The newest addition to IVP’s Reformation Commentary on Scripture (vol. 5) just came out, on the books of 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, 1-2 Chronicles, edited by my BTS colleague Derek Cooper, and his colleague, Martin J. Lohrmann.
This is an impressive work (740 pages) which has been in the works for almost 8 years. Many of the commentators included in this volume have never been translated into English (from Latin). There is a lot of wisdom contained here, which was previously inaccessible to most modern readers.
Obviously, since this book focuses on the OT, and particularly the historical books, I may be more excited about it than many of you all, but for pastors, teachers, and scholars it contains many gems of Scriptural insight.
The commentators include the usual suspects (Jacobus Arminius, John Calvin, and Martin Luther), as well as some lesser known names (Johannes Bugenhagen, John Mayer, and Konrad Pellikan), each of whom are important Reformation figures and who commented extensively on the historical books of the Bible.
In addition to literally thousands of quotations from commentators, and three indices (Author, Subject, and Scripture), there’s an extremely helpful, forty page appendix giving paragraph sketches of Reformation era figures and works (686-725). If one wanted a quick introduction to the Reformation’s major figures, this appendix would be a great first stop.
For those of you who are thinking, but hasn’t the Western church read enough of these “dead white men“? Yes, great point. We desperately need to be reading more scholars from other parts of the world, who can open our eyes to new perspectives, many of which are closer to the thought and mindset of the ancient Near Eastern world than our own. But these Reformation scholars still offer us profound insight on our own story, particularly for those of us who come from a Protestant tradition.
I’m looking forward to using this resource as I work on my 1, 2 Kings commentary for the Story of God commentary series for Zondervan. (If you like this section of Scripture my co-authored textbook on the Historical Books comes out in July.)
While it will take me a long time to fully appreciate all the wisdom here, I smiled as I read these comments on the face-painting on Jezebel before her brutal death (2 Kgs. 9:30-8–thrown from a tower, trampled on by horses, consumed by dogs, who defecate her remains in a field), which is part of the Jehu narrative, on which I wrote my dissertation. When these guys talk about “face-painting” it’s not painting butterflies on the cheeks of little girls at a fair, but the general practice of using make-up. John Mayer observes that Peter Martyr Vermigli condemns the practice of face-painting, along with Cyprian, Chrysostom, and Augustine, “It is practiced to allure men, and it changes their natural face into something artificial. But rather than bettering the face, it actually mars it” (p. 444).
Do you agree with these reformers about the use of make-up?