Saturday, February 15, 2020

Luther: "God is the author of the evil as well as the good in us, and as He saves us without any merit on our part. He also damns us through no fault of ours. All that we do is done, not freely, but through pure necessity"

Here's some anti-Protestant commentary and an obscure Luther quote I recently came across:
A Protestant is not obliged to follow the 10 Commandments or practice what he reads in the Scriptures. The founders of the Protestant revolt teach that works are useless and even injurious to salvation. Every action is a sin. 
Luther and Calvin deny the existence of free-will in man. Luther wrote a book called ''Slave Will," in which he states: ''God is the author of the evil as well as the good in us, and as He saves us without any merit on our part. He also damns us through no fault of ours. All that we do is done, not freely, but through pure necessity." (Works of Luther, vol. ii., p. 435.)
This was put together by someone, as far as I can tell, is a defender of Roman Catholicism. The points being made are: 1) Protestants don't believe in or practice good works; 2) if free will is denied, there is no such thing as human responsibility. Let's track down this Luther quote and see what's going on.

The source provided is the ambiguous, "Works of Luther, vol. ii., p. 435." A quick search though reveals the entire two paragraphs are a reworking (a.k.a. plagiarism) of an old Roman Catholic book entitled, Christian Apologetics: A Defense of the Catholic Faith By Walter Devivier. A comparison of what this author states and what's posted above demonstrate the similarities:
Finally (it is hardly credible), a Protestant is not obliged to practise what he reads in the Scriptures, however clear it may be. For the founders of the Reformation teach that works are useless and even injurious to salvation; that faith suffices to make us the friends of God; that man once justified before God is sure of being saved, whatever crimes he may afterward commit. What is more, that it is even impossible for man to sin since he is not free. Luther and Calvin go so far as to deny the existence of free-will in manLuther wrote a book called “Slave Will,” which may be summed up thus: “God is the author of the evil as well as the good in us, and as He saves us without any merit on our part, He also damns us through no fault of ours. . . . All that we do is done, not freely, but through pure necessity.” (Works of Luther, vol. ii., p. 435.)
The "Works of Luther, vol. ii., p. 435" appears to be a reference to the vol. 2 of the Wittenberg edition of Luther's writings. Here is page 435. The text being cited appears to be:

This is an old Latin text dating back to the sixteenth century. A clearer image can be found here.

The quote comes from Luther's De Servo Arbitrio, known in English as The Bondage of the Will. It has been translated into English in LW 33. The place where this quote is located is LW 33:70.

But if we are unwilling to let this term go [free will] altogether—though that would be the safest and most God-fearing thing to do—let us at least teach men to use it honestly, so that free choice is allowed to man only with respect to what is beneath him and not what is above him. That is to say, a man should know that with regard to his faculties and possessions he has the right to use, to do, or to leave undone, according to his own free choice, though even this is controlled by the free choice of God alone, who acts in whatever way he pleases. On the other hand in relation to God, or in matters pertaining to salvation or damnation, a man has no free choice, but is a captive, subject and slave either of the will of God or the will of Satan. [LW 33:70]
In response to the original anti-Protestant comment which began this entry: first, there's nothing in the immediate context of Luther's words that he suggested acting against the Ten Commandments, that works were useless, and that all action is a sin. True, Luther abhorred the pseudo-works perpetuated by allegedly devout Roman Catholics. Pilgrimages, idolatry, monkery, self-denials, etc., which were considered good works one does for oneself on the road to eventual salvation. Luther plainly teaches that saving faith is a living faith,  a life under the cross, which is a life of discipleship of following after Christ. Our crosses though, do not save. They serve the neighbor. We are called to be neighbor to those around us. Luther says,
We receive Christ not only as a gift by faith, but also as an example of love toward our neighbor, whom we are to serve as Christ serves us. Faith brings and gives Christ to you with all his possessions. Love gives you to your neighbor with all your possessions. These two things constitute a true and complete Christian life; then follow suffering and persecution for such faith and love, and out of these grows hope and patience.[Sermons of Martin Luther (Michigan: Baker Books, 2000), 1:34]
Second,  in regard to the Luther quote: it is true though that Luther spoke out against the concept of free will (his entire book the quote was purportedly taken from is about this subject). For Luther, the will is either enslaved by Satan or set free by God.  It is true also that Luther rejected performing works in order to achieve salvation: a rejection of personal merit to achieve salvation.

Third, a comparison of the purported Luther quote and the actual context shows a severe discontinuity.  As far as I can tell, there's nothing in the immediate context in which Luther directly says, "God is the author of the evil as well as the good in us." Was this meant to be a synopsis of Luther's words, "a man should know that with regard to his faculties and possessions he has the right to use, to do, or to leave undone, according to his own free choice, though even this is controlled by the free choice of God alone, who acts in whatever way he pleases"? If so, that someone would translate Luther's words in such a crude way shows a profound bias in textual interpretation. It's quite possible though whoever originally put the quote together was citing a different section of  De Servo Arbitrio altogether (see my entry here).

The purported quote goes on to say, "and as He saves us without any merit on our part, He also damns us through no fault of ours. . . . All that we do is done, not freely, but through pure necessity.”  
This seems to be similar to the lines, "On the other hand in relation to God, or in matters pertaining to salvation or damnation, a man has no free choice, but is a captive, subject and slave either of the will of God or the will of Satan." Notice in context, Luther says that humans have a limited freedom in regard to the daily things of life (but even that is subject to God's pure freedom) "a man should know that with regard to his faculties and possessions he has the right to use, to do, or to leave undone, according to his own free choice, though even this is controlled by the free choice of God alone, who acts in whatever way he pleases." This appears to have been presented as "All that we do is done, not freely, but through pure necessity"! That's certainly an abuse of Luther's words.

The main disconnect for Rome's defenders is Luther's insistence that human ability does not contribute in any meritorious way to salvation. For Luther, if the will is enslaved, it has no ability to do works pleasing to God unto salvation. Humanity, therefore is in total reliance on God's grace. Here is "ground zero" of the debate which requires one to simply read Luther's full argumentation.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Luther: I feel the old clinging dirt of wanting to deal so with God that I may contribute something

"Let anybody try this and he will see and experience how exceedingly hard and bitter a thing it is for a man, who all his life has been mired in his work righteousness, to pull himself out of it and with all his heart rise up through faith in this one Mediator. I myself have now been preaching and cultivating it through reading and writing for almost twenty years and still I feel the old clinging dirt of wanting to deal so with God that I may contribute something, so that he will have to give me his grace in exchange for my holiness. And still I cannot get it into my head that I should surrender myself completely to sheer grace; yet this is what I should and must do. The mercy seat alone must prevail and remain, because he himself has established it; otherwise no man can come before God."

