Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review
Registres Du Consistoire De Genève Au Temps De Calvin, Tome II (1545-1546)
Registres du Consistoire de Genève au temps de Calvin, Tome II (1545-1546). Edited by Thomas A. Lambert, Isabella M. Watt, and Wallace McDonald under the direction of Robert M. Kingdon. [Travaux d'Humanisme et Renaissance, No. CCCLII.] (Geneva: Librairie Droz. 2001. Pp. xxx, 416.)
If the first volume of this impressive series documented the Genevan Consistory's abrupt shift from matrimonial court to early instrument of confessionalization,' its successor (following a lacuna of over a year) illustrates how it overcame some early challenges to its authority. The materials from October, 1545, through December, 1546, still contain several vestiges of the Consistory's struggle against Catholic practices: some Genevan residents continued to recite Latin prayers, especially the Ave Maria (pp. 82, 89, 149, 207, 251), and Genevans still sold such relics of ydollatrie as wax candles (p. 287) or Paternosters (p. 315). One old artisan, a citizen of Geneva for a quarter-century, told the Consistory that "he was still the way he was thirty years ago" (p. 93). Other Genevans occasionally visited their emigré nuns in Savoy (p. 285); more of them still made pilgrimages to the regional shrine of St. Claude (pp. 87, 95, 317, 321). This latter custom led to a scandal in August, 1546, when two women re-baptized a child "Claude" after the pastor had specifically refused the parental request and named him "Abraham" (pp. 271f., 279f.).
By 1546, the most frequent items of business before Calvin's Consistory (it was indeed Calvin's: he attended almost every meeting and was often the only pastor present) involved fornication and its consequences; one exceptional case, involving one woman and forty-six men, merits an appendix (pp. 371-378). But this tribunal also began to investigate magical superstitions (pp. 65, 66, 107, 141, 166, 261), including a "familiar devil" in a mandragola root (p. 86). One finds trace elements of such other mid-1540's religious issues as Anabaptism (p. 14), the massacre of Waldensians in Provence (p. …