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Calvin, farel, and the anabaptists: on the origins of the brieve instruction of 1544.

Abstract: The fact that both Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin felt compelled to write a refutation of the Schleitheim Articles of 1527, and to do so only seventeen years apart, establishes the importance of these texts, not only for Anabaptism but also for the history of the emerging Reformed tradition. Through a fresh reading of the primary sources, the following essay illuminates for the first time: 1) the steps leading up to Calvin's Brieve Instruction of 1544 within the larger context of the theology of John Calvin and William Farel; 2) details regarding the Anabaptist movement in French-speaking Switzerland, which has not yet been adequately studied; and 3) the context surrounding the publication of the 1543 French version of the Schleitheim Articles, which is no longer extant.


In his Vita Calvini of 1564, Theodor Beza fervently affirmed the rhetorical abilities of his friend and predecessor, John Calvin: "I believe there is no old, warmed-over, or newly-invented heresy that he did not destroy at its very foundations."(1) The spectrum of theological controversies that the theologian from Geneva engaged is broad indeed. On the right, Calvin attacked the theologians of the papacy from Paris to Trent along with the religious politics of the emperor (1536-1550). In the center, he called on those who were indecisive--known as Nicodemites--to declare themselves (1537-1562). And on the left, he distinguished himself firmly over against those whom he identified in his writings 152 times as "anabaptistes" and five more times as "catabaptistes," though he hardly ever bothered to provide a coherent definition of these terms.(2) According to Karl H. Wyneken, Calvin used these labels to characterize "radicals" in genera1, (3) even though, as George H. Williams has made clear, the terms did not provide a clear profile of his opponents. In the words of Williams, "the Radical Reformation was a loosely interrelated congeries of reformations and restitutions which, besides the Anabaptists of various types, included Spiritualists and spiritualizers of varying tendencies, and the Evangelical Rationalists, largely Italian in origin."(4)

Although Anabaptism was rarely a uniform movement anywhere, it was least uniform in French-speaking regions where, according to Lucien Febvre, the pre-confessional Reformation movement expressed itself as "a long period of grand religious anarchy."(6) For Calvin, whose life work was ultimately characterized by a focus on "church" [ecclesia] and "society" [civitas], it was precisely this chaotic character that irritated him about the Anabaptists. Their teachings appeared to him as "an abyss from which I would never escape," "a whole sea of insane views," and "a forest from which no one should ever emerge."(7) That Calvin classified the "Anabaptists" absolutely as heretics is not nearly as surprising as the fact that he did this so early. Already in a letter of dedication to Francis I in the first edition of the Institutes in 1536, Calvin--who was then barely 25 years old and writing in the context of persecution--assured the king that the current confusion and obscuring of the Gospel was not the fault of the Reformers, but of Satan himself "through his Anabaptists [catabaptistes] and people of their type."(8) Once Calvin had settled on this judgment, he would never again revise it.

Scholars have not yet explored the influence of contemporary anti-Anabaptist writings on Calvin. He likely was aware of the early polemical writings of Zwingli and Bullinger, at least those in Latin, since he did not understand German.(9) This is evident, in any case, by the fact that his rebuttal of Anabaptist views on the sacraments and civil government in the 1536 edition of the Institutes corresponds to a large extent with Articles I and VI of the Schleitheim Confession, in the same way that Zwingli cited and rejected them in his own polemic, In Catabaptistarum Strophas Elenchus (Against the Schemes of the Anabaptists) of 1527.(10) Oddly, Calvin scholarship has not taken into account the influence of Heinrich Bullinger's very successful and tendentious book Vom unverschampten Friivel, which was accessible since 1535 in a Latin edition, Adversus omnia catabapt istarum prava dogmata (Against All the False Teachings of the Anabaptists).(11)

Willem Balke, in his Cal vijn en de doperse Radikalen of 1973, has provided the most extensive treatment of the theme of Calvin and the Anabaptists.(12) The opening "historical" portion of the book gives a chronological overview of Calvin's encounters with the Anabaptists and examines the relevant motifs in the four editions of the Institutio (15361559) and the Brieve Instruction (1544). A shorter "systematic" portion illuminates the theological controversies, primarily in regards to "church" and "state." The merit of Balke's study is undoubtedly to be found more in its engagement with Calvin's theology than in the actual research on the Anabaptists, since Balke avoided any engagement with primary sources related to the largely unexplored story of French Anabaptism. Instead, as he writes, he preferred to "apply the term 'Anabaptist' in the same way that Calvin did."(13) In light of the exclusively polemical tone that the term had for Calvin, such a decision was methodologically questionable and of little profit in terms of advancing historical understanding. When Balke later asserted that "in French-speaking regions one can scarcely speak of Anabaptists as such . . . since the radicals there were primarily free-spirits or 'spiritual libertines' (libertins spirituels),"(14) justifiable doubts arise as to whether the book's title, Calvin and the Anabaptist Radicals, is at all meaningful. These difficulties of definition, arising from the object of investigation itself, call for a critical re-reading and broadening of the sources that Balke used based on current Anabaptist research.(15)

In the essay that follows we will limit ourselves to Calvin's encounters with "Anabaptist" dissidents in the period between 1534 and 1564 and to the circumstances related to the composition of his only systematic writing on the Anabaptists, the Brieve Instruction of 1544 (Brief Instruction for Arming All the Good Faithful Against the Errors of the Common Sect of the Anabaptists).


The first reference to "Anabaptists" in Calvin's writings can be found in a handwritten first draft of his Psychopannychia (1534), which disputes the "Anabaptist" teaching on the "sleep of the soul" following death.(16) However, this "apprentice work" by Calvin was not actually a text about the Anabaptists, since he mentions them (anabaptistae; catabaptist) only three times, and then only in passing.(17)

Walther Kohler was the first to recognize that "Calvin engages with the Anabaptists already in the first edition of his major dogmatic work."(18) The first edition of the Institutes of the Christian Religion (Institutio Christianae religionis), which made the youthful scholar immediately famous, appeared in March 1536 in Basel with the explicit intention of distancing the evangelicals from Anabaptist distortions, in which the political authorities in France believed the evangelicals were entangled. In his Commentary on the Psalms of 1557, Calvin clarified that the actual motivation for the Institutes was the "Anabaptists [anabaptistes] and rebels, who with their delusions and erroneous teachings destroy not only religion but also political order."(19)

In contrast to the German-speaking parts of Switzerland, Anabaptism found only tentative reception in French-speaking regions, where Calvin's path had led in the summer of 1536. According to Henri Vuilleumier, the loyal and pious subjects of the region were not ready for the cause of freedom of conscience;(20) the language barriers and repressive church politics of the Bernese occupation forces probably also had a dampening effect. Only two expressions of Anabaptism can be verified in the sources, both from the middle of the 1530s: in 1535 an Anabaptist being interrogated in Basel revealed that the number of brothers "on Lake Geneva [Losanner Seel" had increased significantly (21)--a point that Bernese authorities, however, contested on April 29.(22) Further, at the Lausanne Disputation in October of 1536, Pierre Viret, while debating the eighth thesis (On Temporal Government), condemned the "rebellious spirits" at Munster along with the teaching of the Schleitheim Articles, according to which a magistrate "cannot be a Christian."(23) But beyond this, Viret, who would become a city preacher and a professor in Lausanne until his emigration to France in 1561, had no contact with actual flesh-and-blood Anabaptists.(24)

Geneva, 1536-1538

Traveling from Basel, Calvin arrived in Geneva early in July 1536. There, the powerful words of William Farel would bind him to this city for the rest of his life. The first attacks on their reform efforts, which had barely taken root, followed in November. As Calvin recalled, "the Anabaptists [anabaptistes] began to attack us from one side; from the other side, it was the malicious apostate [Pierre Caroli]."(25) The founding fathers of the Anabaptist movement in Geneva were religious refugees from the prince bishopric of Liege. After the collapse of Miinster, the bilingual territory of Flanders was clearly the main point of entry for "proto-Mennonite" Anabaptism into French-speaking regions.

