Category Archives: Vermigli

Praying With Peter Martyr Vermigli

vermigliWe flee to you daily, Almighty God, with our prayers, and we lay our vows before you in the morning–not ignorant that you hate our iniquity and exceedingly detest our sins.

We do not deny that we are held fast by them (for we perceive that they weigh us down beyond measure); nevertheless, relying on the abundance of your most generous goodness, we come to you.

We beseech you to be willing to forgive us in whatever sins we have committed against you, and to lead us henceforth in your righteousness and innocence, in order that the adversaries of our salvation–in whom there is nothing healthful, but all is full of vice–may not prevail against us. May their plans be made vain, [and] may their violence and strivings be brought to ruin, so that we, trusting in you, may enjoy steadfast gladness, while you protect, nourish, and surround us with your kindness as with a shield, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.*

Fun Facts from Church History: The Reburial of Peter Martyr Vermigli’s Wife

Did you know that Reginald Pole, erstwhile friend of Peter Martyr Vermigli, actually had Vermigli’s wife exhumed so her body could be tossed on a pile of dung (as a show of contempt) for the good woman’s Reformation views?  Well it was on this day that her body was recovered and burned and the ashes mingled with the ashes of the Patron Saint of Oxford University (so they wouldn’t be disturbed or bothered again).

@jdmccafferty (whom you should definitely follow) tweets the reminder of the reburial on today’s date:

15 Feb 1553: exhumation Catherine Dammartin (ex-#nuntastic) wife of Peter Vermigli, tried for heresy. Reburied w/ S.Frideswide 1558 #Oxford

Quote of the Day

vermigli“Rhetoricians use this method: so that they say nothing rough or unpleasant, first with some color they soften their audience. Now the scorpion—that deadly beast—clasps [its prey] with its forearms or its front claws, so that it can strike better with its tail and thrust in its venomous sting. So why do we not more tightly embrace our neighbors with kindness and love as closely as possible, so that we might heal them?” — Peter Marty Vermigli (on Rom 10:1).

Celebrating the Birth-iversary of Peter Martyr Vermigli

Today marks the anniversary of Vermigli’s birth, on 8 September 1499 (or 1500- there is some debate about the year).  His numerous writings are still very much worth reading.  Encyclopedia Brittanica describes him thusly:

The son of a prosperous shoemaker, Vermigli had by 1518 entered the Lateran Congregation of the Augustinian Canons Regular at Fiesole. After eight years of study at Padova he served variously as preacher, vicar, and abbot, finally becoming abbot at St. Peter ad Aram, a city monastery in Naples, in 1537. There he joined the select group around Juan de Valdés and read the pseudonymous works of the Reformers. Vermigli became suspect, and the Theatines procured his suspension from preaching, but sympathetic cardinals at Rome had the ban lifted. In 1541 he became prior of San Frediano at Lucca, where he gathered a teaching staff and introduced both monastery and congregation to Reformed doctrine and worship. Summoned to appear before his order at Genoa, he fled in August 1542 to Zürich. Martin Bucer then called him to Strasbourg (now in France), where he was professor of theology (1542–47, 1553–56). Vermigli in 1547 accepted Archbishop Thomas Cranmer’s invitation to England and became regius professor of divinity at the University of Oxford. The major event of his stay was a disputation (1549) on the Eucharist, at which three matters of belief were debated: (1) transubstantiation, (2) carnal or corporeal presence, and (3) whether “the body and blood of Christ is sacramentally joined to the bread and the wine.” His influence on the 1552 prayer book and the Forty-two Articles (1553) is problematic. His eucharistic doctrine, in the Oxford Disputation and Treatise and in Defensio adversum Gardinerum (published in 1559), was close to that of John Calvin, Bucer, and Philipp Melanchthon. After Queen Mary’s accession, Cranmer named him the archbishop’s assistant, but Vermigli went into exile, followed by disciples such as John Jewel, during later persecutions by the crown. He returned to Strasbourg in 1553 but in 1556, after the Lutheran–Reformed dispute over the ubiquity of Christ’s body intensified, went to Zürich as professor of Hebrew.

There’s a bit more on Vermigli here.  And here’s a vermigli gallery for your enjoyment.  Get to know this man.  He’s important.

