Independent Yet Harmonious: Some Remarks on the Relationship between the Theology of Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499–1562) and John Calvin

in Church History and Religious Culture
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The essay deals with the relationship between the theology of Peter Martyr Vermigli and John Calvin. Comparing their doctrine of predestination and justification, there emerge both points of contact and divergences. Whereas their teaching coincided in content, their method and terminology could differ even significantly, not least because Vermigli—more often than Calvin—integrated into his theological works concepts and distinctions characteristic of the Aristotelian and scholastic traditions. Thus, while remaining a loyal and esteemed ally of Calvin during his entire career as a Reformed theologian, Vermigli always retained his own theological profile.

Independent Yet Harmonious: Some Remarks on the Relationship between the Theology of Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499–1562) and John Calvin

in Church History and Religious Culture




Cf. N. Scott Amos‘Exegesis and Theological Method,’ in A Companion to Peter Martyr Vermigli (see above n. 3) pp. 175–193.


Cf. Richard Gamble‘Sacramental Continuity Among Reformed Refugees: Peter Martyr Vermigli and John Calvin,’ in Peter Martyr Vermigli and the European Reformations. Semper Reformandaed. Frank A. James III (Leiden 2004) p. 109.


In 1557for example the Italian Reformed church in Geneva invited him officially to take up the office of pastor which Celso Martinengo—who had passed away in that year—had held. Vermigli refused adducing as reason the reluctance of the city council in Zurich to set him free. See Schmidt Peter Martyr Vermigli (see above n. 6) p. 207.


Vermigli to Calvin 9 May 1554in: CO 15: 137: “Nec te postremo latere velim me una cum reliquis bonis viris id vehementer dolere quod adversus veritatem ac tuum nomen adeo inepta et falsa spargant de aeterna Dei electione … Nos hic quoties rogamur quum publice tum privatim partes et veri et tuas pro virili tuemur praesertim Zancus et ego.” (emphasis mine)


Vermigli to Calvin 1 July 1557in Johann Heinrich Hottinger Historia ecclesiastica Novi Testamenti vol. 8 (Zurich 1667) p. 829: “Utque scias in tempore libellus mihi est redditus quia modo in schola cum abiectio Saulis et poenitentia electionis eius occurrerit de beata praedestinatione coepi agere. Neque aliud argumentum favente Deo tota ista hebdomada tractabo. Atque ad id faciendum non solum me movit loci eius occasio se quia collega meus ut nosti toto coelo dissidet et hebdomada superiori quaedam auditorio proposuit ab hac veritate plurimum aliena.” The biblical passage Vermigli refers to is 1Sam. 15.


Vermigli to Calvin 1 July 1557in Hottinger Historia (see above n. 20) 8: 829: “Nam ea in re quemadmodum et in caeteris dogmatis religionis facio tecum.”


Vermigli to Calvin 21 April 1558in: CO 17: 144: “… superioribus diebus me summa voluptate perlegisse quam edidisti lucubrationem pro tuenda aeterna et salvifica Dei Opt[imi] Max[imi] praedestinatione. … Ego quoque in istam eandem sententiam permulta collegeram in commentario meo epistolae ad Romanos quem ante aliquot menses imprimendum Petro Pernae Basileam miseram.” On the identification of the treatise mentioned by Vermigli as Calvin’s De aeterna Dei praedestinatione see John P. Donnelly Calvinism and Scholasticism in Vermigli’s Doctrine of Man and Grace (Leiden 1976) p. 128 n. 8.


Ibid. p. 16.


Ibid. p. 17.


Ibid. p. 19.


Ibid. p. 24.


Ibid. p. 25.


John CalvinInstitutio christianae religionis3.21.5: “By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms but some are preordained to eternal life others to eternal damnation; and accordingly as each has been created for one or other of these ends we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death.” The translation has been taken from Institutes of Christian Religion transl. H. Beveridge (London 1949) 2: 206.




Ibid. pp. 167–168.


See Robert M. Kingdon‘Peter Martyr Vermigli on Church Discipline,’ in Peter Martyr Vermigli (see above n. 8) pp. 67–76; J. Andreas Löwe ‘“The bodie and bloud of Christ is not carnallie and corporallie in the bread and wine.” The Oxford Disputation Revisited: Zwinglian Traits in the Eucharistic Theology of Pietro Martire Vermigli’ in Die Zürcher Reformation. Ausstrahlungen und Rückwirkungen ed. Alfred Schindler and Hans Stickelberger [Zürcher Beiträge zur Reformationsgeschichte 18] (Bern 2001) pp. 317–326; Peter Opitz ‘Eucharistic Theology’ in A Companion to Peter Martyr Vermigli (see above n. 3) pp. 387–398.

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