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

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

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

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

Synopsis

By exploring how Martin Luther, Martin Bucer, and John Calvin interpreted a set of eight messianic psalms (Psalms 2, 8, 16, 22, 45, 72, 110, 188), Sujin Pak elucidates key debates about Christological exegesis during the era of the Protestant reformation. More particularly, Pak examines the exegeses of Luther, Bucer, and Calvin in order to (a) reveal their particular theological emphases and reading strategies, (b) identify their debates over the use of Jewish exegesis and the factors leading to charges of 'judaizing' leveled against Calvin, and (c) demonstrate how Psalms reading and the accusation of judaizing serve distinctive purposes of confessional identity formation. In this way, she portrays the beginnings of those distinctive trends that separated Lutheran and Reformed exegetical principles.

Excerpt

Since David C. Steinmetz’s hallmark essay “The Superiority of Pre-Critical Exegesis,” the importance of the history of exegesis has been rediscovered and revitalized in both medieval and Reformation scholarship. Particularly in the area of Reformation research, works from such scholars as John Thompson, Susan Schreiner, Timothy Wengert, Craig Farmer, Barbara Pitkin, Irena Backus, Mickey Mattox, Beth Kreitzer, and Raymond Blacketer have provided careful and splendid studies of the significance of biblical exegesis in the theology and work of the Protestant reformers. Other significant volumes of compiled essays on this topic have also contributed to the ongoing understanding of the importance of sixteenth-century biblical interpretation for the processes of reform, confessional formation, and shifts in the practices of reading and preaching Scripture. John Calvin’s exegesis, in particular, has been the subject of several important books and articles, both among historians of the sixteenth-century and even among modern theologians and biblical scholars. Although some modern scholars like Hans Frei recognize, affirm, and exalt Calvin’s premodern presuppositions and practices, others such as Frederic Farrar and Philip Schaff have found in him the precursor to principles of modern historical criticism. This book offers a very concentrated and, I think, very interesting piece of this puzzle of Calvin’s role and place in the history of biblical exegesis; for by contextualizing Calvin’s exegesis of a particular set of Psalms within his larger sixteenth-century setting, one can discover many of . . .

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