Glasgow University archivists find John Knox’s Bible – BBC News

On our history/archives day we begin with this amazing Reformation find – what is believed to be John Knox’s own Latin/Hebrew Bible!

This interesting news item was published a week ago on BBC News (see link below), but may also be found on the University of Glasgow’s Library website.

The BBC introduces the story this way:

Experts believe a unidentified bible held by Glasgow University may have belonged to John Knox – a founding father of the Protestant Reformation.

The large Old Testament, which is printed in Hebrew and Latin, was published in 1546 in Switzerland.

It was bequeathed to the university in 1864 by William Euing as part of his collection of about 3,000 Bibles.

Archivists now believe that a signature dated 1561, on the reverse of the title page, may have been penned by Knox.

On the Glasgow Library’s website one finds this opening statement:

Staff at the University of Glasgow Archives and Special Collections have identified a previously unknown book once owned by Scottish religious reformer John Knox. The large folio Latin and Hebrew Old Testament published in 1546 in Basel, Switzerland, appears to bear the reformer’s signature dated 1561 on the reverse of the title page.

Printed books are inextricably linked with the Reformation: from published Scripture in the vernacular and polemical ‘pamphlet wars’ between clerics holding different confessional viewpoints to the large illustrated works memorialising those ‘martyred’ for their faith, printed books were central to those on both sides of the confessional divide. Large book collections were amassed during the sixteenth century packed with works – often annotated by their owners – tracing the controversies. Yet frustratingly for Reformation historians, all too often these libraries don’t survive intact having been broken up for one reason or another.1 John Knox’s library is just one such example; in the words of one biographer, Knox’s “personal library has been largely lost to view” with just a handful of books certainly traceable to him surviving and identifiable.2 This find, therefore is significant.

Source: Glasgow University archivists find John Knox’s Bible – BBC News

Best Books of 2016 (The Contenders) – Tony Reinke

Calvin-Institutes-Gordon-2016It may seem a little early to start thinking about best book lists for this year, but author and reader Tony Reinke (Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books) has released a list of books he considers to be “contenders” for 2016.

This also makes a good list for our readers to browse who may be looking for something good to read now that summer is done and cool/cold weather and dark nights have arrived.

There is a wide variety of titles to look over here – truly something for every Christian, so visit the link below to do so. And perhaps you have one or two you wish to add, in answer to his question.

Let me add my own question: what would you read next if you could pick one from this list?

Here’s Reinke’s brief note and then a few books from his list.

It’s time to finalize my preliminary list of books to consider for best of 2016. Once again, this is going to be a tough decision. The list, as I have it so far, is below. So what books have I missed?

 

 

Source: Best Books of 2016 (The Contenders) | Tony Reinke

“Let us consider well this price.” M. Luther

Luther&LearningWherefore Paul saith here that Christ first began and not we. ‘He loved me, and gave Himself for me.’ As if he said, although He found in me no good will, or right understanding, this good Lord had mercy on me. He saw me to be nothing else but wicked, going astray, contemning God, and flying from Him more and more, carried away and led captive of the devil. Thus of His mere mercy… He loved me, and so loved me that He gave Himself for me, to the end that I might be freed from the law, sin, the devil and death.

Again, these words, ‘the Son of God loved me, and gave Himself for me,’ are mighty thunderings and lightnings from heaven against the righteousness of the law and all the works thereof. So great and horrible wickedness, error, darkness was in my will and understanding, that it was impossible for me to be ransomed by any other means than by such an inestimable price.

Let us consider well this price, and let us behold… the Son of God, …and we shall see Him, without all comparison, to exceed and excel for creatures.

…If thou couldst rightly consider this incomparable price, thou shouldst hold as accursed all other ceremonies, vows, works, and merits before grace and after, and throw them all down to hell. For it is a horrible blasphemy to imagine that there is any work whereby thou shouldst presume to pacify God, since thou seest that there is nothing which is able to pacify Him but this inestimable price, even the death and the blood of the Son of God, one drop whereof is more precious than the whole world.

Martin Luther on Galatians 2:20 in Commentary on Galatians (Kregel, 1979), 94-95.

