Dr. Magyar Balázs Dávid Kálvin-kutató, a hajdúböszörményi Baltazár Dezső Református Általános Iskola és a Bocskai István Gimnázium etika- és vallástanára Debrecenben és Kampenben végezte egyetemi tanulmányait. Kálvin életét és szociáletikáját Kampenben (2008), Genfben (2009), a Grand Rapids-i (USA) H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studiesban (2010, 2014, 2017) és Varsóban (2012) kutatta. Doktori címet a Debreceni Református Hittudományi Egyetemen szerzett a „Nem jó az embernek egyedül lenni.” Kálvin János, a házassági és családi életformára való nevelés reformátora című dolgozatával (2016). Jogi tanulmányokat a Debreceni Egyetem Állam- és Jogtudományi Karán folytatott, ahol 2018-ban joghallgatóként szerzett abszolutóriumot. 2013 és 2018 között e kar jogtörténeti műhelyének, a Praetor Szakkollégiumnak tagja. 2014 májusában első helyezést ért el a Károli Gáspár Református Egyetem Állam- és Jogtudományi Kara által meghirdetett Református értékek a jogban – Kálvin nyomában témájú pályázatán. 2014–2017 között a reformáció-emlékbizottság tudományos munkacsoportjának javaslattevő tagja. 2016 óta a Nemzeti Tehetség Program, 2017-ben pedig a Magyar Állami Eötvös Ösztöndíj sikeres pályázója. Első önálló kötete 2018-ban jelent meg Kálvin János a házasságról, családról és szexualitásról címmel az Universitas Kiadó gondozásában.
Magyar Balázs Dávid
Baltazár Dezső Református Általános Iskola, Bocskai István Gimnázium
Publications of Balázs Dávid Magyar
John Calvin was devoted to restore the sanctity of the Genevan townsfolk, by which he understood the practical fulfilment of God’s Law, the Ten Commandments. To be sure, his primary intention was to exert an influence on the texture of daily life of the Genevan population. He delivered sermons and published-edited commentaries in order to establish his new theological ethics, and marital reforms concerning the adequate moral life of a Christian family. He fought against every kind of sexual crime, including fornication and adultery. However, while Calvin accepted in theory that adultery ought to be punished with death penalty, the Genevan reality was very different, because Calvin was preaching from the mercy of God day by day.
Calvin’s thoughts on Christian marriage and family life raised several historical, judiciary and social questions. An examination of Juhász Péter Méliusz’s Debrecen-Egervölgyi Confession and Major Articles shows that Calvin’s heritage deeply influenced the Hungarian Reformed teaching on engagement, marriage and divorce. Nonetheless, the readers will find that the reformers of the “Hungarian Reformed Church” did not cite directly the theological and ethical works of Calvin or Luther concerning the questions of fornication and adultery. An examination of the operation of the Magistracy of Debrecen reveals that, in case of adultery, sinners were allowed to receive the clemency of their spouses, extricating them from the legal procedure with this merciful statement: “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezech 33,11). Between 1547 and 1625 only 26 people (female: 17, male: 9) out of a total of 241 persons (female: 136, male: 105) accused of fornication and adultery were actually executed. Nevertheless, death sentence was promulgated in cases of serious fornication mixed with sexual violence or murder of infants.
Református Szemle 114 / 2 (2021)
John Calvin transformed the theology and law of sex, marriage and family life. Building on a generation of Protestant reformers, Calvin constructed a comprehensive new theology and law that made the conclusion and dissolution of marriage, the nurturing and welfare of children, family cohesion and support, sexual sin and crime essential concerns for both church and state. He drew the Consistory and Council of Geneva into a creative new alliance to guide and govern the reformation of the intimate domestic sphere. Calvin and his colleagues applied and adapted this new theology in hundreds of marriage and family-related lawsuits that were passed before the Consistory each year. „He set out his theological and ethical reforms in rich number of sermons, commentaries, and systematic writings” (John Witte). Despite the efforts of the Consistory and Council of Geneva, there were numerous cases of homosexuality, paedophilia, sexual assault, and bestiality, which made Calvin constantly anxious. He believed, if magistrates do not punish sexual crimes (e.g. adultery, fornication, sodomy), “a door will be thrown open for any kind of treachery, for poisoning, and murder, and robbery” and “Paul therefore denounces punishment not only on adulterers, but also on fornicators, for both depart from the holy institution of God”. For this reason, Calvin admitted, it would be good to drive out such public fornicators from the city in order to avoid scandals and to keep them from abusing themselves by fornication. Calvin’s legal and theological standpoint was: there is a greater danger in not punishing the crime or hiding the punishment, than in exerting a public and exemplary punishment with the aim of prevention. This is why the Genevan Council applied death penalty so often. But Calvin continued to preach about the Grace of God day after day.
Református Szemle 112 / 1 (2019)
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.
Református Szemle 110 / 5 (2017)
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.
Református Szemle 108 / 2 (2015)
Református Szemle 107 / 4 (2014)
This paper focuses on the early period of the reformer’s ministration, who was a very learned teacher, pastor and theologian at Geneva and Strasbourg. In these places he implemented his theological and ethical convictions against the destructive works of the Anabaptist radicals. Due to the persistently growing popularity of their heretical ideas concerning Christian baptism, church discipline, the Lord’s Supper, separation from the world, civil authority, and oaths, after the publication of his so called Psychopannychia (1534) and the Institutes (1536), Calvin had to continue his polemic fight against the left wing of the reformation. It is by no means surprising that Calvin’s works of 1537–1544 – for instance The Genevan Confession and Catechism,The Articles and the Brief Instruction for Arming all the Good Faithful against the Errors of the Common Sect of the Anabaptists – are full of religious and moral refutations opposing those whose beliefs were based on the “hated” articles of Confessio Schlattensis.
Református Szemle 107 / 3 (2014)
In the early period of the Reformation, this multifaceted radical movement divided the Protestantism into two theological camps. To magisterial reformers (Zwingly, Luther, Calvin), the task of the reformation was not only to remove impurities but to maintain continuity. Anabaptist reformers, on the other hand, saw the task of the reformation as a necessity for a new church modelled not on Catholicism before Boniface (as Luther considered) but on the church before Constantine, or even on the New Testament.
Református Szemle 107 / 1 (2014)