were written down before he determined works. which one to adopt. Luther's commentary on the Galatians, which has been translated into English, and published in many editions, was characterized by himself as being very "plentiful in words.” It is an elaborate treatise adapted for use as public lectures and devo

1 Erasmus' works have been printed in many forms. The best edition is that of Le Clerc, in 11 vols. folio. Leyden, 1703.

tional reading, and is particularly notable for its ample exposition of the doctrine of justification by faith. Luther also prepared notes on Genesis, the Psalms, the Sermon on the Mount, the Gospel of John, and other portions of the New Testament.' His knowledge of Hebrew and Greek was limited, and he sometimes mistook the meaning of the sacred writer, but his religious intuitions and deep devotional spirit enabled him generally to apprehend the true sense of Scripture. Although Luther occupies the foremost place among the reform

ers, he was far surpassed in scholarship and learning by Melanchthon.

Philip Melanchthon, in whom he found an indispensable friend and helper, in temperament and manners the counterpart of himself. Luther may be compared with Paul, whose bold and fearless spirit he admirably represented ; Melanchthon exhibited rather the tender and loving spirit of John. Melanchthon appears to have been favoured with every opportunity and means of education which that age afforded. He was regarded as a prodigy of ancient learning, especially skilled in the knowledge of Greek, a pupil of Reuchlin, and a friend of Erasmus, both of whom extolled his remarkable talents and ripe scholarship. His thorough acquaintance with the original languages of the Scriptures, his calm judgment and cautious methods of procedure, qualified him for preeminence in biblical exegesis. He clearly perceived the Hebraic character of the New Testament Greek, and showed the importance of the study of Hebrew even for the exposition of the Christian Scriptures. As an aid in this line of study he published an edition of the Septuagint. Luther listened with delight to his expository lectures on Romans and Corinthians, obtained his manuscript, and sent it without his knowledge to the printer. On its appearance he wrote to his modest friend thus characteristically: “It is I who publish this commentary of yours, and I send yourself to you. If you are not satisfied with yourself you do right; it is enough that you please us. Yours is the fault, if there be any. Why did you not publish them yourself? Why did you let me ask, command, and urge you to publish to no purpose ? This is my defence against you. For I am willing to rob you and to bear the name of a thief. I fear not your complaints or accusations.”

Melanchthon's exegetical lectures embrace Genesis, the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Daniel, Hag.

Luther's exegetical works in Latin, edited by Elsperger, Schmid, and Irmischer, were published at Erlangen, in 23 vols. 12mo, 1729-44; in German, in vols. xxxiii-lii of his collected works as edited by Irmischer, 1843–53.

Luther's Briefe, Sendschreiben u. Bedenken, ed. De Wette, ii, 238. Comp. ii, 303.

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John Calvin,

gai, Zechariah, and Malachi, of the Old Testament; and Matthew, John, Romans, Corinthians, Colossians, Timothy, and Titus of the New Testament. Luther's German Bible was greatly His exegetical indebted to the careful revision of Melanchthon, who lectures. himself translated the Books of Maccabees. Although his quiet, meditative tendencies led him at times into allegorical methods of exegesis, which he found so generally adopted by the fathers, he followed in the main the grammatical historical method, was careful to trace the connexion and course of thought, and aimed to ascertain the mind of the Spirit in the written word.'

Of all the exegetes of the period of the Reformation the first place must unquestionably be given to John Calvin, whose learning was ample, whose Latin style surpassed in purity and elegance that of any writer of his time, and whose intellect was at once acute and penetrating, profound and comprehensive. His stern views on predestination are too often offensively prominent, and he at times indulges in harsh words against those who differ from him in opinion. In textual and philological criticism he was not equal to Erasmus, Melanchthon, Ecolampadius, or his intimate friend Beza, and he occasionally falls into notably incorrect interpretation of words and phrases; but as a whole, his commentaries are justly celebrated for clearness, good sense, and masterly apprehension of the meaning and spirit of the sacred writers. With the exception of Judges, Ruth, Kings, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Solomon's Song, and the Apoca. lypse, his comments, expository lectures, and homilies extend over the whole Bible. In his Preface to the Epistle to the Romans he maintains that the chief excellence of an interpreter is a perspicuous brevity which does not divert the reader's thoughts by long and prolix discussions, but directly lays open the mind of the sacred writer. His commentaries, accordingly, while not altogether free from blemishes, exhibit a happy exegetical tact, a ready grasp of the more obvious meaning of words, and an admirable regard to the context, scope, and plan of the author. He seldom quotes from other commentators, and is conspicuously free from mystical, allegorical, and forced methods of exposition. His exegesis breathes everywhere--especially in the Psalms—a most lively religious feeling, indicating that his own personal experience enabled him to penetrate as by intuition into the depths of meaning treasured in the oracles of God.?

"Melanchthon's works, edited by Bretschneider and Bindseil, form 28 vols. of the Corpus Reformatorum. Halle and Brunswick. 1834-60.

