Calvin’s Earliest Letter

Calvin lost his father at an early age, as we learn from one of his letters. According however to Beza’s account, it happened when Calvin was about twenty-three years old, and was studying at Bourges, that is, three years later than the date of the letter.

This letter, the earliest document in his hand, is dated May 6, 1528, when he was a youth of eighteen or nineteen. It was written to a friend, Nicolas du Chemin (Chemmins) from Noyon, whither he had returned from Paris or Orleans. A youthful spirit breathes in every line, and it is marked by the character which distinguishes his later correspondence—by friendship, conscientiousness, and truth:—

“The promise which I gave you, on setting out, soon to be with you again, kept me for a long time in a state of uncertainty; the sickness of my father, while I was preparing to return to you, creating a new cause of delay. But when the physician gave hopes of his recovery, I then saw nothing in this delay but that the desire to rejoin you, which originally moved me deeply, grew still greater by the intervention of a few days. In the mean time, one day after another has passed away, and at last, every hope of preserving my father’s life has vanished. The approach of death is certain. But, at all events, I shall see you again. Remember me to Francis Daniel; to Philip, and all the rest who are with you. Have you put yourself yet under the professors of literature? Take care that your discretion does not make you idle. Farewell, dear Chemin; my friend, dearer than life!”*

Calvin’s lifelong war on idleness started at a young age.  Good for him.

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*Paul Henry and Henry Stebbing, The Life and Times of John Calvin, the Great Reformer (vol. 1; New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1851), 25.

Quote of the Day

“Regeneration is the creation and the conferral of a new, good and holy quality, bestowed or rather infused into us by God through his Holy Spirit. Therefore, this our regeneration is a quality and it is righteousness inherent in us.” — Lambert Daneau

Believe it or Not, Some People Didn’t Like Calvin!

I know, weird, right?

That Calvin made many enemies, and could not avoid making them, goes without saying. Like Dante, who thought nothing of putting his own friends among the damned in Inferno, when the requirements of justice demanded it, so Calvin could be inexorably unmerciful whenever he supposed that the honour of God was involved. One who came under the lash of his tongue in a public controversy was wont afterwards to declare that he knew Calvin and Beza well, but that he would rather be in hell with Beza than in heaven with Calvin.

A report of Calvin’s death made multitudes delirious with joy. When a false rumour of this kind got abroad in 1551, a day of thanksgiving was proclaimed in his native place, and a solemn procession of the canons of the cathedral took place. Even Grotius, philosopher as he was, must have had a mortal dislike to Calvin, if he really did say what is placed to his credit, that the spirit of Antichrist had been seen, not on the banks of the Tiber only, but on those of lake Leman.*

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*Henry Henderson, Calvin in His Letters (London: J. M. Dent & Company, 1909), 85–86.

Über Luther und die Reformation – Im Gespräch mit Thomas Kaufmann

Ingeborg Lüdtke: Die Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland ist der Zusammenschluss von selbstständigen lutherischen, reformierten und unierten Landeskirchen. Ihnen gehören 14.800 rechtlich selbstständige Kirchengemeinden an.  Was würde Martin Luther heute dazu sagen? Ist die Reformation gescheitert?

Thomas Kaufmann: Luther hat Kirche in erster Linie von der Gemeinde her gedacht. Insofern ist die große Zahl selbstständig existierender Gemeinden kein Skandal. Luther hat versucht, im Rahmen des ihm Möglichen das Landeskirchentum zu stärken. Das war unter den Bedingungen des 16. Jahrhunderts realistisch. Die Landesherren haben dann innerhalb ihres politischen Zuständigkeitsbereichs eine kirchliche Ordnung aufgebaut, die für diesen Bereich einheitlich war. Es lag ihm daran, dass man nicht in einem Dorf so das Abendmahl feiert und in einem anderen Dorf anders. Diese Funktion ist, glaube ich, nach wie vor durchaus zentral. Andernfalls ist das regelmäßig ein Anlass für unsinnige und unnötige Konflikte. Wie Luther ansonsten unsere theologische oder kirchliche Gesamtlage beurteilen würde, ist schwer zu sagen. Klar ist, dass wir heute mit der allergrößten Selbstverständlichkeit in einer Stadt wie Göttingen unterschiedliche Kirchen haben: die Reformierten, die Mehrheitskirche: die Lutheraner, die katholische Kirche, kirchliche Gemeinschaften, Gruppen, Baptisten, Mennoniten usw. Das wäre für Luther unvorstellbar gewesen. Er hat im Prinzip an der Vorstellung festgehalten, das innerhalb eines Gemeinwesens auch eine Religion zu herrschen habe. Dass es heute eine jüdische Gemeinde in Göttingen gibt, empfinden wir als ein großes Glück, ja als Segen. Für Luther wäre das anstößig gewesen.

And a lot more!

Zwingli in the Arts – #ICYMI

Daniel Lienhard- an artist in Zurich- has drawn these wondrous pieces of art.  The first four show that Luther and Zwingli had far more in common than usually discussed and the last two are just for fun:

Use of these images is by permission of the artist only.  Please don’t redistribute or repost them.

Reformation Course in Budapest

The Concept of the Long Reformation and the Literary History of Early Modern Hungary and Transylvania

While the course will be hosted by the Institute of Literary Studies the lectures and seminars will be given by the research fellows of the Renaissance Department. Thus 6 doctoral students will have the chance to have a scholarly dialogue and work together with some of the leading experts of early modern Hungarian and Neo-Latin literary culture.

The language of the course is Hungarian and all the attendants are students of early modern Hungarian literary studies. The course has been designed to cover three days of intensive teaching consisting of lectures and seminars, followed by a single day reserved for research in the library of the institute, and finally, concluded by a workshop during which the attending doctoral students would introduce their projects.

And more.