A New Translation Project for Vermigli

This is important.

As Protestants this year remember the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, they will understandably focus on the legacy of Martin Luther and other big-name Reformers. However, it is to be hoped that this anniversary will also help rekindle interest in figures that were, at the time, hardly less significant to the formulation of Protestant doctrine and the establishment of reformed churches and liturgies. Chief among such figures is surely Peter Martyr Vermigli, the Florentine Reformer whose pilgrim life saw him teaching and building networks of disciples in Italy, Strasbourg, England, and Zurich, and who through his copious writings shaped Reformed churches throughout Europe. During the 16th century, his writings were esteemed as highly as Calvin’s in many regions, and particularly on the topics of Christology and the Eucharist. On the latter subject, Calvin himself declared that “the whole [doctrine of the Eucharist] was crowned by Peter Martyr, who left nothing more to be done.”

Beginning in 2018, the 500th anniversary of Vermigli’s matriculation at the University of Padua, Vermigli’s Loci Communes will begin appearing in a new English translation, the product of a partnership between the Davenant Trust, the Peter Martyr Society, and the Greystone Theological Institute. Selections of the Common Places will first appear in annual slender volumes as a Supplementum to Greystone’s new theological journal, before an abridged edition of the full Loci Communes (which is about three times longer than Calvin’s Institutes) is published in 2025, the 500th anniversary of Vermigli’s ordination. There is some potential that the project may be able to proceed faster, or to result in a complete unabridged translation of the Loci in due course, if resources prove sufficient.

Quote of the Day

vermigli“We do not deny that we have fully merited your wrath; we beg and beseech you that you take it from us so that we may be stirred to the worthy praise of your name not only by words but by every instrument which is suited to lifting up our hearts to you. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” – Peter Martyr Vermigli

Leben und ausgewählte Schriften der Väter und Begründer der reformierten Kirche (11 Bände)

This was posted on 26 December, 2014.  Two years ago to the day.  And still it has neither appeared nor has it progressed.  Perhaps someone at Logos knows why?

I’ve discovered that Logos has plans to offer the 11 volumes of the magnificent Leben und ausgewählte schriften. Nach handschriftlichen und gleichzeitigen quellen. You should bid on it  ($20 is a total deal).

In the meanwhile (because I doubt that I will live long enough to see the project reach fruition given the pace of the Dictionary of Classical Hebrew and my own Commentary), you can find some of the volumes for Google Play (free)(and I couldn’t locate the others- but I’ll keep looking).

Huldrych Zwingli
Myconius and Oecolampadius
Martin Bucer and Wolfgang Capito
Peter Martyr Vermigli
Heinrich Bullinger
Olevianus and Ursinis
John Knox

leben-und-ausgewahlte-schriften-der-vater-und-begrunder-der-reformierten-kircheThe Logos collection includes:

Petrus Martyr Vermigli in Zürich (1556–1562): Dieser Kylchen in der heiligen gschrifft professor und läser

978-3-525-55099-1The Italian reformer Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499-1561) arrived in Zurich in 1556 after long years of fleeing from the Roman inquisition, and taught there as professor of Old Testament studies. Moreover, he took part in the religious colloquy of Poissy as a church diplomat and wbecame an important collaborator of Heinrich Bullinger and Johannes Calvin.  Michael Baumann examines the biography of Vermigli’s last years, his theology (trained in late medieval scholasticism, but reasoning biblically as a reformed theologian) and Vermigli’s impact on Zurich’s church history.*

Of the many reformers whose names are widely known and whose works are available in translation, Vermigli is not among them.  And that, frankly, is tragic.

Vermigli’s amazing works, numbering more than 1oo volumes, have scarcely been rendered into English at all and books about his theology, in English, presently can be counted on one hand.  This lack of attention to Vermigli is really rather shocking given his importance in the history of Reformed theology in particular and Christian theology in general.

Michael Baumann’s new work seeks to redress the dearth of knowledge about Vermigli for the German speaking public.  The table of contents, which I reproduce below in its exacting thoroughness, shows the incredible work that Baumann has put into his extraordinary dissertation:

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Baumann’s use of primary sources commences with the opening chapter and continues throughout the work.  It is this inclusion of primary materials combined with Baumann’s expert analysis which makes this volume both critically important for research into Vermigli’s life and theology and a model for work in the field of historical theology.

