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Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos [Hardcover]

By Geerhardus Vos (Author)
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Item description for Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos by Geerhardus Vos...

Emphasizing the historical character of biblical revelation, Vos was able to clarify the pervasive meaning of Scripture by bringing into view its basic structure. Far from an array of isolated prooftexts, the Bible was, for Vos, an organism - its rich diversity giving unaminous expression of its redemptive message. In Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation, the shorter writings of this famed theologian have been gathered under one cover. The reader will discover here numerous major biblical and theological studies, selected addresses, and book reviews, as well as a 13-page bibliography of Vos's writings.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: P & R Publishing
Pages   571
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.3" Width: 6.38" Height: 1.57"
Weight:   2.06 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2001
Publisher   P & R Publishing
ISBN  087552513X  
ISBN13  9780875525136  

Availability  0 units.

More About Geerhardus Vos

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Geerhardus Vos (1862-1949), a Dutch American theologian, is considered by many to be the father of modern Reformed biblical theology. He studied at the University of Berlin, the University of Strasburg, and finally Calvin College (then the Theological School of the Christian Reformed Church), where he delivered the lectures that would become the Reformed Dogmatics. Vos held Princeton's new Chair of Biblical Theology from 1893 until his retirement in 1932. His thinking and scholarship deeply influenced the biblical and theological work of Cornelius Van Til, John Murray, Herman Ridderbos, and Richard B. Gaffin Jr.

Richard B. Gaffin Jr. is Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Emeritus, at Westminster Theological Seminary, where he has taught since 1965. An ordained minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, he has authored and edited a number of biblical and theological works, including Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos.

Geerhardus Vos was born in 1862 and died in 1949.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > Criticism & Interpretation
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Soteriology

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Reviews - What do customers think about Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos?

Possessing Rare And Unprecedented Insight  Jun 30, 2008
'Revelation is not so much divinely given gnosis to provide us with knowledge concerning the nature of God, man, and the world, as it is divinely inspired interpretation of God's activity of redeeming men so that they might worship and serve Him in the world. Even more broadly, one can say that from the beginning, in confrontation with gnosticism and gnosticizing tendencies, the church has continued to be aware that salvation and faith depend vitally on what God has done in history, especially in the historical character of the work of Christ.' Richard Gaffin, Introduction


Vos the exegete is masterful, and here takes special pains to destruct the Tubingen defective 'prolepsis' teaching on the full range of the word Logos, as referring pre-eminently to the pre-existent Christ in the first 14 verses of John 1. Genesis 1 and John 1 hold parallel glory to Jesus as the Mediator in creation, as His role was the role played by the divine word in Genesis. The temporal role that Christ fulfils and executes in the redemptive role as Messiah also does not do justice to the rich meaning of John 1. But, as the Logos who also sustains the world He created through providence, a study so enriching and rewarding is offered, and we are guided under the hand of a master theologian to believe that the obvious progress of thought in John's Prologue speaks likewise in favor of this conclusion. Without doubt the Tubingen teaching is the universal interpretation of John 1, so Vos treads on fresh ground for most of us. After having read this, you will never again read the Prologue of John 1 with a diminished view on the glory of Christ's eternal supremacy.

'It will be seen at a glance how radically this interpretation differs from the most widespread view as to the structure of the Prologue.' p 67


The style of many modern preachers, e.g. Jay Adams, centers on the subjective internal processes at work in the Christian life, which are, at best, grounded in moralistic exposés.

'For Paul, the Spirit was regularly associated with the world to come and, from the Spirit thus conceived in all His supernatural and redemptive potency, the Christian life receives throughout its specific character. The conception of the Spirit proves that what Paul meant to do is precisely the opposite of what is imputed to him: not to transmute the eschatological into a religion of time, but to raise the religion of time to the plane of eternity - such was the purport of his gospel.' p 125

Vos relieves us from this modern view by showing it to be the antithesis of Paul's teaching on the presence of the Holy Spirit. Vos emphasizes, instead, the Spirit's activity to hold out the future kingdom with its rich spiritual life as significant reward and a standard for holiness, which serves as the central motivation for sinners to be found worthy of such glory.

