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A Humanistic Education Created Reformers and True Men

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Is there a relationship between humanism and Calvinism, and if so how did the movements influence each other during the years of the Reformation? This is the question that author, Robert D. Linder, is seeking to prove and remedy in his article, “Calvinism and Humanism: The First Generation.” Robert D. Linder inclusively examines how historians in the past converge to prove a relationship between humanism and the Lutheran Reformation, “but in case of humanism and Calvinism no consensus has been reach concerning this problem” (p.167). Therefore, the purpose of the article is to enhance and inquire the historical underlying connection between the two movements through an assessment of the life of three important first generation leaders of the Reformed Church (p.167). The analysis of three reformers, John Calvin, Theodore Beza, and Pierre Viret will be subject to examination to link humanism and Calvinist movements. Moreover, Robert D. Linder wants to distinguish the analysis of Pierre Viret’s life due to new evidence which establishes connections between the two movements.

Consequently, the purpose of the article constructs difficulties associated with the historical interpretation enclosed within it. Overall, Robert D. Linder, distinguishes “both movements are not material objects and are composed of ideas which can be grouped in many ways, which often overlap each other” (p.170). Foremost, historians have created multi-faceted and multi-layered information pertaining to the Calvinist movement and Christian humanism. In particular the author discusses two kinds of humanism, and that the adjective “Christian” can be pre-fixed to both. According to Paul O. Kristeller, the definition of humanism refers to the cultural program of the classics mainly from the viewpoint of philosophy and rhetoric (p.170). In addition, Christian humanism is fabricated upon Kristeller theory through the interpretation of the classical texts and scriptures. Christian humanism attempts to answer the question, “What exactly did Christ and the Apostles teach and intend Christianity to be like?” Based on both definitions the life and works of the first generation of Calvinist Reformers will be subject to inquiry to prove a direct correlation between the two movements.

Robert D. Linder represents the goals of the article through the scrutiny that the life of the first generation reformers provides indication that “measures against both of the definitions of humanism.” (p.169). His first investigation, describes that the lives of the three men reflect their humanism through their training and humanist friends. In this investigation, Robert D. Linder draws his proof mainly from the secondary sources written by Breen, E. Harris Harbison, and Francois Wendel. He uses these sources to be informational about the lives of the reformers. It states that Calvin and Beza followed similar career paths. Both studied at the great intellectual centers of France in the fields of Greek Literature and Latin. While at Orleans, Calvin and Beza enjoyed a number of humanist friends of the French community such as Professor Melchoir Wolmar. In contrast, Viret did not practice similar humanist scholar as did Calvin and Beza (p.171). He was greatly influenced by his schoolmaster, Marc Romain in the direction of humanism and Christianity. Additionally, in Paris, Viret gained a combination of a humanistic and secular education along with schoolmate Jacques Levere d’Etaples. The author gathers his informational data from a primary source written by Viret himself in Disputations to display his humanistic training.

Secondly, Robert D. Linder focuses his investigation on how the methodology of the rhetoric emphasizes a humanistic tone of the reformers. The evidence is illuminated from the primary sources of the first three generational reformers. Calvin is noted for his great literary output and is attested by the Calvini Opera and Beza contributed literary proficiency in his twenty volume publication of his Correspondence. On the other hand, “Viret is knows as an indefatigable letter writer and author of many European translated books noted by Linder” (p.171). The author is adding a nuance to an established field by using primary sources to inquire that biblical humanism is reflected through the reformers rhetoric. The article states that “humanist rhetorician considered speech to be man’s most distinguishing mark and so did Calvin, Beza and Viret” (p.173). Linder used this information to further portray his nuance through a secondary source written by Harbison, the Christian Scholar.

Moreover, Robert D. Linder’s next goal on focuses on the attitudes of humanism after the reformers evangelical conversions. The article analysis of texts by Calvin and Viret indicate that after their evangelical conversions,

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