New In Print: Cocceius On The Doctrine Of The Covenant And Testament of God

Cocceius-summa-de-foedereIn the history of Reformed theology, few volumes have been as important as Johannes Cocceius’ Doctrine of The Covenant and Testament of God (3rd edition, 1660). It appears in English for the first time as volume 3 in the Classic Reformed Theology series graciously published by Reformation Heritage Books. Cocceius (1603–69) was a skilled biblical scholar, philologist, and Reformed theologian. Born in German-speaking Bremen, he became most famous for his work in the theology faculty of the University Leiden, about 245 miles to the southwest of Bremen. As you will see in the introduction written by Willem van Asselt (1946–2014), young Johannes studied in Bremen and in Franeker, Friesland. He taught in Bremen for several years and then returned to teach in Franeker until he was called to the great University of Leiden in 1650. He published volumes on biblical philology, biblical commentary, and systematic theology as well as his most famous work, Summa de foedere. You can read the acknowledgments for yourself but credit must go to Dr Casey Carmichael (ThD, University of Geneva) for his skill in getting this text into English. Cocceius’ Latin is difficult and sometimes obscure. He was a humanist and he was not above showing off a bit, which, after a few hundred years time, can create significant challenges for a translator. It was not long before we began to understand why no one had attempted this project before. Casey is to be commended for his excellent work. We are in his debt.

This is not a volume for beginners in covenant theology but it is certainly a volume for anyone interested in the history of Reformed theology, Reformed orthodoxy, or covenant theology. My advice is to read it slowly and carefully.

We should also credit Dr Joel Beeke and Reformation Heritage Books for taking on the CRT series. I edit the series gratis but the translator should not be muzzled. In a time when other publishers are contracting such projects the reader should give thanks that RHB is willing to make this series available reasonably. The volume is 408 pages and at $38.00 it is, frankly, a steal. University presses routinely charge 4 or 5 times this for a comparable volume.

Thus, I am taking the unusual step of asking you to ask your church library and your school library to get a copy. If your pastor has an interest in covenant theology, this volume would make a nice gift and will keep him off the streets (in case that has been a problem) for some time to come.


Introduction by Willem J. van Asselt

  1. The Covenant of God in General
  2. The Covenant of Works
  3. The First Abrogation of the Covenant of Works by Sin
  4. The Second Abrogation of the Covenant of Works by the Covenant of Grace
  5. A Fuller Explanation of What Was Set Out in Advance
  6. The Application of the Testament and also the Sanction and Confirmation of the Covenant of Grace
  7. The Ability to Receive in the Covenant of Grace and Its Inducement
  8. The Constancy of the Covenant of Grace
  9. The End of the Covenant of Grace
  10. The Third Abrogation of the Covenant of Works by the Promulgation of the New Testament  in the Type of the Old Economy
  11. The Differences between the Former Period and the Later in the Economy of the Covenant of Grace
  12. The Benefits of the New Testament
  13. The Sacraments of the New Testament
  14. The Office of Bishop under the New Testament and the Government of the Church
  15. The Fourth Abrogation of the Covenant of Works by Death of the Body
  16. The Fifth Abrogation of the Covenant of Works by the Resurrection of the Body


“One of the leading Reformed theologians in the seventeenth century, Johannes Cocceius made an enduring contribution to the development of covenantal theology in the Summa Doctrinae de Foedere et Testamento Dei. The treatise represents a classic statement of federal theology and one of its most influential treatments in the development of Reformed thought. This elegant and nuanced edition by Casey Carmichael and Willem van Asselt is the first English translation of Cocceius’s most important work and should become a standard text for students interested in the history of Reformed theology.”

—Charles H. Parker, professor of history, Saint Louis University

“Johannes Cocceius was one of the seventeenth century’s most influential and controversial Reformed theologians, yet today he is little known and less well understood. Casey Carmichael has done all interested in the thought of that era an enormous service by making Cocceius’s Summa Doctrinae de Foedere et Testamento Dei available in English for the first time.”

—Philip Benedict, professor emeritus, University of Geneva’s Institute for Reformation History

Other Volumes in the Series

An-Exposition-of-the-Apostles-Creed (1) A-Sketch-of-the-Christians-Catechism (1)

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