On March 9, 1537, the "katabaptistes" Herman de Gerbihan and Andry Benoit from the Walloon city of Enghien challenged the city priest of Geneva to a disputation, (26) which was conceded to them on March 16 and 17. The minutes of the debate, which Farel led since Calvin was gone at the time, have not been preserved. But we can nonetheless reconstruct three of the articles discussed: 1) that infant baptism is a "teaching of the devil"; 2) "regarding the priesthood"--presumably referring to the classic themes of "calling" and "support" of the minister; and 3) the "teaching on the sleep of the soul."(27) On March 18 the Great Council issued a noteworthy decree that Farel "may no longer become involved in such debates in the future, and that no one should listen to either the Anabaptists or their companions."(28) Since Gerbihan and Benoit refused to yield, they were permanently banned from the city on March 19 under penalty of death. Functioning as the first Anabaptist mandate, the decree was also directed against "all other [members] of their sect," implying that they clearly existed.(29) According to the Annales man uscrites, written by the contemporary Jacques Savion, a number of courageous Walloons had fled to Romandy, the French speaking part of Switzerland, "where the Bernese [authorities] executed and drowned several Anabaptists."(30)

Farel held a second disputation in Geneva on March 29, 1537, with two Walloons, Johannes Bomeromenus and Jehan Tordeur.(31) In 1533, Bomoromenus, a printer, had fled the bishopric of Liege "because of Catholicism";(32) the wood turner Tordeur--probably identical with Jean Stordeur, whose widow Calvin would later marry in 1541--was expelled from the city of Liege on June 9, 1533, on the charge of heresy.(33) The Anabaptists wanted to "prove that one should not administer baptism to infants, etc." In contrast to Gerbihan and Benoit, whom Farel described as "uneducated simpletons," these two offered thoughtful opposition.(34)

Once again, the perfidious council used the Anabaptist attacks on the shaky Genevan reform efforts to demonstrate to the reformers who was in charge. The humiliation of that experience still angered Calvin in 1555: "Eighteen years ago," he wrote,

  when the Anabaptist came here to infect everyone with their
  teachings, they were cordially welcomed to the courthouse. To be
  sure, we were ordered to refute their teachings in public; but at
  the same time [the council] was flattering them. Instead of
  decisively resisting the Anabaptists, they offered them a

Nonetheless, the two Walloons were forced to leave the city on March 30, 1537.(36) In the hopes of "living better and more Christlike,"(37) Bomeromenus headed resolutely for Strasbourg, perhaps accompanied by Stordeur, who according to the sources, was also present there on September 30, 1539.(38)

In the meantime, a conventid.e with the programmatic name, "Friends of Holy Scripture [anus de l'escripture sainte]," had emerged in Geneva under the leadership of Jacques Merauld, a native of Lyon.(39) In regard to baptism, church discipline, and the nature of church offices, the group's theology moved within the Anabaptist mainstream.(40) Their conspicuously brusque rejection of every form of government can probably be attributed to the prejudices of the scribe. The doctrine of soul sleep advocated by the Walloons was no longer a point of discussion, although their Melchiorite Christ[degrees]logy--in which Jesus did not take on the flesh of Mary--likely was. The anti-sabbatarian position of the group was probably directed against Calvin, who had found it necessary in the 1539 edition of the Institutes to take a stance on the Sabbath question, "because some troublesome spirits are currently fomenting confusion regarding the day of the Lord."(41)

Renewed Anabaptist activity is evident in Geneva in the fall of 1537.(42) Among the relatively numerous administrative and juridical procedures that occurred between September 1537 and January 1538, (43) the outlines of a small active Anabaptist congregation of at least twenty members become visible, primarily drawn from the handworker milieu. (44) On October 8 the council circumvented the clergy, who feared that Nicodemite Anabaptists might present themselves at the next communion, by unilaterally forbidding the exercise of any kind of discipline connected to the Lord's Supper: "The chasm between the preachers and the council became public," writes Wilhelm Neuser, "and the Anabaptist question played a significant role in this."(45) And, indeed, "with more joy than was actually polite," Farel and Calvin finally shook the Genevan dust from their sandals on April 23, 1538.(46) From Neuchatel, where he would remain until his death, Farel reported in September to Calvin, now residing in Strasbourg, about the desolate circumstances in Geneva: "They have created a whorehouse there. The Anabaptists hold their gatherings daily, and everywhere the Mass is heard. Everything is going topsy-turvy and things could not be any worse."(47)

Strasbourg 1538-1541

In August of 1538 Calvin responded to Martin Bucer's call to serve as preacher of the French refugee congregation in Strasbourg, where Farel had previously served in 1525-1526, a congregation numbering some 400 heterodox souls. By the late 1530s Anabaptism in Strasbourg had already moved past its high point, so Calvin likely confronted only a few isolated groups of dissidents.(48) On July 29, 1539, Calvin was granted citizenship. The fact that he had himself enlisted in the tailor's guild was clearly strategic, since nearly "all members were Anabaptists."(49) On his deathbed, Calvin recalled: "I also had to deal with an Anabaptist agenda in Strasbourg, and people from five to ten miles away brought me children of Anabaptists for baptism."(50)

There is no clear evidence that Calvin had another meeting with Johannes Bomeromenus, (51) but it is likely that he did so with Herman de Gerbihan, who had joined the Melchiorites.(52) On February 27, 1540, Calvin wrote to Farel:

  If I am not mistaken, Hermann is truly and sincerely returned into
  the fellowship of the church. He has confessed that there is no
  hope for salvation outside of the church; and that we are the true
  church. . . . He was open to instruction on the issues of freedom
  of the will, the divine and human natures of Christ, rebirth,
  baptism of infants, and other matters, and he has accepted our
  teachings. He hesitated only in the question of predestination, but
  then he nearly agreed with me on this as well, even though he was
  not clear about the distinction between foreknowledge and
  foreordination. . . . Ioffered him my hand in the name of the
  church, after which I baptized his
  little daughter, who is already more than two years old.
  He is a god-fearing man.53

Although in Calvin's letters from Strasbourg the identity of Jean Stordeur as the spouse of Calvin's future wife can only be inferred, (54) the contemporaries Theodor Beza und Nicolas CoRadon were certain about the matter. Among the Anabaptists converted by Calvin was "a certain Jean Stordeur from Liege. When this man died of the plague sometime later in Strasburg, [Calvin] married his widow Idelette de Bure, a sober-minded and honorable woman."(55) On August 10, 1540, Farel presided over the marriage between this successful converter of Anabaptists and an Anabaptist widow. "Idelette de Bure," Bernard Cottret has claimed somewhat flippantly, was "... a widow who did not lack a certain charm, if not a charm that was certain. Idellete de Bure was the result of a good action and a conquest."(56) Nonetheless, Calvin praised her with a quotation from Petronius as a "woman without parallel."(57)

In the significantly expanded new editions of the Institutes in 1539 and 1541 Calvin slipped in several references to his experiences with the Anabaptists in Geneva and Strasbourg (58)--the development of his thoughts on covenant and election, for example, as well as the associated emphasis on the inner unity of the Old and New Testaments, and the parallel that he developed between circumcision as a "sign of the covenant" and baptism. For the first time, Calvin spoke of the "visible church."(59) In contrast to the ethical rigor of the Anabaptists, Calvin held firm to the incomplete character of the church (corpus permixtuin) and called for moderation in the use of church discipline. To separate oneself from this church, he argued--except in those instances where the integrity of teaching and life was imperiled--is of the devil. For the first time, the reformer attempted to distinguish the multifaceted concept of Anabaptism from those groups whom he later identified as "libertines," or religious Spiritualists.(60) The relatively substantial theological annotations and amplifications of the 1539 edition of the Institutes were therefore aimed particularly at the Swiss Brethren who were then gaining strength in the lower Alsace.(61)

With his wife and child62--and with a more fully developed ecclesiology and a somewhat clearer understanding of the Anabaptists--Calvin set out on September 13, 1541, for the return "home" to Geneva. The decision was not at all easy, "but in the end a sense of duty and commitment prevailed."(63)


Farel's Letter of Request

On February 23, 1544, Calvin received a letter from Farel in Neuchatel that preoccupied him for at least two months, detaining him from the work of consolidating the Genevan church. "A book has just now appeared," wrote Farel,

  that I am now enclosing to you. It was published with the knowledge
  of my colleagues, who are close friends of the translator. The
  booklet is written very clumsily, which is not the fault of the
  translator, but rather the pathetic content of the German edition,
  which Zwingli has already critiqued. At the same time, these
  pitiable people, who take everything that comes from God and turn
  it on its head, have such an enthusiasm for this statement of unity
  of these profoundly unhappy people and for their teachings, which
  some pathetic persons have stubbornly and willfully defended until
  their death--that they believe it must all be regarded as the
  latest divine revelation.. . . Thus, our colleagues think that a
  refutation is needed. Not because the book is actually worthy of it,
  but rather for the sake of innocent people who still have some
  reverence for God. They ask you, for God's sake, that you take on
  this task. . . . You know, of course, how this sort of people has
  poisoned the church and how necessary it is to bring an end to
  their destructive heresies. suppose that we could ask someone else
  to accept this service, but tell us please: who could we find who
  could take up such a task
  with your argumentative gifts or who could accomplish it as
  artfully as you? So with just a tiny bit of effort you could do
  our colleagues a great favor and complete a work that would be of
  value to everyone. By the way, it would also be very helpful if
  you could include in your work what you have already written in
  French regarding the "sleep of the soul" so that these teachings
  of this wretched sect would also be destroyed at the same time.64

