Contemporaries of Calvin were less preoccupied with the Servetus-affair than modern researchers. Calvin is known to have taken care of the formal complaint and legal proceeding against Servetus. The evaluation of his person and role in Servetus’ death caused long-standing debates among the prominent representatives of the Hungarian Calvin researchers. For instance, Imre Révész, Sr., in his famous Calvin biography (Life of Calvin, 1864) and his follower, Ferenc Balogh (1864) believed the reformer was „quite innocent” in the death penalty of Servetus, but their literary opponents, namely Ferenc Szilágyi (1864), 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.
Evaluation of Calvin’s Person and Role in Servetus’ Death in the Hungarian Calvin Biographies and Articles (1842–1908)