Calvin's Institutes: Which Translation?

Grateful
Committed Member
Grateful
Committed Member
Joined: April 29th, 2010, 8:07 pm

September 12th, 2010, 1:12 am #1

Dear Theologically Astute Friends......

I have downloaded Dr. David Calhoun's lectures on Calvin's Institutes from ItunesU....and am now seriously considering undertaking the reading of "The Institutes." With some trepidation....after all, it was written in the 1500s.......so to those of you who I am sure have read and re-read them, which translation would you recommend? Or would you recommend that a 53 year old grandmother with bad hips read them at all? I have read Packer's KNOWING GOD and am reading that one again and more slowly than before.....somewhere I read that "The Institutes" were his inspiration for this book......I vacillate between being extremely cerebral and studious and being lazy.

And this is probably not the correct forum for this post but I didn't even think about that until I was almost through typing and don't know how to change it without re-typing the whole thing and lazy is dominant right now.....:-)

Grateful
Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam!
Quote
Like
Share

Presbyterian Deacon
Site Co-Owner
Joined: January 3rd, 2009, 1:43 pm

September 12th, 2010, 2:37 am #2

Grateful wrote:Dear Theologically Astute Friends......

I have downloaded Dr. David Calhoun's lectures on Calvin's Institutes from ItunesU....and am now seriously considering undertaking the reading of "The Institutes." With some trepidation....after all, it was written in the 1500s.......so to those of you who I am sure have read and re-read them, which translation would you recommend? Or would you recommend that a 53 year old grandmother with bad hips read them at all? I have read Packer's KNOWING GOD and am reading that one again and more slowly than before.....somewhere I read that "The Institutes" were his inspiration for this book......I vacillate between being extremely cerebral and studious and being lazy.
Yes, of course you should read it! Dr. Calhoun's lectures will aid you in understanding.

As for translation: I like INSTITUTES OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION By John Calvin (Translated by HENRY BEVERIDGE). Some like the John T. McNeill (Editor), Ford Lewis Battles (Translator) set better. I have both...and prefer Beveridge.
And this is probably not the correct forum for this post but I didn't even think about that until I was almost through typing and don't know how to change it without re-typing the whole thing and lazy is dominant right now.....:-)

Grateful
No problem, I can move it.... :wink:
Sterling A. Harmon, Jr.
Ruling Elder, Presbyterian Church of Coventry (PCA)
Follow me on Twitter: @sterling_harmon

" 'Always uplifting...never discouraging.' -- Bah Humbug! It's not easy being a Puritan in a K-LOVE world!" -- Me
Quote
Like
Share

Ask Mr. Religion
Site Founder
Joined: July 28th, 2008, 9:13 am

September 12th, 2010, 5:00 am #3

Yup, I like the Beveridge version, too.



AMR
:tumble:
AMR (a.k.a. Patrick)
Do You Confess?
Faculty PRBS
My Randomata Blog
Quote
Like
Share

elnwood
elnwood

September 12th, 2010, 5:14 am #4

McNeill/Battles, definitely. It's much more readable, and it's considered the authoritative edition by scholars. Beveridge translated his before the Civil War.
Quote
Share

Markus Leoninus
Sustaining Member
Markus Leoninus
Sustaining Member
Joined: April 2nd, 2009, 3:11 pm

July 13th, 2018, 5:35 am #5

The Beveridge translation of the Institutes is easier to read than the Battles translation. 
However, I actually prefer the Battles translation. Battles seems to have captured Calvin's natural genius of expression, his matchless eloquence, the intensity of his thought in written form like no others have; though this doesn't mean that the other translators did a bad job. 
Calvin's manner of expression is always thought-provoking, and often thrilling. For me, Battles sets forth the fire of the great Genevan Reformer very nicely.
The Battles/McNeill edition in The Library of Christian Classics series, The Westminster Press, also contains many helpful notes; though some of the notes can lean a bit to the left, if you know what I mean. Careful readers of what Calvin himself says, though, won't be inclined to a liberal position. Indeed, reading Calvin is a good antidote to theological liberalism.

No library is complete for those of Reformed persuasion without Calvin's Institutes, whether you have the translation of Beveridge or Battles; which kinda goes without saying, :)
 
Beware of phony Calvinists, Pharisees that thumb the nose, willfully blind to their own profound wretchedness.
Quote
Like
Share