Friday, March 15, 2013

Geerhardus Vos' Intersecting-plane Hermeneutics

James T. Dennison, Jr, who had Johannes Vos, the son of Geerhardus Vos, as bible teacher at Geneva College in Beaver Falls Pennsylvania, makes an extremely valuable and succinct comment on the hermeneutics of Geerhardus Vos:
'The dynamic of a theocentric (and Christocentric) revelation must recognize the vertical dimension. In other words, Vos transforms biblical study by introducing an intersecting-plane hermeneutic: the intrusion of the vertical into the horizontal, the penetration of the temporal by the eternal, the intersection of the protological and the eschatological'
This, often overlooked, intersecting-plane hermeneutics is what makes Schilder's article 'licht in de rook' so valuable. It's the point Schilder makes in his article on the first and last poetic book of the bible:
"Choosing transcendence as starting point in your thinking, with neglect of immanence, equals false prophesy.  Putting forward immanence, with neglect of transcendence is also lying. Only these two thoughts, connected together, speak to us the truth of God. Scripture always keeps them together."
Just notice how his approach is misunderstood  by N.H. Gootjes here. Notice the role this intersecting-plane hermeneutics plays in Henk de Jong's discussion of C. Veenhof's inaugural address on the Word of God in the letter to the Hebrews. The article I started with has at least four opinions as to Vos’ unique contribution to the Reformed theological tradition. Indication that there is a lot of confusion as to what his contribution actually is. A lot of people clearly don't see the immense value of this intersecting-plane hermeneutics. Might this explain why even at Princeton, Vos was an enigma, as James Dennison writes:
'What did he do to be placed on the periphery; what didn't he do to attain a place in even Princeton's tiny spotlight? Was it too hard to follow his lectures? Was it his distinctive approach to the organic character of revelation?'
Kerux and the article 'The Eschatological Aspect of Justification'  and his introduction to the gospel of John and his 'To the Hebrews": A Narrative Paradigm' gives practical insight into how this works out in James Dennison's mind.

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