Locke’s Influence on the Exegesis of Peirce, Hallett, and Benson
When Locke died in 1704, he had written paraphrases and notes on five of the epistles traditionally ascribed to Paul: Galatians, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Romans, and Ephesians. At the time of his death his work on Galatians was already in the hands of the printer, and both Galatians and the work on the other epistles appeared posthumously. Commentaries on books of the Bible in the form of paraphrases and notes were not new with Locke. It was already a popular fashion and continued to be so after Locke’s death. Three writers in particular carried on Locke’s work by writing paraphrases and notes on those New Testament epistles on which he had not commented. All three were dissenting ministers, and all three departed from orthodoxy in important points of doctrine. They were James Peirce, Joseph Hallett, who completed Peirce’s work on the Epistle to the Hebrews, and George Benson. All three of them were learned and scholarly writers, and all of them held pastoral office in dissenting congregations.