Kalvin’s Kommentaries

John Calvin wrote a lot of Bible commentary, and if you read enough of it you see he starts to repeat himself. But you never know just what you’ll find.

For example, I didn’t know that Jeremiah probably walked around naked when he prophesied. So Calvin speculates in his commentary on Jeremiah and Lamentations (vol. 2). Also—and this is what I think is more interesting—Calvin thinks statues and images have no idolatrous power except when they are placed in certain locations. Images that would draw men into idolatry if they were placed in a church have no spiritual power “as long as they are in taverns or workshops” (Commentaries on the First Twenty Chapters of the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, trans. Thomas Myers, 2 vols. (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1948), vol. 1, 286).

By the way, the use of the letter K for the words in this title is meant to imply that this post is meant in fun, and that reading Calvin is a quick (or, kwik) and easy affair—so much so that mere children, who are likely to use the letter K out of ignorance of the rules of English spelling, are in the habit of writing out his name. I think my favorite use of this orthographic attack on the subconscious is in the movie National Lampoon’s Vacation, where the Griswolds stop off at “Kamp Komfort.” Why the Ks? Because spelling Camp Comfort with Cs has the scent of the schoolroom about it—stay here and the campground schoolmarm will follow you around correcting your grammatical flubs!—and who wants that when they’re on vacation? At Kamp Komfort you can be you, even if that means you can’t spell for krap.


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