Shortly thereafter Calvin informed Pierre Viret, their joint friend in Lausanne, that "the people in Neuchatel are urgently requesting from me a further treatise against some sort of booklet by the Anabaptists."(65) Meanwhile, he did not respond to Farel until March 25: "In these past few days I have begun the refutation of the booklet. Please write if you are in agreement with me dedicating the foreword to all of you. Since you can be the best judge of its contents, I'm sending you a copy. I will pass it along to the printers only after receiving your response."(66)

An "Anabaptist Book" in Francophone Switzerland

The similarity of these letters to happenings in Bern documented at the same time make it likely that both documents were dealing with the same matter. On March 28, 1544, the Bernese Council sent word to the Council of La Neuveville "that one of your citizens, who, as far as we understand, goes by the name of Le Pellouz, has had more than 1,500 copies of a book printed in the German part of Switzerland [Allemaigne] which contains doctrinal controversies by those who are known as Anabaptists [rebaptiseurs]."(67) (Ill. 2).

At the same time, a letter in German was sent to Morat and Grandson (then administered jointly by Bern and Fribourg), as well as to the Bernese bailiwicks of Erlach, Nidau, and St. Johannsen (c.f. Ill. 4)--that is, the presumed scope of the book's distribution.

  Dear Bailiff, we have been informed that someone from LaNeuveville
  on Lake Bienne [Bielersee] has had some 1,500 Anabaptist books
  printed in German-speaking Switzerland [Allemaigne]68 and has
  distributed these same books in the County of Neuchatel. Since
  these books were likely also passed along to our subjects in your
  administrative district, we hereby emphatically order you to keep
  your eyes open and to confiscate them if at all possible.[degrees]

Farel, seeing that a planned disputation with the Anabaptists was threatened by Bern's intervention, urged Calvin on March 28, 1544, to complete his work quickly:

  I am deeply grateful that your efforts to refute these misfortunate
  people has begun. I am extremely interested in the material that you
  have already written. . . . Whether or not it will come to an open
  exchange [liberum congressum] with these thrice-unhappy people I
  cannot say with certainty. Almost everywhere the Bemese authorities
  have the upper hand in this game, which does not trouble me if they
  would truly recognize that in this matter it would be much more
  helpful to allow these people to be heard. At the same time, I fear
  that in this case papal methods are more likely to be implemented
  than apostolic methods."

Calvin's letter of dedication in the Brieve Instruction confirms that the disputation with the Anabaptists that Farel was seeking in La Neuveville did indeed take place and that minutes of the meeting existed.(71) Indeed, the Anabaptist mandate in Neuchatel--issued on April 12, 1544, probably in response to the warning cries of Bern--mentions several disputations.(72)

In the meantime, the other ministers in Neuchatel discussed the draft of Calvin's letter of dedication. On April 21, Farel reported that his colleagues feared that it could contain too much fuel for intrigue. They asked if Calvin would "alter one phrase or another" and that the French translation of the Psychopannychia, which they had already requested earlier, be appended to it.(73)

Whether or not the fears of his colleagues were legitimate can be judged by the events that followed. Calvin, in any case, took heed of them. On May 27, Farel expressed his joy regarding the pending publication.(74) Only a few days after June 1--the date of the foreword--the eagerly anticipated booklet lay on Farel's desk. Even a cursory reading of the 190 pages, in octavo format, shows just how hard Calvin had tried, in accordance with the wishes of his friend, to "completely destroy the doctrines of this rotten sect." Following the opening dedication and an introduction focused on confessional and hermeneutical issues, the polemical work opened with a threefold rebuttal of the "Anabaptist booklet," the Melchiorite view of Christology, and the doctrine concerning the sleep of the soul. The conclusion consisted of a section titled "Criteria of a True Martyr."

Based on the ownership marking, "Nunc est Seb. Castalionis," it seems clear that this copy once belonged to Sebastian Castellio, Calvin's main critic in the Servetus Affair and an early defender of toleration and religious freedom. Anabaptist Books in Geneva

Statements made by a weaver, Tivent Bellot, on January 8, 1545, while he was being interrogated by the Geneva Small Council help to identify the ominous "Anabaptist booklet," along with its translator and printer.(75) To summarize: Bellot came from Geneva and was an "annabaptiste." He peddled books "that were opposed to God." Fifteen years earlier he had lived in La Neuveville. In 1542-1543 he took up residence in Geneva with his partner (compagnyon), Pierre Pilot (Pelot), also of La Neuveville. He was presently living in Colombier-en-Aussois in the territory of Savoy. The confiscated books, which he carried to Geneva at the behest of Jesus Christ, had been entrusted to the care of Pilot by Pierre Chambrier. Here in Geneva there were "many who wanted to follow in the way of Jesus Christ." Bellot refused to swear a juridical oath since "God had forbidden it." However, after the authorities showed him several instruments of torture, Bellot admitted that he already had two prior convictions, "once in Bern, though he refused to say on what grounds, that resulted in his expulsion." On a second occasion, he had been banished from La Neuveville, likely with Pelot, because he had "followed the law of Jesus Christ [laz by de lesu Christi]."(76) A witty letter from Farel to Calvin on January 21, 1545, included a caricature of the Anabaptist Bellot:

  Recently an Anabaptist was arrested at my instigation for trying to
  offer those foolish little booklets [libellos ineptos] for sale.
  You know, of course, this sort of person; but until now I have
  Never encountered this type of coarse stubbornness. Although I
  Addressed him--politely, of course, which I am--he did not pause
  even a moment before he began talking to me as if he were speaking
  to a dog. When he was brought into the courthouse, he wanted to sit
  next to the council president. Turned away from that attempt, he
  held his head high and rolled his eyes with the majestic posture of
  a prophet. When questioned, he responded, whenever he deigned, with
  three words; mostly he remained silent. . . . After sufficiently
  demonstrating his thickheadedness, he was banned from the city. Two
  days later, however, he was apprehended again in the city,
  driven out with a whip, and his books publically burned.
  He was instructed that he should not return under the
  penalty of death. What a strange person! Or, better said,
  what an awful, useless cow.7

Calvin reportedly debated Bellot on the oath, the authority of the Old Testament, and pastoral wages. The range of these themes, along with the attitudes of those being interrogated, reflects the state of the current conversations that were part of the Anabaptist disputations in Switzerland.(78) Some of the evidence even hints at the possibility that Bellot belonged to the "Swiss Brethren" and furthermore that his stock of books included copies of the French translation of the Schleitheim Confession--the same book that Farel had successfully persuaded Calvin to rebut. A tentative set of conclusions, supported by the sources, can thus be posited: 1) in February of 1544 Farel was in possession of a French translation of a "statement of union" that the Anabaptists regarded as authoritative, and whose German original had been criticized by Zwingli already in 1527; 2) Pierre Chambrier consigned the booklet [libellum] to the bookdealer Pierre Pillot (PeHoltz, Peloux, Pelot) of La Neuveville on Lake Bienne. Pilot then distributed these books in the County of Neuchatel and likely in the Bemese Canton of Vaud; 3) Pilot's longtime acquaintance and partner, Tivent Bellot, also an Anabaptist, oversaw the distribution of the booklets in Geneva, and perhaps in the neighboring region of Savoy as well.

Problems in Neuchatel

Following Aime-Louis Herminjard, the editor of Calvin's correspondence, Balke has identified Pierre Chambrier as the vice-regent of the governor of the County of Neuchatel who died in 1545.(79) Research into the Neuchatel patrician family of Chambrier"(80) leads us to a son by the same name, who is more likely than the father to have been the publisher and translator of the Anabaptist pamphlet in question.(81) Pierre Chambrier the younger first turns up in the sources around 1530-1531 in Solothurn, when an evangelical movement was coalescing in the region that bore the marks of lay leadership and political resistance. Its similarities to Anabaptism were of great concern to Bernese authorities.(82) Until 1536 Chambrier served as a deputy prosecutor. On February 9, 1536, the council recommended him to the king of France as a translator, writing that "he is fully qualified to translate German letters into your mother tongue." (83) Sometime before the fall of 1540 until at least 1558 he served the governors of Neuchatel as a notary and translator.(84) In 1552, Chambrier was promoted to the chancellery. He died in 1571.

