The same was true of Calvin, Beza, Knox and all associated with them. The production of commentaries or expository homilies was the necessary result. As outstanding examples may be mentioned Luther's Commentary on Galatians, and the noble commentaries of Calvin.
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Not all by any means, but very many of the commentaries of Calvin were the fruit of pulpit prelections e. Others, as the commentaries on Romans and the Psalms reputed his best , were prepared with great care. Calvin's supreme excellence as a commentator is disputed by no one. From every school and shade of opinion in Christendom could be produced a chorus of testimony to the remarkable gifts of mind and heart displayed in his expositions of Scripture-to his breadth, moderation, fairness and modernness of spirit, in exhibiting the sense of inward genius of Holy Writ. The testimony of Arminius is as striking as any: "I exhort my pupils to peruse Calvin's commentaries.
Lutheranism had its distinguished exegetes Brenz, died , who wrote able commentaries on the Old Testament, and in both the Calvinistic and Arminian branches of the Reformed church the production of commentaries held a chief place. Beza, Calvin's successor, is acknowledged to have possessed many of the best exegetical qualities which characterized his master. Grotius, in Holland died , occupies the foremost place among the expositors in this century on the Arminian side. His exegetical works, if not marked by much spirituality, show sagacity and learning, and are enriched by parallels from classical literature.
The school of Cocceius died developed the doctrine of the covenants, and reveled in typology. Cocceius wrote commentaries on nearly all the books of Scripture. His pupil Vitringa died gained renown by his expositions of Isaiah and the Apocalypse. Partly fostered by the habit of basing commentary on pulpit exposition, the tendency early set in to undue prolixity in the unfolding of the meaning of Scripture.
The habit spread. Byfield Puritan, died on Colossians fills a folio; Caryl Independent, died on Job extends to 2 folios; Durham died on Isaiah 53 consists of 72 sermons; Venema Holland, died on Jeremiah fills 2 quartos, and on the Psalms no less than 6 quartos. These are only samples of a large class.
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Another work which long took high rank is M. Poole's elaborate Synopsis Criticorum Biblicorum 5 volumes, folio, -a summary of the opinions of Biblical critics; with which must be taken his English Annotations on the Holy Bible, only completed up to Isaiah 58 at the time of his death The work was continued by his friends. The 18th century is marked by greater sobriety in exegesis. It is prolific in commentaries, but only a few attain to high distinction. Calmet died , a learned Benedictine, on the Roman Catholic side, produced his Commentaire litteral sur tous les livres de l'Ancien et du Nouveau Testament, in 23 quarto volumes-a work of immense erudition, though now necessarily superseded in its information.
On the Protestant side, Matthew Henry's celebrated Exposition of the Old and New Testament easily holds the first place among devotional commentaries for its blending of good sense, quaintness, original and felicitous remark, and genuine insight into the meaning of the sacred writers. It is, of course, not a critical work in the modern acceptation, and often is unduly diffuse.
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Henry's work extends only to the end of Acts; the remaining books were done by various writers after his death Le Clerc died may be named as precursor of the critical views now obtaining on the composition and authorship of the Pentateuch His commentaries began with Genesis in and were not Completed till Other commentators of note of Arminian views were Daniel Whitby died ; converted to Arianism , and, later, Adam Clarke, Wesleyan , whose work extends into the next century. Clarke's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures , still held by many in high esteem, is marred to some extent by eccentricities of opinion.
He was among the first to treat the poetical and prophetic writings really as literature. The commentaries of Patrick and Lowth were subsequently combined with those of Whitby and other divines Arnold, etc. The well-known commentary of Thomas Scott , representing a moderate Calvinism, is a solid and "judicious" piece of work, inspired by an earnest, believing spirit, though not presenting any marked originality or brilliance.
Brilliance is not the characteristic of many commentators of this age. Two other English writers deserving notice are Dr. Philip Doddridge died , whose Family Expositor, embracing the entire New Testament, with a harmony of the Gospels, and paraphrases of the meaning, is marked by excellent judgment, and obtainea wide acceptance. Meanwhile a new period had been preluded in Germany by the appearance in of the Gnomon Novi Testamenti of J.
Bengel died , a work following upon his critical edition of the New Testament issued in Though belonging to the 18th century, Bengel's critical and expository labors really herald and anticipate the best work in these departments of the 19th century His scholarship was exact, his judgment sound, his critical skill remarkable in a field in which he was a pioneer; his notes on the text, though brief, were pregnant with significance, and were informed by a spirit of warm and living piety. The modern period, to which Bengel in spirit, if not in date, belongs, is marked by great changes in the style and character of commentaries.
The critical temper was now strong; great advances had been made in the textual criticism of both Old Testament and New Testament see TEXTUAL CRITICISM ; the work of the higher criticism had begun in the Old Testament; in Germany, the spirit of humanism, inherited from Lessing, Herder and Goethe, had found its way into literature; knowledge of the sciences, of oriental civilizations, of other peoples and religions, was constantly on the increase; scholarship was more precise and thorough; a higher ideal of what commentary meant had taken possession of the mind.