Luther, M. (1999). Luther’s works, vol. 51: Sermons I. (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, and H. T. Lehmann, Eds.) (Vol. 51, pp. 284–285). Philadelphia: Fortress Press.

Sunday, January 05, 2020

50 Years After Death, St. Pio's Body Has Not Decomposed?

This picture and title was linked to this web-page.  The web-page has a plenteous supply of adds and click-bait (beware!). The hosting site "Francis Mary" uses the same picture and title here.

I admit, other than knowing the name, I don't know all that much about Padre Pio. The article though fills in some of the gaps:
"The corpse is held in such high regard due to the fact that before death the monk was able to cure the sick. He also had received visions and suffered stigmata -- bleeding from the hands mimicking the wounds of Christ. Pio could also tell the future and be in two places at once."
While the web-page doesn't document any of this, I was curious if they at least commented on their claim that Padre Pio's body "has not decomposed." Was this non-decomposition before or after the silicone mask "was placed over his face to conceal the decay" as the Washington Post mentioned?  

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Luther Was counseled by the Devil to Stop Celebrating Holy Mass?

A participant on the Catholic Answers Forums asked about Martin Luther's interaction with the Devil:
Hello, does anybody have Luther's book “De missa privata et unctione sacerdotum” (1521) in english? I read here and in another source (a book about Holy Mass written by a Bishop in 1899) that Luther wrote about how he was counseled by a Devil to stop celebrating Holy Mass. I want to use this argument in a conversation with a protestant, however I don’t want to use argument which might be fake. Therefore I would be really glad if someone could look it up. If it was there then I would love to have a photo of that page.Thanks a lot!
Despite the fact this Roman Catholic wants to "use this argument in a conversation with a protestant," one can appreciate the caution that the story may be "fake." There are two basic affirmatives to answer this historical question.  Yes, there is a recorded conversation between Luther and the Devil about the Mass (documented and described by Luther himself), particularly, private masses, and yes, the dialog is in essence, fake.

Let's start with the clues given in the Catholic Answers discussion, particularly the link provided. When I first visited the link, there was little content, now it has magically reappeared (if it disappears again, try accessing it via Google Cache). The link is to an article written by Anne Barbeau Gardiner, "A Colloquy with Satan, or The Spirit of Martin Luther" found in the July 14, 2016 issue of The Latin Mass: The Journal of Catholic Culture and Tradition. Gardiner's article is not an actual reading of Luther, but rather someone else's reading of Luther. Gardiner presents a review of a section from an old pro-Roman Catholic book, Abraham Woodhead's, Two discourses: the first concerning the spirit of Martin Luther, and the original of the Reformation; the second, concerning the celibacy of the clergy (1687).  Summarizing Woodhead, Gardiner says,
The core of The Spirit of Martin Luther is Woodhead's analysis of Luther's colloquy with Satan in 1522. It is unforgettable. Luther had engaged in many previous "negotiations" and "familiar disputes and conferences" with the "Enemy of mankind," but this one was crucial. In De Missa Privata and Sacerdotum Unctione (1533), he wrote of his "long experience" with Satan's "arts and practices" and of "many a sad and bitter night" spent in talks with him, but the colloquy on the Mass that took place in 1522 had such an effect on him that he never offered another Mass.  On that occasion, Satan in a "grave and strong voice" persuaded him that he had committed "idolatry" for fifteen years by adoring, and causing others to adore, "naked bread and wine."
The phrases "negotiations," "familiar disputes and conferences," "Enemy of mankind," and  "arts and practices," are not Luther's words, but rather, Woodhead's. The phrases "many a sad and bitter night," "grave and strong voice," and "naked bread and wine" are ascribed by Woodhead directly to Luther.  Gardiner has created confusion with her dates, mingling both 1522 and 1533 together. As far as I can tell, everything cited in the paragraph above appears to refer only to Luther's 1533 treatise, De Missa Privata and Sacerdotum Unctione. Furthering the confusion, I have not ascertained why the person at Catholic Answers ascribes the incorrect date 1521 to this treatise.

The Catholic Answers participant asked for the actual sources. De Missa Privata and Sacerdotum Unctione is the Latin version of Luther's 1533 treatise, Von der Winckelmesse und Pfaffen Weyhe (WA 38: 195-256). Yes, this treatise is available in English: The Private Mass and the Consecration of Priests. It can be found in LW 38:139-214.

Here is an excerpt from LW 38. The entire story of Luther's conversation with devil goes on for multiple pages and is too long to post. I placed phrases used by Gardiner / Woodhead in bolded text:
I want to begin with myself and make a short confession before you sainted fathers. Grant me a good absolution which will not be injurious to yourselves. Once I awakened at midnight and the devil began the following disputation with me in my heart (for he is able to make many a night bitter and troublesome for me): “Listen, you very learned fellow, do you know that you said private masses for fifteen years almost daily? Did you not in reality commit sheer idolatry with such a mass and did you not worship there simply bread and wine, rather than Christ’s body and blood, and enjoin others to worship them?” I reply: “But I am a consecrated cleric; I have received chrism and consecration from the bishop, and, in addition, have done all this because of the command to do so and in obedience to it. Why have I not performed the consecration validly, since I have spoken the words in earnest and said mass with all possible devotion? You certainly know this.” “Yes,” he said, “that is true; but the Turks and the heathen also perform everything in their churches because of the command to do so and in earnest obedience to it. The priests of Jeroboam at Dan and Beersheba performed everything perhaps with greater devotion than the true priests at Jerusalem [I Kings 13:33]. What if your consecration, chrism, and consecrating are also unchristian and false like those of the Turks and the Samaritans?
At this point I truly broke into a sweat and my heart began to tremble and throb. The devil knows how to muster his arguments well and to make an impression with them, and he possesses a convincing, powerful way of speaking. Such disputations do not permit time for lengthy and numerous deliberations, but the answers come in quick succession. At such times I have seen it happen that one finds people dead in bed in the morning. He can kill the body. This is one thing; but he can also scare the soul with disputes so that it almost departs from the body, as he has quite often very nearly done to me. Now he had challenged me in this dispute, and I did not really want to be guilty of such a great number of abominations in the presence of God but wanted to defend my innocence. So I listened to him to hear the grounds on which he opposed my consecration and my consecrating.
First, he said, you know that you did not rightly believe in Christ and as far as your faith was concerned you were no better than a Turk; for the Turk and I myself, along with all devils, also believe everything which is written about Christ (James 3 [2:19]), that is, that he was born, died, and ascended into heaven. However, none of us takes comfort in him or has confidence in him as a Savior; but we fear him as a stern judge. This kind of faith and no other is the one you also had when you were consecrated a priest and said mass; and all the others, both the consecrating bishop and his ordinands, also believed this. For this reason, too, all of you turned away from Christ and depended on Mary and the saints, who had to be your consolation and helpers in need rather than Christ. This you cannot deny, nor can any pope. That is why you were consecrated and have celebrated mass like heathen and not like Christians. How then were you able to effect conversion? For you were not the kind of persons who were to bring about this change [LW 38:149-150].
So it's true that Luther recorded a conversation with the Devil. But was it a real conversation? First, Luther says, "I want to begin with myself and make a short confession before you sainted fathers." In context, Luther's words are directed at his Roman Catholic detractors. He's making a sarcastic jab. Second, notice above, Luther says the conversation took place internally: "Once I awakened at midnight and the devil began the following disputation with me in my heart." Third, the actual conversation goes on for multiple pages in detailed arguments. How was Luther was able to transcribe such a lengthy internal conversation? None of these aspects of the dialog add up. I suspect Rome's defenders would say Luther was either deranged, a liar, or both. Woodhead's argument is that Satan deceived Luther into attacking the Roman Catholic Church. Case closed.