After Calvin agreed to the request of the rest of his colleagues in Neuchatel that he modify the letter of dedication in the Brieve Instruction, "in order not to give the most shameless and evil plotters of intrigue new opportunities for slander--or better still, to give them no opportunity whatsoever,"(85) the Neuchatel initiative and goals regarding Calvin's Anabaptist tract virtually disappeared from memory, visible only in the booklet's subheading, "John Calvin to the Ministers of the Churches in the Canton of Neuch'atel." Indeed, Calvin went so far as to maintain that the Anabaptist booklet to which he was responding had been sent to him "from some distance" by "several good, faithful men."(86)

The identity of the schemers, who by association with the publication could have harmed Calvin's friends in Neuchatel, can only be guessed. Perhaps least convinced by Farel's information was a colleague who, as a close friend of the Anabaptist pamphlet's translator, supposedly knew everything and told nothing. With good reason Aime-Louis Herminjand has settled on Jean Chaponneau (Capunculus), the quarrelsome second pastor of Neuchatel, whose relationship to Farel was headed for rock bottom.(87) In 1543 he, along with his son-in-law, Jean Courtois, openly defamed Calvin's Christology and teachings on the Trinity, and in 1544 he would oppose Farel and the brotherly censure with much ado.(88) By concealing from Farel the Anabaptist activities of his bosom friend Chambrier, Chaponneau could inflict serious damage to the prestige of his disagreeable colleague, implying that the head of the Neuchatel church was either an Anabaptist sympathizer or at least naive and inept.

Calvin's idealized editorial tone in the Brieve Instruction clearly had the intent of keeping Farel and the Neuchatel church as distant as possible from any hint of Anabaptist influence. Similarly, the simultaneous presentation of his friend as heroic had a similar goal of strengthening his reputation, no matter how beleagured. For a long time already, he wrote, Farel "has fought against all the enemies of the truth." As the disputation with the Anabaptists in La Neuveville revealed once again, Farel could have easily written the extant rebuttal himself, but instead appealed to Calvin's sense of duty as a friend "to accept this charge . . . without offering further excuses."(89) Was the basis for this encouragement Farel's modesty, which he had already revealed in the foreword of the Sommaire of 1542 when he advised his readers that "they should look in the Institutes [of Calvin], and if they do that . . . they could spare themselves the effort of reading [my] booklet."(90) Or was it a healthy assessment of his own abilities--since Farel, the fearless champion of the Reformation in Meaux, Basel, Metz, Strasbourg, Neuchatel, Geneva, and Lausarme, was indeed "a powerful and popular speaker, yet despite twenty-five publications was not a gifted writer"? (91) In addition to this, Calvin could easily draw on his Psychopannychia, recently published in 1542, as a clear and indisputable rebuttal of the theory of "soul sleep."(92) Nonetheless, the question remains why Farel preferred to have the Neuchatel Anabaptists attacked "from some distance [de hien loin]" instead of taking initiative against them himself, which clearly would have been within the purview of his authority as a leading figure in the church. In answering these questions, an investigation of the Brieve Instruction of 1544 in the context of the Neuchatel church and the biography of William Farel proves to be indispensable.(93)


One fruit of Farel's sermons and Bern's far-reaching religious politics was the fact that on November 4, 1530, Neuchatel, by a majority of eighteen votes, decided to eliminate the Mass. In 1529-1530 the evangelical movement gained a foothold in the prince-bishopric town of La Neuveville. In the years that followed, the Reformation established itself only slowly within the villages situated along the south face of the Jura: Saint-Blaise (with Hauterive) in 1531; Cornaux in 1532; and Lignieres in 1553 (cf. Ill. 4). In contrast, the district of Le Landeron, along with the wine-producing village of Cressier that belonged to it, were supported by Solothurn, which had reverted to Catholicism, and the district remained strongly Catholic even in the face of fierce minority resistance after 1561.


In the Catholic village of Cressier, Antoine Jaccotet, a vintner, shows up in the sources as a supporter of the Radical Reformation. Already in 1534 he was fined for his opposition to ecclesiastical holidays; in 1537 he attacked the disciplinary authority--or the "power of the keys"--of the local priest with the words, "he is claiming for himself the honor that belongs to God." When the priest responded by calling him a liar, the peasant lodged a charge of defamation "in order to provoke a debate" as people in Solothurn correctly noted."(94) And, in fact, this imitation of the Zwinglian Disputation's artificial occasioning of a legal procedure, also promoted here the "development of public awareness, legal foundation, and formulation of decisions for the Reformation movement."(95) As expected, the judgment of the Neuchatel tribunal--which was friendly to the Reformation--favored Jaccotet.(96) In 1542 he formally complained to the court of Le Landeron, that "we evangelicals" (nous) were forced to attend Mass and to listen to the ringing of the storm bells. Since the Catholic judge appeared "suspicious" to him, Jaccotet sought and found refuge and a spiritual home with his influential brother-in-law, Jacques Claude, in the neighboring reformed village of Comaux.(97)


Received as a "brother and member of the church" in Comaux, (98) it did not take long for Jaccotet to cross swords with the local priest Antoine Thomassin."(99) In a public statement to the congregation in the spring of 1543, he accused the pastor of "selling" the Gospel (cf. 2 Cor. 11:7-9), for which he was arrested.(100) This insult is reminiscent of the social critique of the peasant confederations, raised increasingly in Switzerland as well since the 1520s, demanding that local parishes control the election of priests and the church treasury.(101) Thomassin thought that he knew the source of this attack since in a revealing argument he denied any guilt for Jaccotet's imprisonment, ". . . as if I was responsible for the honor of the Anabaptists [rebaptizeurs] in this county!" (102) With that, the spirit of resistance in the village was truly awakened.

On March 11, 1543, the fifth Sunday of Lent, the priest Michel Mulotio (103) of Saint-Blaise officiated at the worship service in Cornaux. However, the baptismal service was disrupted by shouts such as "other books are more important for us [than the liturgy book]!" and "Where does one find in Holy Scripture that we should baptize children?" These questions were clearly on the minds of everyone present since "no one was ready to defend this Servant of the Word."(104) Thus, on the following Sunday, Pastor Thomassin vigorously reproached the congregation declaring that the Anabaptists [rebaptizeurs] have always ". . . preached their false doctrines secretly [cf. John 3:20f.], in order to mislead simple, =lettered people."

Scriptural proof for the baptism of infants is superfluous--after all, even girls are baptized even though there is no explicit mention of this in Scripture.(105) In general, the people of Cornaux were rejecting infant baptism and were therefore "Anabaptists."

Two congregational gatherings ensued--on April 22 in the church and on May 12 under the roof of the oven house--whereupon the "church members of Cornaux" presented "seven articles of complaint against their pastor" that they sent to the Gouvemeur.(106)

This resolution and the court proceedings that followed not only cast a revealing light on the background of the actual conflict but also provide welcome information regarding the book dealer Pierre Pelot, whom we last encountered in Geneva. Specifically, the sources reveal that Pelot had been banned from La Neuveville in 1542 "because he was a stubborn Anabaptist" and that prior to his appearance with Tivent Bellot in Geneva in 1542-1543 he clearly found accommodations with his relative, Jacques Claude in Comaux (cf. Ill. 5). In addition, he found here in Antoine Jaccotet, his brother-in-law or half-brother [fraillard], a battle-tested comrade in spirit. The priest Thomassin assumed this interrelated trio of Jaccotet, Pelot, and Claude was the epicenter of all the deviant attitudes and actions in his parish.

