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Letters of Geerhardus Vos by Geerhardus Vos
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Letters of Geerhardus Vos

by Geerhardus Vos

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In The Letters of Geerhardus Vos James Dennison takes readers on a guided tour into the personality and thought of one of the most profound Reformed theologians of the 20th century. It is a really outstanding book and I greatly enjoyed reading it. It is divided into four sections.

The first is biographical. Dennison has complied what is the most thorough biography written of Vos, in a mere 73 pages. The fact is that Vos preferred to stay in the background and rarely, if ever, sought publicity for himself. Additionally, when requested of him, Vos only provided the most skeletal of biographical details. Dennison has thoroughly dug into the everything he could find in order to compile his biography, which is enriched by intermittent reflections on VOs at various stages of his life. I found this to be most interesting as Dennison works through the actions of Vos at the time of the reorganization of Princeton Seminary in 1929, when a number of faculty, many of whom were Vos' students, left Princeton to found Westminster Seminary. Vos chose to stay and Dennison sheds light on the rationale for Vos' decision.

The second section is bibliographical, with a listing of the publications of Vos in his lifetime, as well as things that were published posthumously , along with addition works titles about him and his work.

The third section is the letters. Approximately 75% of the published letters were written to just three correspondents: B.B. Warfield, Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck. In the letters we have an opportunity to see Vos in his own words, and it is a remarkable picture. His learning was extensive, yet he seeks to learn from others. He is cordial to a fault, and generous with his personal time as he shares life with others. He is also very committed to what might be called "old-school Calvinism," being highly sensitive and rightly suspicious of the winds of change blowing through Reformed theology of his day. I have no doubt that he would not be surprised by the downward spiral that has occurred into our day, and perhaps pleased at the glimmers of hope for the future, through such things as the recent publication of Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics in English.

The final section contains a few of Vos' poetry. Fluent as a scholar in nine languages Vos wrote poetry throughout his career and his retirement. It was primarily for his own enjoyment and to share with a few friends. Frankly, I "don't get" poetry but I did enjoy the few pieces included in this volume.

Vos is a giant of biblical theology from a Reformed perspective. This book provides a clearer picture of the man and the mind behind his writing. I highly recommend it. ( )
  BradKautz | Aug 15, 2015 |
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