The Modern Period-Its Characteristics: Learning, too, had enlarged its borders, and books on all subjects poured from the press in such numbers that it was difficult to cope with them. This applies to commentaries as to other departments of theological study. Commentaries in the 19th century, and in our own, are legion. Only the most prominent landmarks can be noted. In Germany, as was to be anticipated, the rise of the critical spirit and the profound influence exercised by it are reflected in most of the commentaries produced in the first half of the century.
On the liberal side, the rationalistic temper is shown in the rejection of miracle, the denial of prediction in prophecy, and the lowering of the idea of inspiration generally. The scholarship, however, is frequently of a very high order. This temper is seen in De Wette died , whose commentaries on the New Testament, written when his views had become more positive, show grace and feeling; in Gesenius died , who produced an epoch-making commentary on Isaiah; in Knobel died , pronouncedly rationalistic, but with keen critical sense, as evinced in his commentaries on the Pentateuch and Joshua, Ecclesiastes, and Isaiah; in Hupfeld died in his Commentary on the Psalms 4 volumes ; in Hitzig died , acute but arbitrary, who wrote on the Psalms and most of the Prophets; above all, in Ewald died , a master in the interpretation of the poetical and prophetical books, but who commented also on the first three Gospels, on the writings of John, and on Paul's epistles.
On the believing side, from a variety of standpoints, evangelical, critical, mediating, confessional, a multitude of commentaries on the Old Testament and New Testament were produced. His New Commentary on Genesis shows this change, but, with his other works, is still written in a strongly believing spirit. On the other hand, the critical position older, not newer is frankly represented by A.
Dillmann died in his commentaries on the books of the Pentateuch and Joshua English translation of Genesis, ; many also of the above works are translated. Among the most conspicuous may be named Lucke died , who wrote on John; Bleek, the Old Testament and New Testament critical scholar died , who has a work on the first three Gospels, and lectures on Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, Hebrews and Revelation his Commentary on Hebrews is the best known , and Tholuck died , whose expositions and commentaries on Psalms, John, Romans and Hebrews with his Commentary on the Sermon on the Mount, are fine pieces of exegetical work.
A special place must be given to two names of high distinction in the present connection. One is J. Lange died , the projector and editor of the great Bibelwerk theological and homiletical in 22 volumes, to which he himself contributed the commentaries on Genesis to Numbers, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Matthew, Mark, John, Romans, Revelation, with introductions and homiletic hints.
The other is H. Meyer died , whose Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament from Matthew to Philippians the remaining books being done by other scholars, Lunemann, Huther, etc. Stier died Philippi died , of Jewish extraction, best known by his Commentary on Romans, was strictly Lutheran. One of the ablest of the Lutheran Confessionalists was Luthardt died , whose works include a Commentary on John's Gospel. Ebrard died , as stoutly confessional on the Reformed side, has an esteemed Commentary on Hebrews.
Godet died , whose admirable Commentary on John's Gospel, and commentaries on Romans and Corinthians are highly appreciated. Meanwhile the English speaking countries were pursuing their own paths in the production of commentaries, either in continuing their old traditions, or in striking out on new lines, under the foreign influences which, from the beginning of the century, had begun to play upon them. In the United States there appeared from the pen of Dr.
Alexander, of Princeton died , a noteworthy Commentary on Isaiah, fully abreast of the modern learning, but staunchly censervative; also a Commentary on Psalms. From the same seminary proceeded the massive commentaries of Dr. These Notes, the fruit of the use of the early morning hours in a busy pastoral life, covered the whole of the New Testament, with several books of the Old Testament Job, Psalms, Isaiah, Daniel.
Sensible and informative, rather than original or profound, they proved helpful to many. Over 1,, copies are stated to have been sold.
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Of similar aim, though less widely known, were the Notes of Professor M. Jacobus died ; on the New Testament, Genesis and Exodus. Here was presented a thoroughly critical treatment of the texts, with a full display of the critical apparatus, and notes philological and exegetical, accompanied by learned and lucid introductions, on all the books of the New Testament. About the same time appeared the solid, if more theological and homiletical, commentaries of the Scottish scholar, J.
Eadie died , on Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Lightfoot died , massive in learning, and wider in outlook than Ellicott's, on Galatians, Philemon, Colossians and Philemon.
A large part of the value of Lightfoot's works consists in the special essays or dissertations on important subjects embodied in them e. Lightfoot's successor in the see of Durham died , whose commentaries on the Gospel and Epistles of John, and on He, take a place among the foremost.
Bishop Moule, who, in turn, succeeded Dr. In Old Testament exposition mention should be made of Bishop Perowne's valuable work on the Book of Psalms 2nd edition, revised, , with his contributions to the Cambridge Bible see below. The new spirit culminated in the appearance of the famous Essays and Reviews , and in the works of Bishop Colenso on the Pentateuch and Joshua Bishop Colenso had already published a translation of Romans, with commentary The following may be mentioned.
The Speaker's Commentary 10 volumes, , under the general editorship of Canon F. Cook died , was called forth by the agitation over Bishop Colenso. The work is of unequal value. Perowne died himself contributed to the first-named the commentaries on Obadiah, Jonah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi and Galatians. Many valuable contributions appear in this series, e. Kirkpatrick on 1 and 2 Samuel and Psalms, A.