Review: Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation

567088Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos edited by Richard B. Gaffin Jr. is a masterful collection of biblical-theological essays and book reviews by one of the greatest Reformed thinkers of all time. Vos is widely known for his keen exegetical awareness and biblical-theological insight. This reputation is observable in his major works, such as The Pauline Eschatology and Biblical Theology, as well as Vos’ shorter writings found in Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation.

Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation opens with a fascinating introduction by Richard B. Gaffin Jr. As Gaffin orients readers towards the content of the essays included in this volume, he provides essential context for the life and legacy of Geerhardus Vos. The volume is comprised of four major parts: (1) Major Biblical and Theological Studies, (2) Shorter Biblical Studies, (3) Addresses, and (4) Book Reviews. In part one, Gaffin has included seven significant essays that stand alone in terms of value. Readers familiar with Vos’ work will find these essays insightful in relation to his larger literary output. In part two, Gaffin has brought together fourteen shorter essays on various issues related to biblical studies. A number of important essays are included here, such as “Modern Dislike of the Messianic Consciousness in Jesus” and essays on Paul’s concept of redemption and reconciliation. In part three, Gaffin has included two of Vos’ public addresses at Princeton Theological Seminary. Lastly, in part four, Gaffin has brought together a few relevant book reviews, including Vos’ review of Schweitzer’s The Quest of the Historical Jesus and Paul and His Interpreters. The volume concludes with a 13-page bibliography of Vos’ works compiled by James T. Dennison Jr.

Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation is an essential collection of essays for anyone influenced by or interested in the lifework of Geerhardus Vos and Reformed biblical theology. The range of these essays represents a long and productive career by one of the foremost Reformed thinkers of the past two hundred years. Each essay overflows with rich exegetical insight and biblical awareness. That said, most of the standout essays come from the initial 270 pages and include “The Idea of Biblical Theology as a Science and as a Theological Discipline” and “The Eschatological Aspect of the Pauline Concept of the Spirit.” The primary shortcoming of the volume comes by way of the typeset, specifically the size and font of the Greek text. It’s small and difficult to read but used somewhat sparingly and shouldn’t hinder the overall usefulness of Vos’ work therein.

Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos edited by Richard B. Gaffin Jr. is a collection of essays that the Reformed reader, especially the student of biblical theology cannot afford to be without. Vos is a theological giant and his work, even the shorter writings, remains influential and useful. It comes highly recommended and should be on the shelf of every theological library.

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