Perhaps though there is a much less dramatic solution. The editors of Luther's Works point out that three draft versions of  The Private Mass and the Consecration of Priests are preserved.  They explain, 
The idea of a disputation with the devil occurred to Luther while he was working on this third draft. This verbal exchange with the devil does not reflect his personal experience but is employed as an effective literary device in the first part of the book. The fact that Luther’s plan for the book changed as he developed these three outlines in succession is reflected in the rather abrupt way in which he concluded his writing as well as the remark that the book had become longer than he had originally intended it to be [LW 38:144].
Martin Brecht also points out:

And also:

This banal solution may not convince Rome's defenders. Gardiner and Woodhead don't mention it all. Their solution is far more complicated and dramatic: Woodhead says that in 1522 Luther had a disputation with Satan, based on Luther's statement in 1533 that Satan confronted Luther after he had been a priest for fifteen years (Luther was ordained a priest in 1507). In 1523, Luther released a treatise entitled, de Abominatione Missae privata, quam Canonem vocant (Of the Abomination of Private Mass, commonly called the Canon). Gardiner and Woodhead say this book was inspired by Luther's encounter with Satan (only later admitted by Luther in 1533). According to these authors, once the world found out that the earlier book was inspired by Satan, a scandal ensued among the Protestants causing some of them to go back to the Roman Catholic Church. I've yet to find any evidence though that Luther claimed that the 1533 recorded dialog with the devil was the impetus for the 1523 book. It appears to be the connecting of dots to produce a conspiracy. Gardiner sums up the conspiracy aptly:
Woodhead reflects that it was surely by the "merciful providence of God" that Luther showed the world by his "own confession" in 1533 who was "the original Founder and Abetter of the Reformation."
One other aspect of this topic should not go without mention. The topic of Luther's 1523 and 1533 treatises was the private Mass. The Catholic Answers participant asked specifically about Luther being "counseled by a Devil to stop celebrating Holy Mass." They are not the same thing. Another participant on the Catholic Answers forums pointed out the obvious: "Luther celebrated the mass throughout his life." Another stated, "He called his liturgical reform the 'German Mass'."  Gardiner appears to miss this: "...the colloquy on the Mass that took place in 1522 had such an effect on him that he never offered another Mass." 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Preterist Archive: Martin Luther's Attitude Toward The Jews

The Preterist Archive has resurrected one of my old papers: Martin Luther's Attitude Toward The Jews (2005).  I appreciate that! for the last few years, the paper has only been available via the Internet Archive. No, I'm not a Preterist (as the term is popularly understood), but the Preterist Archive does in fact have some very useful research and materials available, whatever one's eschatological underpinnings may be. I stand amazed at how long the site has been going and how often it's updated. It certainly appears to be a true labor of love on behalf of the site's owner.

The paper was a personal research project. The materials used at the time were largely those found in a number of libraries, particularly Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia).  Originally, the paper was hosted on Eric Svendsen's (still available via the Internet Archive). Svendsen took his site down some time around 2009-2010 (see my comments here).

Since 2005, there's been quite an online information explosion! I wonder what my paper would be like now if I were to compose it again. My position on Luther's attitude towards the Jews is still basically the same as that presented in 2005. However, over the years my position has changed as to whether or not Luther himself was an anti-Semite.

There have been a number of researchers who conclude Luther's later anti-Jewish tracts were written from a position different than current (or modern-day) Antisemitism. Luther was born into a society that was anti-Judaic, but it was not the current anti-Judaic type of society that bases it racism on biological factors. Luther had no objections to integrating converted Jews into Christian society. He had nothing against Jews as “Jews.” He had something against their religion because he believed it denied and blasphemed Christ. If one frames the issues with these categories, Luther was not Antisemitic.

Post World War II though, there has been much discussion about the nuances and etymology of the term Antisemitism. The contemporary use of the word "Antisemitism" does not typically have its distinction from anti-Judaism considered. The word now has a more broad meaning including anti-Judaism. The debate centers around whether the evolved use of the term is a significant step towards describing previous history or if it's setting up an anachronistic standard for evaluating previous history [see my entry here in regard to Eric Gritsch, Martin Luther's Anti-Semitism: Against His Better Judgment (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012)]. As I've looked at this issue from time to time, I'm thinking more along the lines of Gritsch's revised view rather than what I wrote back in 2005. I accept the modern definition of Antisemitism, and I think that it does include anti-Judaism. While Luther may have been primarily against the religion of Judaism, his harsh recommendations could have effected Jewish people as human beings as well. 

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Dr. Nathan Busenitz' course on Historical Theology from a Protestant/Reformation Viewpoint

This is the first of 25 lectures on Historical Theology from the early church up to the Reformation.  I have not listened to them all, but jumped around some; and still have a long way to go.  Overall, it looks really good.  See the side-bar on You Tube for the rest of the 25 lectures.  He also has a Part 2 of Reformation and forward Historical Theology course.  (see under the You Tube Page of The Master's Seminary)  I look forward to working through them.

