Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Puritan Reformed Journal
Volume: PRJ 02:2 (Jul 2010)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Herman Bavinck (1854 –1921), Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4. Edited by John Bolt and translated from Dutch into English by John Vriend. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008. 944 pp. $49.95, hardcover.

This is a momentous event in Reformed Theology, for it marks the completion of the publication in English of the massive four-volume Systematic Theology of Herman Bavinck. The first Dutch edition was published between the years of 1895 and 1901 and consisted of four ordinary-sized volumes, some 550 pages each. In 1902, Bavinck began to teach in the Free university of Amsterdam and produced a nearly doubled-sized second edition between 1906 and 1911. A third edition in 1918 was identical to the second edition. A fourth edition published in 1928 –30 made no change in the text but involved different pagination. It is the second edition which in now integrally translated by William Hendrickson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1951). Two portions of the present four-volume edition had appeared under the title In the Beginning (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999), covering II, 406 – 609 and The Last Things (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1996, covering IV, 589 –730). The text of these two partial translations appears to me identical although retyped in the four-volume presentation, which also includes the Greek and Hebrew tests as well as the transliteration of them.

Writing for Dutch readers, Bavinck quoted not only in Hebrew and Greek but also in latin, French, German, and English without translation. In this edition, all such quotations are translated into English with the source indicated in English editions when available. The original Dutch second edition comprised some 2850 large pages in large type, and concluded with fifty-two pages for indices at the end of the fourth volume. In this translation, the text occupies

some 2300 pages with 123 pages dedicated by the editor as chapter summaries and 437 pages for bibliographic information and indices. The indices of the fourth have been extensively enlarged: that of Scripture from one page of two columns to forty-eight pages of four columns (amounting to more than 11,000 references), that of names from eleven pages of two columns to seventy pages of three columns, and that of subject from thirty-two pages of two columns to fifty pages of three columns. This will greatly enhance the accessibility of the material.

Throughout the work, Bavinck gives evidence of an exceptionally thorough acquaintance with and acceptance of the Holy Scripture (referred on average about five times per page). To this must be added his formidable mastery of the history of Christian doctrine, evidenced through ample reference to primary source...

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