In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

332book reviews Registres du Consistoire de Genève au temps de Calvin,Tome I (1542-1544). Edited by Thomas A. Lambert and Isabella M. Watt under the direction of Robert M. Kingdon, with assistance from Jeffrey R. Watt. [Travaux d'Humanisme et Renaissance,No. CCCV] (Geneva: Droz. 1996. Pp. xU, 441 .) Almost fortyyears ago,when I began studying the history of Calvin's Geneva, the most valuable scholarly tool of recent vintage was the critical edition ofthe oldest records of Geneva's Company of Pastors. Its joint editor was a young American, Robert Kingdon.This project, long since "naturaUzed" by Genevans, has now reached deeply into the seventeenth century. MeanwhUe, the indefatigable Kingdon has assembled an international team of assistants in order to launch another ambitious and equaUy desirable scholarly project; he is now supervising the critical edition of the first twenty registers of Calvin's famous disciplinary institution, the Genevan Consistory. The history of this peculiar institution, as the lengthy preface to this edition demonstrates, has been bedeviled by two connected problems.The unusuaUy poor handwriting of its first secretary has created a situation whereby for over a century, scholars have studied its workings through a more legible but partial transcript made by a nineteenth-century Genevan, Frédéric-Auguste Cramer. However, Cramer's selections cover only about five percent of its operations, and he deUberately selected only its most spectacular cases. A truly random sample would have been less misleading in trying to grasp the achievements and Umitations of the first Protestant institution devoted to that essential desideratum ofthe Reformed or Calvinist tradition, ecclesiastical discipline.This edition permits us, for the first time, to comprehend its earUest workings. What happened to the unsuspecting Genevans in 1542, when this institution 's records begin with its tenth weekly session, can be expressed in terms of twentieth-century German scholarship.They believed they were getting something described byWalther Köhler's Zürcher Ehegericht und Genfer Konsistorium , a new form of Protestant marriage court to replace the local episcopal court or Officialité. Indeed, the first ten cases heard by the new Genevan Consistory in February, 1542, au related in some way to marriages. But their new tribunal rapidly developed into something best defined by Ernst Zeeden's Entstehung der Konfessionen: a forum before which Genevan residents were hauled up and examined on their knowledge of Christian doctrine and the degree of their commitment to the "new law" of the Protestant Reformation. Protestant confessionaUsm first began to be enforced on February 23, 1542. A contractor and innkeeper named Jaques Emyn became the first Genevan to be questioned about "what words he used"with his guests."He answered," says the record—but it does not teU us what he said.We hear only the Consistory's orders to Emyn:"Sent back to learn his faith and beUef before he attends communion and that he repeat it here before he receives Communion. In three weeks. Didn't know his Credo,? beUeve in God the Father,' or the Lord's prayer" (p. 8). The editors teU us that the Consistory had also added the requirement "that he buy a Bible and have it read," but crossed it out. Henceforth, almost everyone book reviews333 who appeared before the Consistory, regardless of the specific accusation, was asked to demonstrate a sufficient knowledge of correct Christian doctrine, always Ui the vernacular. The priorities of the new institution had emerged clearly by the end of 1542. During November and December (pp. 134-159), sixty-four people appeared before it. Only six of them were involved in matrimonial issues, whUe forty (twothirds of them women) were examined about doctrine and/or church attendance.The remainder were admonished about such things as quarrelling (six), blasphemy, gambling, or immoral songs (six), fornication (three), superstitious charms (two), or disobedience to parents. Vestiges of Köhler's agenda remained, but Zeeden's had triumphed. Further volumes wiU trace the Consistory's subsequent evolution from a doctrinal tribunal to a morals tribunal . William Monter Northwestern University Seminary or University? The Genevan Academy and Reformed Higher Education , 1560-1620. By Karin Maag. [St Andrews Studies in Reformation History] (Brookfield, Vermont: Scolar Press, Ashgate PubUshing Co...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 332-333
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.