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Source And Sense

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Chapter Summary

In medieval theological textbooks Greek words seldom occurred; in his use of Greek terms in Latin texts John Calvin appeared to be a typical Renaissance scholar with a special interest in the original sources. By deliberately using the Greek, Calvin suggested that αὐτóπιστος had a special nuance that was difficult to translate; he was not content with the Latin alternatives. The Greek commentators use the term frequently in their commentaries on Aristotle's Posterior Analytics and on Euclid's Elements. To know whether Calvin's use of the term was an innovation, this chapter studies the theological background and the related terminology in the works of some church fathers, medieval theologians, and Reformers. In Calvin's polemical writings αὐτóπιστος occurs five times. In the second Latin edition of the Institutes Calvin stated that all the church fathers, except Augustine, wrote so ambiguously about the human will, that nothing could be concluded from their writings.

Keywords:Aristotle; Euclid; Greek; John Calvin; Latin; Reformed theology; Renaissance scholar



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