Nicodemism and the English Calvin, 1544–1584


Author: Kenneth J. Woo
In 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.

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Kenneth J. Woo, Th.D. (2015), Duke University, is Assistant Professor of Church History at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. His publications on Reformation history and theology include articles in Church History and Religious Culture and Martin Luther in Context (Cambridge, 2018).
All interested in John Calvin and the English Reformation, especially those concerned with the reception of Calvin's thought in other sixteenth-century contexts, and anyone with an interest in early modern theological rhetoric concerning religious identity, persecution, and exile.