17th Century Textual Apparatus in the Commentaries of Andrew Willet (1562-1621), part 2.

Under the heading, “The text with its diverse readings,” Willet provides the reader with a thoroughly informed account of the churchly tradition as it relates to the subject at hand.  He begins by cataloging the textual variants and various renderings.  For example, in his commentary on Romans Willet cites (Vatabulus (V.), vulgar Latin (L.), Beza (Be.), Syriac (S.), Tremellius translation (T.), Great Bible (B.), Geneva (Ge), Greek (Gr.) and sometime Original (Or.).[1]  To briefly illustrate Willet’s method, four verses from Romans 1 are given:

1:4: Declared to be the sonne of God (not known, T. or predestinate, L. or destinate to bee the Sonne of God V.) in power, L. (not mightily, G.Be. or by power, V. according to the spirit of sanctification, G. Be.V. not according to the holy spirit, T. or the spirit of the sanctifieth, R.) by the resurrection of the dead: T.B.G.Be. (not of the dead) even Jesus Christ our Lord: Be.T. (not of Jesus Christ our Lord, L.V.R.B. for it must be referred to the beginning of the third verse and all that followeth must be enclosed in parenthesis: so the Genevens doe transpose it: but it is safest to put it in the last place, according to the original: with reference, as is said before.)

1:11: For I long to see you, that I might impart unto Be.L. (bestow among you, B.G.) some spiritual gift; that ye may be stablished, B.B. (or confirmed, T.V. to confirm you, L.R. but the word is in the passive.)

1:22: When they professed themselves to be wise: B.G. (saying themselves to be wise, L.R. counting, B. thinking, T. but faskonteV, is better translated professing) they became fools.

1:29: Being full of unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, (rather than, iniquitie, malice, fornication, and wickedness,  L.B. for the order is inverted: for the Greek copies, and the Syriak put fornication in the second place.  See qu. 23 following) full of enview, murder, debate, deceit, evil conditioned, V.B. (taking things in the worse part, G. full of evil thoughts, T. malignity, L. Be., the word is, kakonqeia, churlishness, morosity).[2]

          Noticeable weight is given by Willet to the renderings of the various versions. The version had already undergone the grammatical and syntactical scrutiny of exegetes and thus lent itself to a fuller explication of the apographa. To begin again with the raw data would be to reinvent the exegetical and interpretive wheel.


[1] HR, Preface. By “Original” Willet means the apographa.

[2] HR, pp. 29-30. “See qu. 23 following,” should read qu. 73.  Here Willet catalogs the words listed in verses 29 and 30.

Published by Dr. Peter Van Kleeck, Sr.

Dr. Peter William Van Kleeck, Sr. : B.A., Grand Rapids Baptist College, 1986; M.A.R., Westminster Theological Seminary, 1990; Th.M., Calvin Theological Seminary, 1998; D. Min, Bob Jones University, 2013. Dr. Van Kleeck was formerly the Director of the Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, Grand Rapids, MI, (1990-1994) lecturing, researching and writing in the defense of the Masoretic Hebrew text, Greek Received Text and King James Bible. His published works include, "Fundamentalism’s Folly?: A Bible Version Debate Case Study" (Grand Rapids: Institute for Biblical Textual Studies, 1998); “We have seen the future and we are not in it,” Trinity Review, (Mar. 99); “Andrew Willet (1562-1621: Reformed Interpretation of Scripture,” The Banner of Truth, (Mar. 99); "A Primer for the Public Preaching of the Song of Songs" (Outskirts Press, 2015). Dr. Van Kleeck is the pastor of the Providence Baptist Church in Manassas, VA where he has ministered for the past twenty-one years. He is married to his wife of 43 years, Annette, and has three married sons, one daughter and eighteen grandchildren.

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