Jacques Claude was also the one that the congregation identified as their speaker [parleur] to explain the Seven Articles of Complaint issued by the villagers to the Gouverneur. To paraphrase these complaints: 1) it is malicious to accuse those who simply demand scriptural evidence for the baptism of children with attempting to do away with the practice; 2) it is also a lie when Pastor Thomassin characterizes the "Anabaptists" as corner preachers, since the whole congregation can testify that Pierre Pelot had proposed a public debate with him, to no avail; 3) unfortunately, the priest opted to humiliate Pelot before the whole congregation; 4) furthermore, 'Thomassin claimed that some people possessed "neither God nor a soul"; 5) he denounced Antoine Jaccotet of Cressier to the authorities; 6) he also had Thomas of Cornaux thrown into prison because of something he had said regarding the apostle Paul; 7) in readmitting excommunicated members of the congregation, Thomassin humiliated them deeply by calling them to beg for God's mercy and to give him, the priest, their hand. Thomassin's remarkably extensive "Response to the Articles Raised [Against Mer on May 21, 1543, interpreted the fundamental basis of the peasant complaints as being "that I did not carry out my office appropriately." Four of the seven articles of complaint had to with an inappropriate application of church discipline, an essential Anabaptist mark of the church. Article ll of the Schleitheim Confession ("The Rule of Christ") refers to Matthew 18:15-18 and the escalating sequence of steps for carrying out church discipline--namely, an effort to first resolve the matter privately; then seeking resolution in the presence of several witnesses; then bringing the matter to the whole congregation; and then excommunication. In the eyes of the congregation, Thomassin had violated these principles not only by publically disciplining Pelot from the very beginning, but also by going beyond the ban by appealing to the political authorities, which violated the congregational tone of Article IV of Schleitheim that described the sword as an instrument of God "outside the perfection of Christ,. . . for in the perfection of Christ only the ban is to be used." The people of Cornaux were further offended by a pattern of returning to Catholic practices.

On the Path to Separation

Pastor Thomassin's detailed statement of defense reveals the following: 1) a deep dissatisfaction with the official church expressed in the desire for a shepherd [pastor], who would not "sell" the Gospel and who would teach the congregation from "other"--that is, from the correct books. 2) The church fellowship of Comaux regarded the ban as the only appropriate instrument of evangelical discipline within the congregation, in contrast to Thomassin, who turned erring members of the congregation over to the authorities. 3) Although adult baptism was not yet being practiced, infant baptism was clearly being called into question. 4) The defiant congregation of Cornaux appeared to be well on the way to separatism.(107) 5) The concept of congregation and church emerging here is consistent with the Schleitheim Confession. 6) This same congregational model was likely also spreading in other villages in the region around Lake Neuchatel and in the Canton of Vaud in 1544 at the time that the Brieve Instruction was being written.(108) 7) The modus operandi of these Radical Reformation actors reveals similarities to corresponding events in the neighboring region around Bern.(109)

Moving in a quite different direction was an anonymous woman from Comaux who, in 1540, claimed that "the soul of humans would die with the body" and, consistent with an extreme view of the death of the sou1,110 rejected every form of resurrection, including that of Jesus Christ.111 In his rebuttal of her in church, 'Thomassin preached from Psalm 14:1--"The fool says in his heart that there is no God" and claimed that the woman had only expressed what others around her were thinking. The conclusion he drew from this--that "whoever rejects the immortality of the soul does not have a soul"--led the writers of the complaint in 1543 to the conclusion that the pastor believed some of them possessed "neither God nor a soul."

The source of this belief in absolute mortality is not clear. It could be connected to an extremely simplified form of the Melchiorite "soul sleep" tradition as defended by the Walloon Anabaptists, Gerbihan and Benoit, in Geneva before they continued their missionary trip across the Canton of Vaud in March of 1537.(112) Thus, it is not completely out of the question to bring the Anabaptist movement in Neuchatel--and perhaps also in La Neuveville and the ValIon de Moutierm (113)--into some connection with the founders of the Anabaptist congregation in Geneva.(114) In any case, "Anabaptist" concepts of soul sleep had spread sufficiently so that in April of 1544 Farel urgently requested Calvin to add a French version of his Psychopannychia of 1542 to the Brieve Instruction.(115) All this, however, is not yet the full explanation for Farel's refusal to take up his own refutation of the Anabaptists within the church that he served as reformer and leader.


"As I have seen from the acts of a conference held at la Bonne Ville [i.e. La Neuveville]," wrote Calvin in the opening of his Brieve Instruction, "our brother, Master William Farel, ... has ably fulfilled in part [en partie] what you require of me... . In fact, with regard to the articles that are treated therein, no one could ask for a clearer explanation.,(116) Calvin's use of the phrase "in part," was obviously not a reference to the quality of Fares argument. Rather, it referred to the fact that the Brieve Instruction would address themes that went beyond the agenda of the disputation at La Neuveville. Perhaps he meant those "two articles that are at least as significant as any of the others"--namely, Melchiorite Christology and the teaching on soul sleep--which Calvin had added in his rebuttal of the "seven articles ... for in general all the Anabaptists hold to them."(117) Alternatively, one could conclude that in La Neuveville it was above all the "Seven Articles" that were debated just as they "were found in the book of the Anabaptist patriarchs" that the bookdealer, Pierre Pelot, was currently distributing.

Mirjam van Veen has insightfully explained Farel's notable restraint in responding with a written rebuttal of the Anabaptists by noting the "awkward position in the Anabaptist debate" into which Farel had maneuvered himself by distancing himself from distinctive Anabaptist positions in only minor ways.(118) Reinhard Bodenmann has recently confirmed this view in his commentary on Farel's Traites Messins (1542/45)."(119) In light of the fact that this aspect of Farel's life and work has scarcely been researched, what follows here is only an initial, clearly incomplete, survey.

Points of Convergence An older tradition of Mennonite scholarship has already established a certain affinity between Farel and the Anabaptists, (120) which it attributes nearly exclusively to their shared roots in Zwingli's theology.(121) Extensive congruences are evident, for example, regarding "biblicism," spiritualizing tendencies, and understandings of the sacraments and Lord's Supper. Growing differences emerged, not surprisingly, in their teachings on baptism as well as the relationship of the congregation to public order (e.g., teachings on government, the oath, and the sword).

Most striking in Farel's first publication, Le Pater noster & le Credo en francois (The Lord's Prayer and the Confession of Faith in French) of 1524, is the passage, deleted in the 1529 edition, that postulates "perfectionism" as an outcome of faith, a charged leveled by the reformers against the Hutterites, Swiss Brethren, and all Anabaptists. In this book, Farel wrote, "since I stand in your grace through this faith, I can no longer sin." Equally awkward was the social-revolutionary emphasis evident in Farel's open affirmation of community of goods: "I believe that in this Christian community all things should be held in common and that no one possesses anything of his own." (122) On September 7, 1527, in a long letter to Noel Galiot, Farel also affirmed a delayed baptism, albeit without demanding that infant baptism be eliminated.(123) Farel's teaching on baptism in the first edition of his main work, Sommaire, that appeared in 1529, was quite similar to that of Grebes and to that of Zwingli's prior to 1525, (124) coming very close to a view of baptism upon confession of faith. The sacraments, he wrote, are "signs of faith and love" as well as a "confession to follow after Jesus Christ." "The baptism of water serves as a sign of this."(125) Along the way, Farel defended the Anabaptists, as in a letter written early in 1529 to his former student, Emile Perrot.(126) And in May of 1529, he recommended to Martin Bucer that love would be the most effective approach to use against the dissenters: "The Anabaptist sect (catabaptistarum secta) can easily be dried up with their own water if blazing love is brought to bear."(127)


David Wiley has suggested that Fares sympathy was known to the Anabaptists and that they reciprocated in kind: "At one time," he wrote, "the Anabaptists thought that Farel was one of them."(128) Farel, however, rejected these assumptions with sociopolitical arguments and with a tone of growing acrimony. Not coincidently, the earlier evidence of sympathy came to an end in 1542, that is, with the coalescence of the Anabaptist movement in the County of Neuchatel and the simultaneous alignment of his theology with that of Calvin.(129)

Already in his Soinmaire of 1529 Farel had criticized the "new style of making new sects, rules and constitutions outside of the Word and to give to all of this the appearance of holiness and divine love." To the contrary, he insisted that "neither faith nor renewal of life--much less, baptism--frees one from an obligation to submit to the magistrates."(130) Farel repeated this longstanding suspicion of sedition in his Ordonnances Ecclesiastiques of 1541, (131) which demanded that the preachers of Neuchatel "resist by means of Holy Scripture all Anabaptists and likeminded people who wish to act in ways against the authority and lordship of our 'Souvereign Dame' [the duchess Jeanne de Hochberg]."(132) Likewise, the chapter on civil government in Sommaire in 1542 cited the Anabaptists by name:

  for the pope, who is the true Antichrist, as well as forthe demonic
  Anabaptists [anabaptistes demoniaques], the government and those who
  attend the state church have always been irrelevant. The pope wants
  to hold everything in his hand, as if he alone was the true church
  and political power and the people had no place whatsoever, whereas
  the Anabaptists forbid Christians to carry the sword. However, the
  government clearly can belong to the church and be truly Christian,
  and government officials can be members of the church as

