Calvin: Commentaries, ed. by Joseph Haroutunian (Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 414 pp., $5) and Calvin’s Doctrine of the Word and Sacrament, by Ronald S. Wallace (Eerdmans, 253 pp., $3.50) are reviewed by G. Aiken Taylor, Minister of First Presbyterian Church in Alexandria, Louisiana.
The first of these books is the second of three volumes on Calvin projected for the Library of Christian Classics. The first volume (Theological Treatises), appeared some four years ago and included a great many hitherto untranslated selections. The selections here offered are freshly translated but the material has been available in English for a long while.
The editor has collected representative passages from the commentaries under such headings as “the Bible,” “The Knowledge of God,” “Jesus Christ,” “Faith,” “Ethics,” etc. There is also splendid introductory material on Calvin himself and two additional works: The Preface to Olivetan’s New Testament and the Dedication to the Epistle to the Romans. The overall affect is a handy reference work for uncritical study.
Most selections of Calvin material suffer from the natural tendency of any editor to select passages in keeping with his own viewpoint or interpretation. And Calvin wrote so voluminously that he can be made to say almost anything. The present collection does not altogether escape this danger. I looked to see how many of the proof-texts selected by R. S. Wallace (see book-review below) to support his thesis were included in Haroutunian’s selection of passages on the same subjects. There were almost none.
However, the danger of misinterpreting Calvin is largely avoided, in this work, by the editor’s practice of letting long passages speak for themselves. Instead of ...1
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