Hermeneutics

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

2 Tim. 2:15

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Order of Contents

Articles  6
Books  6
Quote  1
On the Psalms  1
On the History of Biblical Interpretation  1
Bibliography  1
On Legitimate Allegories
Latin  1

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Articles

1500’s

Cranmer, Thomas

‘A Confutation of Unwritten Verities’  in The Works of Thomas Cranmer, 2 vols.  (Cambridge: 1844-46), 2:1-67

‘A Prologue or Preface made by the Most Reverend Father in God, Thomas, Archbishop of Canterbury, Metropolitan and Primate of England’  in The Works of Thomas Cranmer, 2 vols.  (Cambridge: 1844-46), 2:118-25

‘A Fruitful Exhortation, to the Reading and Knowledge of Holy Scripture’ in Certain Sermons, or Homilies, appointed by the King’s Majesty, to be declared and read, by all persons,vicars, or curates, every Sunday in their churches, where they have cure  Ref  (London: 1547)

Calvin, John

Commentary

On Acts ch. 8, vv. 28-31

On Gal. ch. 4, v. 22

On 1 Cor. ch. 2, vv. 10-16

Epistle Dedicatory to the Book of Romans

Preface to Isaiah

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Bullinger, Henry

‘Of the Gift of Interpretation’  in A Most Godly and Learned Discourse of the Worthiness, Authority, and Sufficiency of the Holy Scripture: also of the Clearness and Plainness of the Same and of the True Use Thereof  trans. John Tomkys  (London: 1579), fols. 77v-82r, xvii

‘Of the Sense and Right Exposition of the Word of God, and by what Manner or Means it may be Expounded, the Third Sermon’  in The Decades of Henry Bullinger  ed. Thomas Harding, trans. H. I.  4 vols.  (Cambridge: 1849-52), 1:70-80

Whitaker, William – 1st Controversy, Question 5, ‘Concerning the Interpretation of Scripture’, pp. 402-496  in A Disputation on Holy Scripture, Against the Papists...  (1588; Parker Society, 1849)

“…I will divide the whole course of this question into two parts, treating, first, of the authority and supreme tribunal for interpreting Scripture, with whom it is lodged [that is the Scriptures themselves and the Holy Spirit, ch. 8]; next, of the means to be used in the interpretation of Scripture [ch. 9].  But first we must premise something in the way of prolegomena [chs. 2-3]…” – p. 403

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1600’s

Bucanus, William – Body of Divinity or Institutions of Christian Religion
trans. Robert Hill  (London: 1606; 1659), IV.20-23, pp. 45-46

Leigh, Edward – Bk. 1, ‘Of the Scriptures’, ch. 9, ‘Of the Interpretation of Scripture’  in A Treatise of Divinity, consisting of Three Books  (London, 1646), pp. 171-192

Hall, Thomas – ‘Rules to be Observed for the Right Interpretation of Scripture’  in Vindiciæ Literarum, the Schools Guarded...  (London, 1655), pp. 71-146

Hall (1610–1665) was an English, presbyterian, puritan minister who was ejected at the Great Ejection of 1662.

Bridge, William – ‘Sermon III’  in Scripture-Light, the Most Sure Light  in Works 1.441 ff.  on 2 Pet. 1:19

Turretin, Francis – Institutes, vol. 1, 2nd Topic, ‘The Holy Scriptures’

Question 19, The Sense of the Scriptures, ‘Whether the Scriptures have a fourfold sense: literal, allegorical, anagogical and tropological.  We deny against the papists.’, pp. 149-154

Question 20, The Supreme Judge of Controversies & Interpreter of the Scriptures, ‘Whether the Scriptures (or God speaking in them) are the supreme and infallible judge of controversies and the interpreter of the Scriptures.  Or whether the church or the Roman pontiff is.  We affirm the former and deny the latter against the papists.’, pp. 154-162

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1800’s

Cunningham, William

Nature, Difficulties and Necessity of Searching the Scriptures, 1878, p. 551, 7 pages, being chapter 45 of his Theological Lectures

Right of Private Judgment and the Necessity of Personal Study of Scripture, 1878, p. 569, 10 pages, being chapter 47 from his Theological Lectures 

Scripture its own Interpreter and the Historical and Grammatical Sense, p. 580, 20 pages, being chapters 48 and 49 of his Theological Lectures

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Books

1600’s

Cartwright, Thomas – A Confutation of the Rhemist’s Translation, Glosses and Annotations on the New Testament, so Far as They Contain Manifest Impieties, Heresies…  (W. Brewster, 1618)

Byfield, Nicholas – Directions for the Private Reading of the Scriptures wherein besides the number of chapters assigned to every day, the order and drift of the whole Scriptures is methodically set down: and choice rules (that show how to read with profit) are likewise given: the use whereof is showed in the preface  (London: 1618)

White, John – A Way to the Tree of Life:  Discovered in Sundry Directions for the Profitable Reading of the Scriptures: wherein is described occasionally the Nature of a Spiritual Man…  (London, 1647)  ToC

White (1575–1648) was a puritan.