In an appendix titled "The Reason Why This Work was Written and Expanded," Farel complained about the malicious resistance to his reforming efforts by the pope, the renegade Peter Caroli,' 34 the Bernese who favored Luther, and the Anabaptists.135 All of these groups disrupted the good order of the church--the Anabaptists, above all, through their rejection of infant baptism. "Thus," Fare! wrote, "they assure themselves that I am of the same opinion [as they are], though in reality I have testified in print--and this even before I set my a hand to the writing of the booklet [Sommaire] in 1529--that baptism should be given to little children.(136)

Early in 1544 the old traces of Farel's "secret love"(137) for the Anabaptists were nonetheless still fresh enough to awaken uncomfortable memories and questions among both friends and enemies if Farel himself would have undertaken the refutation of the "Anabaptist booklet" that had appeared in Neuchatel instead of requesting that Calvin respond. Only in 1550, in his treatise The Sword of the True Word, did Farel feel sufficiently free to take up his own reckoning with the "diabolical sect of Anabaptists," along with their antinomian spiritualism and all of the social-political consequences that followed from it.(138)

(1.) Ioannis Calvini Opera quae supersunt omnia, ed. Wilhelm Baum, Eduard Kunitz, and Eduard Reuss, 59 vols. (Braunschweig: C.A. Schwetschke 1863-1900), 21: 25; cf. 21:112 [hereafter cited as CO].

(2.) Art exhaustive etymology by Fritz Blanke can be found in Huldreith Zwinglis Siimtliche Werke, ed. Emil Egli, et al. (Berlin, 1905-1991), VI/1: 21f., fn. 1 [hereafter cited as Z].

(3.) Cf. Karl. H. Wyneken, "Calvin and Anabaptism," Concordia Theological Quarterly 36 (1965), 18-29, 19.

(4.) George Huntston Williams, The Radical Reformation, 3rd ed. (Kirksville, Mo.: SCSC, 2000), xxix.

(5.) Lavater, "Calvin und die Taufer," 5f.

(6.) Lucien Febvre, "Les origines de la Reforme Francaise et le probleme des causes de la Reforme," Revue Historique 54 (1929), 1-73, 70.

(7.) John Calvin, Ioannis Calvini opera omnia. Denuo recognita et adnotatione critica instructa notisque illustrata, Series 1-6, ed. Brian G. Armstrong (Geneva: Librairie Droz 1992ff.), ed. Mirjam van Veen, 4/2:38, 140 [hereafter cited as COR]. The English translation here and in subsequent quotes comes from Benjamin W. Farley, Treatises Against the Anabaptists and Against the Libertines (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1982).

(8.) CO 3:31.

(9.) Cf. Harro Hopfl, The Christian Policy of John Calvin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982), 32.

(10.) Richard Stauffer claims that we will never know whether or not Calvin was aware of the Elenchus.--"Zwingli et Calvin. Critiques de la confession de Schleitheim," Archives internationales d'histoire des idees 87 (1977), 126-147, 145.

(11.) Cf. Lava ter, "Calvin und die Taufer,"56.

(12.) For a basic bibliography on Calvin and the Anabaptists, in chronological order: Christian Neff, "Calvin," in Mennonitisches Lexikon, ed. Christian liege, et al. (Weierhof, 19134967), 1:314-317; Walther Kohler, "Das Taufertum in Calvins Institutio," Mennonitische Geschichtsbliitter 2 (1937), 1-4; Wyneken, "Calvin and Anabaptism," 18-29; Willem Balke, Calvijn en de doperse radikalen (Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Ton Bolland, 1973); Willem Balke, Calvin and the Anabaptist Radicals (Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans, 1981); Willem Balke, Calvin und die Tauter (Minden: Quistorp, 1984); Richard Leduc, "Calvin et les Anabaptistes" (M.A., University of Sherbrooke, 1984); Hans Scholl, "Calvin und die" raider. Der Geist der Gesetze: Die politische Dimension der Theologie Calvins dargestellt besonders an seiner Auseinandersetzung mit den Tau fem," Mennonitica Helvetica 23 (2000), 5-32; Wim Balke, "Calvin und die Taufer," in Calvin Handbuch, ed. Herman J. Selderhuis (Tubingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 2008), 147-155; Neal Blough, "Calvin et les anabaptistes," Theologic Evangelique 8 (2009), 197-218.

(13.) Balke, Calvijn, 10.

(14.) Balke, Calvin, 148, as well as Balke, Calviln, 18: "Die sektiererischen Bewegungen in Frankreich sind keine Tattler, sondem zeigen mehr die Zuge der Libertiner and Mystiker."

(15.) Cf. James M. Stayer, "Tauferforschung," Mennonitisches Lexikon,

(16.) This teaching was advocated by a minority of Anabaptists on the basis of 2 Esdras 7:32. Cf. Williams, Radical Reformation, index. The conflation of "Anabaptism" with "soul sleep" appears first in the appendix of Zwingli's Elenchus.--Z 6/1:188-193.

(17.) CO 5:171f., 173f., 232.

(18.) Kohler, Taufertum, 1.

(19.) CO 31:24, cf. 21:30.57.

(20.) Henri Vuilleutnier, Histoire de l'eglise reform& du pays de Vaud sous le regime Bernois (Lausanne: Editions La Concorde, 1927), 1:220.

(21.) Paul Burckhardt, Die Basler Miler (Basel: R. Reich, 1898), 46. Corr. "1532" in Mennonite Encyclopedia 2:471 and in Balke, Calvijn, 75.

(22.) Quellen zur Geschichte der Taufer in der Schweiz, vol. 3 (Aargau - Bern - Solothurn), ed. Martin Haas (Zurich: Theologischer Verlag Zurich, 2008) thereafter cited as QGTS 31, Nr. 695.

(23.) Arthur Piaget, Les Actes de la Dispute de Lausanne 1536 (Neuchatel: Secretariat de l'Universite, 1928), 302f.

(24.) Dominique-Antonio Troilo, Pierre Viret et l'anabaptisme (Lausanne: Association Pierre Viret, 2007), 46.

(25.) CO 31:26.

(26.) CO 21:208f.

(27.) CO 21:208. Correspondance des reformateurs dans les pays de langue francaise 1512-1544, ed. Aime-Louis Herminjard (Geneva: H. Georg; Paris: M. Levy, 1866-1897), 5:438.

(28.) CO 21:209f.

(29.) CO 21:210.

(30.) Paul-F[rederic] Geisendorf, Les Annalistes genevois (Geneve: A. Jullien, 1942), 475.

(31.) Balke's claim that Calvin was the spokesman is not substantiated in the sources.--Balke, Calvijn, 83.

(32.) Cf. Quellen zur Geschichte der Mier. vol. 3: (Elsass), Stadt Strafiburg 1522-/552, ed. Manfred Krebs and Hans Rott (Giitersloh: Mahn, 1959-1988), Nr. 764. [hereafter cited as QGT Elsassj

(33.) Olivier Donneau, " L'anabaptisme au Pays de Liege (1533-1593)," Annuaire d'Histoire liegeoise 32 (2003), 5-38, esp. 7, 11f.

(34.) QGT Elsass, 2: nr. 630a.

(35.) CO 27:237f.

(36.) Registres du Conseil de Geneve a l'epoque de Calvin, ed. Paule Hochuli Dubuis, et al. (Geneve: Droz, 2003ff.), 2:127.

(37.) QGT Elsass, 3: nr. 764.

(38.) QGT Elsass, 3: nr. 960.

(39.) Cf. Robert M. Kingdon, "Anabaptists in Calvin's Geneva," in Wege der Neuzeit. Festschrtft Heinz Schilling, ed. Stefan Ehrenpreis, et al. (Berlin: Duncker & Hurnblot, 2007), 117-125.

(40.) Ausgewertete Quellen: Staatsarchiv Genf, PC ser. 2. no. 385 (Sept. 11-14, 1537), Cf. Balke, Calvijn, 349-353 und Herminjard, Correspondance, 5: nr. 678.

