Sunday, February 17, 2013

Wikipedia's "John Calvin's views on Mary" (Part 2)

This is an installment of  "Be Careful What You Find on Wikipedia."

I've been intrigued by the alleged "Mariology" of the Reformers for years because of the argumentation of Roman Catholic apologists. While searching around the other day, I came across Wikipedia's John Calvin's views on Mary entry. I didn't get far into the entry before I came across facts that appeared odd. I'm going to work through the entry, time allowing.

Here's another odd fact:

Regarding Marian relics, Calvin commented in an ironical way that since the Roman Catholics believed in the Assumption of Mary, at least nobody can claim to have Marian relics, otherwise there would be so many Marian bones in circulation, that a huge new cemetery could be filled with them.[3][3]Algermissen 1988, 641
Konrad Algermissen, John Calvin, in Marienlexikon, Regensburg, 1988 (quoted as Algermissen 1988)
Go ahead and try to search out the author "Algermissen" and the referenced work "Marienlexikon." It's not an easy find. The reference appears to be to a six-volume  Marian encyclopedia by Remigius Bäumer in which Algermissen provided an entry on Calvin. The "1988" refers to the first volume.

While I wasn't able to get a copy of this source, the Calvin quote cited by Wiki appears to be from Calvin's treatise on Relics:
The Blessed Virgin.—The belief that the body of the Virgin was not interred on earth, but was taken to heaven, has deprived them of all pretext for manufacturing any relics of her remains, which otherwise might have been sufficiently abundant to fill a whole churchyard; yet in order to have at least something belonging to her, they sought to indemnify themselves for the absence of other relics with the possession of her hair and her milk. The hair is shown in several churches at Rome, and at Salvatierra in Spain, at Maçon, St Flour, Cluny, Nevers, and in many other towns. With regard to the milk, there is not perhaps a town, a convent, or nunnery, where it is not shown in large or small quantities. Indeed, had the Virgin been a wet-nurse her whole life, or a dairy, she could not have produced more than is shown as hers in various parts. How they obtained all this milk they do not say, and it is superfluous here to remark that there is no foundation in the Gospels for these foolish and blasphemous extravagances.
If this is  the quote the Wiki article has in mind, the citation they use is a very loose paraphrase of what Calvin actually wrote.

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