Late Labor Day Thoughts: The Reformation and Christian Vocation – G. Veith

Though it is late this Labor Day and I am weary (partly from a ten-mile bike ride with grandchildren and partly from some home projects that this beautiful day afforded us the opportunity to do), I do want to make a post on the subject of labor tonight.

God-at-work-Veith-2002Sorting through some books I picked up at a local thrift store Saturday, I found  a duplicate copy of Gene E. Veith, Jr.’s book God at Work: Your Christian Vocation in All of Life (Crossway, 2002). I took it home today and started browsing it, and found it to be a profitable work on the nature of our work as Christians. And Veith, being a good Lutheran, rooted his explanation of vocation in Martin Luther’s rediscovery of the biblical doctrine of calling and the believer’s office of priest.

In his opening chapter, “Introduction: The Christian’s Calling in the World,” Veith describes the classic Reformation doctrine as taught by Luther. I can only give you a few glimpses, but this book is certainly worth your time.

‘The priesthood of all believers’ did not make everyone into church workers; rather, it turned every kind of work into a sacred calling. A major issue at the time [of the Reformation] was the prohibition of marriage for people in the religious orders. The Reformers looked at Scripture and insisted that marriage is ordained by God and that the family, far from being somewhat less spiritual than the life of a hermit or anchorite, is the arena for some of the most important spiritual work. A father and a mother are ‘priests’ to their children, not only taking care of their physical needs, but nourishing them in the faith. Every kind of work, including what had heretofore been looked down upon – the work of peasants and craftsmen – is an occasion for priesthood, for exercising a holy service to God and to one’s neighbor.

I found these paragraphs profitable too:

The Reformation may have resulted in a ‘Protestant work ethic,’ but this was not due to the pressure to prove one’s election by worldly success, as certain social scientists ludicrously maintain. Rather, the work ethic emerged out of an understanding of the meaning of work and the satisfaction and fulfillment that come from ordinary human labor when seen through the light of the doctrine of vocation.

That the Reformation was the time in which the Protestant church enjoyed its greatest cultural influence – in art, literature, music, as well as in social institutions – has to do with the doctrine of vocation (p.21).

More on Erasmus and His Greek NT – Trinitarian Bible Society

ErasmusPreviously this year we have commented on the fact that 2016 marks the 500th anniversary of the printing of Desiderius Erasmus’ (1466-1536) Greek New Testament, a significant event that was used by God to bring about and spread the great Reformation of the 16th century.

Issue #615 of the Quarterly Record published by the Trinitarian Bible Society contains a noteworthy article on Erasmus and his Greek NT by C.P. Hallihan. You may find the full version on their website at the link provided (pdf, which you may download).

Since this article was part of my Sunday reading yesterday, I post a segment of it here for your benefit.

The task in hand was to print Erasmus’s new version of the Latin Vulgate New Testament, supported in a parallel column by his newly compiled text of the Greek New Testament. The primary aim for Erasmus, remember, was to refurbish and reclaim the Latin text using the Greek as a plumb line to vindicate his Latin differences. His admirable labours in Greek manuscript gathering, comparing,
collating and editing into a continuous text never weaned him from his Latin text. Yes, the clear spring of literal meaning was to hand, to correct a long decayed text, but
Erasmus failed to see the real significance. His mother tongue was Dutch, yet he never
considered that need.

Compare Tyndale:
…at last I heard speak of Jesus, even then when the New Testament was first set forth by Erasmus; which when I understood to be eloquently done by him, being allured rather by the Latin than by the word of God (for at that time I knew not what it meant), I bought it… I chanced upon this sentence of St Paul (O most sweet and comfortable sentence to my soul!) in 1 Tim. 1, ‘it is a true saying, and worthy of all men to be embraced, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief and principal’.

Valla never came to that; I could wish to be more assured that Erasmus did. We rejoice that Tyndale did not settle to correct Wycliffe, but gave us his direct, engaging and still delightful rendering from Greek into English.

All the complaints that can be levelled against Erasmus’s 1516 New Testament have been made and made again from that day to this: too few manuscripts, over hasty
and careless print run, inadequate control of the printing process and proofing,
commercial pressure, and so on. They are all valid, owned and admitted to by Erasmus
himself from the beginning, and thus reedited and corrected through four further
editions. What else could such a ground breaker be? The complaining was just mud
thrown in the hope of avoiding the facts. After at least a thousand years, a new, truly living, version of the Word of God was available and accessible.

