Calvin, Jewish Law
Calvin and the practical Jewish commandments – an unfulfilled promise. A brief survey of Chrysostom’s and Augustin’s views on the Jewish commandments (both negative, though Augustin allows for a positive exception in the early Church) prefaces an overview of studies on Calvin. Saul Baron’s interesting observation that Calvin is more positive on Judaism in his Institutes than in his biblical commentaries is found confirmed. In the expositions on Sabbath and circumcision in the Institutes, Calvin uses biblical verses and arguments that are also emphasized in rabbinic commentaries; Calvin is known to have read such. There is overt influence from Augustin, especially through the latter’s work against the Manichaean Faustus, who denied the value of the Old Testament. When defending himself against the accusation of ‘Judaizing’, however, Calvin reverts to the standard Christian view that the Jewish commandments have been abolished. It is for latter-day Calvinists to value Calvin’s esteem of the Jewish commandments without denigrating Judaism.