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Sean Michael Lucas reports:

Rev. Dr. Herman Ridderbos, one of the foremost developers of the redemptive-historical approach to Biblical theology, a hallmark of Westminster Theological Seminary, died 8 March, having celebrated his 98th birthday on 13 March. Among his more widely distributed writings were "Redemptive History and the New Testament Scriptures," "Paul and Jesus," and "Paul: An Outline of His Theology." Reportedly Ned Stonehouse once said this of Ridderbos: "Wherever the Dutch language is read Professor Herman Ridderbos is recognized as an outstanding New Testament scholar and theologian . . ."

HT: Jack Collins

An interesting thing about Ridderbos: despite being one of the most influential NT scholars of the 20th century, there seems to be almost no personal information about him publicly available. If I’m wrong on that, let me know. Here’s the basic information:

Herman Nicolaas Ridderbos was born in 1900 [sic?]. His father, Jan Ridderbos, was an ordained minister in the Reformed Church of the Netherlands, a biblical commentator, and professor of Old Testament at the Theological School of the Reformed Churches of the Netherlands in Kampen. Herman Ridderbos completed his undergraduate studies there, and did his post-graduate work at the Free University of Amsterdam under F. W. Grosheide, qualifying for his doctorate in 1936. In 1943, after serving as a pastor for eight years, Ridderbos was appointed to the post of Professor of New Testament Studies at that same school, succeeding Dr. Sidney Greidanus who had been one of his professors. He served there for over forty years.

H. N. Ridderbos’s brother N. H. Ridderbos became Professor of Old Testament at the Free University of Amsterdam in the early fifties. The Ridderbos family name, needless to say, has become virtually synonymous with eminent Biblical scholarship. Ridderbos was raised in the church. From his father, a staunch churchman and prominent spokesman in the Dutch controversy of the 30s and 40s, Ridderbos learned first hand both the dangers which a psychologizing homiletic posed to the church of God and the imperative to ground all things in the objective realities revealed in Scripture. Ridderbos became a vocal churchman in his own right, arguing effectively in sermons, lectures, treatises, and the ecclesiastical courts, for a redemptive historical approach and understanding of Scripture. Ridderbos’s antagonism against dilusive subjectivism is evident in all of his works. A prolific New Testament commentator and redemptive historical theologian par excellence, Ridderbos has produced some of the most helpful insights on redemptive history, corporate personality, the Kingdom of God and eschatology. His seminal work on the theology of Paul is widely and highly acclaimed, and is considered a definitive exposition of by many, both in the Reformed church and by the scholarly community at large.


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6 thoughts on “Herman Ridderbos (1909-2007)”

  1. Rick B. says:

    Am I reading it wrong or did he die and then celebrate a birthday?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Very Sad to hear about Ridderbos. His work helped inspire my blog.

    theroadtoemmaus@wordpress.com

    Chad

  3. Philip R. Gons says:

    His birthday was in February, not March. His birth year was 1909 not 1900. I chose Ridderbos as my theologian to study in Advanced New Testament Theology. I came across a a fair amount of helpful material, and I have lots of pictures, audio, video, a powerpoint, etc. I hope to post an article tomorrow morning on my blog and provide a summary of life and theology.

    Phil

  4. A. B. Caneday says:

    Phil,

    Thanks for the clarification.

    I was wondering how Ridderbos could celebrate his 98 birthday on March 13 but die on March 8.

  5. Philip R. Gons says:

    I just posted some material that you might find helpful: Herman Nicolaas Ridderbos.

  6. T. House says:

    Did Ridderbos ever write the Matthew commentary for the NICNT series as he was scheduled to do? I can’t find it anywhere and it is the only volume I have missing.

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Justin Taylor, PhD


Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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