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“Calvin’s Truth” And “Hungarian Religion”: Remembering A Reformer

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Chapter Summary

The poet Mihály Baja wrote: "Calvin's truth became Hungarian religion." This chapter answers some of the most urgent "who, where, and when" questions by investigating what was said and published about John Calvin in commemorative years such as 1864, 1909 and 1936, during which modern Hungarian novelists and poets made Calvin's legacy the subject of their writings, how Debrecen came to be called the "Calvinist Rome" and what roles the memory of Calvin played in the Hungarian rhetoric of the 1848-9 independence war. It aims to pave the way for a more content-oriented analysis that future historians will hopefully undertake. Despite its limited scope, this chapter nonetheless abundantly illustrates that Calvin enjoyed a privileged position in the collective memory of Reformed Hungarians during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Paraphrasing Doumergue, it suggests that this Hungarian memory was, perhaps, "more Calvinist than one would imagine."

Keywords: Calvin's truth; Hungarian religion; Reformed Hungarians



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