- Thursday, July 1, 2021
- 1:00 PM–2:30 PM
The Meeter Center is pleased to present our summer webinar series, featuring this year’s visiting scholars who are pursuing their research at the Meeter Center. We hope that you will be able to join us. The first of these will take place on July 1, 2021, at 1:00 pm Eastern time, and will feature Amanda Eurich and Preston Hill. Dr. Eurich, our Faculty Fellowship recipient, is professor of history at Western Washington University. Preston Hill, a recipient of our Student Fellowship award, is a Ph. D. student at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Each presenter will speak for half an hour, followed by a time of questions and discussion. A brief summary of their presentations appears below. Please go here to sign up for the event: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/70A084CA4A62FA6FA7-meeter1.
"Coras under Cover: Rage and Resistance in the French Wars of Religion"
Presented by Amanda Eurich
The sixteenth-century French jurist, Jean de Coras, is largely known to Anglophone audiences as the judge who presided over a notorious case of identity theft that seized the imagination of celebrated writers, such as Michel de Montaigne. In real life, Coras himself was playing a double game, just like the peasant, Pansette, who briefly managed to steal the wife and property of a companion-in-arms, Martin Guerre. In 1568, Coras was expelled from office, along with seven of his Protestant co-religionaries, all deemed guilty of heresy and treason and condemned to death in absentia. In exile, Coras joined the service of Jeanne d'Albret, titular head of the militant Protestant party in France, as her chancellor and superintendent of finance, overseeing the funding of the Protestant insurgency and its armies in the field. He also began honing his skills as a Protestant propagandist, publishing two highly inflammatory works, which situate Coras among the earliest proponents of Huguenot resistance theory. In A Political Question: Is it legal for subjects to negotiate with their prince (1570), Jean de Coras developed a highly original challenge to royal power and authority that finds reverberations in Theodore Beza's Du Droit des magistrats (1574). These philosophical connections along with the more personal exchanges that may have occurred between Coras and Beza frame the research I am doing at the Meeter Center this summer.
“The Death of the Soul: Christ’s Descent into Hell in the Thought of Calvin, Lefèvre, and Cusa”
Presented by Preston Hill
There currently exists a substantial lacuna in scholarship on the place of Christ’s descent into hell in the theology of John Calvin. The impression given by this scarcity is that Calvin had little to say about the descensus or that what he did have to say is so obvious as to require only minimal secondary exposition. However, a mere glance beyond the Institutes to Calvin’s other writings significantly unsettles such an opinion. Calvin devoted five times more space in his Institutes to explaining the descent into hell than any other clause of the Apostles’ Creed, and this explanation repeats the same interpretation already developed in his first treatise the Psychopannychia. Although Calvin defended his interpretation throughout his commentaries, sermons, letters, and final edition of the Institutes, the secondary literature on this theme is virtually non-existent in scholarship to date. This presentation aims to show that the French Humanist scholar Jacques Lefevre d'Etaples' reliance on Nicholas of Cusa demonstrates an organic stream of teaching in the late medieval period within which Calvin’s own theology of Christ's descent into hell is obviously situated. Calvin, Lefèvre, and Cusa all understood the descent into hell as Christ’s experience of the second death, or the death of the soul. The major finding advanced here is that Calvin’s descensus theology was far from novel despite suggestions to the contrary in many popular summaries of Calvin’s theology.