Some surprises started unfolding when a team of Calvin Theological Seminary professors and graduate students recently launched the Post-Refor mation Digital Library.
Chief eye-openers included successfully tracking down manuscripts from Reformed theologians that were once thought to be lost.
Another revelation: theologians and philosophers in the 16th to 18th centuries were brutally honest about their doctrinal positions and emotions, including the well-known Reformer John Calvin, who occasionally pushed the boundaries of good taste. In one sermon about rowdy adolescents, Calvin compares them to “little turds.”
“We’ve got things coming out of the woodwork that [were] lost for centuries,” said Todd Rester, a doctoral student who served on the project’s six-member editorial board. Documents once thought missing include a profession of faith from Calvin’s successor, Theodore Beza.