Geerhardus Vos

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Geerhardus Johannes Vos
Geerhardus Johannes Vos (1862–1949).jpg
Born(1862-03-14)March 14, 1862
DiedAugust 13, 1949(1949-08-13) (aged 87)
Known forBiblical Theology, Calvinist theologian
TitleProfessor of Biblical Theology at Princeton
Spouse(s)Catherine Smith
ChildrenJohannes, Bernardus, Geerhardus Jr., Marianne (Radius)
Academic background
Alma materCalvin Theological Seminary

Princeton Theological Seminary

Strassburg University
ThesisDie Kampfe und Streitigkeiten zwischen den banu umajja und den benu hasim (1888)
Academic work
Sub-disciplineReformed, Biblical Theology
School or traditionReformed Biblical Theology
InstitutionsCalvin Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological Seminary
Notes
See title.

Geerhardus Johannes Vos (March 14, 1862 – August 13, 1949) was a Dutch-American Calvinist theologian and one of the most distinguished representatives of the Princeton Theology. He is sometimes called the father of Reformed Biblical Theology.

Biography[edit]

Vos while a young man.

Education in Europe and America[1][edit]

Vos was born to a Dutch Reformed pastor in Heerenveen in Friesland in the Netherlands.[2] In 1881, when Geerhardus was 19 years old, his father, Jan Vos, accepted a call to be the pastor of the Christian Reformed Church congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan.[2]

In September, 1881, Geerhardus Vos began his education at the Christian Reformed Church's Theological School, which is today's Calvin University and Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, and his talents were soon to be found by the school for he earned a higher degree in single year. During this period, Vos was appointed by the Curatorium to be the instructional assistant of Gerrit Egbert Boer, the teacher of the school as well as the president of the assembly. During the second year, Vos was paid as a lecturer alongside his studies.

Two years later, in 1883, Vos was enrolled into the Princeton Theological Seminary, and he had already mastered German, Dutch, Latin, French, English, Greek and Hebrew by that time. Upon his request, he entered Princeton as a second year student. His outstanding senior paper, titled "The Mosaic Origin of the Pentateuchal Codes" was awarded the Hebrew fellowship prize.

Vos carried on his further studies in the University of Berlin in Germany in 1886. In April, He received Abraham Kuyper's invitation to teach in the Free University of Amsterdam as the professor of Old Testament, however he turned that down partly because of his father's objection. Almost at the same period, the Christian Reformed Church nominated him as the next professor in Grand Rapids. Herman Bavinck also arrived at Berlin to meet Vos at the end of July, 1886, he encouraged Vos to study in the Kaiser Wilhelm University of Strassburg when Vos was thinking of transferring to a new school. At last, Vos completed his studies and receiving his doctorate in Arabic Studies from the Philosophy Faculty of Strassburg University in 1888.

Career period[edit]

Herman Bavinck and Abraham Kuyper tried to convince Vos to become professor of Old Testament Theology at the Free University in Amsterdam, but Vos chose to return to America.[3] Thus, in the Fall of 1888, Vos took up a position on the Theological School at Grand Rapids' faculty. He was installed as Professor of Didactic and Exegetical Theology at the Spring Street Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids on September 4, 1888. In his dogmatics lectures, he did not use the common textbook materials from Francis Turretin, John Calvin, or Charles Hodge, but developed his original work, Reformed Dogmatics which was published in 1896 in handwriting format. Vos's five volume Reformed Dogmatics were translated from Dutch to English by Richard B. Gaffin Jr. and others. The first volume was published in 2013 and the fifth volume was published in 2016.

In 1892, Vos moved and joined the faculty of the Princeton Theological Seminary, where he became its first Professor of Biblical Theology. At Princeton, he taught alongside J. Gresham Machen and B. B. Warfield and authored his most famous works, including Pauline Eschatology (1930) and Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments (1948). Despite his opposition to the growing modernist influence at Princeton in the late 1920s, he decided to remain at Princeton Seminary after Machen formed the Westminster Theological Seminary, as he was close to retirement. Vos did indeed retire to California in 1932, three years after the formation of Westminster.

In 1894, Vos married Catherine Smith. Known for being the author of The Children's Story Bible, she died in 1937. They had three sons and one daughter. One of their sons, Johannes G. Vos (1903-1983), studied at Princeton Theological Seminary and became ordained in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, and was also a professor at Geneva College in Pennsylvania.

