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Adam Clarke Commentary

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Adam Clarke
Adam M. Clarke, c. 1830

Adam Clarke (1760 or 1762 - 1832) was a British Methodist theologian and Biblical scholar. He is chiefly remembered for writing a commentary on the Bible which took him 40 years to complete and which was a primary Methodist theological resource for two centuries.

Contained in 6 volumes, consisting of nearly 1,000 pages each, it was considered the most comprehensive commentary on the Bible ever prepared by one man. His commentary, particularly that on Revelation, identified the Catholic Church with the antichrist and bordered on antisemitic, as illustrated by the following quote:

"The Jewish philosophy, such as is found the Cabala, Midrashim, and other works, deserves the character of vain deceit, in the fullest sense and meaning of the words. The inspired writers excepted, the Jews have ever been the most puerile, absurd, and ridiculous reasoners in the world. Even Rabbi Maimon or Maimonides, the most intelligent of them all, is often, in his master-piece, the Moreh Neochim, the teacher of the perplexed, most deplorably empty and vain." A.C. 1831 VI p. 486


As a theologian, Clarke reinforced the teachings of Methodist founder John Wesley. He taught that the Bible provides a complete interpretation of God's nature and will. He considered Scripture itself a miracle of God's grace that "takes away the veil of darkness and ignorance." With such an understanding, Clarke was first and foremost a Biblical theologian, often uneasy with purely systematic approaches to theology.

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