Friday, October 21, 2011

Calvin Killed Servetus? Before Servetus Killed Calvin?

Here's a helpful link on the Calvin / Servetus issue: Calvin Killed a Man. Also Here I Blog posted an interesting letter from Servetus asking for Calvin to be punished:
Honrable Seigneurs. I am detained for the criminal charges made by lehan Calvin who falsely accuses me saying that I have written: 1. that the souls are mortal 2. that Jesus Christ took from the Virgin Mary only the fourth part of his body. These are horrible and execrable things. Among all heresies and all crimes there is none so great as to make the soul mortal. For in all other there is a hope of salvation, whereas there is none in such a heresy. Whoever says so does not believe that there is a God, nor justice, nor resurrection, nor Jesus Christ, nor Holy Scripture, nor anything else. He believes only that everything dies and that the man and the beast are the same. If I had said or written this, for offending the world I should condemn myself to death. Therefore, messeigneurs, I ask that my accuser be punished according to the law of poena talionis and detained as prisoner with me, until the matter is settled by his death or mine or any other punishment. And for this I submit myself to the mentioned poena talionis. I am content to die if he is not convicted both of this and other things which I list below. I demand from you, messeigneurs, justice, justice, justice.
Written in prison of Geneva, 22 of September 1553.

Some time ago Dr. White provided a very helpful overview on this issue on the Dividing Line. I extracted the 20 minute section on Calvin and Servetus.

Also this article attempts to answer the charge that Calvin was a dictator: John Calvin: An Unopposed Dictator?


Constantine said...

I would like to recommend a very helpful book in this regard: "John Calvin: A Pilgrim's Life" by Herman J. Selderhuis. (Available in Kindle format.)

Dr. Selderhuis deals with the whole Servetus affair at length and shows conclusively that the Catholic Emperor Charles V had made heresy a crime punishable by death. Because Servetus was initially charged and imprisoned in France, his fate only improved by going to Geneva. There, Calvin actually pleaded that Servetus be given a more humane execution than burning. Selderhuis notes "Servetus was condemned by a government that was actually not at all favorably disposed toward Calvin..."

I can highly recommend this book.

Thanks for another interesting post.


James Swan said...