• Keith Mathison

Andrew Willet (1562-1621) vs. Cardinal Bellarmine


Andrew Willet (1562-1621) is not a familiar name to most people today. He was a sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Church of England minister who wrote a number of biblical commentaries including extensive ones on Genesis and Exodus and Romans. These commentaries are extremely helpful. They are hexaplas in that they address the biblical text in six ways: "1. The method or argument: 2. The divers readings: 3. The explanation of difficult questions and doubtfull places: 4. The places of doctrine: 5. Places of confutation: 6. Morall observations."


Willet not only wrote biblical commentaries. He also engaged extensively in the Protestant debate with Roman Catholicism. He wrote the Synopsis Papismi in 1594 as a lengthy response to the apologetic works of the Jesuit Cardinal Robert Bellarmine. When I say lengthy, I mean lengthy. This book is a 1352 page monster. In 1596, he published a follow up work titled Tetrastylon Papisticum also in response to Roman Catholic doctrine and practice. Given the recent publication of Bellarmine's pro-Roman apologetic works, Protestants might want to re-acquaint themselves with some of the older works written in response. Willet's is arguably one of the most thorough.


These two links, by the way, are links to early English translations of these classic works.



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