The Profile and Use of John Calvin in the Dissertatie and the Institutiones theologiae practicae of Simon Oomius (1630–1706)

in Church History and Religious Culture
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This contribution deals with the reception of John Calvin and his theology in a seventeenth-century Dutch manual of practical theology written by Simon Oomius, a representative of Dutch Reformed Pietism in the period of high Orthodoxy. From the manual, which presents an exhaustive study of the doctrines of Scripture and of God, it becomes clear that Oomius uses Calvin as an important and reliable reference in the areas of dogmatics, exegesis, church history, and spirituality. He takes over arguments from Calvin by paraphrasing him, by using the same examples, by appealing to the same names, by summarizing Calvin’s explanation of biblical texts with approval, or even by including literal citations from his commentaries, letters, and articles, as well as the Institutes. The selective use is almost always in the context of polemics, but carefully in line with Calvin’s own reasoning. This case study shows that Oomius’s portrait of Calvin is directly connected with the essence of his own theology. The reformer of Geneva is considered for the promotion of piety. In Oomius’s eyes, the publications of Calvin are as a whole practically-oriented, and his “Institutes of life” are a living example of a theologia practica.

The Profile and Use of John Calvin in the Dissertatie and the Institutiones theologiae practicae of Simon Oomius (1630–1706)

in Church History and Religious Culture




Richard A. Muller‘The Problem of Protestant Scholasticism—A Review and Definition,’ in Reformation and Scholasticism: An Ecumenical Enterpriseed. Willem J. van Asselt and Eef Dekker (Grand Rapids 2001) pp. 50–53; idem Ad fontes argumentorum. The Sources of Reformed Theology in the 17th Century (Utrecht 1999) pp. 16–19.


Richard A. Muller‘Calvin and the “Calvinists”: Assessing Continuities and Discontinuities Between the Reformation and Orthodoxy,’ Calvin Theological Journal 30 no. 2 (1995) 345–375; and 31 no. 1 (1996) 125–160 there 134 138.


The first volume (1672) of the Institutiones theologiae practicae for example contains 45 references to Calvin but Rivetus and Voetius are cited 102 and 103 times respectively.


The first volume (1672) of Oomius’s Institutiones theologiae practicae is a voluminous 998-page publication on the locus de Sacra Scriptura. This gives Oomius’s work an entirely different setup from that of Calvin’s Institutes of which Wilhelm H. Neuser ‘Calvins Verständnis der Heiligen Schrift’ in Calvinus Sacrae Scripturae Professor. Calvin as Confessor of Holy Scripture ed. Wilhelm H. Neuser (Grand Rapids 1994) p. 41 remarks: “Calvins berühmte Hauptschrift Institutio Christianae Religionis [enthält] keine Lehre von der Heiligen Schrift. Es muss klargestellt werden dass er dort nur Teilaspekte behandelt nicht aber die ganze Lehre vorträgt.”


See CalvinInstitutes1.7.2. (CO 2: 57): “Perinde […] et amarae.”


CalvinInstitutes1.13.5. (CO 2: 92): “Utinam […] esse distinctos.” According to Oomius the generatio and procession are facts since the Scriptures teaches this; to believe the το όν is justified and enough.


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