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§ 77. The Sleep of the Soul. 1534.


Psychopannychia. Aureliae, 1534; 2d and revised ed. Basel, 1536; 3d ed. Strassburg, 1542; French trans. Paris, 1558; republished in Opera, vol. V. 165–232.—Comp. the analysis of Stähelin, I. 36–40, and La France Prot. III. 549. English translation in Calvin’s Tracts, III. 413–490.


Before Calvin left France, he wrote, at Orleans, 1534, his first theological book, entitled Psychopannychia, or the Sleep of the Soul. He refutes in it the hypothesis entertained by some Anabaptists, of the sleep of the soul between death and resurrection, and proves the unbroken and conscious communion of believers with Christ, their living Head. He appeals no more to philosophy and the classics, as in his earlier book on Seneca, but solely to the Scriptures, as the only rule of faith. Reason can give us no light on the future world, which lies beyond our experience.

He wished to protect, by this book, the evangelical Protestants against the charge of heresy and vagary. They were often confounded with the Anabaptists who roused in the same year the wrath of all the German princes by the excesses of a radical and fanatical faction at Münster.


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