“Quid est homo quod memor es ipsius?” Calvin and Cocceius (1603–1669) on Psalm 8

in Church History and Religious Culture
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This article addresses a controversy between Reformed theologians on the exegesis of Psalm 8 which arose in the Dutch Reformed Church during the late seventeenth century. The followers of the Leiden theologian Johannes Cocceius proposed an eschatological (even apocalyptic) reading of this Psalm which was vehemently contested by the followers of the Utrecht professor Gisbertus Voetius. Both parties appealed to Calvin’s exegesis of this Psalm and argued that their opinions were in continuity with those of Calvin. By comparing Calvin’s exegesis of this Psalm to Cocceius’s explanation, it is possible to illuminate the seventeenth-century debate on this issue. This may also be instructive for explaining the variegated views on Biblical prophecy within the Reformed tradition. At the same time, an investigation of the sources of both theologians enables us to locate them in the history of exegesis.

“Quid est homo quod memor es ipsius?” Calvin and Cocceius (1603–1669) on Psalm 8

in Church History and Religious Culture




See Barbara Pitkin‘Imitation of David: David as a Paradigm for Faith in Calvin’s Exegesis of the Psalms,’ Sixteenth Century Journal 24 (1993) 843–863.


See H.A. Oberman‘Calvin’s Legacy. Its Greatness and Limitations,’ in The Two Reformations: The Journey From the Last Days to the New Worlded. Donald Weinstein (New Haven 2006) pp. 116–225. See for the asylum motive in Calvin also Selderhuis Calvin’s Theology of the Psalms (see above n. 8) pp. 34–36.


Cocceius‘Indignatio adversus personatum Nathaelem Johnsonum,’ Scripta de Sabbatoin Opera omnia (see above n. 26) 7: 57.


See Richard A. Muller‘Biblical Interpretation in the Era of Reformation: The View from the Middle Ages,’ in Biblical Interpretation in the Era of Reformationed. Richard A. Muller and John L. Thompson (Grand Rapids 1996) pp. 3–22.


See Theresa Gross-Diaz‘What’s A Good Soldier to Do? Scholarship and Revelation in the Postills on the Psalms,’ in Nicholas of Lyra: The Senses of Scriptureed. Philip D.W. Krey and Lesley Smith (Leiden 2000) pp. 111–128.


See Willem J. van Asselt‘Chiliasm and Reformed Eschatology in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,’ Christian Hope in Context2 vols. ed. Aad van Egmond and Dirk van Keulen (Zoetermeer 2001) 1: 11–29.

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