Dr. Busenitz also has a book on Sola Fide, showing the earlier aspects and elements of the doctrine in church history before Luther.  Called "Long Before Luther".

Long Before Luther

PS. There is a also a course by Carl Trueman on the Reformation, there at the Master's Seminary (Founder: John MacArthur) You Tube Page, that even a Roman Catholic like Alan Ruhl admitted was excellent.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Calvin's Geneva: A rebellious father served four days in prison for insisting on naming his son Claude instead of Abraham

Here'a tidbit about John Calvin's Geneva floating around cyberspace:
Children were to be named after Old Testament characters. A rebellious father served four days in prison for insisting on naming his son Claude instead of Abraham (source).
Simply search the phrase "insisting on naming his son Claude" to see the extent of the spread of this information. Of the hits I came across, none were claiming John Calvin himself had a man put in prison for naming his son "Claude." Typically, it's presented as something like, "Laws and facts about Geneva Under Calvin’s Authority" (source). That is, the "Tyrant of Geneva" sent out his troops make arrests.  Let's take a close look at this fact and try to determine it's truth and John Calvin's involvement.

I suspect the popularity of this fact finds its genesis in pop-historian Will Durant's book, The Reformation. Durant says,
To regulate lay conduct a system of domiciliary visits was established: one or another of the elders visited, yearly, each house in the quarter assigned to him, and questioned the occupants on all phases of their lives. Consistory and Council joined in the prohibition of gambling, card-playing, profanity, drunkenness, the frequenting of taverns, dancing (which was then enhanced by kisses and embraces), indecent or irreligious songs, excess in entertainment, extravagance in living, immodesty in dress. The allowable color and quantity of clothing, and the number of dishes permissible at a meal, were specified by law. Jewelry and lace were frowned upon. A woman was jailed for arranging her hair to an immoral height.34 Theatrical performances were limited to religious plays, and then these too were forbidden. Children were to be named not after saints in the Catholic calendar but preferably after Old Testament characters; an obstinate father served four days in prison for insisting on naming his son Claude instead of Abraham.35 Censorship of the press was taken over from Catholic and secular precedents, and enlarged (1560): books of erroneous religious doctrine, or of immoral tendency, were banned; Montaigne’s Essays and Rousseau’s Emile were later to fall under this proscription. To speak disrespectfully of Calvin or the clergy was a crime.36 A first violation of these ordinances was punished with a reprimand, further violation with fines, persistent violation with imprisonment or banishment. Fornication was to be punished with exile or drowning; adultery, blasphemy, or idolatry, with death. In one extraordinary instance a child was beheaded for striking its parents.37 In the years 1558-59 there were 414 prosecutions for moral offenses; between 1542 and 1564 there were seventy-six banishments and fifty-eight executions; the total population of Geneva was then about 20,000.38 As everywhere in the sixteenth century, torture was often used to obtain confessions or evidence.
35 Schaff, 492.
Durant provides a footnote, "Schaff, 492." This refers to Philip Schaff's multi-volume History of the Christian Church, specifically the volume on the Swiss Reformation. Schaff does record this incident:
A person named Chapuis was imprisoned for four days because he persisted in calling his child Claude (a Roman Catholic saint) instead of Abraham, as the minister wished, and saying that he would sooner keep his son unbaptized for fifteen years."1
1  Registers for April 27, 1546. Henry II. 429.
Earlier and related, Schaff noted the following also:
Parents were warned against naming their children after Roman Catholic saints who nourished certain superstitions; instead of them the names of Abraham, Moses, David, Daniel, Zechariah, Jeremiah, Nehemiah became common. (This preference for Old Testament names was carried even further by the Puritans of England and New England.)
Schaff provides a reference: "Registers for April 27, 1546. Henry II. 429." I'm uncertain which source he's using for the Registers of Geneva. I suspect he simply took information from the second source, "Henry II, 429." This refers to Paul Henry, Das Leben Johann Calvins des grossen Reformators, Volume 2, p. 429. The text states, 

An English translation of this text can be found here. The text states, 
The feeling of popular indignation was still further increased by an order which forbade the naming of children after the Roman catholic saints; among the most favorite names were those of Claudius and Balthazar, with which the people had associated certain superstitious ideas.t To heap insult on morality and religion was the order of the day.
t Picot, T. ii. pp. 413, 414. Regis. 1546, Av. 27. Chapuis was put in prison for having persisted in naming his child Claude, which the minister did not wish, but desired to call him Abraham.
"Picot, T. ii, pp. 413-414" appears to be a bibliographic error. The actual reference should be to volume 1, pp. 413-414. Picot mentions that the particular names in question were superstitiously believed to give long life ("...ils croyoient par là procurer une longue vie à ces enfans"). This appears to be the "superstitious ideas" mentioned by Paul Henry. 

It is true that particular names for newborns were outlawed in Geneva during the Reformation period. The reason is alluded to above in the documentation. Negatively, in Geneva's reforming efforts, there was a concerted effort to have a complete rejection of Romanism and superstition. Positively, there was to be a concerted effort to promotion reformation. 

The name "Claude," particularly, was a troubling name. Here is the exact rule which was issued on November 22, 1546:

"Claude" was viewed as the name of an "idol," because, as the footnote states, "Claude was a name that had been popular in Geneva because of devotion to St. Claude, bishop of Bassancon and patron of the neighboring abbey of St. Claude, which attracted numerous Pilgrams." Picot and Henry state the name was superstitiously thought to bring long life.  But what of the person arrested? Scott Manetsch provides more information:

Here we find a few more details. The precise date was not April 27, 1546 (Schaff), but rather August 1546. A godparent requested the name "Claude" during a baptism ceremony. The minister though refused, and gave the child the name Abraham. The father then caused a public disruption during the ceremony, going as far to question the validity of the baptism.  Manetsch goes on to say, 

It's interesting that this severe rule the pastors of Geneva put in place was not arbitrary. They had an intended theological purpose, and took it quite seriously. The actual event that caused the arrest of Ami Chapuis was not simply a knock on his door placing him under arrest. Rather it was a disturbance at a public ceremony. Did the ministers of Geneva go too far with this rule? From a theological perspective given the time period, I'm not convinced they did. On the other hand, placing Chapius in prison for a few days does seem too harsh and too far, at least from my modern perspective. 

It's important to note specifically that the minster officiating the baptism ceremony was not John Calvin. Was Calvin in agreement with this rule? Certainly. As noted above in the legal document, Calvin was in favor of it, but the law  "only came into being after three months of vigorous discussion." So much for the power of the "Tyrant of Geneva." Yes, Calvin influenced this rule, yes there was an arrest, but it wasn't because Calvin declared it and everyone simply obeyed.  

