Chapter II:34: History of the Dutch Translation, Part 1

But let the greatest care be taken by pious Magistrates, together with the Governors of the Churches, that for the Church publicly and privately provision be made of a faithful Version by Men skillful in Languages. In this respect both the Magistrates of the Netherlands as Nursing-Fathers to the Church,[1] and the Ministers of the Church themselves, have discharged their duty faithfully.  In the first times after the Reformation, the Church in the Netherlands made use of a Version of the Sacred Scripture, the author of which is unknown, prepared, not from the Hebrew and Greek founts, but from the German Version of Luther, which was problematic in many portions, however Eckhardus may endeavor to defend the same, Fasciculo Controversiarum cum Calvino, chapter I, question 5, pages 21-24.  With respect to the New Testament, the Dutch Version was thereafter emended and corrected in accordance with the Greek Text by JAN UYTENHOVE,[2] to whom were added as help JOHANNES A LASCO,[3] MARTINUS MICRON,[4] PETER and WALTER DELHEN, formerly Ministers of the Dutch Church in England:  and henceforth from this emendation our Church read the New Testament, after which this Version thus corrected was first published at Embden in 1565:  see ISAAC LE LONG’S Boekzaal der Nederduytsche Bybels,[5] pages 708, etc., 718.  However, innumerable errors, and some of those quite serious, were remaining, which both from Luther’s Version had adhered to ours, and additionally had crept in through the indolence of the Dutch Translators and type-setters.  For which reason a new Version, prepared from the very fountains, was altogether necessary.   Unto this most important work at diverse times were nominated Nobleman Philippus Marnixius, Lord of Saint-Aldegonde,[6] Arnoldus Cornelii,[7] and Wernerus Helmichius,[8] who all died with the work hardly begun.  And so by the States-General of the Netherlands the National Synod of Dort in the year 1618, after preparation made for this in Sessions VI-XII, in Session XIII designated certain eminent Theologians to undertake the care of the first preparation of this new Version, or of review it thereafter, and thus to render this work, so long desired, at last completed.  And the Translators of the Old Testament were indeed selected by the Synod, Johannes Bogerman,[9] Willem Baudært,[10] and Gerson Bucerus.[11]  To whom with additional votes were most closely joined Antonius Thysius, Jacobus Rolandus,[12] and Herman Faukelius.[13]  For the Translation of the New Testament and Apocryphal Books were chosen Jacobus Rolandus, Herman Faukelius, and Petrus Cornelii.  To these with superior votes were most closely conjoined Festus Hommius,[14] Antonius Walæus, and Jodocus Hoingius.  But, with the death of some that the Synod had designated intervening, Jacobus Rolandus, Antonius Walæus, and Festus Hommius actually translated the New Testament.

[1] Isaiah 49:23.

[2] Jan Uytenhove was a Ruling Elder of the Dutch congregation in London.

[3] Johannes a Lasco (1499-1560) was a Polish reformer.  He served as superintendent of the Strangers’ Church in London (1543-1555), composed mostly of French and Dutch refugees.

[4] Martinus Micron (c. 1522-1559) was one of the Dutch pastors of the Strangers’ Church.  He studied under Bullinger at the University of Basel.

[5] Isaac Le Long (1683-1762) was a historian and bibliographer.  Although of French descent, his family fled to the Netherlands for religion reasons.  He wrote a history of the Dutch translations of the Bible.

[6] Philips of Marnix (1540-1598) studied theology under Calvin and Beza at Geneva.  In 1560, he moved to the Netherlands and took an active part in the Reformation, serving as both a statesman and an author.  He undertook one of the earliest Dutch Bible translations.

[7] Arnold Cornelisz Crusius (1547-1605) was a Dutch Reformed minister.

[8] Werner Helmichius (1550-1608) was a Dutch Reformed minister.  In 1598, the States of Holland nominated Arnold Cornelisz Crusius and Werner Helmichius to make a new Dutch translation; but both men died, leaving the work incomplete.  The work of translation would not be resumed until 1618.

[9] Johannes Bogerman (1576-1637) was a Frisian Reformed Theologian.  He served as Professor of Theology at Franeker (1633-1637).  He was involved in the production of the Dutch Bible, and was president of the Synod of Dort.

[10] Willem Baudart (1565-1640) was a Dutch Reformed Theologian and Pastor.  He was particularly skillful in Hebrew.

[11] Gerson Bucerus (1565-1631) was a Dutch Reformed Minister, perhaps of English extraction.  He was a noted Hebraist.

[12] Jacobus Rolandus (1562-1632) was a Dutch Reformed Minister.  He was a zealous opponent of the Remonstrants, and a mover in the calling of a national synod to handle the crisis.

[13] Herman Faukelius (1560-1625) was a Dutch Reformed Minister.  He was active in the struggle with the Remonstrants, and a representative of the Zeelandic churches to the Synod of Dort.

[14] Festus Hommius (1576-1642) was a Dutch Theologian and Pastor.  He was actively involved in opposing the Remonstrants, and served as secretary to the Synod of Dort.

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