Sunday 31 July 2005

Adolf Schlatter (1852-1938)

On the weekend, with my Saturday morning toast and tea I read Werner Neuer’s little book Adolf Schlatter: A Biography of Germany’s Premier Biblical Theologian, trans. Robert W. Yarbrough (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995). I was able to read it in a single sitting—it’s a fast-paced, engaging biography with lots of photos.

I had never realised the astounding breadth of Schlatter’s writing. As well as his famous volumes on New Testament theology and dogmatics, he wrote numerous commentaries, exegetical studies, and books on philosophy, ethics, church history, Judaism, and more. And he remained prolific until the end. Between the ages of 77 and 85 he wrote his nine big scholarly New Testament commentaries (more than one a year!).

Here are my favourite lines from the biography (p. 126): During a period of inactivity and depression in 1915, Schlatter wrote in a letter: “I already close my eyes, full of pain, at the frightful series of books that I have been guilty of writing. One [truly good book] would have outweighed this whole miserable pile, each of which languishes unfinished, hardly begun.”

1 Comment:

Dane Ortlund said...

Thanks for the post on Schlatter Ben! I wish I had noticed it last year when you wrote it!

I love Schlatter - after Edwards he is my favorite theologian. Werner's biography is indeed fascinating. Anyhow - it was fun to see that you enjoyed it as much as I did - even if my comment is a bit tardy!


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