Boyle, Robert – Some Considerations Touching the Style of the Holy Scriptures: a Treatise  (London: 1663; 1825)

Boyle (1627-1691) was a devout and pious Anglican and Anglo-Irish natural philosopher, chemist, physicist, and inventor.  Boyle is largely regarded today as the first modern chemist (a title some give to 8th century Islamic scholar Jabir ibn Hayyan) and one of the pioneers of modern experimental scientific method.  He is best known for Boyle’s law, which describes the inversely proportional relationship between the absolute pressure and volume of a gas.

Lukin, Henry – An Introduction to the Holy Scripture, Containing the Several Tropes, Figures, Proprieties of Speech used therein, with other Observations, necessary for the right Understanding thereof  (London, 1669)  222 pp.  The preface ‘To the Christian Reader’ is by John Owen.

Lukin (1628-1719) was a puritan.

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1700’s

Brown of Haddington, John

A Brief View of the Figures: and Explication of the Metaphors, contained in Scripture  GB  (1782)

An Introduction to the Right Understanding of the Oracles of God  (d. 1787; Edinburgh, 1793)

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1800’s

Fairbairn, Patrick –

Gaussen, Louis – Theopneustia. The Bible: Its Divine Origin and Inspiration Deduced from Internal Evidence and the Testimonies of Nature, History and Science  Buy  1867  422 pp.  It is also here on HTML

While the topic of this book is the inspiration of the Bible, it also contains many principles of hermeneutics.  One highlight among many is Gaussen responding to the objection against inspiration that the NT writers often misquote the OT.  Gaussen lists and superbly analyzes the dozen or so ways in which the NT writers reference the OT (literally, in paraphrase, summarizing, interpreting, applying, giving the spirit of, combining the teachings of, etc.). 

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1900’s

Berkhof, Louis – Principles of Biblical Interpretation,  Buy  1950  169 pp.

The classic introduction to Biblical hermeneutics (interpretation of the Bible).  Filled with Biblical references and examples.

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Quote

Hilary of Poitiers

On the Trinity 1.18

“. . . he is the best student who does not read his thoughts into the book, but lets it reveal its own; who draws from it its sense, and does not import his own into it, nor force upon its words a meaning which he had determined was the right one before he opened its pages.

Since then we are to discourse of the things of God, let us assume that God has full knowledge of Himself, and bow with humble reverence to His words. For He Whom we can only know through His own utterances is the fitting witness concerning Himself.”

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On the Psalms

Allix, Pierre – The Book of Psalms, with the Argument of Each Psalm, and a Preface Giving Some General Rules for the Interpretation of this Sacred Book  (London: 1701)

Allix (1641-1717) was a French Protestant pastor and author.

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On the History of Biblical Interpretation

Simon, Richard – Bk. 3, chs. 5-24  ToC  in A Critical History of the Old Testament  (1682)

Simon (1638–1712) was a French priest, a member of the Oratorians, who was an influential biblical critic, orientalist and controversialist.  Simon represented the height of Romanist Bible scholarship in the early modern era.

“Moreover, he presents to his readers an astoundingly complete history of biblical exegesis, Jewish and Christian alike, from its beginnings to his own day.” – Marius Reiser, Oxford Handbook of Early Modern Theology, p. 81

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Bibliography

Sytsma, David – A Bibliography of Pre-Critical Protestant Hermeneutics, ca. 1520-1750  2019  57 pp.

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On Legitimate Allegories

About Andrew Rivet

Willem van Asselt  in Theology of the French Reformed Churches (RHB, 2014), p. 261

“Accordingly, Rivet rejected the medieval quadriga [four-fold interpretation] and argued that the source of all theological conclusions was the literal sense of the text ([Isagogue] chap. 14[:1; C.f. 15:20]).

At the same time, he recognized that the literal sense of Holy Scripture included various figures and types; yet allegories, tropes, and anagogy he understood as false readings when they were imposed on the text rather than being identified as integral to it.”

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Latin

Rivet, Andrew – A General Introduction to the Sacred Scripture of the Old & New Testament  (Leiden, 1627)  ToC

Rivet (1572-1651) was a French Huguenot theologian who was called in 1620 to be a professor of theology and Old Testament Exegesis at Leiden, Netherlands.

“His most famous work in this field [of OT exegesis] was his Isagogue…  which, according to Honders, may be considered a precursor to modern Biblical hermeneutics.  This work was based on his lectures on the doctrine of Holy Scripture, and comprised thirty chapters in which he discussed questions brought forward by Roman Catholic controversialists regarding the status of Scripture.” – Theology of the French Reformed Churches (RHB, 2014), p. 259  See there for an outline of the work in English.

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