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John Calvin as Old Testament Interpreter: A Bundle of Contradictions

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The following excerpt hails from T. H. L Parker, Calvin’s Old Testament Commentaries (Westminster/John Knox, 1993), 6–7. By the time Calvin began publishing his Old Testament commentaries, the pioneering work had been done and there was a fairly solid body of material at his disposal – quite good texts of the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin Bibles, some grammars and lexicons and concordances, and several “modern” commentaries, besides those of the Church fathers which had been edited and printed. Even when there were no modern works and scholars had to rely on classical or early Christian authors, these were now available in print. … But we must approach any of these older Biblical writers in a spirit of sympathy and humility, not judging them ignorant and backward because they seem strange to us. To approach them in such a spirit of sympathy will mean, I think, that we shall be surprised, not only at their intellectual energy, their insights, their incredible knowledge of the Bible, but

No Serenity Now? Hunsinger on Philippians 1:2

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Bernardino Mei, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons Thanks to the beneficence of this blog’s editor, I’m now perusing George Hunsinger’s fine commentary on the Epistle to the Phillipians, a volume in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible series. (No remuneration, monetary or otherwise, was offered in exchange for blogging about this book.) The distinguished Karl Barth scholar and Princeton Theological Seminary professor offers his text as an “exercise in ecclesial hermeneutics” (p. xvii) and, more specifically, it is also an essay in creedal hermeneutics. That is, he is attempting to honor the integrity and coherence of the scriptural canon within the heuristic framework of the ecumenical Christian symbols of faith. This book also is an homage to Hunsinger’s teachers at Yale Divinity School – Hans Frei, George Lindbeck, and Brevard Childs. Such a confessional orientation for biblical exposition remains contested -- as do all readings of scripture -- but it is salutary fo