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Wyngaarden, Martin J. (1891-1978) | Heritage Hall, Hekman Library

Name: Wyngaarden, Martin J. (1891-1978)


Historical Note:

Martin Jacob Wyngaarden was born in Oostburg, Wisconsin, where his father was minister.  From 1898 to 1904 the family lived n Harrison, South Dakota.  In 1914, Martin graduated from John Calvin Junior College in Grand Rapids and served as principal in the Christian school in Sioux Center, Iowa.

Continuing his education, Martin Wyngaarden received an AB from the University of Washington in 1915.  Three years later he graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary.  After a year at Princeton Seminary he received his BD.  Dr. R. D. Wilson, his professor, encouraged him to continue his studies in Old Testament and Semitics.  In 1922 he received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania with a dissertation entitled The Syriac Version of the Book of Daniel.  Another year at Yale was possible through a fellowship.

When Dr. Wyngaarden was ordained to the ministry in the Christian Reformed Church of Tracy, Iowa, in 1923, his father took part in the installation service.  In 1924, one year later, he received an appointment to the chair of Old Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary, a chair he occupied until his retirement thirty-seven years later.  In 1937-1939 he also taught in an emergency situation at Western Theological Seminary.

Professor Martin Wyngaarden was a member of many theological societies.  His theologically conservative stance was well known by members of the societies some of whom differed with him radically but remained congenial.  At Princeton, when a professor threatened to withhold a degree if he adhered to the teaching of the virgin birth, he refused to be intimidated.  In his presentation of papers he remained consistent to his biblical convictions.

In addition to his published dissertation, Dr. M. Wyngaarden also wrote "The Future of the Kingdom" and "The Glory of Christ and Other Biblical Studies."  He served as one of the translators on the staff of the Berkeley Version of the Bible and was involved in the initial work of the New International Version.  His seminary instruction involved extensive use of syllabi.

Our collection includes articles and papers, notes of his student days, mimeographed notes of seminary material, and a number of brochures and booklets used for background study.

Martin J. Wyngaarden passed away 11 August 1978.  The funeral sermon by Rev. Jacob Eppinga was on a text requested by Martin J. Wyngaarden. He was survived by this wife, Johanna (Kempers) and their 4 children.

An anecdote of a student of Professor Wyngaarden:  One class session we were all present in his classroom for the usual Hebrew class.  However, the professor did not appear.  Ten minutes passed so we left the room.  The following day he expressed surprise that we had not remained waiting from him "since his hat was on his desk!"  This was supposed to indicate that he was, indeed, in the seminary building.  At a subsequent class session all of us came to class before the professor arrived, placed headgear on our desks and departed.  The only excuse we had to offer the following day was, "Our hats or caps were on our desks."  Nothing further was said.  In due time we all graduated from the seminary.






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