The Biblio-Files

bib·li·o·phile (bĭb'lē-ə-fīl') n.

1. A lover of books.
2. A collector of books.


The Letters of Geerhardus Vos

Geerhardus Vos is known as the father of Reformed biblical theology (i.e. the discipline that seeks to do justice to the teaching of the whole Bible, Genesis to Revelation, redemptive history etc). Vos has been very influential to many people, and this is why I wanted to learn a little about the man. When one reads Goldsworthy, Clowney, Ladd, Ridderbos, Gaffin (and virtually all the guys at Westminster Philly), you know you are reading men who are standing on the shoulders of Vos. I am fascinated by these early Princeton and Westminster guys (Hodge, Machen, Warfield, Stonehouse, Murray) and Vos and Van Til in particular. B.B. Warfield regarded Vos as "probably the best exegete Princeton ever had." Unfortunately, Vos was not very well known by anyone. It seems as if he liked it that way. He was born in Holland in 1862, studied under the Hodge brothers at Princeton, and ended up doing his doctorate at the University of Strassburg. His dissertation was an exercise in Arabic textual criticism and the title was "The Struggle and Quarrel between the Umaads and the Hashimites." Don't ask me.
He is known for emphasizing that "eschatology is the mother of theology." He took the chair of biblical theology at Princeton in 1893. He married Catherine in 1894 and had 4 kids. He liked to take walks and write poetry (part of the book contains several of his poems). He went to a rural town called Roaring Branch for 26 consecutive summers. They had a house there, and he had it moved even further out of the rural town and his neighbors never remember talking to the man or his wife. Geerhardus gets an F for missional living. He seems to have been somewhat anti-social towards those he didn't know very well. He retired to Southern Cali in 1932. He died in 1949 and Cornelius Van Til preached from 2 Cor. 5.1. One interesting fact about Vos's life is that he was around and agreed with Machen who left Princeton to found Westminster Seminary to maintain orthodoxy. No one is sure why Vos stayed.
This book will be of little interest to most. The biography was interesting to me but it had quite a bit of info on Presbyterian denomenational controversey. I merely perused most of the letters except for some that were written to Machen, Warfield, and Bavinck. While this book may not ever make it to your shelf, I highly encourage the study of biblical theology, but you may not want to start with Vos. His magnum opus was 'Biblical Theology', with 'The Pauline Eschatology,' 'The Teaching of Jesus Concerning the Kingdom of God and the Church,' 'The Teaching of the Epistle to the Hebrews,' and 'The Self-Disclosure of Jesus' have also been highly influential. If nothing else, you may want to name your first son 'Geerhardus.'


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