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Heidegger's Bible Handbook: Old Testament in General: Reformed Interpreters


REFORMED: Amama,[1] Bibliander,[2] Dieu,[3] Boot,[4] Diodati,[5] Grynæus,[6] Junius, Maresius,[7] Munster,[8] Pareus,[9] Pellican,[10] Piscator,[11] Ridder,[12] Schotanus,[13] Stephanus, Tossanus,[14] Zanchi,[15] Hallus. English: English Annotations,[16] Causinus, Critici Sacri,[17] Lightfoot,[18] Poole’s Synopsis Criticorum,[19] Richardson,[20] Samson, Talon, Ussher of Armagh,[21] Worthington, Ainsworth.[22] It is not evident that Hugo Grotius[23] is the Interpreter of the Books of the Old Testament, to which I shall refer.

John Lightfoot

[1] Sixtinus Amama (1593-1629) was a Dutch Reformed orientalist and theologian. He served as Professor of Hebrew at Oxford (1615) and at Franeker (1618), succeeding John Drusius. He is remembered for his skill in Oriental languages and his defense of the ultimate authority of the original texts of Scripture.

[2] Theodore Bibliander (1509-1564) was a Swiss reformer and orientalist. He served as Professor of Hebrew at Zurich (1532-1560). Bibliander was widely esteemed among the Reformed for his abilities in Hebrew and Arabic, and for his comments on the Old Testament, but he was dismissed from his teaching post after he ran into controversy with Peter Vermigili over Predestination.

[3] Louis de Dieu (1590-1642) was a Dutch Reformed minister, linguist, and orientalist. He brought his considerable learning to bear upon the interpretation of the Scripture.

[4] Arnold Boot (1606-1653) was a Dutch physician, who excelled, not only in the practice of medicine, but also in the study of Oriental languages. He defended the integrity of the Hebrew text and vowel points against Louis Cappel.

[5] Giovanni Diodati (1576-1649) was a Swiss Protestant and delegate to the Synod of Dordt. He published his Annotationes in Biblia in Italian in 1607, which were translated into English in 1648.

[6] Johann Jakob Grynæus (1540-1617) was a Swiss Reformed theologian. He served as Professor of Old Testament at Basel (1575-1584), Professor of New Testament at Heidelberg (1584-1586), and Professor of New Testament at Basel (1586-1617). His academic career was vexed by controversy with staunch proponents of Lutheran Orthodoxy.

[7] Maresius, or Samuel Desmarets (1599-1673), was a French Huguenot minister and polemist. He held various ministerial posts, and served as Professor of Theology at Sedan (1625-1636), and at Groningen (1643-1673).

[8] Sebastian Munster (1489-1552) was a German scholar of great talent in the fields of mathematics, Oriental studies, and divinity. He joined the Lutherans, became Professor of Hebrew at Basil, and produced important early Reformation commentaries on the Old Testament (Annotationes in Vetus Testamentum) and on Matthew (Annotationes in Matthæi Evangelium Hebraicum).

[9] David Pareus (1548-1622) was a German Calvinist, serving the Reformed Church as a minister, churchman, and professor. He wrote a commentary on the whole Bible, and it was held in high estimation among the Reformed. His Commentarius in Epistolam ad Romanos was burned publicly at Oxford and Cambridge in 1622 by order of the Privy Council of James I because of his comments on Romans 13, in which he upholds the right of resistance to tyranny.

[10] Konrad Pellican (1478-1556) began his career as a Franciscan friar and scholar. He gradually embraced the doctrines of the Reformation. In 1526, he made the move to Zurich and became Professor of Greek, Hebrew, and Old Testament. His abilities in Hebrew (still comparatively rare at that time) and Greek are on display in his seven-volume commentary on the Bible.

[11] John Piscator (1546-1626) was a learned Protestant divine. He held the position of Professor of Divinity at Herborn (1584). His German version was the first, complete and independent, since that of Martin Luther. Through his career, his views changed from those of the Lutherans to those of the Calvinists, and from those of the Calvinists to those of the Arminians. He remains widely regarded for his abilities as a commentator (Commentarii in Omnes Libros Veteris et Novi Testamenti).

[12] Franciscus de Ridder (1620-1683) was a Dutch Reformed pastor and theologian.

[13] Christian Schotanus (1603-1671) was a Reformed pastor, theologian, and philologist. At Franeker, he served first as Professor of Greek (1639-1644), and then as Professor of Theology (1644-1671). He wrote a Hebrew Grammar and an Old Testament History.

[14] Daniel Tossanus, Sr. (1541-1602) was a French Reformed pastor and theologian. He served as Professor of New Testament at Heidelberg (1586-1601). Tossanus wrote notes on the entire Bible.