(41.) CO 1: 404. Pilgram Marpeck also expressed antisabbatarian attitudes in his letter to the Swiss Brethren of 1532 (more likely, 1542!).--cf. Briefe und Schriften oberdeutscher Tattler 1527-1555, ed. Heinold Fast and Gottfried SeebaB (Giitersloh: Mohn, 2007), 220f.

(42.) Registres du Conseil, 2:315 (Sept. 7), 2:345 (Oct. 5); cf. Kingdon, Anabaptists, 120-125.

(43.) Staatsarchiv Genf, PC ser. 2. no. 385.

(44.) Cf. Lavater, "Calvin und die Taufer," 65 (Tab. 1).

(45.) Wilhelm H. Neuser, Johannes Calvin: Leben und Werk in seiner Friihzeit 1509-1541 (GOttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2009), 277.

(46.) CO 31:25, Cf. 21:226.

(47.) Herminjard, Correspondance, 4: nr. 745.

(48.) Cf. Klaus Deppermann, Melchior Hoffman. Soziale Unruhen und apokalyptische Visionen im Zeitalter der Reformation (Gbttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1979), 240-244; Rene Gerber, "Les Anabaptistes a Strasbourg entre 1536 et 1552, "in Anabaptistes et dissidents an XVIe siecle, ed. Jean-Georg Rott and Simon L. Verheus (Baden-Baden: V. Koerner, 1987), 311-322, 317.

(49.) Emile Doumergue, jean Calvin, les homrnes et les choses de son temps (Neuilly-sur-Seine: G. Bridel, 1899-1927), 7:536.

(50.) CO 9:894.

(51.) Corr. Eduard Stricker, Calvin als erster Pfarrer der reformirten Gemeinde zu Strafiburg (Strassburg: Heitz, 1890), 15, hi. 15. All of these relevant sources could be referring just as easily to Jean Stordeur.--(2GT Elsass, 3: nr. 891, in. 1; nr. 991, in. 3; nr. 996, fn. 2.

(52.) Deppermann, Melchior Hoffman, 331.

(53.) Herminjard, Correspondance, 6: nr. 854, cf. already nr. 846.

(54.) Cf. CO 11:11.25, Herminjard, Correspondance, 6:166.193, QGT Elsass, 3:387-389. Less sure is Balke, Ca/vijn, 132, fn. 33.

(55.) CO 21:31f., 62.

(56.) Bernard Cottret, Calvin: A Biography (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans 2000), 139. More serious is Emile Michel Braekman, Idelette de Bure, epouse de Jean Calvin (Lyon: Olivetan, 2009).

(57.) CO 8:73: "Mortua uxore, singularis exempli femina."

This reference, which has not yet been noted by Calvin researchers, comes from Satyricon 111 (the short story of the widow of Ephesus): "complorataque singularis exempli femina."

(58.) Cf. Balke, Calvijn, 97-124.

(59.) CO 1:542.

(60.) Cf. Institution de la religion chrestienne, ed. Jean-Daniel Benoit (Paris: Vrin, 1957-1963), 4:24 (Inst 4:1,13 = CO 1:546) as well as 1:112, cf. CO 5:393.

(61.) Gottfried Seebass, Geschichte des Christentums (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2006), 3:158f. John D. Roth. "Marveck and the Later Swiss Brethren." in A Companion to Anabaptism and Spiritualism, 1521-1700, ed. John D. Roth and James M. Stayer (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 347-388.

(62.) Calvin had earlier placed his stepson (the son of his wife's first husband) into the care of former Hessian Anabaptist leader Peter Tasch.--CO 12:690; Werner 0. Packull, "Peter Tasch: From Melchiorite to Bankrupt Wine Merchant," Mennonite Quarterly Review 62 (July 1988), 276-295.

(63.) CO 31:27.

(64.) Herminjard, Correspondance, vol. 9, Nr. 1332.

(65.) Herminjard, Correspondance, vol. 9, Nr. 1336.

(66.) Herminjard, Correspondance, vol. 9, Nr. 1337.

(67.) QGTS, 3: nr. 962.

(68.) The standard print-run for early Reformation pamphlets was 1,500 copies. The printer was likely Nikolaus Brylinger of Basel. In 1552 Brylinger oversaw a reprinting of the Froschauer edition of the Bible, a translation highly valued by the Anabaptists.--cf. Urs B. Leu, "Die Froschauer-Bibeln und ihre Verbreitung in Europa und Nordamerika," in Die archer Bibel von 1531. Entstehung, Verbreitung und Wirkung, ed. Christoph Sigrist (Zurich: Theologischer Verlag Zurich, 2011), 26-63.

(69.) QGTS, 3: nr. 961.

(70.) Herminjard, Correspondance, 9: nr. 1341.

(71.) "As I have seen from the acts of a conference held at the good town [La Neu veville]."--COR 4/2:36f.

(72.) Staatsarchiv Neuchatel E 9/1. The full text can be found in Balke, Calvijn, 354f.

(73.) Herminjard, Correspondance, 9: nr. 1347.

(74.) Herminjard, Correspondance, 9: nr. 1359.

(75.) Geneve, Archives d'Etat, Registres du Conseil, vol. 39, fol 92r; Proces Criminels 2e side, no 616, fol. lr-2r. Our translation and interpretation diverges, sometimes significantly, from that of BaIke, Calvijn, 197-200.

(76.) We do not have sources that suggest this is a standard expression within the Anabaptist movement. Perhaps there is a link between this expression and Article IV of the Schleitheim Confession: "Christ, who teaches the fullness of the law, forbade his followers from swearing oaths."--cf. Quellen zur Geschichte der Tauter in der Schweiz, vol. 2: Ostschweiz, ed. Heinold Fast (Zurich: 'Theologischer Verlag Zurich, 1973), 33 [hereafter cited as QGTS

(77.) CO 12: nr. 752, corrects the wrong date of "21. Februar 1546."

(78.) John Yoder, Tiiufertum und Reformation in der Schweiz (Karlsruhe: H. Schneider, 1962); John H. Yoder, Tiiufertum und Reformation im Gespriich (Zurich: EVZ-Verlag, 1968). Cf. also Hans Rudolf Lava ter, "Berner Tauferdisputation 1538. Funktion, GesprachsfUhrung, Argumentation, Schriftgebrauch," in ". . . Lebenn nach der Ler Ihesu. . .": Berner Tauter und Pradikanten im Gesprach, ed. Hans Rudolf Lavater, Mennonitica Helvetica 11/12 (1988/89), 83124.

(79.) Herminjard, Correspondance, 7:499, n. 5, Cf. Balke, Calvijn, 174, n. 20.

(80.) Olivier Clottu, Inventaire des plus anciens documents heraldiques de la famine Chambrier (Neuchatel: Societe d'histoire et d'archeologie du canton de Neuchatel, 1988).

(81.) Remy Scheurer, Pierre Chambrier 1542 (?)-1609, Aspects de la vie publique et privee d'un homme d'Etat neuchatelois (Neuchatel: Societe d'histoire et d'archeologie du canton de Neuchatel, 1988), 15-17.

(82.) Cf. QGTS 3, Nr. 1122.

(83.) Guillaume Ribier, Lettres et Memoires d'Estat (Paris, 1666), 1:24f.

(84.) Notary's comments: Herminjard, Correspondance, vol. 7, nr. 897a (Oct. 7, 1540). Staatsarchiv Bern C Ia, F. Neuchatel (Oct. 13, 1558).

(85.) Herminjard, Correspondance, 9: nr. 1347.

(86.) COR 4/2:35.

(87.) Herminjard, Correspondance, 9: nr. 1332, n. 11.

(88.) Guillaume Fare! 1489-1565. Biographic Nouvelle, ed. Jules Petremand, et al. (Neuchatel: Editions Delachaux Sr Niestle 1930), 540-550.

(89.) COR 4/2:36f.

(90.) Guillaume Farel, Sommaire, 4th ed. (Geneve: Jean Gerard, 1552), 232.

(91.) Gottfried W. Locher, Die Zwinglische Reformation im Rahtnen der europaischen Kirchen-geschichte (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1979), 416.

(92.) Cf. Wulfert de Greef, The Writings of John Calvin: An Introductory Guide (Louisville: Baker Books, 2008), 151-153.