In terms of contents, a careful reading (which is what this volume deserves rather than a rapid skimming) of this work reveals that Vermigli was, in many ways, ahead of his contemporaries in grasping the full implications of Reformed theology.  Indeed, in Vermigli, we discover the manifold riches of a profoundly thought-through theological system which, in many ways, is more expressive than Calvin’s.

With that in mind, the present reviewer would assert that it is the third chapter of this volume which is the center of the work: the core without which the rest falls aside.  Baumann’s amazing and cogent analysis of Vermigli includes important insights like this:

Mit einer ganzen Reihe von Autoritäten beschließt Martyr den Abschnitt, der einen ahnen lässt, wie heftig dieser Streit über die Prädestination geführt werden wird, wenn wir dessen Vorzeichen anhand dieses anderen Locus hier begegnet sind.203 Gott ist nicht die Ursache der Sünde, so die Schlussaussage des zweiten Locus zu diesem Thema im Samuelkommentar, doch nichts geschieht auf der Welt ohne Gottes Vorherbestimmung:

Dixi Deum proprie loquendo non esse causam peccati, nihilque fieri in mundo sive boni sive mali citra Dei providentiam. Quod si non assequutus sum scopum, dolet mihi. Si quis idoneis probationibus ostenderit hanc sententiam impiam, aut bonis moribus noxiam esse, paratus sum mutare. Verbosius autem haec dixi, quia res est magni momenti et saepe in sacris literis recurrit (S. 192).

Careful, insightful, exceptional analysis combined with a thorough grasp of the material are on display in Baumann’s work.  Nothing more could be asked of him.  And yet he provides much more.

In the fourth chapter Baumann guides readers through the fascinating forest of the reception of Vermigli’s work from the death of the great theologian to the present.  The volume ends with a series of useful indices and bibliographic entries.

German speakers have been provided an important piece of the theological puzzle that is 16th century Reformed theology.  The present volume in hand, students of that historical period are able to see that landscape more clearly and fully than ever before.

Vermigli on the Law and the Gospel

Reformation Italy writes

The Italian Reformer Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499-1562) said that “Whatsoever things are contained in the holy Scriptures should be referred unto two principal heads, the law and the gospel.” (Commentary on the book of Judges, London, 1564, p.1)

In a sermon delivered to theological students at the University of Oxford, Vermigli explained that the two tables of the law make us “shrink in utter terror from transgressing even the least of his commandments” (“Life, Letters, and Sermons”, The Peter Martyr Library, V, p. 302). In fact, our human condition before God is lived out before what his law requires of us. And this is our problem because in Adam, as it pertains the law, we are guilty and corrupt.

And a good bit more.  Give it a look.

Peter Martyr Vermigli

I saw this photo on the twitter

vermigli

Along with this:  Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499-1562), Reformed theologian from Italy who worked in Switzerland and England.  I had to post it because I like Vermigli very much.  That is all.

Coming Soon- Peter Martyr Vermigli’s Two Volume Commentary on Genesis

vermigliThe series is edited by none less than the inestimably brilliant Emidio Campi et al and the individual volumes by excellent scholars.  Until it appears, there are a number of other works by Vermigli for you to enjoy in English.  If you are unfamiliar with Vermigli, there’s a brief bio here.

geboren 8.9.1499 Florenz,gestorben 12.11.1562 Zürich, ab 1557 von Zürich.

Sohn des Stefano, Mitglieds der Schuhmacherzunft, und der Maria Fumanti. ∞ 1) 1545 Catherine Dammartin, 2) 1559 Caterina Merenda.

1514 Beitritt zur Laterankongregation der Augustinerchorherren, 1518-26 Stud. der Theologie an der Univ. Padua, 1526 Priesterweihe. 1533 Abt des Klosters S. Giuliano in Spoleto, 1537 Prior des Klosters S. Pietro ad Aram in Neapel.

