A Word About Waldenström

by Tommy Carlson

Since the first issue of Pietisten was published in the summer of 1986, one of our foci has been and will continue to be Biblical text . As a regular source of commentary we have been using the work of P.P. Waldenström. While he is familiar to many students of pietism, some of you may not be aware of his history and of hi s special association with this journal. Here is a brief biography.

Paul Peter Waldenström was born in Lulea, Sweden, July 20, 1838. As a young man, he moved to Uppsala and began on his way to becoming an excellent Biblical scholar. Taking his "student" degree in 1857, he entered his internship. That same year, in the parish of Kalmar, Waldenström had a conversion experience. After that significant event, he continued his education at the university. He was ordained in 1864 by Archbishop Reuterdahl at Uppsala. While a student, he came to know and to be deeply influenced by C.O. Rosenius (also of Lulea), who had joined with George Scott in founding Pietisten. When Scott left Sweden shortly after the paper's founding, Rosenius became editor. Upon Rosenius' death in 1868, Waldenström succeeded him as editor. He became deeply involved in the pietist conventicle movement and was associated with controversies ranging from free communion to atonement. In 1882 he resigned from the state church having never served in his own parish. Waldenström served from 1884 to 1905 as a member of the second chamber of the Swedish parliament. In 1904, after being involved in a political and theological struggle with his old friend, E.J. Ekman, Waldenström replaced Ekman as president of the Swedish Covenant. Paul Peter Waldenström died July 14, 1917.

A bit more concerning Waldenström's work as a Biblical scholar is also in order here. During his life he s pent eleven years translating the New Testament from Greek to Swedish. He also added commentaries ranging from word studies to theological expositions. His aim, as stated in the introduction to his commentary, was: 1 — To translate the N.T. text comprehensively, following the oldest and most reliable evidence; 2 — To render the words of the original text through the translation, as true as possible without outside consideration; 3 — To render the words of the original text in as good and clean Swedish as is possible for me; 4 — To explain plainly in the comments the understanding of the word as far as I have the capacity to understand it.

And, finally, this additional word from the preface to Waldenström's commentary: "In the comments it has been my endeavor not to say too much and not to say too little, while with as few words as possible, to say in substance as much as possible. Whether I have always been successful is another thing whose judgment will be for others. I n many places I have probably said too much for some and too little for others. I have done as well as I have had grace. May God in His grace bless this my work for the teaching and guidance of those, who in their consideration of God's word, seek not only an occasional reviving of the senses, but areal penetrating to the Divine word's right understanding and in that learn to know God more and more and Him whom He sent, Jesus Christ, whose blood cleanses from all sins.

Gavle, 16 Dec., 1886, P. Waldenström