Hermann Olshausen’s Biblical Commentary on the New Testament—a penetrating chapter-by-chapter commentary—investigates in detail the important historical, textual, and interpretive issues of the entire New Testament. In these volumes, Olshausen discusses the leading critical points and unfolds the rich doctrinal and practical teachings of the New Testament. He also carefully traces the history of canonization and the entire history of interpretation. This commentary set also includes Olshausen’s 100-page treatise, “The Genuineness of the Writings of the New Testament,” a valuable introduction the central issues at stake in the interpretation of the New Testament.
In his Biblical Commentary on the New Testament, Olshausen writes at length on historical and authorship issues, linguistic and textual issues, and the New Testament use of the Old Testament. His commentary recognizes the organic unity of the entire Scriptures and the role of the Holy Spirit in its writing and interpretation, yet he encourages the use of historical and critical investigation of Scripture. In this way, Olshausen anticipates the debate over infallibility, inspiration, and inerrancy later taken up by B.B. Warfield and the generations of Reformed and evangelical biblical scholars that followed.
Although his New Testament commentary is rich with scholarly insight on textual, historical, and linguistic issues, his main goal of explaining the theological meaning of Scripture for ordinary readers remains throughout each volume of the commentary. That makes Olshausen’s Biblical Commentary on the New Testament eminently useful for scholars; yet lay readers will profit from its readability. Olshausen’s pivotal position in the history of biblical scholarship—serving as a bridge between eighteenth century Protestant orthodoxy and the rise of nineteenth century liberalism and fundamentalism—also make him important for historical studies.
The Commentaries of Olshausen are remarkable for their union of the results of critical learning with devout feeling, and an insight which takes up very effectively the train of thought in the apostle or evangelist. In this last respect he approaches Calvin.
Hermann Olshausen was born in 1796 at Oldeslohe and educated at Kiel and Berlin. He began teaching at the University of Berlin in 1820, and became theological professor of Königsberg from 1821 to 1834. In 1834, he moved to the University of Erlangen in Bavaria. In addition to his Biblical Commentary on the New Testament, he also authored Ein Wort über tieferen Schriftsinn and Die biblische Schriftauslegung.