We continue to meet with a host of lesser known theologians of the past in this portion: Amana [or Amama?], Pareus, Tiele, Hofmann, Tuch, Gunkel, Rabbi Solomon Ben Melech (or Aben Melech), Rabbi Jarchi [or Rashi], Onkelos, etc., they all had something to say on the grammar of Gen. 4:1, and most were confused on its meaning. But as you read Pardieck's compilation, he glues it all together from the basis of the true meaning of this passage, what the words actually say.
I beg the reader's pardon in portions of this translation for its roughness. I am sure others could do the job much better, especially for those with Hebrew expertise. But the content of this essay is too important to overlook... it has to do with strengthening my faith... and nothing is more important.
Pardieck's essay brings up the fact that both the Septuagint (or LXX, the Greek translation of the O.T.) and the Vulgate (the old Latin translation of the Bible) did not translate the Hebrew words of Genesis 4:1 as Luther did. For some, this presents a stumbling block to accepting Luther's work, for after all, these were long before Luther. But the Lutherans are not about accepting what anybody else thinks, but rather what the words say. Franz Pieper said the following in one of his "Luther Hours" lectures to the student body of Concordia Seminary:
When we therefore speak of Luther’s or Chemnitz’s or Gerhard’s exposition of Scripture, then we do so in the sense that Luther, Chemnitz and Gerhard have shown us from the Scripture itself how a text of Holy Scripture is to be understood. .... No person, no number of people, as highly regarded or learned they might also be, no synod, no entire church body can lay down a decree how a text of Holy Scripture is to be understood. But everyone has to prove to each other, when they interpret Scripture that the interpretation which they offer, is not their interpretation, but the exposition of Holy Scripture itself. (bolding is mine; 6th Lecture, on True Visible Church, ca. 1890, translation by Australian pastor)Yes indeed, it took a Martin Luther to restore the meaning of Genesis 4:1 from the original Hebrew words themselves. What does that say about today's modern theology that has corrupted Luther's translation?
There was a Bible commentary written by a colleague of Franz Pieper, in English in the 1920s, that follows the Lutheran meaning, i.e. as the words read. It was by Paul Kretzmann entitled Popular Commentary of the Bible, in 4 volumes. It was written while Pieper was still alive, while the Missouri Synod still had a pure teacher of the Gospel as its head teacher. I see that CPH has picked up this old title from their archives and is to be commended for publishing it again. It is not inexpensive because of its large size, but quite voluminous. Kretzmann chose to write his commentary in English, not German, and I suppose that is why he called it a "Popular Commentary". I extracted Kretzmann's paragraph on Gen. 4:1 from the "Kretzmann Project" website:
The offerings of Cain and Abel. — V.1. And Adam knew Eve, his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord. In the order of natural procreation, according to the blessing which the Lord had pronounced upon the man and his wife, Eve gave birth to a son, whom she named Cain (possession). The reason for giving her first-born son this name is shown in her joyful exclamation: I have gotten a man, Jehovah (which is the exact translation). The first Messianic prophecy had been given, and faith in this prophecy lived in the heart of Eve. Although she therefore made a mistake in the person when she believed this son of hers to be the promised Messiah, she showed that her desire was directed toward the man, toward the Seed of the woman, who was to crush the head of the serpent.2) Adam and Eve were the first sinners, but also the first believers, the beginning of the Church of God on earth. We walk in the footsteps of Eve’s faith.Kretzmann's Popular Commentary is a vast improvement over the sea of Bible commentaries from the Reformed theologians and later Lutheran theologians. Indeed, it may be the best Bible commentary written in English that is available today. Paul Kretzmann eventually left the LC-MS... after Pieper's death. As with Friedrich Wyneken, I would put Paul Kretzmann in the 2nd tier of theologians of the old (German) Missouri Synod, chiefly because he was not as strong in teaching and defending the doctrine of Justification as... C.F.W. Walther and Franz Pieper.
In the next Part 9...