Dort kam V. mit den Spiritualisten um Juan de Valdés in Kontakt. Als Prior des Klosters S. Frediano in Lucca ab 1541 gründete er eine theol. Schule mit reformator. Tendenz. Von der Inquisition bedroht, floh er 1542 nach Zürich und Basel und zog dann nach Strassburg weiter, wo er 1542-47 Prof. für Altes Testament war. 1547-53 unterrichtete er Theologie an der Univ. Oxford. Nach seiner Verbannung aus England kehrte V. nach Strassburg und schliesslich nach Zürich zurück.

Dort trat er auf Bitte von Heinrich Bullinger 1556 die Nachfolge von Conrad Pellican als Prof. für Altes Testament an. V. stand den ital. Glaubensflüchtlingen nahe und ersetzte manchmal Bernardino Ochino als Prediger der Gem. der Locarneser Glaubensflüchtlinge in Zürich.

Er verfasste zahlreiche bibl. Kommentare und Traktate; sein 1576 postum veröffentlichtes “Loci communes” gilt als eines der umfassendsten Werke des ref. Protestantismus an der Schwelle zum 17. Jh.

The Birth Anniversary of Peter Martyr Vermigli

vermigliToday marks the anniversary of Vermigli’s birth, on 8 September 1499.  His numerous writings are still very much worth reading.  Encyclopedia Brittanica describes him thusly:

The son of a prosperous shoemaker, Vermigli had by 1518 entered the Lateran Congregation of the Augustinian Canons Regular at Fiesole. After eight years of study at Padova he served variously as preacher, vicar, and abbot, finally becoming abbot at St. Peter ad Aram, a city monastery in Naples, in 1537. There he joined the select group around Juan de Valdés and read the pseudonymous works of the Reformers. Vermigli became suspect, and the Theatines procured his suspension from preaching, but sympathetic cardinals at Rome had the ban lifted. In 1541 he became prior of San Frediano at Lucca, where he gathered a teaching staff and introduced both monastery and congregation to Reformed doctrine and worship. Summoned to appear before his order at Genoa, he fled in August 1542 to Zürich. Martin Bucer then called him to Strasbourg (now in France), where he was professor of theology (1542–47, 1553–56). Vermigli in 1547 accepted Archbishop Thomas Cranmer’s invitation to England and became regius professor of divinity at the University of Oxford. The major event of his stay was a disputation (1549) on the Eucharist, at which three matters of belief were debated: (1) transubstantiation, (2) carnal or corporeal presence, and (3) whether “the body and blood of Christ is sacramentally joined to the bread and the wine.” His influence on the 1552 prayer book and the Forty-two Articles (1553) is problematic. His eucharistic doctrine, in the Oxford Disputation and Treatise and in Defensio adversum Gardinerum (published in 1559), was close to that of John Calvin, Bucer, and Philipp Melanchthon. After Queen Mary’s accession, Cranmer named him the archbishop’s assistant, but Vermigli went into exile, followed by disciples such as John Jewel, during later persecutions by the crown. He returned to Strasbourg in 1553 but in 1556, after the Lutheran–Reformed dispute over the ubiquity of Christ’s body intensified, went to Zürich as professor of Hebrew.

For more, there is this book, and it’s worth your consideration:

Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499–1562) and the Outward Instruments of Divine Grace

The New Issue of Reformation and Renaissance Review is Out

vermigliClick here to view the new issue. For more information about the journal click here.  Via Refo500.  The whole issue is dedicated to Peter Martyr Vermigli.

Quote of the Day

“Thus says the Lord” (Dominus dixit) ought to be held as a first principle (primum principium) into which all true theology is resolved. This is not, moreover, an evidence derived from the light of human senses or from reason, but from the light of faith, by which we ought to be most fully persuaded, and which is contained in the sacred writings.… Christ himself teaches us, as it is said in Matthew 24, “heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words will never pass away”: and it is repeated everywhere that “the Word of God stands forever. – Peter Martyr Vermigli

Pocket Dictionary of the Reformed Tradition

2708Thanks to the kindness of IVP Academic for sending along a copy of this handy little volume.  I like it very much.  For the most part.

Beginning to study Reformed theology is like stepping into a family conversation that has been going on for five hundred years. How do you find your bearings and figure out how to take part in this conversation without embarrassing yourself?