'In reality this whole representation of the Christian state as centrally and potentially anchored in heaven is not the abrogation, it is the most intense and the most practical assertion of the other-worldly tenor of the believer's life.' The Pauline Eschatology pp. 39-40

'For the gospel does not confine the hearts of men to the enjoyment of the present life, but raises them to the hope of immortality.' John Calvin, Institutes 2:10:3

'The great reality is the glory that is coming.' Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans 8:17-39 p 40

Vos unmistakably pioneered the two age model, with a guarded insistence that we should 'not expect a temporal Messianic kingdom in the future as distinguished from Christ's present spiritual reign, and as preceding the state of eternity.' p 27 Exploring the New Testament, Vos thought to define eschatological realities as 'that believers have already attained to at least partial enjoyment of eschatological privileges'. But Vos intensified its dissonance as opposed to Jewish tradition and expectation - because the two age model owed its inception to the Messiah, and when the Jews had chosen to reject Him, that rejection blissfully included His instruction on eschatology: 'but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.' Matthew 12:32 In striking relief, many today faithfully perpetuate Vos' scriptural idea of two successive ages enmeshed throughout the New Testament documents, while the refusal of some to accept Christ's teaching betrays their warm embrace of the Jewish depiction - and error - of a millenarian aeon.

'The New Testament does not follow the Jewish theology along this path', were Vos' fateful words.


'The excellence of the new covenant is in proportion to the excellence of the priesthood as evidenced by the oath which God swore at its introduction. Hebrews 7:17 And if the author made the mediatorship co-extensive with the priesthood, it becomes probable that he ascribed to it the same assured, infallible character which the priesthood possesses. Even the death of Christ, which set the testament in operation, made it operate with absolute certainty. From what has been said it follows that the purpose of the priesthood can only be accurately determined only in the light of the purpose of the covenant. The covenant is also designated an 'eternal covenant', Hebrews 13:20, which implies that it embodies the religious ideal.' pp. 136-137


'Now, since nothing is more certain than that such a conception of 'berith' as a testament is utterly foreign to the intent of the Hebrew Scriptures, the position taken implies that the Seventy translating as they did committed a stupendous blunder.' p 166 Words that had an established association in biblical history were being wheedled out of their redemptive importance. Advocates of a supposedly new superior view preferred the synergistic contractual agreement or social arrangement, 'testament', to the continuity of the monergistic 'covenant'. Geerhardus Vos, not his usual imperturbable self, systematically portrayed this inglorious linguistic ignominy, exposing the proponents of this thesis as exegetical frauds. 'Nor will it do to say that revelation in its progressive development has the right to modify a conception.' p 169 Vos called it 'unworthy of God', and went on to prove that a sustained usage of covenant is justified exegetically, through both the Old Testament 'berith' and New Testament 'diatheke'. 'If regard is had not to the modern associations of the word covenant, but to the actual nature of the biblical 'berith' as ascertained by induction, no ground for criticism on that score exists.' p 168 Vos was quick to denounce the premature findings of critical semantic investigation, and thorough in his foresight, as much modern practice continues to evolve the historical acceptance of congruity within the two covenants. Vos, however, carefully restored the covenant to its rightful place as a valid Christian concept.

'In Ephesians 2:12 the phrase 'covenants of the promise', in which the genitive is epexegetical, yields positive proof that Paul regards the covenants as so many successive promissory dispositions of God, not as a series of mutual agreements between God and His people. Far more energetically, however, does the Pauline principle of the sole activity of God in the work of salvation draw the 'diatheke'-idea into its service, where the latter is considered not by manner of retrospect merely, but is applied on the comparative principle to the Christian system itself.' p 176

Each shorter writing is an individual gem of brilliance.

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