Drobot Vladimir

Consuming the Body of Christ in John Calvin’s Eucharistic Theology

Drobot Vladimir (2014) "Consuming the Body of Christ in John Calvin’s Eucharistic Theology ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia, 2014, vol. 51, pp. 9-22 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI201451.9-22


Contemporary Western scholars commenting on Calvin usually concentrate on his use of the concept of communion with Christ as a communion which takes effect solely through the means of grace. The author of this article, however, examines Calvin’s views through the prism of his idea of divine sovereignty - an integral part of his theology. This necessarily diminishes the theological basis for the incarnation, and this comes out clearly in the way Calvin discusses a type of communion with Christ in the Old Testament and outside the Eucharistic sacrament. Primarily, Calvin views the Eucharist as a vivid narrative centering on Christ and His Sacrifice, and only secondarily as an independent reality. The author argues that Calvin did not think that the faithful received the concrete body of Christ in both soul and body during Holy Communion. Calvin’s doctrine of Eucharistic consummation is confined to a spiritual dimension and his use of a kind of realism when discussing the Eucharist should be figuratively understood as a use of metonymy. When Calvin speaks about the Body of Christ in the context of the Eucharist, he metonymically means the life-giving grace of Christ. The Body of Christ is seen by Calvin as a type of conduit which transfers Christ’s spiritual gifts or graces to the faithful. Calvin’s rare statements about the transformation of the body of the communicant should be understood in an eschatological perspective as referring to the resurrection of the body on the Last Day.


Consuming the Body of Christ in John Calvin’s Eucharistic Theology, John Calvin, Eucharist, Consuming of the Body of Christ, Sacrament, Metonymy, Sovereignty of God, Incarnation


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Drobot Vladimir