Winter 2003
Volume 7 Number 2

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Calvin Congress Convenes in Princeton

About a hundred Calvin scholars gathered in Princeton in August for the eighth quadrennial International Congress on Calvin Research. Founded in Europe in the early 1970s, the congress, thought to be the most eminent gathering of Calvin scholars in the world, held its first meeting in Amsterdam in 1974.

PTS professor Elsie McKee (front row, second from left) with fellow members of the Calvin Congress planning committee.

The five-day event consisted of presentations, discussion, music, and visits to local sites of interest to Reformed historians (Old Dutch Parsonage, which is a museum, and the Old Tennent Church).

Elsie McKee, PTS professor of Reformation studies and the conference’s local arrangements host, called the event “a working congress, a study time.” Her presentation was titled “Calvin and His Colleagues As Pastors: New Insights into the Collegial Ministry of Word and Sacraments in Calvin’s Geneva.” Other scholars presented papers on a wide range of Calvin-related topics.

Music also played an important role in the meeting—reflecting the fact that sung psalms were an important element in worship in Calvin’s Geneva church.

“There was a rich selection of music, both instrumental and vocal, from the Genevan French Reformed Psalter and from psalters of the other languages of the Reformed tradition,” she said, “both historical texts from the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries and more contemporary texts and settings from around the Reformed world, including from Indonesia and Japan. Texts were sung in 11 languages: French, English, German, Dutch, Italian, Hungarian, Romansch, Gaelic, Indonesian, Afrikaans, and Japanese.”

Scholars welcomed the chance to reflect at Princeton Seminary on Calvin’s worldwide influence through the centuries—which has included a significant influence on this very campus.

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