(93.) The argument developed here is an attempt at a revised interpretation of the following primary sources: Arthur Piaget, Documents inedits sur la Reformation dans le pays de Neuchatel, vol 1: 1530-1538, (Neuchatel: Archives de l'Etat, 1909), 1: nr. 108-112; Herminjard, Correspondance, 8: nr. 1232. The secondary sources considered here include the following: Farel, Biographie, 389-392, 535-539; Balke, Calvijn, 170-174; Charly Ummel u. Claire-Lise Ummel, "L'eglise anabaptiste en pays Neuchatelois, La Chaux-de-Fonds," Mennonitica Helvetica 17 (1994), 23-28; Michel Ummel, "Les premiers contours d'un anabaptisme neuchatelois. Autour d'un certain Pierre Pelot, " in Cing siecles d'histoire religieuse neuchateloise, ed. Jean-Daniel Morerod, et al. (Geneve: Universite de Neuchatel, 2009), 121140; Lionel Bartolini, Line resistance a la Reforme dans le Pays de Neuchatel (Neuchatel: Alphil, 2006), 57-59; Michel Utrunel, " Essai d'articulation de quelques principes de foi et de vie anabaptistes au XVIe siecle, " Mennonitica Helvetica 32/33 (2009/10), 9-107, 72f.

(94.) Piaget, Documents, Nr. 112.

(95.) Locher, Zwinglische Reformation, 622.

(96.) Piaget, Documents, 330, n. 5. The legal documents are no longer extant.

(97.) Olivier Clottu, Chronique de la famine Clottu (St. Blaise: Olivier Clottu, 1957).

(98.) Herrninjard, Correspondance, 8:364, 366f.

(99.) Cf. Arthur Piaget, Notes sur le livre des martyrs de Jean Crespin (Neuchatel: Secretariat de l'Universite, 1930), 251-259.

(100.) Henninjard, Correspondance, 8:366.

(101.) Cf. Hans-Jurgen Goertz, "Aufstandische Bauem und Taufer in der Schweiz," in Zugiinge zur bauerlichen Reformation, ed. Peter Blickle (Zurich: Chronos, 1987), 267-289.

(102.) Herminjard, Correspondance, 8:364.

(103.) Cf. Farel, Biographie, 617-622.

(104.) Herminjard, Correspondance, 8: nr. 1232 (Report of pastor Thomassin to the Governor, May 21, 1543). For more details regarding sermon disruptions, cf. Heinold Fast, "Reformation durch Provokation. Predigtstorungen in den ersten Jahren der Reformation in der Schweiz," in Uthstrittenes Taufertum 1525-1975, ed. Hans-Jurgen Goertz (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1975), 79-110.

(105.) For the same argument in Zwingli und Viret, d. Z 6/1:53, 64f., 67, as well as Jean Barnaud, Pierre Viret. So vie et son ceuvre (1511-1571) (Saint-Amans: Saint-Amarts (Tarn), G. Carayol, 1911), 531.

(106.) The letter of complaint, which is no longer extant, can be reconstructed on the basis of Thomassin's rebuttal.--Cf. Herminjard, Correspondance, 8: nr. 1232.

107. Cf. the highly-influential essay by Martin Haas, "Der Weg der nufer in die Absonderung," in Goertz, limstrittenes Tiiufertum, 50-78. 108. Henri Meylan has expressed the urgent need for more research into the entire region of western Switzerland.--"Martyrs du Diable," Revue de theologie et de philosophie 9 (1959), 114-130, 125. 109. Cf. Martin Haas, "Die Berner Taufer in ihrem schweizerischen Umfeld. I: Gesellschaft und Herrschaft," in Die Warheit ist untOdlich. Berner Tiiufer in Geschichte und Gegenwart, ed. Rudolf Dellsperger and Hans Rudolf Lavater, Mennonitica Helvetica 30 (2007), 1-28, as well as Hans Rudolf Lavater, "Die Berner Taufer in ihrem schweizerischen Umfeld Theologie und Bekenntnis," Mennonitica Helvetica 30 (2007), 29-70. 110. Cf. Williams, Radical Reformation, 63-72. 111. Herminjard, Correspondance, 8:363f.

(112.) Although Gerbihan was converted in Strasbourg by Calvin, Benoit suffered a martyr's death in Metz, probably on Aug. 27, 1538.--cf. Herminjard, Correspondance, 5: nr. 743. According to contemporary sources, he also defended the doctrine of soul sleep there.

(113.) A certain "Hanns Heinrich Schnider of Miinstertal [Fiirstbistum Basel]," who is otherwise unknown in the sources, participated in the Anabaptist disputation in Bern in March 1538.--cf. QGTS 3:266.

(114.) Blough ("Calvin," 205 fn. 35) does not rule out a "rapprochement between the 'Swiss' (Schleitheim) and the 'Dutch' following the episode in Munster, who were in the process of becoming 'Mennonites."

(115.) Two French editions of the unabridged Psychopannychia appeared in 1558, after Farel had repeated his request for such a volume in 1546 and 1551.--CO 12: nr. 825, CO 14: nr. 1468, Cl. de Greef, Writings, 151-153.

(116.) COR 4/2:36f.

(117.) COR 4/2:94.

(118.) COR 4/2:15.

(119.) Guillatu-ne Farel, Traites Messins, ed. Reinhard Bodenmann and Francois Briegel (Geneve: Droz, 2009), xii.

(120.) Melchior Kirchhofer, Das Leben Wilhelm Farels (Zurich, 1831-1833), 1:26; Farel, Biographie, 29; Christian Neff, "Farel," Mennonitisches Lexikon, 1:632.

(121.) For more on Zwingli's influence on Farel, cf. Locher, Zwinglische Reformation, 254261, 413-418; Gottfried W. Locher, "Farels Sorctmaire und Zwinglis Commentarius," in Actes du Colloque Guillaume Farel, ed. Pierre Barthel, et al. (Geneve: Revue de theologie et de philosophic, 1983), 1:137-146.

(122.) Guillaume Farel, Le Pater Noster et le Credo en Francois, ed. Francis Higman (Geneve: n.a., 1982), 54:385-386; 60:527-529.

(123.) Herminjard, Correspondance, 2: nr. 202, 48.

(124.) Cf. Locher, Zwinglische Reformation, 640.

(125.) Farel, Sommaire 1525 [1529!], ed. Arthur-L. Hofer (Neuch5tel: Belle Riviere, 1980), 110.

(126.) Cf. Herminjard, Correspondance, 2: nr. 252, 166.

(127.) Herminjard, Correspondance, 2: nr. 256 (May 10, 1529).

(128.) David N. Wiley, "Toward a Critical Edition of Farel's Sommaire," in Barthel, Actes, 203-219, 214. This was already recognized by llean]-G[uillatune] Baum, ed. Guillaume Farel, Le sommaire, reimprime d'apres l'edition de 1534 (Geneve: Jules-Guillaume Fick, 1867), vi: "Les anabaptistes . . pretendoient le ranger parmi eux."

(129.) Cf. Elfriede Jacobs, "Die Sakramentslehre Wilhelm Farels," (Zurich: Theologischer Verlag Zurich, 1978), 333-335.

(130.) Fare!, Sommaire (1525), 66, 262, which is identical with Sommaire (1552), 17, 164f.

(131.) Cf. Wiley, "Toward a Critical Edition,", 209, fn. 29.

(132.) Cited in Jules Petremand, "Etudes sur les origines de reglise reform& neuchateloise, " Zeitschriftflir Schweizer Gesthichte 8 (1928), 321-370, 358.

(133.) Cited in Farel, Sommaire (1552), 160f.

(134.) Cf. de Greef, Writings of John Calvin, 158-160. 135. Farel, Sommaire (1552), 221.

(136.) Farel, Sommaire (1552), 2261. For more on Farel's liturgical works, see Lavater, "Calvin und die Taufer," 94, fn. 190.

(137.) Scholl, "Calvin und die Taufer," 30.

(138.) Guillaume Farel, Le glaive de la parolle (Geneve, 1550), 26.


[Trans. by John D. Roth]

*Hans Rudolf Lavater-Briner is a Reformed theologian, emeritus pastor, and honorary doctor of the University of Berne from Erlach, Switzerland. This article is a shortened version of an essay that first appeared in German as Hans Rudolf Lavater, "Calvin und die laden Zur Entstehung der Brieve Instruction 1544," in Johannes Calvin 1509.-2009. Wiirdigung aus Berner Perspektive, ed. Martin Sallmann, Moises Mayordomo, Hans Rudolf Lavater-Briner (Zurich: Theologischer Verlag 2012), 53-120.
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Title Annotation:John Calvin, William Farel
Author:Roth, John D.
Publication:Mennonite Quarterly Review
Article Type:Essay
Geographic Code:4EXSI
Date:Jul 1, 2014
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