John Calvin's Exegesis of the Old Testament

Article excerpt

PUCKETT'SSTUDY PROVIDES a clear, attractive exposition and analysis of Calvin's methods of exegesis of the Old Testament and of the reasoning behind his interpretation. He begins by articulating the sixteenth century spectrum of exegesis, then locates Calvin on it, taking into account other modern evaluations. Puckett explores Calvin's presuppositions of the dual divine and human authorship of scripture and of the unity of scripture (Old and New Testaments). He shows how Calvin's emphasis on historical exegesis-his use of Hebrew, lexicology and grammar, and literary and historical contexts-leads him to criticize the excesses of much Christian interpretation and gives his work a `Jewish" appearance. At the same time, Calvin's use of the New Testament as an exegetical guide to the Old provides him a basis for criticizing those Jewish interpretations which deny clear references to Christ and gives his work its distinctively Christian character. Thus Calvin chooses a middle way. He rejects allegorization as a method of interpretation while admitting that portions of the text are allegorical. …