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Morality After CalvinTheodore Beza's Christian Censor and Reformed Ethics$
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Kirk M. Summers

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190280079

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190280079.001.0001

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Cato, God, and Natural Law

Cato, God, and Natural Law

Chapter:
(p.38) 1 Cato, God, and Natural Law
Source:
Morality After Calvin
Author(s):

Kirk M. Summers

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190280079.003.0002

This chapter describes the circumstances surrounding the publication of Beza’s Cato and surveys the various editions. It situates the work within its literary and intellectual context, associating it with the use of the Distichs of Cato as a textbook in the schools and the efforts by Étienne Dolet, Antoine Meyer, and Richard Mulcaster to Christianize it. The content of the Cato, as well as the career of Beza, suggests that the work was meant for a more sophisticated readership and partly aimed at convincing civic and ecclesiastical leaders of his own ethical vision and the need for church discipline to achieve it. Beza’s Emblems, first published in 1580, parallels the Cato in numerous ways, though it uses encouragement as opposed to censure. Calvin’s and Beza’s notion of Natural Law also shapes the message of the Cato: for non-Christians it has an accusatory function, but for Christians it has restorative power.

Keywords:   Distichs of Cato, Natural Law, emblems, Étienne Dolet, Antoine Meyer, Richard Mulcaster, church discipline

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