Junius on Jonah

Friday, November 12th, 2010

E-rara just digitized the 1594 commentary on Jonah by Franciscus Junius (1545-1602), whom I have blogged about before as one of the foremost contributors to theological method, bible translation, and exegesis of the late 16th century. Well, I could go on, but the sub-title to this relatively brief commentary is one of the intriguing parts of this work: “the method of explaining Scripture is briefly and perspicuously shown.” The first several pages is an interesting glimpse into the method of exegesis differentiating between the use of an analytic versus a synthetic method for deriving doctrine from ends (fines) and principles (principia). Well worth the read at only 3 pages. Here is the tantalizing first line: “Every Just interpretation either strives to demonstrate the ends from the principles or on the contrary rising from the end to its principles; whose interpretation we commonly call the former analytic and the latter synthetic.” Now what might be surprising to some is the way in which he links an analytic method to the derivation of doctrine and a synthetic method to the derivation of practice, that is, as he says, for action and use. And of course, both have their place in preaching. What is also striking is the way in which this early Reformed Orthodox scholastic Aristotelian is– contrary to the prejudices of some modern scholars about such folks–quite concerned with preaching, practice, action, and use. Raising the further point that it was not just the Ramists and semi-Ramists that were concerned with piety. That realization allows us to speak more broadly about 16th and 17th c. Reformed piety in general noting the methodological differences of a Ramist, semi-Ramist, or Aristotelian. And the more pressing point for modern Reformed exegetes, scholars, and pastors: to reflect again on the way in which the Scriptures function for the derivation of doctrine and life.

Francois Du Jon at BSB

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

For those of you who are familiar with Francois Du Jon (Franciscus Junius), you know how hard it is to come by original sources of this Reformed theologian of the late 16th century. For those of you who are not familiar with Junius – his bible translation, theological lectures and theses, linguistic lectures, and theological works would influence generations of Reformed and Lutheran theologians. He was a student of Calvin, a friend of Ursinus (he delivered Ursinus’ funeral oration), and an early voice in the development of covenant theology. If that were not enough, his lectures on how to interpret Scripture were influential in the academic contexts at Heidelberg, Neustadt, and Leiden. Abraham Kuyper’s Bibliotheca Reformata series of the late 19th century employed a select fasciculus from Junius for volume 1.

All that to say, besides his works on Google Books (by the way his son was also Franciscus Junius but commented primarily on art and classical literature throughout the 17th c.) you should check out these rare full color editions at the BSB here. I highly recommend the Sacrorum Parallelorum, and don’t forget the cycle of theological theses from Heidelberg (although those can be found in Kuyper’s work as well). Also, the lectures on the Hebrew language as well as his Protoktisia (1589) – lectures on Creation and “on the first Adam from creation in his integrity to his fall into corruption” – are worth your time. The Protoktisia was a set of “praelectiones” that typically accompanied his lectures on the interpretation of Scripture. There is evidence that these lectures were delivered as early as 1579 at Neustadt and 1585 at Heidelberg in conjunction with the lectures on the Hebrew language as well. Additionally in the 1585 Heidelberg lectures, he gave the same cycle of orations (which can be found in his Omnia by the way – go with the 1613 edition since it is a more exhaustive Omnia, and oh by the way the CDC fiche is missing some key sections – not pages!) except this time his test case was out of the psalms.

These orations and lectures on interpretation with examples from the psalms were published in a 1585 edition at Heidelberg (biblio info here).  The present day library at Heidelberg University has only a fiche copy ever since the library of the Palatinate was ‘conveyed’ to the Vatican after the sack of Heidelberg in 1622 – all 5k printed books (which were each a binding of multiple books into one volume) and 3524 manuscripts. It wasn’t until 1816 that a diplomatic envoy to the pope was able to procure the return of approximately 850 manuscripts. There is a digital MSS project of these returned works here. The remainder can be purchased in microfiche form from Saur, with a nice royalty to the Vatican of course. Ironically, Heidelberg has bought the fiche set to get their library back … all 12102 titles or so.

Junius, Mastricht, and Ames on Vernacular Translations of Scripture

Monday, May 18th, 2009

I ran across this a while back and thought it would be good food for thought as a reminder to the broader Christian community to always “worry” over continuously improving their translations and versions of Scripture. As a supply preacher frequently invited to preach across the spectrum of Reformed denominations, I am often asked what the “best” version or translation of Scripture is. (Should we use the NIV, the KJV, the NASB, the ESV, the RSV, the TNIV, the NKJV, etc?) This is the sort of question after a service in a narthex over a cup of coffee that draws a crowd rather quickly. More often than not it is a well-intentioned question by believers seeking to mine the scriptures further after they have just heard a sermon using the breadth of both the Old and New Testament to focus upon a passage. I always want to handle these sorts of questions with care so that one’s confidence in the word of God is augmented while at the same time such confidence is not identified with a sectarian allegiance to a particular translation. And in these cases it is a joy and pleasure to be of assistance. 

In some cases, however, it seems that (more…)

1648 Biblia Sacra by Junius-Tremellius-Beza – Online for Free

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

Text not availableAvailable now online via Google Books is this treasure of the Protestant church that was typically the standard Latin biblical text of the scholarly Reformed world from 1579 through 1764. An edition of the New Testament was published on its own as early as 1569. Thus this bible stands as a textual bookend for the period of Reformed orthodoxy and was quite influential in its own right. I do not have space to enumerate the multi-national usage of and esteem for this work. But perhaps I can give you a sense of its importance via its publishing history. The first  (more…)

A 16th c. Reformer translating biblical texts from … Arabic?

Monday, February 4th, 2008

Boissard's portrait of Franciscus JuniusI know what you are thinking … No way! Yea gentle reader, if it were not for the fact that the good Dr. A. Kuyper referred to Actam Apostolorum transtuli ex Arabice (1576), Epistolas ad Corinthios transtuli ex Arabice (1576), and Primam Joannis epistolam ex Arabice transtulit (1577) by François du Jon (1545 – 1602), I would have scarcely believed it as well. But there it is right on page xvi of the praefatio in volume 1 of Kuyper’s 1882 Bibliotheca Reformata, Opuscula Theologica Selecta Junii (yes the whole thing is in Latin).  Unfortunately, The Epistle of First John translated from Arabic is no longer extant. Junius is a third generation reformer and a key player in the interim between Calvin and the Synod of Dordt.

You know, the more I root around in 16th century books the more I realize