Friends of Calvin (van den Berg)

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In two dozen short biographies of John Calvin's friends -- including some who turned into enemies -- Machiel A. van den Berg paints an intimate portrait of the great Reformer's life and circle that most of us have never seen. 

In these pages we accompany Calvin from his early boyhood in Noyon to his student days in Paris and Orleans, to his pastorate in and exile from Geneva, all the way to his deathbed. We meet his famous Reformer friends, such as Martin Bucer, William Farel, Heinrich Bullinger, Theodore Beza, and John Knox, but also friends whose names are more obscure: his cousin Pierre Robert OlivTtan, the first translator of the Bible into French; Rent de France of French royalty; Laurent de Normandie, the mayor of Noyon who later escaped to Geneva; Pierre Viret, his "best friend of all"; and Idelette van Buren, his beloved wife during their brief but "blissful" marriage. 

Calvin may be known as a scholar who preferred his study to imperial and ecclesiastical politics, but he was also a rebel of faith against the papacy, which controlled most of Europe and had a price on the heads of all "reform-minded" citizens, especially their leaders. Allegiances to Rome were constantly in flux in the empires of Europe -- as were the lives and welfare of dissenters -- and Calvin's life was full of perilous risks, political intrigue, much harried travel, and many relocations.  

Peppered with quotations from Calvin's voluminous letters,  Friends of Calvin abounds with secret court relationships, love affairs, death threats, poisonings, and narrow midnight escapes from the pursuing authorities -- showing a full- blooded and dangerous side of the bookish Reformer's life. Readers of these colorful narratives will come to see how much Calvin's friends influenced his life and thought.


Table of Contents:

  1. An Aristocratic Friend from His Youth – Claude D’Hangest
  2. A Study Companion and Friend for Life – Francois Daniel
  3. A Friend in the Reformed Resistance – Nicholas Cop
  4. A Friend Who Turned Away – Louis Du Tillet
  5. A Biblical Relative and Friend – Pierre Robert Olivetan
  6. A Royal Friend – Renee de France
  7. A Friend in Love – John Sinapius
  8. An Exegetical Friend – Simon Grynaeus
  9. A Passionate Friend – William Farel
  10. The ‘Best Friend of All’ – Pierre Viret
  11. A Fatherly Friend – Martin Bucer
  12. A Lutheran Friend – Philip Melanchthon
  13. A Loving Partner - Idelette Van Buren  
  14. A Medical Friend – Benoit Textor
  15. A Brother and Friend – Antoine Cauvin
  16. A Friend from the Same Birthplace – Laurent de Normandie
  17. A Friend Who Turned into an Enemy – Ami Perrin
  18. A Trusted Friend – Nicolas De Gallars
  19. A Dutch Couple – Lord and Lady De Falais
  20. An Italian Friend – Galeazzo Caracciolo
  21. A French Family as Friends – The Bude Family
  22. A Swiss Friend – John Knox
  23. A Friend and Successo – Theodore Beza 



Machiel A. van den Berg is a reformed preacher. He regularly publishes articles about the history of the Reformation and about Calvin in particular.