Calvinist Proponents - Church History and Religious Culture CHRC www.brill.nl\/chrc Soberly and Skillfully John Calvin and Jerome Zanchi as Proponents of

Calvinist Proponents - Church History and Religious Culture...

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© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden,  DOI: 10.1163/187124111X557764 CHRC .– () – Church History and Religious Culture “Soberly and Skillfully”: John Calvin and Jerome Zanchi (–) as Proponents of Reformed Doctrine Dolf te Velde Abstract This paper compares the theological profiles of John Calvin and Jerome Zanchi, especially in their doctrines of predestination, on the basis of Calvin’s De aeterna Dei praedestinatione and Zanchi’s De natura Dei . It turns out that Calvin and Zanchi show substantial agreement in their understanding of predestination, both as election and as reprobation. At the same time, significant differences in presentation and argumentation can be detected. Placing both in their historical, ecclesiastical, and academic contexts, it is argued that Calvin’s insights, based on key biblical texts, require further conceptual exploration and clarification as provided by Zanchi. Keywords Jerome Zanchi; John Calvin; predestination; providence; Scripture; scholasticism; neces- sity/contingency . Introduction John Calvin and Jerome Zanchi first met in person in the summer of . Up to that moment, their lives and careers had followed entirely different courses. Calvin had worked for more than ten years as the influential preacher and Reformer of Geneva. He had been involved in many fierce debates with Catholics, Lutherans, Zwinglians, and Libertines. Through his Institutes , which had seen four Latin and three French editions by , his exegetical works, and his extended network of correspondence, Calvin had acquired a leading position within the international Reformed church and theology. Jerome Zanchi, seven years Calvin’s junior, had in contrast spent his entire life in the monasteries of Bergamo and Lucca. 1 Studying and teaching theology 1) The fullest account of Zanchi’s life and works is still provided by Charles Schmidt,
 Dolf te Velde / CHRC .– () – and philosophy, he had gradually become convinced of the Reformed faith under the tutelage of Peter Martyr Vermigli. Among the works that influenced Zanchi’s transition to the Reformation, Calvin’s Institutes had a prominent place. Zanchi drew up a Compendium of the most important topics of Christian doctrine, which was largely a summary of Calvin’s Institutes . 2 Zanchi clearly considered Calvin his superior, as Tylenda’s analysis of the correspondence between the two has shown. 3 Compared to Calvin, Zanchi was, and always would be, a slow starter. . Profiles In accordance with their different biographies and psychological constitutions, Calvin and Zanchi display varying theological profiles. Typically, Calvin is the preacher, the man of the church, who felt responsible for sound doctrine and piety. In his way of dealing with theological concepts and distinctions, one recognizes the brilliant autodidact who had acquainted himself with the tradi-

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