I could spend quite pleasing hours examining and explaining these complaints, bewailing the death of Aldus Manutius, the Venetian master of Greek printing of great beauty in 1515, so that Froben had the job instead, and the near comic confusion of texts and revisions at the printers in Basle where Erasmus was now stranded11 with a very limited manuscript collection. But these are all just excuses for dodging the consequences of the appearance of this Greek New Testament.

Prayers of the Reformers (17)

prayersofreformers-manschreckFor this first Lord’s Day in July we post two more prayers from the book Prayers of the Reformers, compiled by Clyde Manschreck and published by Muhlenberg Press (1958).

The first is taken from the section “Prayers for Spiritual Growth, Courage, and Strength” while the second is from that of “Prayers for All Sorts and Conditions.” (I have slightly edited them). Both are fitting for our worship today and for our work and walk in the week to come.

That God may uphold us (Matt.26:57-75)

O merciful God, preserve our hearts from pride, from vainglory, and from shameful covetousness: Give us grace to abide in Thy holy vocation, and to be thankful for Thy grace; that, the fall of thy apostle being always before our eyes, we may walk in Thy fear before Thee. For if we stand, we must take heed that we fall not, neither despise those that as yet do not stand.

Make us to continue in Thy grace; for nothing have we, saving only that which we have received of Thee. And if of weakness O Lord,we fall, put Thy hand under us, O Lord, and suffer us not to despair in sin; but cause us with repentance and sorrow for our offense to resort unto Thee.

O keep us, that we neither despair nor betray Thy dearly beloved Son, whom Thou through Thy gospel dost send unto us, for without Him is no safeguard, only eternal death and damnation. From which keep us, good Lord, for Thy mercies’ sake. Amen.

[Attributed to Miles Coverdale, 1488-1569]

For disciples of Christ
“Seal the teaching among my disciples” (Isaiah 8:16).

O Lord God, we see that a horrible darkness and ignorance of Thy Word will come, that many men will forsake Christ and faith and true prayer and genuine worship, even as it has happened in the past. We grieve to think of the state of Thy church.

But, O God, we humbly beseech Thee never to allow the true faith which Thou hast delivered to us to perish among us. Preserve Thy faith that it may be delivered pure and uncorrupted to our posterity.

We beseech Thee, seal Thy law in us, lest we pervert Thy Word, or twist its natural and true meaning with some sinister interpretation, as has happened in the past and happens even now.

Confirm our hearts with Thy Holy Spirit, that Thy truth may shine in us, that through our ministry Thy truth may proceed pure and uncorrupted to those who will come after us. Amen.

[Attributed to Philip Melanchthon, 1497-1560]

William Tyndale and His Significance – Dr.S. Lawson

As we prepare to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the great Reformation next year, it is good to recall the variety of men whom God used to restore His Word to the church and the church to His Word. One such man was William Tyndale (c.1494-1536) through whom God gave us the Bible in English.

In this brief video, Dr. Steve Lawson stops to visit Tyndale’s statue in London and points to its significance for Reformation history and for subsequent history.

Calvin and the Book – Essays on the Reformation and the Printed Word

Calvin&book-SpierlingOne of the recent additions to the PRC Seminary library is a collection of essays given at the 2013 Calvin Studies Colloquium held at Princeton Seminary, published under the title Calvin and the Book: The Evolution of the Printed Word in Reformed Protestantism (Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 2015), part of the series “Refo500 Academic Studies.”

The collection is a fascinating study of the power of the printed page as it was used and developed by the Reformers. To give you a sample of the content, I take a small portion from the first chapter, an essay by Andrew Pettegree titled “Calvin and Luther as Men of the Book.”

Calvin and Luther were both men of the book. The connection between print and the Reformation is so scored into our consciousness that we do not always recognize how profound were the challenges required by the print revolution, on the part of authors, readers, and producers.

…[Luther and Calvin] both showed a profound grasp of how the industry functioned, and what the author could most effectively contribute. Both intervened directly to create the industrial infrastructure necessary to sustain their respective movements. Both adapted their writing style to the requirements of the new book world.

