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The Profile and Use of John Calvin in the Dissertatie and the Institutiones theologiae practicae of Simon Oomius (1630–1706)

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This contribution deals with the reception of John Calvin and his theology in a seventeenth-century Dutch manual of practical theology written by Simon Oomius, a representative of Dutch Reformed Pietism in the period of high Orthodoxy. From the manual, which presents an exhaustive study of the doctrines of Scripture and of God, it becomes clear that Oomius uses Calvin as an important and reliable reference in the areas of dogmatics, exegesis, church history, and spirituality. He takes over arguments from Calvin by paraphrasing him, by using the same examples, by appealing to the same names, by summarizing Calvin’s explanation of biblical texts with approval, or even by including literal citations from his commentaries, letters, and articles, as well as the Institutes. The selective use is almost always in the context of polemics, but carefully in line with Calvin’s own reasoning. This case study shows that Oomius’s portrait of Calvin is directly connected with the essence of his own theology. The reformer of Geneva is considered for the promotion of piety. In Oomius’s eyes, the publications of Calvin are as a whole practically-oriented, and his “Institutes of life” are a living example of a theologia practica.

Affiliations: 1: Theological University of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands, Kampen, The Netherlands


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