Johannes Calvinus / John Calvin / Jean Cauvin

French Reformer and Theologian



Biography (brief)
Biography: Catholic Encyclopedia
Secondary bibliography: H. Henry Meeter Center
Institutio Christianae religionis / The Institutes of the Christian Religion: Book 1
Commentarii in libros NT / Commentaries on the NT trans. by Joseph Haroutunian
Calvin on Romans
Calvin on 1 Corinthian 1-14 / 1 Corinthians 15-16
Calvin on 2 Corinthians
Calvin on Galatians, Ephesians
Calvin on Philippians, Colossians, 1, 2 Thessalonians
Calvin on 1,2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon
Calvin on Acts 1-13 / Calvin on Acts 14-28
Patristic and Reformation commentaries on Galatians


Pauline Letters:

Orig.: Commentarii in quatuor Pauli Epistolas (Genevae : per Ioannem Girardum, 1548).

Text: Commentarius in Epistolam ad Galatas (Corpus Reformatorum 78; Brunswick: Schwetschke, 1893).

Also: Commentarii in Pauli Epistolas ad Galatas, ad Ephesios, ad Philippenses, ad Colossenses (Ioannis Calvini Opera omnia. Series 2, Opera exegetica Veteris et Novi Testamenti; 16; ed. H. Feld; Geneva: Droz, 1992

ET: The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Galatians, Trans. T. H. L. Parker. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965, and later reprints). [Earlier ET by W. Pringle; Calvin Trans. Soc., 1854].

John Calvin, Sermons on Galatians (ET [from French] K. Childress; Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1997).

Select Bibliography
  • An edition of the Latin works of Calvin is available under the title Calvini Opera quce supersunt omnia, 5 vols. (Brunswick, 1864-1867).
  • Commentarii in libros NT are edited by Tholuck (Halle, 1833-38, 7 vols.); one of the Comm. in Psalmos (1836, 2 vols.), and of the Institutiones Religionis Christiance was also edited by Tholuck (Halle, 1834, 1835, 2 vols.); one of the Comm. in lib. Geneseos (1838) by Hengstenberg.

Secondary Literature

  • Evans, Gillian R. The Language and Logic of the Bible: The Road to the Reformation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985.
  • Millet, Olivier. Calvin et la dynamic de la parole. Geneva: Editions Slatkine, 1992.
  • Muller, Richard A. and John Thompson, “The Significance of Precritical Exegesis,” In Biblical Interpretation in the Era of the Reformation. Ed. Richard A. Muller, John Thompson. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1996, 335-42.
  • Parker, T. H. L. Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries. London: SCM, 1971.
  • Torannce, Thomas F. The Hermeneutics of John Calvin. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press, 1988.
  • Zachman, Randall C. “ ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ Calvin’s guidance for the reading of Scripture,” Scottish Journal of Theology 59/1 (2001) 1-20.
  • Zachman, Randall C. “Gathering meaning from the context: Calvin’s exegetical method,” Journal of Religion 82 (2002).
Key Events
  • Born July 10, 1509, at Noyon in northern France.
  • 1518, Calvin's mother died, and John was taken into very powerful d’Hangest household
  • 521, sent to Paris for school at Colleges de la Marche and Montaigu.
  • 1526, abruptly sent by his father to study law at Orleans; became friends with Protestant Reformers, Pierre Robert and Melchior Wolmar.
  • 1529, followed Wolmar to Bourges law school, possibly already converted to Reform.
  • 1531, Calvin's father died in disgrace in Noyon over missing funds; John received law degree
  • 1532: Calvin's first published work is a commentary on Seneca, De Clementia.
  • 1533, while in Paris he helped Nicolas Cop draft a speech sympathetic to Reform, became a fugitive. Even acquaintance Marguerite, the king’s sister, could not protect him.
  • 1534, fled France.
  • 1535, settled in Basel and wrote theological masterpiece Institutio Christianae religionis (Institutes of the Christian Religion) which he revised and expanded for a lifetime.
  • 1536, settled in Geneva (a city-state then but later part of Switzerland), where he and William Farel became civic powers as well as church powers until vanquished by rivals.
  • 1538, helped Martin Bucer in Strasbourg.
  • 1939, completed the 2nd edition of Institutes, and commentary on Romans
  • 1540, married widow, Idelette de Bure
  • 1540-51, completed commentaries on all the epistles
  • 1541, wooed back to Geneva where he was more powerful than before—this time without Farel.
  • 1542, Calvin’s only son James died.
  • 1549, Idelette died. John remained in Geneva writing copiously and preaching—often in stormy civic battles
  • 1553-57, wrote commentaries on the gospels
  • May 27, 1564, died; by his request he was buried in an unmarked grave.