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Anonymous. [Portrait of Jean Calvin]. Pen and ink calligraphy, with watercolor and gilt border on vellum. [Switzerland?], 1698.
Close inspection reveals that this portrait of Calvin, based on a painting by Lucas Cranach the Younger (1515–1586), includes a micrographic rendering of the first chapter of Luther’s German translation of Ecclesiasticus, a book of the Apocrypha.
Christoffel van Sichem (c. 1546–1624). Historische Beschrijvinge Ende affbeeldinge der voornemste Hooft Ketteren : so vande Catholijcke, ende Christelijcke Kercke, als Swermers ende dwaelgeesten verbannen ende verworpen syn, haer leer, leven, begin ende eynde cort beschreven. Amsterdam: Christoffel van Sichem, 1608.
Originally issued with seventeen engraved portraits of sixteenth-century religious “heretics,” with each image accompanied by a biographic sketch, Bridwell Library’s copy of Christoffel van Sichem’s Historische Beschrijvinge has eighteen additional illustrations of Protestant religious figures and scholars. These added images include portraits of Peter Martyr (1499–1562), Philipp Melanchthon (1497–1560), Sebastian Münster (1488–1552), Ulrich Zwingli (1484–1531), and, as exhibited here, Jean Calvin (1509–1564).
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Spiegel der streitbarn, wahren, beständigen uralten Catholischen Kirchen Gottes, darwider sich vil Tyrannen, Haiden, Juden und Ketzer mit stürmen reissen, brennen, und brechen, auffgeleint, welche Kirch aber, biss auff heutigen Tag vor allem ungewitter beständig erhalten, und biss zum End der Welt vermittels Göttlicher gnad erhalten werden solle. Broadside with hand-coloring. [Germany?, c. 1570?].
This late sixteenth-century anti-Protestant broadside includes a large hand-colored woodcut depicting the Catholic Church under attack by seven historical figures and one allegorical representative of the Reformation. Situated from left to right and numbered one through eight, these include:
1 Martin Luther (1483–1546)
2 “Unhold,” a demon
3 Philipp Melanchthon (1497–1560)
4 Ulrich Zwingli (1484–1531)
5 Johann Oecolampadius (1482–1531)
6 Caspar Schwenckfeld (1490–1561)
7 Andreas Rudolff-Bodenstein von Karlstadt (c. 1480–1541)
8 Jean Calvin (1509–1564)
All eight are assisted by various devils. In turn the Catholic Church is supported and strengthened by its four central towers, each identified with one of the four Doctors of the Western Church: St. Ambrose (c. 339–397), St. Jerome (c. 345–420), St. Augustine (354–430), and St. Gregory (c. 540–604).
The English translation of the caption title, the text above the illustration, reads: "Mirror of the militant, true, steadfast, age-old Catholic Church of God, against which many tyrants, heathens, Jews, and heretics revolt, tear down, burn, and break by storm, but which Church to this day remains steadfast against all storms, and which until the end of the world by God’s grace shall endure."
Jean Calvin (1509–1564). The Institution of Christian Religion. Translated by Thomas Norton (1532–1584). London: Richarde Harrison, 1562.
Calvin’s Institutio Religionis Christianae, commonly known in English as The Institutes of the Christian Religion, was first published in Latin in 1536 and was revised and expanded by the author four times. Latin editions appeared in 1539, 1543, 1550, and 1559, and French translations soon followed for these second through fifth editions. The text was translated into English from Calvin’s last revised edition of 1559 by Thomas Norton, the son-in-law of the English Reformer Thomas Cranmer, and was first published in this London edition of 1562. The curious device, or printer’s mark, on the title page serves as a rebus puzzle for the printer’s surname. From bottom to top, the image of a hare plus “RI” plus the image of the sun equals the printer “Harrison.”
Calvin based much of the form and substance of the first edition of The Institutes on Martin Luther’s 1529 Kleiner Katechismus, with six chapters concerning the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, the sacraments, and Church government. In addition to the Kleiner Katechismus and several other works by Luther, Calvin was also influenced by Philipp Melanchthon (1497–1560), Martin Bucer (1491–1551), and Ulrich Zwingli (1484–1531). Calvin’s final 1559 version consisted of eighty chapters organized into four major sections. These delineate the author’s views on (1) God the creator, (2) God the redeemer in Christ, (3) the grace of the Holy Spirit, and (4) the Church, ministry, and the sacrament. With its clear structure, systematic presentation, logical arguments, and lucid prose, Calvin’s Institutes became perhaps the most important theological text of the Reformation.
