Bolsec Controversy on Predestination From 1551 to 1555 the Statements of Jerome Bolsec, and the Responses of John Calvin, Theodore Beza, and Other Reformed Theologians Book One

Author: Holtrop, Philip C.
This study examines the tensions in Reformed communities in the most crucial years in the development of the Reformed doctrine of predestination.
Book 1: Introduction and Parts One and Two: Theological Currents, the Setting and Mood, and the Trial Itself
Book 2: Parts Three through Six; Bibliography and Indexes


"Thanks to Professor Holtrop's publication. . . we now know a great deal more about Bolsec, and the setting in which this controversy was carried out. . . . His work is painstaking, thorough to a fault; no wonder it took him two decades to accomplish. Much of his time was taken up with translations of works in French and Latin not translated before. . . . Holtrop is no mere dispassionate theologian or historian. One can sense what a painful experience it was for him to discover this 'dark side' of Calvin, and how he tried to avert his gaze from what, with sickening inevitability, his hundreds of documents were compelling him to acknowledge. Thus, his final pages -- an Appendix, which appeared in an abbreviated form in an earlier Reformed Journal -- takes on great meaning, and represents the hard-won wisdom of his work. Through careful exegetical and linguistic analysis of key scriptural words, he contends that truth is ultimately a matter of troth, of covenant, of relationships. . . . Holtrop has placed the whole world of Reformed scholarship (indeed the whole Christian community, as was said so well at the reception launching the work) in his debt by his careful, painstaking, laborious effort." - Fides et Historia

"The great value of these two volumes is that they make available, in what proves to be a reliable English translation, all the relevant civil and theological documents concerning the disputation. . . . This is not a book which settles the question of the importance of Calvin's view of the function and significance of predestination (although admirable summaries of the various schools of thought on this matter are provided). . . . The work will, however, certainly leave all its exhausted readers with a sense of thankfulness that someone else has taken the trouble to gather together all the relevant sources in such a convenient and accessible manner." - Journal of Ecclesiastical History

". . . possibly the most thorough study of Calvin's doctrine of predestination ever published. Not only does Holtrop present the scholastic roots of Calvin's doctrine of predestination, but he gives attention to the sociological forces at work in Geneva at the time Jerome Bolsec dared to challenge Calvin's teaching on predestination. This extensive work is social history at its best. . . . one of the most important books ever published on predestination. Any Calvinist, who claims to be so on the basis of his own research, will be subject to questions regarding his credibility if he ignores or neglects this significant study." - W. R. Estep in Southwestern Journal of Theology