Seventeenth Century Book Acquired by Southwestern Seminary


The Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has recently acquired a first edition volume of Henry Hammond’s“ A Paraphrase and Annotations upon All the Book of the New Testament.” This rare book was printed in London in 1653.

Hammond, though obscure in this time and age, was one of the more influential English commentators of his time. Many historians have often dubbed Hammond as being the father of both English commentating and exegesis. “This was the first commentary of any length to be published in the English language,” E. Earl Ellis said to BP.

Ellis is the research professor of theology emeritus at the seminary and the donor of this first edition publication. The book came into Ellis’ possession after a visit to a second-hand book store in London. “I’ve kept it and still use it,” Ellis explained to BP. “I have even made use of it in my commentary on First Corinthians. But I am happy to give this to our library here, and hope it will be useful to many in the years to come.”

The Southwestern Seminary’s dean of libraries, Berry Driver explained to BP that Hammond’s New Testament commentary is considered Hammond’s “magnum opus” by many in the scholarly community. Already, the Southwestern Seminary library collection contains 19th century editions of Hammond’s “Practical Catechism,” “Miscellaneous Theological Works,” and “31 Sermons Preached on Several Occasions.

Henry Hammond lived in England from 1605 – 1660. At one point in his life, Hammond served as the chaplain to King Charles I. The king was recorded to say that Hammond was the most natural orator he had come upon. Hammond’ role in the English court ended with Charles’ imprisonment in the mid-1640s following Oliver Cromwell’s rule over England. During this time, Hammond remained loyal, attending to the imprisoned king. Due to his affiliations to the king, Hammond was forced into exile at Oxford. In his lifetime, Hammond was respected for his scholarly work and talent in preaching. He was well liked, even by his adversaries.

According to BP, the Southwestern Seminary President Paige Patterson showed great appreciation in receiving a copy of this book. “I appreciate you even more today in light of [receiving] this very wonderful gift to the seminary,” Patterson told Ellis in the middle of a chapel service at the seminary.

[All quotes courtesy of BP]