Romans 8:16 and John Calvin

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baron

Puritan Board Graduate
Moderators if this is not the right forum please move.

I have a few diffrent questions regarding John Calvin commentaries, KJV, and Latin. I was not sure where to post so I choose this forum. Seeing how a couple questions deal with translations.

Let me start by saying I'm reading Romans in John Calvin commentaries. I'm in chapter 8:16 and the KJV says: The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.

In Latin it says: Ipse enim Spiritum simul testificatur spirituai nostro quod sumus filii Dei:

Question 1) I do not know Latin and was wondering if someone who does will translate into English.

On page 299 verse 16 starts The Spirit himself. Plus just about every other bible version I checked say's himself.

Question 2) Is the KJV refering to Spirit as a it? Or is this archaic lanuage? I can't see calling the Spirit a it.

Now here is where I get silly. It just struck me this morning that while reading Romans 8 in the KJV in his commentary, that is not what John Calvin was using.

Question 3) Was he using a Latin text? Is that why they put the Latin side by side with the English?

Question 4) And can the Latin text be trusted seeing how I was told it was Roman Catholic.

Question 5) If Calvin was using inferior Bible text can we trust his commentaries or writtings?

Thank you.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
Ipse is the word you are wondering about, and it can be translated "himself" or "itself."

In the Greek, the reflexive pronoun is neuter, if I recall, so it may be translated "itself."

I really don't think you should be worried how Calvin translated compared to the KJV. Nobody ought to rely upon a gender versus neuter distinction in this passage to argue for or against personhood of the Holy Sprit.

Keep in mind that different languages use personal pronouns differently. Latin-based languages often will say "him" (or even "her") in places where English would say "it," and vice versa. Translation is an art as well as a science and specific choices of how to translate often involve context and presuppositions.

In any event, Calvin knew his languages and knew all about these sorts of issues. And, someone had to translate Calvin into English, which introduces variation too.

Of course, Calvin is not infallible and there are many places one may disagree with him--but it should be done with knowledge because he was a very good scholar. The "itself" vs "himself" distinction, I think, is a pretty minor distraction.
 
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baron

Puritan Board Graduate
In any event, Calvin knew his languages and knew all about these sorts of issues. And, someone had to translate Calvin into English, which introduces variation too.

Thank you. Like I mentioned it was just a silly thought.
 
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