Christian Reader, I hope that you will give serious attention to this plea for your help. It is important.
Biblical and Theological Archaeology
Long experience has taught me that not all of our Protestant heritage has made its way into the English language. Happily, the fundamentals of the Christian faith, and much of the superstructure, is readily available in English-speaking lands. However, there are gaps, and important material remains locked up in foreign language, especially Latin. Ignorance concerning this material continues to be a source of contention and division, as the unhappy combatants strive in darkness.
This calls for a certain sort of Archaeological work: The resources of the past need to be mined, so that this missing material might be recovered for use in English-speaking lands of the present day. The loss has been in two principal areas: 1. the exegesis/interpretation of the Scripture; 2. the system of theology.
With respect to exegetical archaeology, Matthew Poole’s Latin Synopsis Criticorum (Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters) has been selected. Matthew Poole was a seventeenth century English Puritan, and his Synopsis is the fruit of ten years of unremitting labor. Poole’s goal was to produce a verse-by-verse history of interpretation, capturing all of the significant interpretive positions and their sources (ancient and medieval Rabbis, Church Fathers, Medieval Schoolmen, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Reformed, etc.). Having labored in the Synopsisfor ten years, I am able to testify firsthand that there is much valuable material either rarely or completely unavailable in English. The loss is tremendous; the work of recovery, important. The ascended Lord Jesus promised to provide faithful teachers in all ages to aid His people in the understanding and application of that Word (Ephesians 4:11-13). Poole’s Synopsis is a record of their teaching, a thing of surpassing value.
[Note: To illustrate the value of the Synopsis, it was a favorite exegetical resource of Philip and Matthew Henry; and Matthew Henry produced what is in all probability the most important and influential Bible Commentary in the English language: also, Jonathan Edwards, America’s greatest theologian and philosopher, preferred the Synopsis to all other Bible commentaries, and references it more heavily than all of the others combined.]
You can read more about the Synopsis, and see samples of the translation, at the Project’s website.
With respect to theological archaeology, Bernardinus De Moor’s Systematic Theology has been selected. De Moor was a mid-eighteenth century Dutch theologian. He was a Protestant, and fully orthodox; but he labored in the midst of the decline of the old Protestant orthodoxy. It was De Moor’s desire to summarize and preserve more than two centuries of Protestant thought, and his efforts produced his massive Compendium of Christian Theology (1761-1778; in seven volumes). De Moor’s Compendium is a masterpiece, comprehensive in its breadth, and preserving material on subjects scarcely to be found anywhere in the English language.
You can see a further description of the project, and samples of the translation as you browse this website.
Making the Archaeology Accessible
Even in translation, Poole and De Moor are not easy reading; so efforts are being made to make this work as accessible as possible to all English-speaking Christians.
1. The books are heavily annotated to help the reader in points of potential difficulty.
2. As sections of the translations are completed, they are being posted in blog format, so that readers can study along with Poole and De Moor. Digestion is helped by the bite-sized portions.
3. Some of the most important, interesting, and rare portions of Poole and De Moor are being excised and published with introductory essays, to make the very best of these works readily accessible to the common reader.
4. Plans are in the works to make this literature available to Christians worldwide at little cost to the end-line user, a great blessing to impoverished Christians scattered around the globe.
Currently, I work as I am afforded time, an hour here, fifteen minutes there. It is on my heart (I believe that the Lord Himself has placed it there) to give myself to this work full-time. Working full-time, I think that both of these works can be completed in ten years or so, and be a positive spiritual influence for generations to come.
In order to make this dream a reality, I need help from the broader body of Christ, Christians that believe in this work. Please prayerfully consider contributing financially to this work (see Philippians 4:10-19). Of course, any sort of donation is welcome, 1. a one-time gift; or, 2. a regular monthly gift. Indeed, it is my hope that a financial backbone of regular monthly contributions might be built. If you are able to commit to $100/month, I will send you all of the new publications for free. Even working part-time, I anticipate publishing three books a year; if I am able to work full-time, the number will be closer to six. Even if you are not able to give $100/month, you will receive e-books of all publications, and as many of the print-books as finances will allow.
I would be interested in hearing your thoughts (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Donations can be made through Paypal here.
I am grateful for your time, and your prayerful consideration of these matters.
In Christ’s service,
Dr. Steven Dilday