Daily Archives: 7 Jan 2018

Fun Facts From Church History: Calvin’s Family, too, Had its Warts

The wife of [Calvin’s] beloved brother, Antoine, long suspected of unworthy conduct, was charged with adultery committed with Calvin’s hunchbacked secretary-servant, Pierre Dagnet, while all were inhabiting Calvin’s house. On January 7, 1557, Calvin and his brother laid the case before the Consistory, by which it was referred to the Little Council. On February 16th, the crime having been proved, the Little Council gave Antoine a divorce and ordered his former wife to leave the city.

The scandal and the chagrin of the reformer were great; but the case seems to have been aggravated. It gave to his enemies, however, an annoying point of attack, especially when Antoine Calvin shocked Roman Catholic feeling by marrying again in 1560.

Nor was this the only trial occasioned by those of his own household and circle that Calvin was to experience. In 1562, his step-daughter, Judith, fell into similar disgrace,—a matter which Calvin felt so keenly that he left the city to seek the solitude of the country for a few days after the misdeed became public knowledge.*

See, you aren’t the only one with messed up relatives…

*Williston Walker, John Calvin: The Organiser of Reformed Protestantism (New York; London: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1906), 357–358.

The First Anabaptist To Face Execution

On this day in 1527 the notorious Felix Manz was taken to the lake, in Zurich, and dropped to the bottom.  It was the government’s way of saying ‘alright, if you want water, we’ll give you water Felix’.  The deed was recorded in art-


That’s Mr Manz, being put in the boat- chained.  The decision of the Council was reached after a good deal of debate, and a good deal of pleading from Zwingli to Manz that he amend his ways before the government took matters into its own hands.

There’s an interesting historical footnote to the affair here, which you ought to read.  It has to do with an apology by the authorities of Zurich in 2004 given to the descendants of the Anabaptists for their poor treatment.

There’s also a very fine essay by Gottfried Locher in Zwingliana titled Felix Manz’ Abschiedsworte an seine Mitbrüder vor der Hinrichtung 1527: Spiritualität und Theologie. Die Echtheit des Liedes «Bey Christo will ich bleiben».‘  Enjoy.


“The Sabbath is the best of days; no other day is like it. And the church is the meeting of God with His people; no other gathering can take its place or compensate for its loss.” Herman Bavinck

Quote of the Day

Let us, therefore, fight vigorously and prudently on a fair field, for we are defending a most righteous cause, in which we feel sure there is no hidden wrong. Let them hurl upon us from the hostile camp those soldiers’ insults—“traitors,” “robbers,” “weaklings.” Let us care nothing for them, trusting completely to our cause. — Huldrych Zwingli

Thomas Römer at the University of Sheffield

From SOTS-

I am pleased to announce that the University of Sheffield will be hosting two lectures by Prof. Thomas Römer, the chair in the Hebrew Bible and Its Contexts at the Collège de France, in January 2018. These lectures abroad—part of the mission of the Collège de France to deliver its teaching not only in Paris, but in other major academic centres outside France—are free and open to all. Prof. Römer, who is well known to the Society, will be sharing some of his latest research in two lectures. The programme is:

  • Tuesday, 30 January 16:30 to 18:00 — The Ark of the Covenant and the Archaeology of Kiriath Jearim
  • Wednesday, 31 January 14:00 to 15:30 — The Future of Biblical Studies: A Discussion with Graduate Students
  • 16:30 to 18:00 — The Political Function of the Abraham Narrative

As you can see, the programme for Wednesday, 31 January, includes not only a lecture, but also the unique opportunity for graduate students in Hebrew Bible and related fields to participate in a discussion with Prof. Römer about the future of our field. We hope that this full afternoon programme will encourage students and scholars from around the country to make the journey to Sheffield.

All these events will take place in the iconic Arts Tower at the centre of the University of Sheffield. If you have any queries about the lectures, travel, or related matters, please contact Casey Strine at c.a.strine@sheffield.ac.uk