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John Calvin’s use of Erasmus

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It is well known that Calvin made important use of Erasmus—the most quoted author in Calvin’s Commentaries on the New Testament—although he criticized him and contested his position more than regularly. This paper is focusing on a philological use of Erasmus by Calvin in his commentaries to the Canonical Epistles, particularly in the first Epistle of John with the Comma Joanneum (chapter 5). Two questions emerge. First, in which places (loci) did Calvin quote Erasmus in an exegetical or philological way of commenting the New Testament? Second, what did Calvin take and leave from Erasmus’s annotations? At the end of the demonstration, Max Engammare proves that Calvin did not read 1 John 5 with Erasmus’ help. The Reformer was well acquainted both with the problem and Erasmus’ solution, but he accepted the Comma Joanneum without any reservation as something good, even excellent for Christians.

Affiliations: 1: University of Geneva


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