The Study of Calvin and Augustine





In-Sub Ahn



It would be important to remind ourselves that Calvin*s ideas and writings neither emanated from a vacuum nor deductively came from the bible. He developed his ideas, using a number of Church Fathers and especially Augustine. Calvin gave Augustine a special authority not only because Calvin felt his own thoughts were very close to Augustine*s but also because his authority was generally accepted in his times and he regarded Augustine as a guardian of the early church.

For the studies of Calvin*s relation to Augustine, we can classify them in three different types. Firstly, Calvin*s teachings may be doctrinally compared with Augustine. Secondly, we may simply inquire into Calvin*s use of Augustine. Thirdly, we could directly determine the influence of Augustine upon Calvin.[1] However, in my opinion, it is necessary for us to approach the study both historically and theoretically.

Calvin*s knowledge and use of the Church Fathers and Augustine are still promising to further study,[2] even though some researches have been made.[3] However, because there was no research concerning Calvin*s relation to Augustine on the issue of church and state[4], this thesis would make a contribution to this field. Nevertheless, it is a pity that I could not examine the complicated theme fully within the limits of pages and time.


[1]) Cf. A.N.S. Lane, ※Calvin*s Use of the Fathers and the Medievals§, in: Calvin Theological Journal ( = CTJ )16 (1981), 149.

[2]) J. van Oort, ※John Calvin and the Church Fathers§, in: The Reception of the Church Fathers in the West: From the Carolingians to the Maurists vol. 2 (Ed.) I. Backus (Leiden/New York/Köln, 1997), 661.

[3]) For the studies on Calvin*s relation to the Church Fathers (including Augustine) and the ancient thinkers, see the full lists in the order of the years. A.D.R. Polman, De Praedestinatieleer van Augustinus, Thomas van Aquino en Calvijn (Franeker, 1936). ; J. Koopmans, Het oudkerkelijk dogma in de Reformatie, bepaaldelijk bij Calvin (Wageningen, 1938). (Repr. Amsterdam 1983). This is Das altkirchliche Dogma in der Reformation (München, 1955). ; B.B. Warfield, Calvin and Augustine (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1956). ; L. Smits, Saint Augustin dans l*oeuvre de Jean Calvin, I-II (Assen, 1956-58). ; A.M. Hugo, Calvijn en Seneca: Een inleidende studie van Calvijns Commentaar op Seneca, De Clementia, anno 1532 (Groningen/Djakarta, 1957). ; L.K. Little, ※Calvin*s Appreciation of Gregory the Great§, in: Harvard Theological Review ( = HThR ) 56 (1963), 145-157. ; W.N. Todd., The Function of the Patristic Writings in the Thought of John Calvin (Diss.) (New York, 1964). ; R.J. Mooi, Het kerk - en dogmahistorisch element in de werken van Johannes Calvijn (Wageningen, 1965). ; F.L. Battles, ※The Sources of Calvin*s Seneca Commentary§, in: John Calvin, (Ed.) G.E. Duffield (Appleford, 1966), 38-66. ; F.L. Battles & A.M. Hugo, Calvin*s Commentary on Seneca*s De Clementia (Leiden, 1969). ; J.R. Walchenbach, John Calvin as Biblical Commentator: An Investigation into Calvin*s Use of John Chrysostom as an Exegetical Tutor (Diss.) (University of Pittsburgh, 1974). ; H.O. Old, The Patristic Roots of Reformed Worship (Zürich, 1975). ; A.N.S. Lane, ※Calvin*s Sources of St. Bernard§, in: Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte ( = ARG ) 67 (1976), 253-283. ; M.E. Vanderschaaf, ※Predestination and Certainty of Salvation in Augustine and Calvin§, in: Reformed Review ( = RefR(H) ) vol. 30, no. 1 (1976), 1-8. ; E.P. Meijering, Calvin wider die Neugierde: Ein Beitrag zum Vergleich zwischen reformatorischem und patristischem Denken (Nieuwkoop, 1980). ; L.D. Sharp, ※The Doctrine of Grace in Calvin and Augustine§, in: Evangelical Quarterly ( = EQ ) vol. 52 (1980), 84-96. ; A. Ganoczy and K. Müller, Calvins handschriftliche Annotationen zu Chrysostomus: Ein Beitrag zur Hermeneutik Calvins (Wiesbaden, 1981). ; A.N.S. Lane, ※Calvin*s Use of the Fathers and the Medievals§, in: Calvin Theological Journal ( = CTJ ) 16 (1981), 149-205. ; J. Raitt, ※Calvin*s Use of Bernard of Clairvaux§, in: Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte ( = ARG ) 72 (1981), 98-121. ; J.M.J. Lange van Ravenswaaij, Augustinus totus noster: Das Augustinverständnis bei Johannes Calvin (Göttingen, 1990). ; I. Backus, ※Calvin*s judgment of Eusebius of Caesarea: An Analysis§, in: Sixteenth Century Journal ( = SCJ ) 22, (1991), 419-437. ; N.T. Van Der Merwe, ※Calvin and Augustine and Platonism. A Few Aspects of Calvin*s Philosophical Background§, in: Articles on Calvin and Calvinism vol. 4. Influences upon Calvin and Discussion of the 1559 Institutes, (Ed.) R. Gamble (New York & London, 1992), 117-132. ; J. van Oort, ※Calvijn en Augustinus§, in: Nederlands archief voor kerkgeschiedenis ( = NAKG ) 72-1 (Leiden, 1992), 92-103. ; A. Zillenbiller, Die Einheit der katholischen Kirche: Calvins Cyprianrezeption in seinen ekklesiologischen Schriften (Mains, 1993). ; A.N.S. Lane, Calvin and Bernard of Clairvaux (Princeton, 1995). ; I. Backus (Ed), The Reception of the Church Fathers in the West: From the Carolingians to the Maurists, 2 vols. (Leiden/New York/Köln, 1997). ; J. van Oort, ※Calvinus patristicus: Calvijns kennis, gebruik en misbruik van de patres§, in: De Kerkvaders in Reformatie en Nadere Reformatie (Red.) J. van Oort (Zoetermeer, 1997), 67-81. ; J. van Oort, ※John Calvin and the Church Fathers§, in: The Reception of the Church Fathers in the West vol. 2 (Leiden, 1997). 661-700. ; J. van Oort (Red.), De Kerkvaders in Reformatie en Nadere Reformatie, (Zoetermeer, 1997). ; A.N.S. Lane, ※Calvin and the Fathers in Bondage and Liberation of the Will§, in: Calvinus Sincerioris Religionis Vindex: Calvin as Protector of the Purer Religion, (Ed.) W.H.Neuser and B.G. Armstrong (Kirksville, Missouri, 1997), 67-96.

[4]) See J. van Oort, ※Calvijn en Augustinus§, in: Nederlands archief voor Kerkgeschiedenis ( = NAKG ) 72-1 (Leiden, 1992), 103. ※Meer nog en breder zal gezocht moeten worden naar het &Augustinverständnis* van Calvijn, niet slechts in de predestinatieleer maar ook betreffende de sacramenten, de rechtvaardigingsleer, de (erf)zonde, de visie op de geschiedenis, de ecclesiologie en bijv. de waardering van ascese in het algemeen en Augustinus* monachisme in het bijzonder.§