Today’s guest post is by Dr. Jim West, pastor of Petros Baptist Church. Dr. West serves as professor of biblical studies at the Quartz Hill School of Theology. He has authored a number of books and articles and serves as language editor for the Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament, as well as language revision editor for the Copenhagen International Seminar. He blogs at zwingliusredivivus.wordpress.com.
Adolf Schlatter was, without question, the most influential biblical scholar of his generation in his native Switzerland. At one point, he taught both Karl Barth and Rudolf Bultmann (neither of whom was very impressed with their conservative teacher). Schlatter wrote copiously—critical New Testament commentaries, as well as more popular studies on the Bible. He also wrote an introduction to the Bible, books on the history of philosophy, and specialized studies on nearly every question that arises in biblical studies.
He also wrote a volume along the lines of Our Daily Bread, which featured a biblical text with some devotional observations for each day of the year. He was a veritable walking encyclopedia on both the Bible and philosophy.
What set him apart from his students and his colleagues was the very practical approach he employed, even in his most technical works. He wrote far more for the church, as a scholar of the church, than he did for the academy, as a member of the academy. He was a churchman.
Here are few of the brilliantly insightful things he wrote:
It is absolutely clear: there can be no talk of man’s but only of God’s righteousness. Man is unrighteous, for the relation which he establishes towards God and man is enmity and a lie. Only what is peculiar to God and God’s activity is the righteousness which establishes fellowship. The genitive δικαιοσυνη θεου permits no relaxing.
Wir erlangen das Heil durch die Erfüllung unseres Dienstes.
Gott hat die Scham dem Menschen ins Herz gepflanzt als einen Wächter, der ihn gegen das Böse empfindlich machen soll.
In der Hand der Sünder ist auch die Gabe sündig. Nur in der Hand des Priesters ist das Opfer rein und wohlgefällig.
In case the reader wonders why the first quote is in English and the rest in German, I simply wish to make a point that only a small fragment of Schlatter’s work has ever been translated. But everything he wrote is worthy of translation. Schlatter’s works are an expansive woodland, scarcely traversed (especially in the English speaking world). Treasure waits in these woods for those brave enough to venture in.
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Logos Bible Software is currently undergoing a translation of Schlatter’s Faith in the New Testament. This exhaustive work is a thorough analysis of the Christian concept of faith, taking into account the Old Testament, Rabbinic, and other key first-century writings. It is a philological masterpiece par excellence, making its translation into English a great contribution to New Testament theological studies. The Logos edition will include the original German text along with the English translation.
Support the translation of Schlatter’s work, and pre-order your copy of Faith in the New Testament today!