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Kirchengeschichte: Reformationszeit


Ioannis Calvini


Opera Omnia. Series II: Opera Exegetica Veteris et Novi Testamenti. Vol. XII/1­2: Commentariorum in Acta Apostolorum Liber Primus. Ed. H. Feld.


Genf: Droz 2001. LXXXII, 598 u. XIII, 475 S. gr.8°. Lw. Euro 130,00. ISBN 2-600-00484-X (= Vol. 1) XII/1); Euro 120,00. ISBN 2-600-00656-7 (= Vol. XII/2).


Anthony N. S. Lane

Neben dem angegebenen Titel in dieser Rezension besprochen:

Ioannis Calvini Opera Omnia. Series III: Scripta Ecclesiastica. Vol. II: Instruction et confession de foy dont on use en l¹Eglise de Genève. Catechismus seu christianae religionis Institutio Ecclesiae Genevensis. Confessio gevenensium, praedicatorum de trinitate. Ed. A. Zillenbiller et M. Vial. Genève: Droz 2002. XXIII, 157 S. gr.8°. Lw. ISBN 2-600-00631-1.

Ioannis Calvini Opera Omnia. Scripta didacta et polemica. Vol. I: Contre la secte phantastique et furieuse des libertins qui se nomment Spirituelz [avec une epistre de la mesme matiere contre un certain cordelier, suppost de la secte: lequel est prisonnier à Roan]. Response à un certain holandois, lequel sous ombre de faire les chrestiens tout spirituels, leur permet de polluer leur corps en toutes idolatries. Ed. M. van Veen. Genève: Droz 2005. 286 S. gr.8°. Lw. SFr 96,00. ISBN 2-600-00966-3.

Ioannis Calvini Opera Omnia. Series VI: Epistola. Vol. I (1530­sep. 1538). Ed. C. Augustijn et F. P. van Stam. Av. Ch. Burger, P. Estié, A. den Hollander, M. Stolk, M. van Veen et J. Vress. Genève: Droz 2005. 574 S. gr.8°. Lw. SFr 150,00. ISBN 2-600-00974-4.

From the late 19th century Calvin scholars have relied heavily upon the 59 volumes of the edition edited by G. Baum, E. Cunitz and E. Reuss: Ioannis Calvini Opera Quae Supersunt Omnia (Braunschweig and Berlin: Schwetschke, 1863­1900). These formed part of the Corpus Reformatorum series (volumes 29­87). There are two main problems with this edition. First, there were serious omissions, most notably in that the only sermons included were those that had already been published. No attempt was made to publish any of the sermons surviving in manuscript form. This lack is being rectified by the Supplementa Calviniana series, of which nine volumes have appeared since 1936. The other problem is that the Corpus Reformatorum edition does not conform to the standards of a modern critical edition. There are some indications of variant readings between different editions, but these are by no means exhaustive. Also, Calvin¹s own marginal references are given but the editors make no attempt themselves to trace sources. The edition is valuable in that it makes available the bulk of Calvin¹s corpus with a reasonably reliable text and in a comparatively short span of time, but it is not adequate for the demands of twenty-first-century scholarship.

The new edition of Calvin (ðdenuo recognita et adnotatione critica instructa notisque illustrataÐ) conforms to the expectations of a modern critical edition. Each work has a substantial introduction. Where different editions appeared in Calvin¹s lifetime the variant readings are all noted in the textual apparatus. Where there is a French translation that is definitely by Calvin, this is also included. (In the present volumes the 1537 Instruction et confession de foy is presented in parallel with the 1538 Catechismus seu christianae religionis institutio.) The subject apparatus gives references for Calvin¹s citations as well as other information. The introduction and notes are in the (modern) language of the editor¹s choice, which so far means English, German or French.

Working to modern standards has obvious consequences. The new edition will extend over many more editions than the Corpus Reformatorum edition. Also, it will take much longer to complete. The first volume appeared in 1992 and a total of seven volumes had appeared before those covered in this review (commentaries on John, Romans, 2Corinthians, Galatians to Colossians and Hebrews; De aeterna praedestinatione).

Although the different volumes work to the same guidelines there are some striking differences. (As the editor of a forthcoming volume in the series I am grateful for the opportunity to vary each volume as the subject matter dictates.) Most noteworthy is the matter of indexes. The volumes being reviewed all have an index of names. Leaving aside the Acts commentary, the Epistolae volume adds an index of the letters and the other two have a Scripture index. The Acts commentary volumes, by contrast, have a separate index for modern authors and editors and also have a geographical index, presumably because of the nature of the subject matter. But most striking is the Sachregister, which spans no fewer than 314 pages in these two volumes. The earlier two-volume John commentary had 137 pages, but the other commentary volumes each have only a few pages devoted to the subject index.

The introductions naturally vary according to the contents of each volume. Thus, for example, the volume with the treatise against the Libertines includes discussion of who they were and what they taught. They also vary in length, according to the length of each volume and the issues raised.

The Epistolae volume contains 85 letters with five further items in appendixes. The expectation is that this edition will contain about 3200 letters, so there are likely to be several generations of editors before all is completed. Apart from referring to the Corpus Reformatorum edition and checking the original manuscripts, the editors have been able to benefit from Herminjard¹s erudite edition of the correspondence of the reformers. Each letter begins with its own introduction and a very useful synopsis of the contents. These, together with the full index of names, will enhance the value of the volume for the researcher. It might have been more helpful to divide this into two indexes, one to Calvin¹s contemporaries and one to earlier writers who are cited, such as Augustine. It is also a pity that this volume, unlike all the others, has no Scripture index.

The volumes vary considerably in terms of footnotes. The Acts commentary has relatively few, the majority being biblical references. The remaining volumes have more, especially the Epistolaevolume, which contains many useful references to contemporary events.

Apart from the Instruction et confession de foy and the Catechismus seu christianae religionis institutio, which were not reprinted, there are copious textual notes to guide the reader through the various editions. There is, however, one category of textual note that is not found, yet would be very useful. The volumes do not (so far as I can see) record the places where the text given diverges from the Corpus Reformatorum edition. Why are such notes desirable? Because if readers spot a divergence between the two editions they will have no way of knowing whether the change is a deliberate correction or a mistake.

References to the Corpus Reformatorum edition are given, with column numbers in the margins. For over a hundred years Calvin scholarship has referred to the Corpus Reformatorum edition and scholars using the new edition will need to be able to trace these references. The one exception is the Epistolae volume where at the beginning of each letter there is a list of the various sources, including the Corpus Reformatorum, but no column numbers in the text, which is a pity. Some volumes also give the page numbers of the original 16th-century edition. The Acts commentary does not do this, maybe because there was more than one edition in Calvin¹s lifetime.

The new edition is obviously essential for the Calvin scholar. It makes available not just the basic text of Calvin (as does the Corpus Reformatorum edition) but a full textual apparatus and useful notes.