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Johannes Cocceius as Federal Polemicist: The Usefulness of the Distinction between the Testaments

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Chapter Summary

This chapter demonstrates that Johannes Cocceius developed a complex, even scholastic, federal system for the most practical of churchly purposes-the conversion of Jews and other errant faiths-by reexamining his distinction between πάρεσις / ἄφεσις with a particular eye to its usefulness for polemics. It first examines the evidence for Cocceius as a polemical theologian from the Dedication of his Hebrews commentary. The chapter then looks at his motivation for the distinction in Moreh nebochim (1666). Further evidence for the polemical orientation of the entire Cocceian corpus, and how it relates to his view of the testaments, is drawn from his commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews. Cocceius' dedication to his Hebrews commentary suggests polemical method as an underlying cause of the Leiden Sabbath debates. A key difference between Cocceius and his orthodox brethren was the question of how many testaments ought to be enumerated.

Keywords: federal polemicist; Hebrews commentary; Johannes Cocceius; Moreh nebochim; New Testament; Old Testament



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