I've not put forth a complete exhortation of Calvin. He did influence the rule on the the naming of children. Did he seek to have people arrested who violated this rule? I don't know. It appears to me that whichever minister was involved may have played a major part in the arrest.  One other thing that I'm not sure of: while Manetsch notes there were a number of "name" disputes, I've not come across any other child naming disputes that resulted in imprisonment.  The tendency is to view this imprisonment of Ami Chapuis as typical and daily in the life of Reformation Geneva. I've not come across any other similar Genevan cases.  

Friday, July 05, 2019

Calvin's Geneva: A woman was jailed for arranging her hair to an “immoral height"

Here'a  tidbit about John Calvin's Geneva floating around cyberspace:
A woman was JAILED FOR ARRANGING HER HAIR to an "immoral height" (source).
This fact can be found in some weird places. The Jehovah's Witnesses say: "John Calvin enacted laws specifying the color and type of clothing his followers might wear. Jewelry and lace were frowned upon, and a woman could be jailed for arranging her hair to an 'immoral height.”" On the opposite end of the spectrum, popular Christian author Philip Yancy references it in his best-seller, What's So Amazing about Grace?: "A father who christened his son Claude, a name not found in the Old Testament, spent four days in jail, as did a woman whose hairdo reached an 'immoral height'." Yancy directly links this incident to Calvin as an example of what occurs  "When the church has occasion to set rules for all society, it often veers towards the extremism Jesus warned against."

Most often though, the quote serves the "I hate all things John Calvin and Calvinism" movement. This contingent is not only cross-denominational, it includes heretical sects, world religions, atheists, humanists, etc. It appears to be something opposing groups agree on: John Calvin was an awful individual, in essence, a dictator,  proven by the fact that under his "rule," a woman was jailed for her the "immoral height" of her hair (whatever that means, as if Calvin was measuring hair height!). Let's take a close look at this fact and try to determine it's truth and John Calvin's involvement.

Documentation: Will Durant, The Reformation
I suspect the popularity of this fact finds its genesis in pop-historian Will Durant's book, The Reformation. The key phrase which distinguishes Durant as ground zero is the use of the phrase, "immoral height." As far as I can tell, he's the first to use this phrase in regard to this historical nugget. Durant says,

Durant provides a footnote right after the "immoral height" of the woman's hair:  "Villari, Savonarola, 491." Durant says this refers to "VILLARI, PASQUALE, Life and Times of Girolamo Savonarola, N.Y., 1896." Here is Page 491 of that text. In context, Villari is not doing an in-depth study on Calvin or Geneva. He's simply mentioning Calvin in passing as a comparison to Savonarola. The comparison is intended to show (according to him) both suffered from fanaticism and intolerance. Villari states, 
Did not John Calvin live in the age of Leo X. and Francis I., and was he not a man of considerable culture, lofty genius, and iron strength of will? He too became the head of a republic, without, however, the merit of being its founder; and yet, while the declared champion of freedom and tolerance, he not only inflicted the severest punishments on all who committed blasphemy or worked on Sunday, but even cast women into prison for arranging their hair in an immodest fashion!1 Was it not he who, in the year 1553, had the innocent and ill-starred Servetus burnt to death at Geneva? It is no part of true historic criticism to put aside, when judging Savonarola, all remembrance of human passion and religious excitement.
1 In the Geneva Archives the Decree is still preserved by which a woman was sentenced to imprisonment, parce qu'elle n'avait pas les cheveux abattus. 
This was the sparse source Durant utilized. Villari claims it was John Calvin himself that "even cast women into prison for arranging their hair in an immodest fashion." Documentation is also provided: "In the Geneva Archives the Decree is still preserved by which a woman was sentenced to imprisonment." Notice Villari explains the Genevan records say explicitly, "parce qu'elle n'avait pas les cheveux abattus," but he leaves it to his readers to search out those records for this particular sentence! This is not meaningful documentation, particularly for his contemporaries. Even with our advantage of online search engines, this exact sentence typically hits only Villari's books. 

Also notice that Will Durant mis-cited  Villari. The English translation of Villari utilized by Durant does not say "immoral height," but rather, "immodest fashion." Villari's text was originally in Italian, not English. Villari's Italian text reads, "le donne per la poco modesta acconciatura dei loro capelli." "Immodest fashion" is an acceptable English translation. Why did Durant choose "Immoral height"? One pictures a Genevan woman with a 1950's beehive hairdo. True, the words "immodest" and "immoral" are related, but doesn't it seem Durant was trying to paint a darker picture of the event than what Villari wrote? The French text cited by Villari (parce qu'elle n'avait pas les cheveux abattus) does not say immoral height. The gist is that her was not hanging down.

Elsewhere I've documented Will Durant's strong bias against John Calvin. Here we see that not only was Durant biased by his choice of words in quoting his secondary source, that secondary does not helpfully substantiate the information presented. The trail mapped out by Durant to uncover the historical truth turns out to be a dead end.

Other Considerations
There are clues from other sources to consider in determining whether or not Calvin or Geneva regulated women's hair. For instance, this source states,
It was then decreed that the taverns should be closed at nightfall, all games of dice and cards were forbidden, and every sort of blasphemy and swearing was to be punished by imprisonment. It would have been well if the reformers had been content to stop there, for the prisons were full of delinquents, but Calvin insisted on legislating on the subject of dress and personal adornment, and sins of vanity were punished, as if they belonged to the same category as theft and libel. The registers of the republic under date May 20, 1537, contain the following entry:—
"A married woman went out last Sunday with her hair hanging down more than it ought, which is a bad example and contrary to the Gospel preached. The mistress, the maids who accompanied her, and the woman who dressed her hair have been sent to prison."
Notice particularly, this author claims the woman had "hair hanging down more than it ought," the exact opposite of what Durant claimed. Now not only is Calvin arresting women for high hair, he's arresting them for long hair! The famous historian Leopold von Ranke likewise mentions a version of this story:
One of the chief causes of contention was the adorning of brides, the "plicatura capillorum," which the preachers, according to 1 Peter iii. 3, would not permit. In the Registries of the Republic, May 20, 1537, we find that the mother and female friends who were present when a bride appeared "avec les cheveux plus abattus qu'il en se doit faire," were also subjected to punishment. The new preachers placed themselves under an obligation to permit the benediction of the bride "en cheveux pendans."
I suspect that the "Registries of the Republic" being cited is this text:
“Une épouse étant sortie dimanche dernier avec les cheveux plus abattus qu'il ne se doit faire, ce qui est d'un mauvais exemple, et contraire à ce qu'on leur évangélise, on fait mettre en prison sa maitresse, les deux qui l'ont menée, et celle qui l’a coiffée.—Régistres, 20 Mai, 1537.
I believe the popular source for this French text utilized by these two writers may be to an 1850 biography of John Calvin. The date of May 20, 1537 appears to be an error from this biographer. The actual date was October 30, 1537. I suspect the biographer utilized this text, and made a simple copyist error. Karl Barth mentions this similar story along with the correct date and a helpful reference"