So this paper is about book professionals: the men who printed, published, and distributed the books of Wittenberg and Geneva, but also the two celebrated authors who worked closely with them. It is a story that has not been wholly told, partly because it involves processes that are in some way foreign to us: an attention to artifact and medium, rather than simply context and text. Luther and Calvin did what was necessary to make all this work, rather against the grain of their character in both cases; Luther, a conservative academic in middle years; Calvin, by nature a scholarly aesthetic. They had a pragmatism which matched their inspiration. This adaptability is not to be underestimated, or indeed despised. Luther and Calvin were both consummate professionals (pp.17-19).

Prayers of the Reformers (16)

prayersofreformers-manschreckFor this final Lord’s Day in May we post two more prayers from the book Prayers of the Reformers, compiled by Clyde Manschreck and published by Muhlenberg Press (1958).

The first is taken from the section “Prayers for Truth and Purity”, while the second is from the next section, “Prayers for Spiritual Growth, Courage, and Strength” (I have slightly edited them). Both are fitting for our worship today and for our work and walk in the week to come.

‘The night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light’ (Rom.13:12).

And Thou, O most merciful Father, we beseech Thee, for Thy mercy’s sake, continue Thy grace and favor towards us; let the sun of Thy gospel never go down out of our hearts; let Thy truth abide and be established among us forever.

Help our unbelief, increase our faith, give us hearts to consider the time of our visitation. In faith clothe us with Christ, that He may live in us, and Thy name may be glorified in us, in the sight of all the world. Amen.

[Attributed to John Jewell, 1522-1571]

For gentleness of mind
(Matt.26:51-56)

O Jesus Christ, the mirror of all gentleness of mind, the example of highest obedience and patience, grant us Thy servants with true devotion to consider how Thou, innocent and undefiled Lamb, wast bound, taken, and haled away unto death for our sins; how well content Thou wast to suffer such things, not opening Thy mouth in impatience, but willingly offering up Thyself unto death.

O gracious God, how vilely wast Thou mishandled for our sakes! O Lord, let this never come out of our hearts. Expel through it coldness and sloth; stir up fervency and love towards Thee; provoke us unto earnest prayer; make us cheerful and diligent in Thy will….

O Lord Jesus Christ, grant unto us that fully and perfectly we may yield ourselves unto Thee, committing us wholly unto Thy Spirit…. And when we stand in danger, O grant us that we do nothing which will not become Thy children. Amen.

[Attributed to Miles Coverdale, 1488-1569]

Prayers of the Reformers (15)

prayersofreformers-manschreckFor this first Lord’s Day in May we post two more prayers from the book Prayers of the Reformers, compiled by Clyde Manschreck and published by Muhlenberg Press (1958).

These prayers (slightly edited) are taken from the section “Prayers for Baptism” and, as you will note, accord with the Reformed, covenantal (biblical) view of children.

For sanctification

Almighty and everlasting God, who of Thy infinite mercy and goodness hast promised unto us that Thou wilt not only be our God, but also the God and Father of our children: We beseech Thee, since Thou hast vouchsafed to call us to be partakers of this Thy great mercy in the fellowship of faith: that it may please Thee to sanctify with Thy Spirit and receive into the number of Thy children this infant, whom we shall baptize according to Thy Word.

May he, coming of age, confess Thee as the only true God, and Him whom Thou hast sent, Jesus Christ, and serve Him and be profitable unto His church, in the whole course of his life. After this life be ended, may he be brought unto the full fruition of Thy joys in the heavens, where Thy Son our Christ reigneth, world without end. In whose name we pray as He hath taught us…. Amen.

For the Spirit of light and grace

O Almighty God, which in commanding us to pray hast assured us that we, believing steadfastly in Thy promise, shall have all that we desire, especially concerning the soul, wherein we seek Thy glory and the wealth of our neighbors; our humble petition to Thee, O most dear Father, is, that forasmuch as this child is not without original sin, Thou wilt consider Thine own mercy, and according to Thy promise send this child thy good Spirit, that in Thy sight it be not counted among the children of wrath, but of light and grace, and become a member of the undefiled church espoused to Christ, Thy dear Son, in faith and love unfeigned, by the means of the same Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. (attributed to M.Coverdale)