Calvin on Aquinas

Discussion in 'The Literary Forum' started by py3ak, Oct 3, 2006.

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  1. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Does anyone know where the quote is where Calvin criticizes Aquinas for making scripture yield to Aristotle?

    I have searched and searched through the Institutes and didn't find it, although I am positive I read it a few months ago. Of course, the lurking possibility haunts my waking moments that it was in one of the commentaries. Any help?
  2. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    No, but Cavin's works can be added to e-Sword and you can do a word search from there--in case you have not already explored that route.

    Aristotle is mentioned in

    Book 1 Chapter 5
    " " Chapter 8
    " " Chapter 15

    Book 2 Chapter 2 Part B
    Book 2 Chapter 5
    Book 4 Chapter 17 Part B

    Book 1 Chapter 5:
    5. But my business at present is not with that stye: I wish rather to deal with those who, led away by absurd subtleties, are inclined, by giving an indirect turn to the frigid doctrine of Aristotle, to employ it for the purpose both of disproving the immortality of the soul, and robbing God of his rights.

    Just to site one such reference

    [Edited on 10-3-2006 by caddy]
  3. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    To my knowledge, all the direct references to Thomas are in the footnotes supplied by McNeill in the Battles edn.

    I don't think Calvin had a copy of the Summa in Geneva and the library did not shelve a copy until after Calvin's death.

    Calvin had some knowledge of Thomas from his time in Paris, but how much he knew of Thomas is an open question.

    Remember, he did not go through the theology faculty in any of his universities. He was, more or less, self-taught. He seems to have direct knowledge of Lombard's Sentences and quotes them directly in 1.13. He knew the Fathers pretty well and quoted and refered to them directly. He knew Bernard best of all the medieval theologians.

  4. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    It may have been a more generic reference to the schoolmen.
    And thanks for the tip, Steven. I have got a searchable Calvin --I tried Aristotle, the Philosopher, Aquinas, Thomas....
  5. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    Muller argues in The Unaccommodated Calvin that most of Calvin's references to "the schoolmen" are really to the Sorbonne and not to the medievals. Sometimes Calvin names medieval names, but Muller is right.


  6. ReadBavinck

    ReadBavinck Puritan Board Freshman

    So, these footnotes are reliable?


    [Edited on 10-3-2006 by CJ_Chelpka]
  7. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritanboard Amanuensis

    While McNeill/Battles knows infinitely more than I do about Calvin, they are also influenced by their own presuppositions (somewhere they state that, "See here? Calvin denies covenant of works."). You have to be on the look out for statements like that.

    They are fun to read, teh footnotes. How accurate tehy are, I don't know.
  8. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    Well, some are and some aren't. See Muller's criticisms in the above-mentioned volume.

    McNeill was a great historian but he associated Thomas too closely with Calvin. I've criticized this tendency in R. Scott Clark, "Calvin and the Lex Naturalis," Stulos Theological Journal 6 (1998): 1–22.

    Battles read Calvin almost solely in relation to humanism and not in relation to scholastisim. Battles was probably a Barthian when at Pittsburgh Theol Sem. I don't know if he remained thus.


  9. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Well, now, that's just great, Dr. Clark. You've made me doubt my memory here, shaken my self-confidence and delayed a blog post.

    Does what I posted above sound like anything you've read? Any Reformer or Puritan just take a sideswipe at Aquinas for putting Aristotle's opinions as a legitimate objection to a certain interpretation of Scripture?
  10. R. Scott Clark

    R. Scott Clark Puritan Board Senior

    Never let the facts get in the way of a good blog - at least thats the way it seems on some of them!

    Yes, I'm sure one could find someone saying this, but who and where, I don't know off the top. It's possible that Calvin said it, but without finding chapter and verse I wouldn't impute that to him.

  11. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Arrgh! Your cursed academic qualifications are making a post with a good picture combo sit uselessly in my drafts folder.
    Still, commend me: at your word I at least hesitated!
  12. brymaes

    brymaes Puritan Board Sophomore

    Where can I find that?
  13. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    That sounds more like Bahnsen's assessment of St. Thomas then Calvin's but it did remind me of a critical word from a Puritan I read a little while ago.

    Edward Lawrence on Transubstantiation against the Papists.

  14. Civbert

    Civbert Puritan Board Junior
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