* Calvin's works were published in 9 folio vols., Amsterdam, 1671 (best edition).

Lutheran and

ties.

Next to Calvin we may appropriately notice his intimate friend

and fellow reformer, Theodore Beza, who early enjoyed Theodore Beza.

the instruction of such masters as Faber (Stapulensis), Budæus, and John Lascaris, and became so distinguished as an apt and brilliant scholar that of one hundred, who with him received the master's degree, he stood first. He lived to the great age of eighty-six, and was the author of many useful works. The princi pal monument of his exegetical skill is his Latin translation of the New Testament, with full annotations. He was a consummate critic, a man of remarkable quickness and versatility of intellect, and widely distinguished for his profound and varied learning. His comments are unlike those of Calvin in not making prominent the religious element of the sacred writings, but his philological learn. ing and constant reference to the Greek and Hebrew texts are more conspicuous.

A careful study of the exegetical writings of the sixteenth cenExegetical ten- tury reveals two tendencies which early appeared among dencies of the the Protestant reformers, and developed gradually durReformed par. ing the next two centuries, until in modern times the

one has run into extreme rationalism, and the other into a narrow and dogmatic orthodoxy.

These tendencies early separated the so-called Lutheran and Reformed parties. The more rigid orthodox Lutherans exhibited a proclivity to authoritative forms, and assumed a dogmatic tone and method in their use of the Scriptures. The Reformed theologians showed greater readiness to break away from churchly customs and traditional ideas, and treat the Scriptures with a respectful, but free, critical spirit. In general exposition no great differences appeared among the early reformers. Luther and Melanchthon represent the dogmatic, Zwingle, Ecolampadius, and Beza the more grammatico-historical method of scriptural interpretation. Calvin combined some elements of both, but belonged essentially to the Reformed party. It was not until two centuries later that a cold, illiberal, and dogmatic orthodoxy pro. voked an opposite extreme of lawless rationalism.

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the progress of A new edition, edited by Baum, Cunitz, and Reuss, is given in the Corpus Reforma. torum, Brunswick, 1863-87 (yet incomplete). Tholuck's edition of his New Testa. ment Commentaries, in 7 vols. 8vo, is a very convenient one. English translation of Calvin's works in 52 vols. 8vo. Edinburgh.

The editio optima of Beza's New Testament was published at Cambridge (1 vol. fol., 1542), and contains his own new translation placed in a column between the Greek text on the one side and the Vulgate on the other. It is accompanied by a copious critical and exegetical commentary by the translator himself, and the commentary of Camerarius is appended to the end of the volume.

THE GREAT POLYGLOTS.

51

biblical criticism and exegesis was most marked. The way for a more thorough grammatical study had been prepared by Polyglots and such philologists as John Buxtorf, Schindler, Vatablus, Critici Sacri. and Joseph Scaliger. About 1615 Le Jay projected his immense work, the Paris Polyglot. Its publication was begun in 1628 and completed in 1645 in ten imperial folio volumes, containing the entire Bible in seven languages (Hebrew, Chaldee, Syriac, Arabic, Samaritan, Greek, and Latin). This costly work, which ruined the fortune of Le Jay, was soon superseded by the London Polyglot of Brian Walton, the first volume of which was issued in 1654 and the sixth and last in 1657. It was followed in 1669 by the Heptaglot Lexicon of Castell in two folio volumes. These massive tomes, together with that great collection of critical and exegetical writings known as the Critici Sacri (London, 1660, nine vols. fol.) and Poole's Synopsis Criticorum (1669–74, five vols. fol.), forming in all twenty-two large folios, begun and finished in the space of twenty-one years (1653-74), at the expense of a few English divines and noblemen, constitute a magnificent exegetical library, and will long endure as a monument of English biblical scholarship in the seventeenth century.

No sketch of the history of biblical interpretation should fail to mention Hugo Grotius, one of the most remarkable men of the seventeenth century, and eminent alike in theol. ogy, politics, and general literature. Though suffering the confiscation of his property, imprisonment, and exile, his learning and talents commanded for him the attention of kings and princes, and of the educated men of Europe. Besides learned works in civil jurisprudence, apologetics, and dogmatic theology, he wrote annotations on the Old and New Testaments and the Apocrypha. His exegesis is distinguished for its philological and historical character, and the uniform good sense displayed throughout. He has been called the forerunner of Ernesti, but he often noticeably fails to grasp the plan and scope of the sacred writers, and to trace the connexion of thought. He lacked the profound religious intuition of Luther and Calvin, and leaned to a rationalistic treatment of Scripture.'

One of the most eminent scholars of the Dutch Reformed Church of the seventeenth century was Voetius, who received his early training at Leyden under Gomar, Arminius, and their colleagues. He was an influential member of the Synod of Dort, and a violent opponent of the Remonstrants. He also made it a

1 All the theological works of Grotius were published in three folio volumes at London, in 1679. His annotations, with a life of the author, are contained in the first two volumes. They also appear in the Critici Sacri.

Grotius,

Voetius.

U. OF ILL. LIB.

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