Among the works which the Westminster Divines had commended as being particularly useful for the interpretation of the Bible were the ‘Dutch Annotations’. These had been produced by the committee that had overseen the translation of the Bible into Dutch, as authorized by the Synod of Dort in 1618. They were published with the Dutch Bible in 1637.
Theodore Haak (1605–90), a German émigré friend of Hartlib, who had pre viously served as an envoy to Denmark, won Parliamentary approval for a translation of the Dutch Annotations, and was granted copyright in the work for fourteen years from 1646. Haak’s initial progress was slow, however, and in 1648 he was forced to start again from the beginning of the translation, following a new method. A major difficulty was the fact that the Dutch text to which the annotations referred did not always concur with the Authorized Version. Further diplomatic activity distracted Haak from his task in the early 1650s, but, after May 1655, he worked solidly at the Annotations, completing them in 1657. The result was a literal, word-for-word translation of the original, that, however, omitted some of its aids to interpretation, in particular four maps after which John Worthington later inquired. Haak’s work provided English readers with a verse-by-verse, literal commentary on the text of the Bible, including, for example, a discussion of the true identity of the rivers mentioned in Genesis, chapter 2, an important aid in fixing the location of Eden.