After retirement[edit]

After the retirement from Princeton, Vos remained in the Presbyterian Church (USA), whereas his wife (Catherine) and their two sons, Geerhardus Jr. and Johannes together with Johannes' wife, Marian, joined the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. His daughter, Marianne, joined the Christian Reformed Church in North America with her husband, William Radius. Bernardus Vos joined the Gresham Machen's newly formed church, which was later renamed as the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in 1939.[4]

On August 13, 1949, Vos passed away in Hessel Convalescent Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Funeral service was conducted by H. Henry Meeter in Zaagman Chapel in Calvin College two days later. Vos' body was then brought and buried in the tiny village of Roaring Branch, Pennsylvania on Wednesday, August 17, 1949. In his burial, very few people turned up. Only two family members, Bernardus and Geerhardus Jr., a man and a woman from the local Methodist Church, also two ministers from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, John De Waard and Cornelius Van Til were present. Van Til preached from 2 Corinthians 5:1 in the burial service. No one was there from his denomination and from the institution he had served for nearly 39 years.[5]

Works[edit]

Books[edit]

  • Vos, Geerhardus (1886). The Mosaic Origin of the Pentateuchal Codes. New York: A. C. Armstrong & Son. OCLC 3144180.[6]
  • ——— (1894). The Idea of Biblical Theology as a Science and as a Theological Discipline: The Inauguration Of Rev. Geerhardus Vos, Ph.D., D.D., as Professor Of Biblical Theology. New York: A. D. F. Randolph. OCLC 8838483.
  • ——— (1903). The Teaching of Jesus Concerning the Kingdom of God and the Church. New York: American Tract Society. OCLC 3919537.
  • ——— (1922). Grace and Glory: sermons preached in the chapel of Princeton Theological Seminary. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformed Press. OCLC 4995486.
  • ——— (1926). The Self-Disclosure of Jesus: The Modern Debate about the Messianic Consciousness. New York: George H. Doran Co. OCLC 2430774.
  • ——— (1930). The Pauline Eschatology. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House. OCLC 697175240.
  • ——— (1931). Charis, English Verses. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Theological Seminary.[7]
  • ——— (1933). Western Rhymes. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Theological Seminary.[8]
  • ——— (1934). Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments. Philadelphia, PA: Theological Seminary of the Reformed Episcopal Church. OCLC 66323285.
  • ——— (1944). The Teaching of the Epistle to the Hebrews. Philadelphia, PA: Theological Seminary of the Reformed Episcopal Church. OCLC 5971869.

Published posthumously

  • ——— (2001). The Eschatology of the Old Testament Phillipsburg, NJ. P&R Publishing. ISBN 9780875521817. OCLC 45888861.
  • ——— (1980). Redemptive History and Biblical Interpretation: The Shorter Writings of Geerhardus Vos. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing. ISBN 9780875522708. OCLC 6968978.
  • ——— (2013). The Collected Reviews of Geerhardus Vos. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  • ——— (2013). The Collected Articles of Geerhardus Vos. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  • ——— (2013). The Collected Dictionary Articles of Geerhardus Vos. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  • ——— (2013). Reformed Dogmatics: Volume 1 - Theology Proper. Translated by Gaffin, Richard B. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  • ——— (2014). Reformed Dogmatics: Volume 2 - Anthropology. Translated by Gaffin, Richard B. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  • ——— (2015). Reformed Dogmatics: Volume 3 - Christology. Translated by Gaffin, Richard B. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  • ——— (2015). Reformed Dogmatics: Volume 4 - Soteriology. Translated by Gaffin, Richard B. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  • ——— (2016). Reformed Dogmatics: Volume 5 - Ecclesiology, the Means of Grace, Eschatology. Translated by Gaffin, Richard B. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Journal articles[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Olinger, Danny E. (2018). Geerhardus Vos: Reformed Biblical Theologian, Confessional Presbyterian. Philadelphia, PA: Reformed Forum. pp. 13–26. ISBN 9780998748733. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  2. ^ a b Richard H. Harms (2003). "Geerhardus Vos, Calvin's first Ph.D." Retrieved January 26, 2011.
  3. ^ James T. Dennison, Jr. "Geerhardus Vos: Life Between Two Worlds". Kerux. Retrieved January 26, 2011.
  4. ^ Olinger, Danny E. (2018). Geerhardus Vos: Reformed Biblical Theologian, Confessional Presbyterian. Philadelphia, PA: Reformed Forum. p. 274. ISBN 9780998748733. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  5. ^ Olinger, Danny E. (2018). Geerhardus Vos: Reformed Biblical Theologian, Confessional Presbyterian. Philadelphia, PA: Reformed Forum. pp. 277–79. ISBN 9780998748733. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  6. ^ "The Mosaic Origin of the Pentateuchal Codes". Archived from the original on March 11, 2017. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  7. ^ "Charis, English Verses" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 15, 2016. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  8. ^ "Western Rhymes" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 15, 2016. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  9. ^ "The Scriptural Doctrine of the Love of God" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on September 23, 2015. Retrieved December 4, 2018.
  10. ^ "Jeremiah's Plaint and its Answer" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on January 6, 2017. Retrieved December 4, 2018.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]