Barth documents this with CO 21, 216. This is referring to the multi-volume set, Joannis Calvini opera quae supersunt omnia. Volume 21, page 216 states:
The same text can be found in Registres du Conseil de Genève à l'époque de Calvin, Volume 2. So Durant got it both right and wrong.  He's right that a woman was arrested and imprisoned. He's wrong as to the specific details.

The Registers of Geneva do record at least one instance of the the regulation of hair style and subsequent imprisonment in 1537.  It appears to me that the woman's hair was was placed up, whereas the standard was to have hair hanging down.

Calvin arrived in Geneva in 1536, but the best records of the Genevan church didn't really begin until a decade later. What is available in the early years are fragments, which is where this information comes from. It appears the incident Durant was documenting (via Villari) was originally a fragment from October 30, 1537.

One thing that is missing from the context of the primary source fragment is reference to John Calvin having a woman arrested for her hair style. True, Calvin was an important voice in the life of the Genevan church. Was he directly responsible for the ordinance? This author claims some of these strict regulations (like the hair ordinance) "were already in existence" before Calvin got involved.  For this author, Calvin's fault was not making the ordinance, but rather calling on the Council to enforce those pre-existing laws. Was Calvin then directly responsible for having a woman imprisoned for a hairstyle in 1537? The context does not say that. The most one could argue is that Calvin may have influenced the incident.

How responsible then was Calvin for the regulations on hairstyle? The Reform movement in Geneva did not begin with Calvin, but it certainly grew exponentially under Calvin's influence. Calvin's biographer Thomas Henry Dyer paints a picture of Geneva as being not only liberal, but a bit wild previous to Calvin's arrival: " must be admitted that they were carried away to excess in Geneva, and that the greatest dissoluteness of manners prevailed." He argues that the morality of the city did require reform, but that the Reformers tried too quickly (they "should be extirpated all at once...") which led to some of the seemingly harsh recordings found in the Fragments. He refers specifically to the "hair" incident:
Marriage was ordered so be solemnised with as little show as possible. Instead of the joyous fete it had hitherto been, it was converted into a purely religious ceremony, and sanctified by a sermon. If the bride or her companions adorned themselves in a fashion contrary to what was evangelised, they were punished with imprisonment. 
From the same time period, there are the Articles Concerning the Organization of the Church and of Worship at Geneva 1537, probably the product of Calvin himself. There is nothing specific in this document about hair. There is nothing then that directly links Calvin to this incident. On the other hand, though written later, we do have Calvin's comments on 1 Peter 3:3. There Calvin comments,
3. Whose adorning. The other part of the exhortation is, that wives are to adorn themselves sparingly and modestly: for we know that they are in this respect much more curious and ambitious than they ought to be. Then Peter does not without cause seek to correct in them this vanity. And though he reproves generally sumptuous or costly adorning, yet he points out some things in particular,—that they were not artificially to curl or wreath their hair, as it was usually done by crisping-pins, or otherwise to form it according to the fashion; nor were they to set gold around their head: for these are the things in which excesses especially appear.
It may be now asked, whether the Apostle wholly condemns the use of gold in adorning the body. Were any one to urge these words, it may be said, that he prohibits precious garments no less than gold; for he immediately adds, the putting on of apparel, or, of clothes. But it would be an immoderate strictness wholly to forbid neatness and elegance in clothing. If the material is said to be too sumptuous, the Lord has created it; and we know that skill in art has proceeded from him. Then Peter did not intend to condemn every sort of ornament, but the evil of vanity, to which women are subject. Two things are to be regarded in clothing, usefulness and decency; and what decency requires is moderation and modesty. Were, then, a woman to go forth with her hair wantonly curled and decked, and make an extravagant display, her vanity could not be excused. They who object and say, that to clothe one’s-self in this or that manner is an indifferent thing, in which all are free to do as they please, may be easily confuted; for excessive elegance and superfluous display, in short, all excesses, arise from a corrupted mind. Besides ambition, pride, affectation of display, and all things of this kind, are not indifferent things. Therefore they whose minds are purified from all vanity, will duly order all things, so as not to exceed moderation. 
Notice also Calvin's comments in his commentary on 1 Tim. 2:9,
In like manner also women. As he enjoined men to lift up pure hands, so he now prescribes the manner in which women ought to prepare for praying aright. And there appears to be an implied contrast between those virtues which he recommends and the outward sanctification of the Jews; for he intimates that there is no profane place, nor any from which both men and women may not draw near to God, provided they are not excluded by their vices.
He intended to embrace the opportunity of correcting a vice to which women are almost always prone, and which perhaps at Ephesus, being a city of vast wealth and extensive merchandise, especially abounded. That vice is—excessive eagerness and desire to be richly dressed. He wishes therefore that their dress should be regulated by modesty and sobriety; for luxury and immoderate expense arise from a desire to make a display either for the sake of pride or of departure from chastity. And hence we ought to derive the rule of moderation; for, since dress is an indifferent matter, (as all outward matters are,) it is difficult to assign a fixed limit, how far we ought to go. Magistrates may indeed make laws, by means of which a rage for superfluous expenditure shall be in some measure restrained; but godly teachers, whose business it is to guide the consciences, ought always to keep in view the end of lawful use. This at least will be settled beyond all controversy, that every thing in dress which is not in accordance with modesty and sobriety must be disapproved.
Yet we must always begin with the dispositions; for where debauchery reigns within, there will be no chastity; and where ambition reigns within, there will be no modesty in the outward dress. But because hypocrites commonly avail themselves of all the pretexts that they can find for concealing their wicked dispositions, we are under the necessity of pointing out what meets the eye. It would be great baseness to deny the appropriateness of modesty as the peculiar and constant ornament of virtuous and chaste women, or the duty of all to observe moderation. Whatever is opposed to these virtues it will be in vain to excuse. He expressly censures certain kinds of superfluity, such as curled hair, jewels, and golden rings; not that the use of gold or of jewels is expressly forbidden, but that, wherever they are prominently displayed, these things commonly draw along with them the other evils which I have mentioned, and arise from ambition or from want of chastity as their source.
In both passages, Calvin mentions curled hair and vanity. Perhaps it was Calvin's influence that had this woman arrested and imprisoned? It appears that a hairdresser had dressed a woman's hair in such a way that she simply looked... too beautiful, which would be an an outward show of vanity in Calvin's mind. Without though any direct evidence, it's speculation at best that Calvin had anything to do with it.

