Francis Turretin's Institutes of Elenctic Theology
This large 3 volume work is a gold mine of precise and careful thought. Turretin has been the object of odium in some (even Reformed) theological circles, but the one who takes time to read Turretin will find such sentiment to be unwarranted. Turretin was not a rationalist, merely rational. He was a seventeenth century Reformed pastor and theologian who clearly articulated Reformed doctrine in the midst of those who were opposing such doctrine. I have found Turretin to be biblical in his doctrine, delicate and precise in his thought, clear in his articulation, and powerful in his argumentation.
Turretin organized his Institutes into 20 topics (loci) that range from "Prolegomena" (that is, very necessary introductory considerations) to "The Last Things." Each topic (locus) is organized by specific questions. For example, locus 20 is divided into 13 questions. Question 2 reads, "Are the same bodies numerically which have died to be raised again? We affirm against the Socinians." Turretin raised this particual question because he wanted to defend the biblical doctrine of the bodily resurrection from an error that was being taught in his day. Turretin's theology is indeed elenctic (that is, polemic or argumentitive), for a great portion of his Institutes is written against the Roman Catholics, Arminians, Socinians, Anabaptists, and others. Turretin's Institutes is not merely a negative work (exposing the errors of unbiblical doctrine), but is positive. He builds up and defends biblical doctrine in every locus.
As for the edition, Dr. Dennison has blessed us all in editing and indexing the whole work. He has also provided a 19 page biography of Turretin, the message given at Turretin's funeral, and a short biography of George Giger (the translator). These volumes are sturdy and will last for decades.
As for the translation, this edition is a publication of George M. Giger's translation of the Institutes. Giger died in 1865 having produced this translation at the behest of Charles Hodge. The translation strikes me as unduly bulky and difficult at times, yet clear and quite understandable at others. There are other translations of particular loci, but one cannot find the entire work in English except in this translation.