The Pocket Dictionary of the Reformed Tradition takes on this rich, boisterous and varied tradition in its broad contours, filling you in on its common affirmations as well as its family tensions.

As you would expect, I turned first to the entry on Zwingli which was 99% right on the money.  It errs in one major aspect, though, when it asserts that

It was at the Battle of Kappel, while leading Zurich’s troops against Catholic armies, that Zwingli was killed in October 1531 (p. 132).

Zwingli was in no sense ‘leading Zurich’s troops’.  He was neither combatant nor commander.  Rather, as the Pastor of the largest and most important Church in the city, he was duty-bound to attend the battle and offer spiritual comfort and guidance to the men of the city who had been summoned to defend it.

And second, to be precise, it was at the Second Battle of Kappel that Zwingli was killed.  The First Kappel War had been conducted a couple of years earlier and ended in a rather tenuous and unsustainable truce.

Other entries in the dictionary are incredibly useful while being incredibly brief.  Interestingly, Zwingli gets more space than does the entry on ‘election’.  But Luther gets more space than Zwingli.  And almost as much as Calvin.  Luther can’t really be classified as a member of the ‘Reformed Tradition’ so it’s rather odd that he’s both included and that he receives – in comparison to other actually Reformed concepts and theologians- a lot of discussion.

Thankfully Brunner gets treatment equal to Barth (which is, frankly, quite refreshing).  All in all, I have to say, that this is a very useful little volume and I’m happy to pass along mention of it here, as I think others will find it interesting as well.

Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499–1562) and the Outward Instruments of Divine Grace

Recently arrived from the great folk at Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht (and ISD), this 2008 volume:  »Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499–1562) and the Outward Instruments of Divine Grace«.

978-3-525-56916-0The Reformed exegete and theologian Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499–1562) was an unoriginal, but consistent thinker. Theological insights were not packaged separately from each other, but consistently linked together. In all his thought he sought to steer the middle course between theological extremes in taking what was good and rejecting what was bad from each. Typical of this tendency to steer the middle course are his insights into the outward instruments of divine grace. According to Vermigli such instruments – the human nature of Christ, the audible words of Scripture and the visible words of the Sacraments—should not be over-carnalized, nor over-spiritualized. Although God could work immediately (i.e. without instruments), he has chosen to work through these instruments for salvation. Hence, the inward spiritual power and the outward instrument must not be divorced from each other. The Spirit of God does not normally work without the outward instrument, nor can the outward instrument effect grace without the Spirit’s power.

Modern scholarship has done much to define the sources of Vermigli’s thought, but more needs to be said. The more Vermigli is studied, the more it is necessary to qualify characterizations of him. He is not a thinker who is easily pigeon-holed into a certain theological school or movement. As a well-educated biblical and humanistic scholar, Vermigli took independent and well-reasoned positions on the whole variety of theological questions current in his day. As such, this study attempts to view the inter-connected nature of Vermigli’s thought so as to gain a better view of the whole of his thought.

My review of this really intelligent book is here.

On The Only Way to Rightly Understand Christian Faith

Peter Martyr Vermigli wrote

vermigliIf a man, walking in a large place, see afar off men and women dancing together, and hear no sound of instrument, he will judge them mad, or at least foolish; but if he come nearer them, and perceive their order and hear their music, and mark their measures and their courses, he will then be of another mind, and not only take delight in seeing them, but feel a desire in himself to bear them company and dance with them. Even the same (said Martyr) betides many men, who, when they behold in others a sudden and great change of their looks, apparel, behavior, and whole course of life, at the first sight they impute to melancholy, or some other foolish humour; but if they look more narrowly into the matter, and begin to hear and perceive the harmony and sweet consent of God’s Spirit, and His word in them (by the joint power of which two this change was made and wrought, which afore they counted folly), then they change their opinion of them, and first of all begin to like them, and that change in them, and afterwards feel in themselves a motion and desire to imitate them, and to be of the number of such men, who, forsaking the world and his vanities, do think that they ought to reform their lives by the rule of the Gospel, that so they may come to true and sound holiness. 

With thanks to Emidio Campi for the delightful reference.