Jean Calvin (1509–1564). The Institution of the Christian Religion. Glasgow: Printed by John Bryce and Archibald M’Lean, Junior, for Alexander Irvine, 1762.
An engraved frontispiece portrait of Calvin was included in this later edition of the Institutes published in Glasgow in 1762. The English translation by Thomas Norton initially appeared in the first English language edition of 1562, also on display in this exhibition case.
[Bible. French. Olivétan]. La Bible Qui est toute la Saincte escripture. En lanquelle sont contenus, le Vieil Testament [et] le Nouveau, translatez en Francoys. Le Vieil, de lebrieu [et] le Nouveau, du Grec. [Neuchâtel: Pierre de Wingle, 1535].
The first edition of the first French Protestant Bible, translated by Pierre Robert Olivétan (c. 1506-1538), includes three prefaces attributed to Calvin. The first, although written in Latin, celebrates this vernacular translation; the second is an appeal to Jews to convert to Christianity; and the third, an introduction to the New Testament, can be considered both a preview and summary of Calvin’s Institutes. The first and second texts were never reprinted. The third, however, was included in numerous French New Testaments and Bibles into the eighteenth century and was also translated into Latin, English, and Italian.
[Bible. French. Olivétan-Calvin]. La Bible, qui est toute la saincte escriture, en laquelle sont contenuz, le vieil testament & le nouueau, translatez en Francois, & reueuz: le vieil selon l'Ebrieu, & le nouueau selon le Grec. [Geneva: Jehan Girard], 1546.
Bridwell Library recently acquired this rare variant of the first edition of Calvin’s first revision of the whole Bible. Issued for surreptitious circulation in France, the Bible’s place of publication and name of printer do not appear on the title page and Calvin’s name is excluded from the title to his preface. These omissions were considered prudent for copies of this Bible intended for use in France, although Calvin’s name is found in the text attached to a separate note to the reader found in the New Testament. This variant is one of four known copies, and is the only recorded copy in the United States of either issue of Calvin’s 1546 Bible.
Calvin’s revisions for this edition primarily affected the Old Testament and the Apocrypha, while the New Testament followed the version he published in 1543. This 1546 translation was never reprinted in its entirety, and was superseded by a French edition printed in Geneva in 1551. Calvin’s translation of the New Testament was only reproduced twice more in editions printed in Geneva in 1546 and in London in 1551.
Purchased in memory of Elizabeth Perkins Prothro (1919–2009).
Jean Calvin (1509–1564). In librum Psalmorum Iohannis Caluini commentarius. [Geneva]: Robert Estienne, 1557.
Calvin’s commentary on the Psalms was first published in this 1557 Latin edition. French translations followed in 1558 and 1561. In his forward, Calvin stated that he had first lectured on the Psalms in 1552. In addition, between 1555 and 1559 he discussed the Psalms during his weekly Bible studies and Calvin often chose a specific psalm for his Sunday afternoon sermon. Initially Calvin was not interested in publishing on the Psalms, as earlier commentaries by Martin Bucer (1491–1551) and Andreas Musculus (1514–1581) were available. He eventually decided to edit and publish this commentary, however, to avoid having his lectures printed without his approval. By the end of his life Calvin had written commentaries on every book of the Protestant canon except Revelation.
[Bible. New Testament. Gospels. Latin. Harmonies]. Harmonia ex tribus euangelistis composita, Matthćo, Marco et Luca : adiu[n]cto seorsum Iohan[n]ne, quòd pauca cum aliis communia habeat cum Iohannis Calvini commentariis. [Geneva]: Robert Estienne, 1560.
First published in separate Latin and French editions in 1555, Calvin’s commentary on the Synoptic Gospels was based on the sequence in Matthew but with reference to Mark and Luke. This framework follows Martin Bucer’s 1527 commentary on these texts. In his introduction, Calvin wrote that none of the three Synoptic Gospels can be understood without reference to the other two. In order to assist the reader in comparing the various texts without maneuvering back and forth to different sections of the volume, specific portions of the three Gospels are printed side by side. As exhibited here, with this format the reader could readily observe where the texts overlap and when the Gospels are and are not in agreement.
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