The Debate over the Vowel Points and the Crisis in Orthodox Hermeneutics

Richard A. Muller

in After Calvin

Published in print March 2003 | ISBN: 9780195157017
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849581 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Historical Theology

The Debate over the Vowel Points and the Crisis in Orthodox Hermeneutics

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This chapter examines the materials of a famous but little-examined and misunderstood 17th-century debate over the text of the Scripture. At least one modern debate pits an obscurantist scholastic defense of the Mosaic origins of the vowel points against the more well-known views of the Reformation and the forward march of the exegesis. However, one of the foremost Judaic scholars of the era, John Lightfoot, remembered for arguing for the use of Judaica to establish the context and meaning of the New Testament, upheld the Mosaic origin of the vowel points. Analysis of the debate over the vowel points, often cited as an example of the mental rigidity of the Reformed orthodox and their discontinuity with the exegetical and hermeneutical approaches of the Reformers, illustrates a complex development of Reformed thought.

Keywords: orthodox hermeneutics; Judaica; vowel points; John Lightfoot

Chapter.  6013 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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