Early Stuart Polemical Hermeneutics

Andrew Willet's 1611 Hexapla on Romans

Reddit icon
e-mail icon
Twitter icon
Facebook icon
Google icon
LinkedIn icon
Darren M. Pollock
  • Bristol, CT: 
    Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht GmbH
    , December
     351 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Lee Gatiss forthcoming.


Darren M. Pollock examines the 1611 Romans hexapla commentary by the prolific Church of England preacher and controversialist Andrew Willet. While some have considered Willet's later biblical commentaries to have been a retreat from his earlier engagement in religious controversy, the author argues that his exegetical work maintained a significant element of anti-Catholic polemics, only expressed in a different genre. This polemical hermeneutic served as an organizing principle and as a means by which to clarify the presentation of traditional Reformed readings in relief against a body of Roman Catholic theology that Willet believed threatened the gospel of grace. Paul's letter provided ample opportunity for Willet to identify what is distinctive about Reformed theology - or rather, as Willet would have it, the particular ways in which "papist" dogma had diverged from the true line of Christian belief running from the Fathers through to the (truly "catholic") Reformed church of the seventeenth century. Willet's exegesis highlights many of the polemical issues that had long been contended between Protestants and Catholics, including the authentic versions of the bible, Scripture's attributes, and principles of interpretation, as well as doctrines like justification, predestination, the assurance of salvation, and the place of good works. A close investigation into Willet's exegetical method also helps to see how an identifiable hermeneutical lens is consistent with a disciplined reading that is faithful to the text. His polemical focus does not corrupt his exegesis or force upon it meanings that are alien to the text itself; rather, his polemical hermeneutic serves to focus his attention and frame positive doctrinal statements against the sharp contrast of alternate readings.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Darren M. Pollock is Pastor at the Panorama Presbyterian Church, California.

Add New Comment

Reading Religion welcomes comments from AAR members, and you may leave a comment below by logging in with your AAR Member ID and password. Please read our policy on commenting.

Log in to post comments