[15] Girolamo Zanchi (1516-1590) was an Italian Reformed theologian. At the age of fifteen, he entered the monastery of the Augustinian Order of Regular Canons. He came under the personal influence of Peter Martyr Vermigli; and the writings of the Reformers, especially Calvin, had a profound impact upon his thinking. Zanchi served as Professor of Old Testament at Strassburg (1553-1563), and Professor of Theology at Heidelberg (1568-1577).

[16] The English Annotations were the product of some notable members of the Westminster Assembly, but, although they are often referred to as the “Westminster Annotations,” they were not in fact an official production of that Assembly. The English Annotations are more accurately described as a production commissioned by Parliament which included the work of some members of that august Assembly. The contributors include: The Pentateuch by John Ley (with Bishops Richardson and Ussher, and Thomas Gataker contributing to the Genesis portion in the second edition); 1 and 2 Kings, 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, and Job by William Gouge; Psalms by Meric Casaubon; Proverbs by Francis Taylor; Ecclesiastes by Edward Reynolds; Song of Solomon by Mr. Smallwood; Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Lamentations by Thomas Gataker; Ezekiel, Daniel, and the Minor Prophets by Mr. Pemberton (revised in the second edition by Bishop Richardson); the Gospels by John Ley; and Daniel Fealty commented on the Pauline Epistles. The remaining books are thought to have been completed by John Downham and John Reading, and the overall production was supervised by John Downham.

[17] The Critici Sacri was a compilation of the Biblical commentaries of the most noteworthy early modern critics, Roman Catholic and Protestant, edited by John Pearson, and published by Cornelius Bee. It appeared in nine volumes, beginning in 1660. The Critici Sacri was intended as a companion piece to Brian Walton’s Polyglot Bible.

[18] John Lightfoot (1602-1675) was an English churchman and divine of such distinction and learning that he was invited to sit as a member of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster. He specialized in Rabbinic learning and lore. He brought that learning to bear in his defense of Erastianism in the Assembly and in his comments upon Holy Scripture. He had a long and distinguished career at Cambridge, serving as Master of Catharine Hall, and later as Vice-chancellor of the University.

[19] Matthew Poole (1624-1679) was an English, Noncomformist Presbyterian Pastor, Theologian, and Exegete. Having been ejected from the ministry by the Act of Uniformity (1662), he undertook the compilation of his massive and masterly Synopsis Criticorum, a verse-by-verse history of interpretation. Poole’s Synopsis was tremendously influential in the work of Matthew Henry and Jonathan Edwards.

[20] John Richardson (1580-1654) was an English bishop of the Church of Ireland. He held several preferments in the Church of Ireland, and was eventually made Bishop of Ardagh in 1633. He revised the portions on Ezekiel, Daniel, and the Minor Prophets in the English Annotations, and wrote his own Choice observations and explanations upon the Old Testament containing in them many remarkable matters, either not taken notice of, or mistaken by most, which are additional to the large annotations made by some of the Assembly of Divines: to which are added some further and larger observations of his upon the whole book of Genesis perused and attested by the Reverend Bishop of Armagh, and Mr. Gataker Pastor of Rederith.

[21] James Ussher (1580-1655) was an Irish churchman and scholar of the first rank, who eventually rose to the office of Archbishop of Ireland. He is most remembered for his Annals of the World.

[22] Henry Ainsworth (1571-1622) was an English Nonconformist, Separatist, and early Congregationalist. Ainsworth served a group of English Nonconformists in Amsterdam; he held the office of Doctor. He was one of the great Hebraists of his age, and his annotations upon the Pentateuch, Psalms, and the Song of Solomon demonstrate his command of the Hebrew language and Rabbinical learning and lore.

[23] Hugo Grotius (1583-1645) distinguished himself in the field of international law, but he was interested in many fields of learning, including Christian apologetics, theology, and Biblical criticism and exegesis. He was a strict practitioner of the historical-contextual method of exegesis, and both his methods and conclusions are on display in his influential Annotationes in Vetus et Novum Testamentum. He is also remembered for his role in the Arminian controversy, siding with the Remonstrants, and for his governmental theory of atonement.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
13 de mai. de 2019

For those interested in the History of Biblical Interpretation (and I hope that you are!), you will want to peruse Matthew Poole's presentation of Biblical Interpreters ( and the History of Biblical Annotations (

Remember that the ascended Lord Jesus has blessed us, not only with His Word and Spirit, but also with faithful teachers in all ages (Ephesians 4:11-13). This is an introduction to their testimony to the meaning of Scripture...exceedingly precious!

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