CALOVIUS, ca-lo'vi-us (KALAU), ABRAHAM:
Lutheran dogmatic theologian; b. at Mohrungen
(62 m. s.s.w. of Königsberg), Prussia, Apr. 16, 1612;
d. at Wittenberg Feb. 25, 1686.
Education and Early Professorial Activity.
He was driven
away by the plague from the first two schools he
attended, at Thorn and at Königsberg, but he
prosecuted his studies at home to such good purpose
that when barely fourteen he was able to enter the
University of Königsberg. Here he took his master's
degree six years later, and was at once taken
into the philosophical faculty. He lectured on
philosophy and mathematics, while eagerly continuing
the study of theology. His polemical
activity began with a tractate against the Reformed
court preacher Berg (1635). In 1634 he migrated
to the University of Rostock, of which he became
a doctor in 1637. Then he returned to Königsberg,
was made assessor to the theological
faculty, and resumed his lectures.
Two years later he became adjunct
professor, and visitor of the Samland
district; in 1643 he went to Danzig
as rector of the gymnasium there
and pastor of Trinity Church. He was a delegate
to the Thorn Conference of 1645, where he came
in contact with Calixtus. From this time on a
great part of his life was devoted to polemical
activity, especially against Syncretism
Calovius at Wittenberg.
In 1650, at the invitation of the elector
John George I., he went to Wittenberg, where the
rest of his life was to be spent. He began there as
third professor and preacher at the parish church,
of which he became pastor in 1652 and general
superintendent of the district, and by 1660 he
was head professor and dean of the faculty. The
university increased considerably in numbers
through the attraction of his teaching, though
the increase fell off when the elector of Brandenburg
forbade his subjects (1662) to
go there for theology or philosophy,
on account of the opposition of the
to the Reformed
teaching. An iron constitution enabled
him to work incessantly at his books and
lectures, as well as to support the loss of five wives
and thirteen children and to marry again at the
age of seventy-two.
His Controversial Writings.
A complete record of his
activity is left in his books, since he nearly always
expanded his lectures into that form. His polemical
activity was directed chiefly against the
Syncretistic school of Helmstädt and its Königsberg
allies Behm, Dreier, and Latermann, as well as
later against the Hessian friends of Calixtus. He
had paid his compliments to the latter's teaching
even in his Danzig days, and in his Institutionum
(2 parts, 1649-50).
More important onslaughts on this school were
Synopsis controversiarum potiarum
(1652), with an
introduction specially directed against Calixtus;
(1653); and Harmonia
(1655), in which he accuses the
"innovators" not merely of tolerating false doctrine
but of teaching it themselves, and proves his
point by attempting to show their "harmony"
with Calvinists and Papists, Armenians and Socinians.
By the date of this publication Calovius
thought the time was ripe for a step which he had
been urging for four years. The Consensus repetitus
fidei ver Lutheran
is undoubtedly in its
essence the work of Calovius, in its first as well as
in its final form. The purpose of this new dogmatic
standard, the exclusion of the
Syncretists from the Church and so
from the protection of the religious
truce, was not attained; in fact; after
1655, and still more after 1669, when
definite instructions were conveyed to the Wittenberg
theologians to restrain their polemical ardor,
there is a noticeable slackening of anti-Syncretist
activity; and Calovius turned his attention rather
to the Jena school, and especially to Musæus. In
1682, finally, he published a complete account of
the whole controversy is his Historia syncretistica.
Owing to the prohibition of polemical publications,
it appeared without any author's name or place of
printing, described merely as the work of "D. A. C.
[Dr. Abraham Calovius], a distinguished theologian."
The elector John George III., who objected on
political grounds to such literature, had all the
copies bought up, so that this edition is very rare.
A second edition appeared in 1685, with Calovius's
approval and with his name on the title-page. He
attacked the Roman Catholics in his Matologia
(1647), and the Socinians in several small
works, which when collected (1684) filled two folio
volumes. As if the conflict within his own Church
did not give him enough to do, he interposed in
the controversies of the Calvinists with his Consideratio
(1655) and his Theses theologic
(1681). His last work, the
(1684), directed against Jakob
Böhme, shows a failure in power.
His Constructive Theology.
In the way of constructive theology, his Systema
locorum theologicorum (12 vols., 1655-77) is, with
the possible exception of Gerhard's, the most
important dogmatic production of the centurythe
true exemplar of what has been called Lutheran
scholasticism. It takes the Lutheran doctrine,
as it had developed on the basis of the Formula
Concordi and the Scriptural principles, pushed
to their extreme since the Regensburg conference
of 1601, and defends it with unyielding logic and
firmness against the intellectual forces of a new
age. Even his principal exegetical work, the
Biblia illustrata (4 vols., 1672-76),
has a polemical bearing, being intended
to correct the Annotata of Hugo
Grotius, which is incorporated in it.
He accomplishes his task with great
acuteness, wonderful learning, and more feeling
for the sense of Scripture than his opponent, whose
preference was for secular authors, but with his
inevitable dogmatic limitations.
Estimate of Calovius.
of his life render it difficult to pronounce
a summary judgment on the man and his career.
The party of Calixtus naturally hated and despised
him; but the fact that they found it necessary
to spread absurd fictions about his horrible end
shows clearly enough that nothing could justly
be said against his personal character. In his own
day he compelled the respect and admiration of a
great variety of men, and his talents have been fully
recognized by some who were far from agreeing
with him, like Buddeus, Walch, and Stäudlin.
His incessant controversial activity has left a misleading
impression of him; he himself says of this
branch of his work, "I come to this kind of writing
unwillingly and by force; my disposition inclines me rather to stick
to positive doctrinal work." As a
theologian he was a faithful member
of the Wittenberg school. No one
has insisted more on the necessity of a Scriptural
basis for all teaching. It is true, of course, that
the defects of Lutheran orthodoxyits hardness
and its extremesare to be found in him. Faith
is essentially the acceptance of the orthodox system;
not only the essentials (and they covered a great
deal of ground in those days), but every derived
article must be accepted, for the faith is one. The
standard books of doctrine are theoretically subordinate
to the Scriptures; but the student is
required to accept them not hypothetically but
categoricallynot in so far as, but because, they
agree with the Bible. His firm conviction of the
truth of his system gives, however, a certain dignity
to his polemics; but his untiring activity never
reached its aimhe did not succeed in raising the
to the dignity of a creed, and
a new era had dawned before he went to his rest.
The sources for a life of Calovius are: his
own Historia syncretistica, 1682; a funeral discourse by
his colleague J. F. Mayer, 1686; and C. S. Schurzfleisch,
Orationes panegyric, pp. 71 sqq., Wittenberg, 1697.
Consult: H. Pipping, Memoria theologorum, pp. 108-136,
Leipsic, 1705; J. C. Erdmann, Lebensbeschreibungen . . .
von den wittenbergischen Theologen, pp. 88-91, Wittenberg,
1804; A. Tholuck, Der Geist der lutherischen Theologen
Wittenbergs, pp. 185-211; Gotha, 1852; E. L. T.
Henke, Georg Calixtus und seine Zeit, 2 vols., Halle,