By Richard A. Muller
This booklet makes an attempt to appreciate Calvin in his 16th-century context, with cognizance to continuities and discontinuities among his concept and that of his predecessors, contemporaries, and successors. Muller will pay specific recognition to the interaction among theological and philosophical subject matters universal to Calvin and the medieval medical professionals, and to advancements in rhetoric and technique linked to humanism.
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Extra info for The Unaccommodated Calvin: Studies in the Foundation of a Theological Tradition
His humanistic training pressed him to understand that the preliminary identification of the argumentum, dispositio, scopus, or methodus of a text was integral to the work of CALVIN'S INTENTION AND METHOD " 29 interpretation. 53 The understanding of this Epistle, given its excellence in substance and arrangement, provides the proper "entrance ... "54 We have here, in a nutshell, Calvin's theological method: the running exposition of the biblical text in commentary and sermon, coupled with the elicitation of theological loci from the text and the gathering of those loci together with the important dogmatic disputationes of Calvin's time into the form of a basic instruction or institutio in theology.
43 It does not take a great stretch of the imagination to relate this esteem for the work of an instructor in the faith in the French congregation at Strasbourg to Calvin's work as a commentator and to his recasting of the Institutes. 44 Here Calvin writes of the importance of making Scripture available to all people and, after having stressed the primary role of the Holy Spirit in the understanding and interpretation of Scripture, notes the usefulness of various interpretive "instruments" (instrumenta) or "supports" (adminicula).
26 If Calvin did not alter the text of the letter to the extent that he altered and augmented the Institutes as a whole, he certainly did make changes, some to the length of a paragraph, others consisting merely in the addition of a word or two of clarification. The most substantive changes date from the 1539 edition of the Institutes, although some significant editing also occurred in 1543. 27 One suspects that the relative stability of the text of the letter derives more from its genre than from its content: introductory argumenta and letters to readers in general are as readily alterable as text, whereas a letter addressed to an individual, whether sent by post or placed at the beginning of a book, would presumably not be as subject to broad changes and restructurings, particularly after the death of the addressee in 1547.
The Unaccommodated Calvin: Studies in the Foundation of a Theological Tradition by Richard A. Muller