Review: The Letters of Geerhardus Vos

567089The life and ministry of Geerhardus Vos have shaped the landscape of Reformed biblical theology more than any other thinker of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Vos is known by many as the father of Reformed biblical theology and his literary corpus has captivated the minds and hearts of many more. And while works such as Biblical Theology, The Pauline Eschatology, and the recently published 5-volume Reformed Dogmatics offer vital of insight into Geerhadus Vos, none seem to parallel the unplugged intimacy accessible in The Letters of Geerhardus Vos edited by James T. Dennison Jr.

The Letters of Geerhardus Vos commences with a comprehensive, 72-page biographical sketch of the life and career of Geerhardus Vos. Dennison notes, “this [is] the most thorough account of the life of Geerhardus Vos to date” (p. 11). This introduction fittingly positions readers towards a contextual backdrop to the personal letters found therein, and Dennison has done a fantastic job bringing Vos’ life to paper. Following the introduction, Dennison has included a chronological list of Vos’ writings stretching 23 pages. Following the bibliographical details, the reader will find more than 80 letters written by Geerhardus Vos from 1883-1946, including correspondence to Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bavinck, B. B. Warfield, and J. Gresham Machen. Lastly, Dennison included a number of Vos’ poems—yet another layer behind the scholar, Geerhardus Vos.

The Letters of Geerhardus Vos is not for everyone. That said, if you have been influenced by the work of Geerhardus Vos, the added dimension of reading his personal correspondence to figures such as Kuyper, Bavinck, Warfield, and Machen is simply invaluable. Moreover, the editorial work provided by Dennison, especially the footnotes throughout, provided immediate insight into the context of the letter. It’s hard to put into words how insightful and rewarding it is to see the humanness of such a theological giant of the Reformed tradition, and I am grateful for the work of Dennison and others to make such possible.

The Letters of Geerhardus Vos edited by James T. Dennison Jr. is essential reading for any Vos enthusiast. Dennison has done an exceptional job and should be greatly commended for making this collection available. It comes highly recommended!

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