The Judaizing Calvin: Sixteenth-Century Debates over the Messianic Psalms

Article excerpt

The Judaizing Calvin: Sixteenth-Century Debates over the Messianic Psalms by G. Sujin Pak Oxford University Press, New York, 2010. 216 pp. $65.00 (cloth). ISBN 978-O-19-537192-5.

THE STRIKING TITLE OF this book is taken from a polemical treatise published three decades after Calvin's death by Lutheran theologian Aegidius Hunnius. Hunnius argued that Calvin was guilty of interpreting the OT in a way that undermined Christian truth. Calvin's interpretation of eight "messianic" psalms (Pss 2, 8, 16, 22, 45, 72, 110, and 118) figured prominently in Hunnius' critique. Sujin Pak studies the exegesis of these psalms by Martin Luther, Martin Bucer, John Calvin, and by the lesser known Hunnius and his Reformed opponent, David Pareus.

Pak argues that Hunnius was correct in understanding that Calvin had departed from the established Christian exegetical tradition. This tradition maintained that these psalms were literal prophecies of Christ's incarnation, suffering, crucifixion, resurrection, exaltation, and future reign and that they taught central Christian truths, including the two natures of Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity. Luther agreed with the earlier tradition that these psalms were direct prophecies of Christ His exegesis was also characterized by harsh traditional rhetoric that presented the Jews as enemies of Christ Bucer, while moving beyond Luther in some ways, retained the traditional view that these psalms directly taught the two natures of Christ and the Trinity. …