Deciphering passages handwritten in Greek and Hebrew is no one’s idea of a walk in the park. When the surrounding text is printed in Dutch, that task borders on impossible. But for Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., translating the systematic theology of Geerhardus Vos was a labor of love. He and his eight-person team painstakingly translated 400,000 words into English, revealing an incredible work that had been lost to history. What we find is a rich and edifying treatment of systematic theology from one of the most important Reformed theologians.
What if we had access to the foundational thoughts of a young theologian? What would we find? Would his later works be illuminated further by an understanding of where he began? In 1888, a young Geerhardus Vos began delivering lectures in dogmatics at the Theological School of the Christian Reformed Church (which later became Calvin Theological Seminary). This early work gives us a glimpse of Vos in his late 20s tackling something as daunting as systematic theology. He would move on to Princeton and start developing his biblical theology.
Lifted from Vos’ handwritten lecture notes, the original manuscript of Vos’ Dogmatiek was self-published in 1896. It was transcribed in Dutch and never made widely available. Vos would come to be known as the father of Reformed biblical theology, but his Dogmatiek would fade into history, surpassed by his later works in biblical theology and Pauline eschatology.
Vos viewed biblical and systematic theology as complementary rather than competing disciplines. His work is further distinguished by its question and answer format, making it accessible and practical for both study and reflection. This foundational work in systematic theology has been brought into the modern era.
“Vos’ never-before-published Reformed Dogmatics is more like a lost Shakespeare play recently discovered. With this series we now have a biblical theologian writing a systematic theology. Thanks to Lexham Press for giving us such a long-awaited but impressive access to this much-discussed gem.”
“Vos has the singularly unique acumen and ability to summarize and state concisely some of the deepest truths of Reformed theology. These volumes will now be my first recommendation to anyone who wants to understand the riches of the Bible’s teaching in a compressed and clear way.”