Monday, December 03, 2007

Calvin & The Death Penalty

I recently found this thread . It is a discussion of a recent entry I posted over at aomin on Steve Ray's use of a Calvin "fact" on repressing Catholics with the sword. Ray directed his readers to a book by Georgia Harkness, who documents Calvin saying, "Persons who persist in the superstitions of the Roman Antichrist [Catholicism] . . . deserve to be repressed by the sword." I suggested Ray used this quote for shock value.

In the discussion thread, I was chastised by one person for equating "repress with the sword" with the death penalty, because the two are not the same. I grant this, but point out, I followed the leading of Steve Ray, who sent his readers to the book by Georgia Harkness. In the context of the discussion of this particular Calvin "fact", Harkness is specific on using the term in regard to the death penalty. Hence, I assume Ray had the death penalty in mind in interpreting this tidbit of information. Harkness says, "...I have been able to find only one [instance] in which [Calvin] says [Catholics] ought to be put to death" (p. 96). She then provides the quote in question. In fact, in the entire context of pages 95-96, Harkness has the death penalty in mind.

1 comment:

Timothy Athanasius said...

Good research as usual, James!