It is well known that Calvin made important use of Erasmus—the most quoted author in Calvin’s Commentaries on the New Testament—although he criticized him and contested his position more than regularly. This paper is focusing on a philological use of Erasmus by Calvin in his commentaries to the Canonical Epistles, particularly in the first Epistle of John with the Comma Joanneum (chapter 5). Two questions emerge. First, in which places (loci) did Calvin quote Erasmus in an exegetical or philological way of commenting the New Testament? Second, what did Calvin take and leave from Erasmus’s annotations? At the end of the demonstration, Max Engammare proves that Calvin did not read 1 John 5 with Erasmus’ help. The Reformer was well acquainted both with the problem and Erasmus’ solution, but he accepted the Comma Joanneum without any reservation as something good, even excellent for Christians.
See Calvin, Epistolæ canonicæ, 86. Erasmus translated: “qui est in corde homo, si is careat omni corruptela, ita ut spiritus placidus sit ac quietus, qui spiritus in oculis dei magnifica ac sumptuosa res est” (ASD VI-4:410).
See Calvin, Epistolæ canonicæ, 278. The 1556 French commentary has “Toutesfois la lecture ancienne Latine convient mieux, Sans tes œuvres, laquelle aussi on trouve en quelques exemplaires grecs.” See Commentaires de M. Jehan Calvin sur les Epistres Canoniques …, Geneva, Conrad Badius, 1556, 118.
See Irena Backus, “L’ influence de l’ exégèse d’ Erasme sur le milieu calvinien à Genève”, in Erasme et les théologiens réformés. Actes du Colloque international, Maison d’ Erasme à Bruxelles-Anderlecht, 24 avril 2004, édités par Emile M. Braekman, Bruxelles, 2005, 127–155. I thank Kirk Essary for that reference and for his reading and comment.