 Here's an interesting article: Untangling history: What hair and hairstyles meant in 16th and 17th-century Europe. The author states:
In early modern Europe, dress was regulated by “sumptuary laws”. These regulations set out who could wear what and when, according to a hierarchy of privileges believed to be accorded by god. Some of the laws related not just to clothing but also to hair. 
In some areas, the Reformation made extravagant excesses a subject of discussion and attempted to regulate clothing in regard to new aesthetics of piety and morals of modesty.
Early modern European cities enacted laws that defined the privileges and duties of different groups. Noblemen, clerics and peasants, for example, were expected to dress and behave in certain ways: what was appropriate for one group was inappropriate for another. In the wake of the Reformation, people were expected to comply with new rules on dress – but, as always, there were some who were determined to test the limits of authority.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

John Calvin Had 58 People Executed in Geneva?

Here's a John Calvin tidbit found on a number of web-pages:
From 1541 to 1546, John Calvin caused 58 people to be executed and seventy six were exiled. His victims ranged in age from 16 to 80 (source).
In this snippet, John Calvin is painted as being the direct cause for fifty-eight executions, including young adults as well as the elderly. Various versions of these facts can be found across the Internet. For instance, a web-page hosting Fr. Leonel Franca's Calvin the Tyrant of Geneva states these statistics were the result of the "the religious persecutions of Calvin." A website dedicated to biographies states the executions and banishments were all due to religious beliefs: "In the first five years of John Calvin's rule in Geneva, 58 people were executed and 76 exiled for their religious beliefs." says Calvin "acted as a virtual dictator from 1541 until his death," then shows the following results of this dictatorship:
There were some ugly moments in theocratic Geneva. During these years 58 people were executed and 76 banished in order to preserve morals and discipline. Like most men of his century, the reformer was convinced that believing wrongly about God was so heinous a crime that not even death could expiate it.
These are only a few examples of the dissemination of this information. Many more could easily be provided. Did Calvin actually have fifty-eight people executed? Was Calvin having people executed due to his religious intolerance? Were the Genevans being lined up like a row of Servetus's, being executed at the whim of the dictator John Calvin, simply because they defied his theology? Let's take a closer look.

The majority of web-pages using these facts do not provide documentation. Many are simply of the "I hate John Calvin" ilk. There are though a few reputable English sources that do mention these facts. For instance, the old Catholic Encyclopedia repeats the same facts, but does not provide helpful documentation.  Probably the most reputable English source (and perhaps that which helped popularize the information) is Philip Schaff's History of the Christian Church. Schaff states,
The official acts of the Council from 1541 to 1559 exhibit a dark chapter of censures, fines, imprisonments, and executions. During the ravages of the pestilence in 1545 more than twenty men and women were burnt alive for witchcraft, and a wicked conspiracy to spread the horrible disease. From 1542 to 1546 fifty-eight judgments of death and seventy-six decrees of banishments were passed.4 During the years 1558 and 1559 the cases of various punishments for all sorts of offences amounted to four hundred and fourteen — a very large proportion for a population of 20,000.
4. According to Galiffe, as quoted by Kampschulte, I. 425.
First, Schaff  says his information came from "The official acts of the Council from 1541 to 1559." What was "the Council"? That's not an easily explained answer, for Geneva's legal system was complicated. Schaff explains it here. I have an explanation of it here. On a fundamental level: the "official acts of the Council" does not mean the official acts of the Genevan church or John Calvin. Certainly religion was infused into Genevan polity, but the "Council" does not mean "church council." Second, it does not appear that Schaff actually consulted this source. Rather, he provides a footnote to his chosen source: "According to Galiffe, as quoted by Kampschulte." Since it appears that the later was that which Schaff ultimately utilized, let's treat it first. According to Schaff, "Kampschulte"refers to:
F. W. Kampschulte (a liberal Roman Catholic, Professor of History at Bonn, died an Old Catholic, 1872): Joh. Calvin, seine Kirche und sein Staat in Genf.  Leipzig, 1869, vol. I. (vols. II. and III. have not appeared).  A most able, critical, and, for a Catholic, remarkably fair and liberal work, drawn in part from unpublished sources. (source)
Here then is Kampschulte's comment which Schaff utilized:

This appears to be Schaff's primary source for this information. It's basically a repeat of the bald facts of fifty-eight executions and seventy-six banishments. What is revealing is that Kampschulte does not go as far as saying Calvin directly caused the execution of fifty-eight people (as if Calvin was in a courtroom looking at the accused and passing the verdict: "take him away for execution"). Rather, Kampschulte insinuates it was Calvin's overall preaching influence on the Genevan judicial system which caused it. Schaff, a careful scholar, made sure to document where the information originated from, noting that Kampschulte himself relied on a source for this information: Galiffe-

"Galiffe" refers to Jean-Barthelemy Galiffe. Interestingly, particularly in light of his favorable comments about Kampschulte,  Schaff notes Galiffe was a Protestant scholar "but very hostile to Calvin and his institutions, chiefly from the political point of view").  "Nouvelles" refers to his book, Nouvelles pages d’histoire exacte soit le procès de Pierre Ameaux, Genève. Page 97 states,

This text basically says the same thing, that during the period in question there were fifty-eight executions and seventy-six banishments. There is an admission though that the statistics in questions were compiled by Galiffe, using the Registers of the Council of Geneva from the period in question. The bones are finally gaining some meat: Galiffe  goes on to provide actual data to back up his statistics. The data for the executions begins on page 100.  He says thirty were men, twenty-eight were women. Of these, thirteen people were hanged, ten were decapitated,  and thirty-five burned alive. Of these fifty-eight executions, twenty were for ordinary crimes: murder, robbery, counterfeit money, forgery, political offenses, etc.  These twenty people were men. The other thirty-eight did involve women, and they were cases involving questioning through torture, most notably in regard to the spread of the plague. There were also some involving witchcraft and divination, but almost all of them were in regard to the spreading of the plague.

