Calvin's Theology of the Psalms
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Selderhuis first investigates the relation between Calvin's biography and his theology according to his commentary on the Psalms. The main section of the book then explores Calvin's commentary on the Psalms thematically according to the thesis that Calvin's commentary is vitally interested in the First Person of the Trinity and that his doctrine of God fundamentally informs his biblical interpretation. The book is organized according to the attributes of God because Calvin stressed the need to talk about God in terms of those attributes. Calvin proposes an image of God that gives maximum consolation and assurance to humanity.
Selderhuis believes Calvin's commentary on the Psalms is a pastoral variation of Calvin's Institutes. In this commentary in particular Calvin applies himself to the main themes of the Institutes and gives them form so that they are directly applicable to the practice of living in faith. Reformation and Calvin scholars as well as interested Reformed readers will value this resource.
"[Selderhuis] rightly perceives the intimately personal character of the greater part of the psalms, and asserts the significance of Calvin's biography for an accurate interpretation of Calvin's reading of the Psalter. . . . Selderhuis assiduously proceeds to explore Calvin's doctrine of God as embedded in his commentary on the Psalms. This procedure allows Selderhuis to formulate a critical presentation of Calvin's doctrine of God, raising at times important questions regarding significant lacunae in Calvin's thought as fragmentally expressed in his commentary on the Psalms."--Rady Roldan-Figueroa, Renaissance Quarterly
"Busy pastors looking for a book that offers multiple cross-disciplinary benefits will enjoy in this volume a well-written story of Calvin's interaction with--his living with--the Psalms in the context of his own personal, ecclesiastical, and political struggles. They will find here a readable summary overview of Calvin's thought, in terms of its interrelationship, texture, emphases, and commonalities with other Reformers. In short, without ever getting lost in the details of theological exposition, Selderhuis uses this palette of Calvin's commentary on the Psalms to paint a fresh portrait of Calvin's theological spirituality and his spiritual theology."--Nelson D. Kloosterman, Mid-America Journal of Theology
"Selderhuis manifests the breadth of grasp and dexterity with detail in Calvin's Theology of the Psalms that have made him an internationally recognized authority on both Calvin and the Reformation. Because his research bears upon several live and sometimes volatile issues in Calvin scholarship, it will likely summon the opposing attitudes and feelings that attend, and even identify, works of significance. Selderhuis makes a particularly welcome contribution to the body of secondary literature with his argument that the thought of Calvin the theologian is couched in pastoral concern and that the heart of Calvin the Christian was laden with experiential knowledge of God."--John C. Clark, Calvin Theological Journal
"This is a rich book in content, in synthesis, in argument and provocation. . . . A very useful and worthwhile contribution to our knowledge of Calvin's theology, exegetical, dogmatic, and pastoral."--Mark Elliott, Review of Biblical Literature
"The book demonstrates Calvin's pastoral application of his theology through the commentary venue. It provides a solid study of how Calvin's Psalms commentary and the Institutes inform one another and should be read together. Readers can find a concise and lucid expression of key themes of not only Calvin's theology of the Psalms, but also of his theology as a whole. Moreover, Selderhuis offers an examination of several topics of Calvin's theology that have often been neglected by scholarship. . . . Well worth the read."--G. Sujin Pak, Interpretation
"I am impressed by Selderhuis' fine analysis that Calvin, in both the Institutes and the commentary, consistently, eloquently, and pastorally sets forth the same theology. One can indeed find the Institutes, its theology, and even its epistemology, in the commentary on the Psalms."--David B. Calhoun, Presbyterion
"[This volume] provides an important stepping stone for those who would read and study Calvin's commentary on the Psalter. Having the text in translation will prove to be a valuable contribution to students of Calvin and the Psalms. The primary benefit of Selderhuis's work is the highly comprehensive systematization of Calvin's theological reflection as it presents itself in his commentaries on the Psalms. . . . As another strength of this volume, Selderhuis's perspective of the commentary also gives due diligence to the biography of Calvin. . . . Selderhuis has given much for the reader to consider. Whereas Selderhuis's volume will be most beneficial for the one needing a systematic look at the theology of this important Reformation personality, particularly in regard to the place of his theological reflections in the history of the church, the biblical scholar will also glean some . . . helpful content for their consideration. Further, Calvinists will be challenged in their presuppositions about their doctrinal beliefs, and any reader will be encouraged in his or her faith."--Randall L. McKinion, Review of Biblical Literature
"There are several significant strengths of this book. It is an excellent example of how Calvin provides pastoral and practical application of his theology through the commentary venue. Likewise, this book provides a solid study of how Calvin's Psalms commentary and the Institutes inform one another and should be read together. In this book a reader can find a concise and lucid expression of key themes of not only Calvin's theology of the Psalms, but of Calvin's theology as a whole. Moreover, the author offers an examination of several topics of Calvin's theology that have been neglected by scholarship and not recognized for the importance they hold in Calvin's thought. . . . Well worth the read."--G. Sujin Pak, IRT Bulletin
"Selderhuis's work will be known to many within the worlds of Reformation and Calvin studies. Accordingly, it will not come as a surprise to them that this study is a fine piece of work."--Jon Balserak, Sixteenth Century Journal
"A valuable addition to Texts and Studies in Reformation and Post-Reformation Thought, a series . . . that is steadily growing in importance for Reformation scholarship."--Ecclesiastical History