Nicodemism and the English Calvin Kenneth J. Woo reassesses John Calvin's decades-long attack against Nicodemism, which Calvin described as evangelicals playing Catholic to avoid hardship or persecution. Frequently portrayed as a static argument varying little over time, the reformer's anti-Nicodemite polemic actually was adapted to shifting contexts and diverse audiences. Calvin's strategic approach to Nicodemism was not lost on readers, influencing its reception in England.
Quatre sermons (1552) presents Calvin's anti-Nicodemism in the only sermons he personally prepared for publication. By setting this work in its original context and examining its reception in five sixteenth-century English editions, Woo demonstrates how Calvin and others deployed his rhetoric against Nicodemism to address concerns having little to do with religious dissimulation.