Kálvin János személye a 19. századi magyar református értelmiség magánleveleiben, possessori bejegyzéseiben és naplóiban

Magyar Balázs Dávid: Kálvin János személye a 19. századi magyar református értelmiség magánleveleiben, possessori bejegyzéseiben és naplóiban. In: Református Szemle 110.5 (2017), 500-519. pp.

The consolidation of the entire law system of Hungary during the 19th century (e. g. laws of 38/1868, 34/1874, 43/1895, and 33/1896) created a brand-new alliance between Austria (ruled by the Habsburg-house) and Hungary, which paved the way for the practical fulfillment of the Kiegyezés (Compromise / Ausgleich) in 1867. This special legal situation influenced not only the everyday life but also the higher educated levels of the so-called “Reformed Church of Hungary”. In this sparkling intellectual sphere, several essays, books, and cyclopedia were published related to the history of the Reformation and the life of John Calvin. Among the pieces of this irretrievable literary heritage, the collection of Calvin-biographies (1864−1906) written in Hungarian bears a distinctive role. In spite of the rich history of Hungarian Calvin-research, the several portraits of Calvin illuminated by these biographies have not been examined until now. Among the prominent representatives of the Hungarian Calvin researchers, Imre Révész did the first substantial contribution to the opening of the closed world of Calvin’s collective memories in Hungary. One of his best-known books was the Life of Calvin (1864). It was the first biography of Calvin published in Hungarian. However, Révész’s evaluation of Calvin’s personality and his role for example in Servetus’ death caused a long-standing debate in the published and the unpublished works of Calvin-researchers as well. Namely, Révész and his famous follower, Ferenc Balogh (1864), believed the reformer was “quite innocent” in the death penalty of Servetus, but their literary “opponents”, for instance Ferenc Szilágyi (1864), Pál Schneider (1877), Károly Szász (1878), Lajos Warga (1887), Ferenc Kanyaró (1891), and Jenő Zoványi (1908), depicted Calvin as a bloodthirsty tyrant, dictator of Geneva who persecuted intellectual freedom entirely.