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March 28, 2017


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

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(Men's Lacrosse) Saint Anselm at Franklin Pierce
3:30 PM - 6:30 PM

(Men's Lacrosse) Saint Anselm at Franklin Pierce

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(Softball) Saint Anselm at Southern N.H.
4:00 PM - 7:00 PM

(Softball) Saint Anselm at Southern N.H.

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Theology Department Colloquium: John Calvin and Tradition
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Bradley House - (Lounge)

John Calvin and Tradition: A Complicated Relationship. Investigating tradition and its constitutive function in John Calvin’s thought.

Calvin frequently is taken as the representative par excellance of a strand of thought that denies the role of tradition in clear and biblically-based theology. Calvin is the Protestant’s Protestant. But that picture of Calvin actually tells us as much or more about the modern analytical mind than it does about Calvin’s actual practices. Calvin was not the purist of sola scriptura fame.

At heart, there is a tension in Calvin’s thought that may be expressed in a paradoxical couplet. John Calvin sought to ground his reforms and truth claims in the simple and uncluttered words of scripture, accepting it as a divine source that needed no other science. Simultaneously, John Calvin was a theological conservative who tried to maintain the essence of medieval European Christianity as it had been passed down to him in liturgy, doctrine, and piety.

In his first published exposition of scripture, Calvin could not escape the first page of the commentary without discussing both Augustine and Origen. Calvin depended upon the patristic witness as both conversation partners and as authorities to settle disputes in his commentaries, in the Institutes, and in his treatises.

Calvin accepted the idea of tradition on which to fight his opponents, and produced a number of arguments from the tradition in both his positive constructive theological efforts and his negative polemics.

In great part, Calvin could not have created his theology without tradition.

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