The statistic of fifty-eight executions strongly appears to find its genesis from Galiffe. It was he that went through the old Genevan registers and counted. Galiffe was no fan of Calvin. Read Schaff's description of Galiffe here. See also this descriptionRichard Stauffer points out that Galiffe was from an "old Genevese family" extremely bitter towards Calvin "not only as a foreigner, but also as an intruder and usurper in the life of the old city." Stauffer includes him as presenting a picture of Calvin in which the Reformer isn't recognizable. Schaff notes that the Galiffe's (father and son scholars) viewed Geneva as "independent and free" until Calvin came along.  In Galiffe's presentation, the emphasis is that whatever evils may have been present in Geneva, Calvin made them much worse once he arrived.

It appears to me that Galiffe's research suffers from the logical error of post hoc ergo propter hoc. Everything that happened in Geneva once Calvin arrived was the fault of John Calvin. As far as I can tell from going through Galiffe's research, there is not a direct line of evidence that Calvin "caused fifty-eight people to be executed." Nor is their a direct line of evidence that those executed suffered for theological reasons or for some disagreement with Calvin's theology. Most telling is that twenty of the number were executed for the ordinary sort of crimes that were punishable during this time period. These executions were not something out of the ordinary in western Europe during this time period.

But what about those other thirty-eight who died as the result of questioning through torture?  The Genevan judical system operated like other sixteenth century judicial systems: through the process of inquisition. Robert Kingdon explains,
The basic principle of this system is a procedure known as inquisition process. It assumes that the real truth of any criminal charge is most likely to emerge from intensive, and repeated questioning of the parties involved.  
Kingdon details the entire process that operated in Geneva, much of which preceded Calvin's arrival. He points out that during the progressive process of questioning, the Genevan system allowed for torture along with the interrogation. It was a detailed horrible process, a process not invented by Calvin, but not repudiated by Calvin either. it was the established judicial system of the day, a system that Calvin accepted as being part of the government, not the church. One would wish that Calvin repudiated the system, but he did not. That he didn't repudiate it settles the matter for many that are opposed to Calvinism. Others, like myself, try to put people in their historical contexts and understand them in the world they lived in. 

Most interesting is that the event of the plague in Geneva appears to play a strong factor in many of these executions, not Calvin's theology.  There was a pervading fear that swept through Geneva when the plague hit, causing hysteria. Why was the plague here? Who is causing it? There were accusations against people of being deliberate plague spreaders, and these people wound up as victims of the inquisition process. Satan and those who were his sorcerers in Geneva were said to also actively be spreading the plague. Calvin, of course, was certainly in favor of having these people stopped as well.  A helpful overview can be found in Bernard Cottret's, Calvin, a Biography, pp. 178-181. He points out:

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Luther's High Regard for John Calvin?

What did Martin Luther think of John Calvin? Here's a curious comment from the Table Talk in which Luther appears to consider Calvin highly:
NOT all are able to bear tribulations alike; for, if an human creature were merely flesh without bones, then the body would fall into a lump, or bunch; the bones and sinews do keep up the flesh, etc. Even so it is in the Christian congregation. some must be able to bear a blow of the devil; as we three, Philip Melanchthon, John Calvin, and myself; therefore we pray continually in the church ; for it is prayer that must do the deed.
Now that's quite a compliment! Or is it? Maybe not. The original sources say something different.

It bears repeating that the Table Talk is not actually something Luther wrote. It's a collection of second hand comments written down by Luther's friends and students published after his death. It often falls on deaf ears when I point out to detractors that Luther didn't write the Table Talk. Since the statements contained therein are purported to have been made by Luther, they should serve more as corroborating second-hand testimony to something Luther is certain to have written. The Table Talk, therefore, contains something Luther may have said, but not necessarily

This particular comment comes from the oldest English edition of the Table Talk:

Here's where it becomes tedious and tricky, but necessary, to understand Luther's alleged mention of John Calvin in this utterance. This version of the Table Talk was translated from German into English by Captain Henry Bell (1652): Dris Martini Lutheri Colloquia Mensalia: Or, Dr Martin Luther's Divine Discourses at His Table, etc. This English version of Luther's second-hand comments begins with a strange (and at times seemingly fictional) tale of how Captain Bell came across the Table Talk (found here). The saga begins with the destruction of Luther's Table Talk due to persecution from the Papacy and Empire, but one copy managed to be hidden away, fortunately discovered before being destroyed. In a flowery tale, Bell describes why and how he translated it¾ at the prompting of an angelic vision ¾ along with the perils of getting it published. Preserved Smith's critical study of Luther's Table Talk refers to Bell's account as "such a tissue of mistakes and improbabilities that it is hardly worth serious criticism,and also, "The whole thing has the air of being invented to heighten the interest of the translation." On the other hand, Gordon Rupp scrutinized Bell's story in his book, The Righteousness of God (New York: The Philosophical Library, Inc., 1953), pp. 56- 77, and deems aspects of Bell's story plausible. Even if the background story has elements of fiction, this does not necessarily deem Bell's work inferior or suspect (that will be discussed below). The book is an actual translation of Luther's Table Talk and has served the English speaking world for hundreds of years, particularly in its revision by William Hazlitt..

When the German text of the Table Talk is consulted for the quote under scrutiny, here is what appears:

One doesn't need to know German is to see that the name "John Calvin" does not appear in the text. Rather, the text says "ich, Philippus Melanchthon und Doctor Pommer." Was "Doctor Pommer" simply another way of referring to John Calvin. No. "Doctor Pommer" refers to Luther's associate, Johannes Bugenhagen (1485–1558), of Pomerania, whom Luther dubbed, " Doctor Pomeranus."

Luther was not referring to John Calvin in this Table Talk quote. Why did Captain Bell insert Calvin's name?  According to Rupp, Bell may have have made changes to the German text when translating into English to appease the Parliamentary committee that examined the translation. I've documented one of these changes before: Bell's translation has Luther admitting his error of the real presence in the Lord's Supper! Note these words from the Report of the Committee of the House of Commons in Bell's edition:

I suspect Bell's insertion of Calvin's name was similar to doctoring Luther's theology on the Lord's Supper.     

Addendum #1
Some years back I put together Luther and Calvin... Friends or Enemies? There isn't much in the record in regard to Luther's view of Calvin. In the entry I present the sparse few mentions of Calvin in Luther's writings.

Addendum #2
The Table Talk utterance under scrutiny can be found in WATR 3:36, and was not included in LW 54. Hazlitt though included an English revision.