John Calvin and Roman Catholicism: Critique and Engagement, Then and Now

Baker Academic, 2008
ISBN: 9780801035975


This informative collection offers a new approach to the study of John Calvin. The authors move beyond traditional approaches to consider the influential reformer within the broader context of the Roman Catholic Church and his complicated relationship to it.

Several themes emerge in these studies, including the sense in which Calvin saw himself as a church reformer rather than the founder of a new tradition; Calvin’s engagement with his Roman Catholic contemporaries; and the importance of contemporary Calvin studies produced by Roman Catholic scholars.

This volume provides pastors and church historians with thoughtful perspectives on Calvin’s reforming work and points to an emerging ecumenical spirit in which Protestants and Roman Catholics can acknowledge that they have much to learn from each other.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Scripture citations link directly to English translations, and important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Key Features

  • Examines John Calvin within the context of the Roman Catholic Church
  • Offers a series of essays that advances the conversation between Reformed and Roman traditions
  • Discusses Calvin’s Catholicity and what role that played within his influential work


  • Roman Catholic Lives of Calvin from Bolsec to Richelieu: Why the Interest?
  • Calvin and the Nicodemites
  • Friend and Foe: Reformed Genevans and Catholic Neighbors in the Time of Calvin
  • Rules of Engagement: Catholics and Protestants in the Diocese of Geneva, 1580–1633
  • In partibus infidelium: Calvinism and Catholic Identity in the Dutch Republic
  • John Calvin, Accidental Anthropologist
  • Revising the Reform: What Calvin Learned from Dialogue with the Roman Catholics
  • Calvin and Sacramentality: A Catholic Perspective

Praise for the Print Edition

Able historians and theologians here take up the question of John Calvin’s relationship to Roman Catholicism. Polemics, dialogue, and engagement marked Calvin’s history with the Roman Catholics as it also did the churches stemming from Calvin’s influences. These pieces set the contexts, issues, and—in some cases—surprising results of these interactions. The studies benefit both Reformed and Roman Catholic traditions, offering not only enhanced knowledge but also ecumenical enrichment.

Donald K. McKim, executive editor for theology and reference, Westminster John Knox Press

Serious reflection—especially theological—on the confessional distinctions and ecumenical commonalities of the Reformed and Roman traditions, traditions uneasily equipoised for many centuries, is long overdue. Zachman’s collection of essays importantly advances the conversation among those of ‘faith seeking understanding.’

—Charles Partee, P.C. Rossin Professor of Church History, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

These wide-ranging essays address Calvin’s views of Roman Catholicism, early modern Catholic lives of Calvin, concrete interactions of Catholics and Reformed Protestants in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and modern Catholic views of Calvin’s sacramentality. They suggest some unanticipated links, underline clear incompatibilities, and will prompt historical and theological reflection about the relationship of Calvin to Roman Catholicism.

—Brad S. Gregory, Dorothy G. Griffin Professor of Early Modern European History, University of Notre Dame

This collection of papers, by both Protestant and Roman Catholic scholars, is a valuable contribution to our understanding of Calvin and to today’s dialogue between the two sides.

A.N.S. Lane, professor of historical theology, London School of Theology

These essays illustrate how Roman Catholic and Protestant scholars have moved from polemic to dialogue, in this case regarding interaction between John Calvin and Roman Catholicism. The result of this stimulating exchange is a new appreciation of Calvin’s catholicity and a better understanding of the Catholic milieu in which the reformer lived and worked.

I. John Hesselink, Emeritus Albertus C. Van Raalte Professor of Systematic Theology, Western Theological Seminary

Zachman’s book offers an equal number of essays from Roman Catholic scholars and Reformed scholars, and it successfully balances the work of professors of historical theology and historians of the Reformation era. Historians, theologians, and pastors will profit from this book.

John Patrick Donnelly, emeritus professor, Marquette University

Product Details

About Randall C. Zachman

Randall C. Zachman is professor of Reformation studies at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of several books, including Image and Word in the Theology of John Calvin.


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