Vol. I of a New Translation of the Loci Communes (1576)

Paperback. xxx + 125 pp. $14.95

Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499-1562) was a forgotten giant of the Protestant Reformation. Born in Florence, Italy, and rising quickly to leadership within the Augustinian Order in Italy, Vermigli discovered the gospel of justification and embarked on a reforming career that would take him to Naples, Lucca, Zurich, Strasbourg, Oxford, and finally back to Strasbourg and Zurich again, as he worked shoulder-to-shoulder with other leading Protestant Reformers Heinrich Bullinger, Martin Bucer, and Thomas Cranmer. He left behind him voluminous biblical commentaries and treatises, and a band of faithful disciples who collected his writings into the massive theological compendium, the Loci Communes.

Appearing now in English for the first time since 1583, "On Original Sin" represents Part II, ch. 1 of the Loci. Presented here in a clear, readable, and learned translation, Vermigli's searching discussion of original sin reveals the biblical and patristic foundations of this controversial doctrine, and its centrality to Protestant orthodoxy. Along the way, Vermigli offers a scathing critique of the semi-Pelagian Catholic theologian Albert Pighius and defends the Augustinian understanding of sin and grace, in a treatise marked by exegetical skill, historical erudition, and philosophical sophistication.

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Kirk Summers (Ph.D, University of Illinois) is the General Editor of the Vermigli Common Places Project, and served as translator for this first volume. Dr. Summers is Director of the Classics Program at the University of Alabama, and has done extensive research and translation in neo-Latin, with a particular focus on 16th-century Reformed works. He is the author of Morality After Calvin: Theodore Beza’s Christian Censor and Reformed Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2016).


The Vermigli Common Places Project is a multi-year initiative that aims to make available for the first time since 1583 the magnum opus of the great Reformed theologian Peter Martyr Vermigli. Vermigli’s Loci Communes or Common Places, originally published in Latin in 1576, offers a four-volume summation of key doctrines in Christian theology and disputed issues in the Protestant Reformation, and was for many decades considered one of the essential textbooks of Protestant theology, especially in England. Our project will proceed in short installments of one or two loci apiece, beginning with the crucial Vol. II of the Loci, with the eventual aim of combining these into a complete set of the Common Places in modern English.


“Peter Martyr Vermigli is undoubtedly one of the most significant Reformed theologians of the sixteenth century and his Common Places is the crown jewel of his collected works. The rendering of this work into contemporary English is a great service to the understanding of Reformation thought and will be enriching for scholars and pastors alike. Vermigli’s theological training and acumen are on full display here and the results are rightly esteemed as a masterwork of Reformed theology.”


The Acton Institute; Junius Institute; author of "Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus"

“According to Peter Martyr Vermigli, the supreme end and highest good in life is to be justified in Christ, accepted in love by the eternal Father. However, it is impossible to appreciate the significance of this acceptance until one has first grasped the catastrophic problem of original sin, the desolate pit from which God raises sinners to make them saints. In addition to answering critical questions surrounding the doctrine (i.e., What is sin? Who is responsible for it? And how does it spread?), this volume showcases Peter Martyr’s convictions on a host of related topics including divine creation, humanity’s infidelitas, total depravity, sexual relations, imago Dei, natural gifts, and the necessity of imputed righteousness as the basis for divine favor.”


Lead Pastor of New Covenant Church, Naperville; author of "Justified in Christ: The Doctrines of Peter Martyr Vermigli and John Henry Newman"

“In 1563, not long after the death of Peter Martyr Vermigli in Zurich, Theodore Beza urged on Heinrich Bullinger the need for a systematic theology to be compiled from Vermigli’s immense corpus of scriptural commentary—“eine Dogmatik in nuce.” Owing in good part to Anthony Marten’s Elizabethan translation, Vermigli’s Common Places became one of the most influential of all Reformed systematic theologies, especially in the English-speaking world. Kirk Summers has made a selection of these commonplaces pertaining to the pivotal Christian teaching concerning Original Sin and rendered them into lucid, legible, modern English. For any scholar or aspiring theologian attuned to the Reformed tradition this volume should be obligatory reading.”


McGill University, author of "The Zurich Connection and Tudor Political Theology"

“With this precise but grandly readable translation, Reformation scholars owe a debt of gratitude to the editors and translator for this initial volume in this new series on Peter Martyr Vermigli’s Common Places. Kirk Summers has faithfully and eloquently rendered Vermigli who is here at his subtle and forceful best; and has thus opened to a wider audience the Reformer’s thought on some of the questions most central to the disputes of the sixteenth century: sin, human nature, what imputation entails, and even the nature of sacramental grace. Further, Summers’s painstaking apparatus (Vermigli often quoted his sources from memory) lays bare Vermigli’s vast command of the literature on these questions. Honor due.”


Eastern University; author of Calvin’s Tormentor’s: Understanding the Conflicts that Shaped the Reformer


Foreword and General Introduction, Chris Castaldo ii
Volume Introduction, Kirk Summers x
1 The Pelagians on Human Nature 2
2 Adam’s Wholeness Before the Fall 6
3 Pighius on Infant Guilt 11
4 Concupiscence: A Propensity for Evil 17
5 The Removal of Divine Grace in the Fall 24
6 Recovering Our Humanity in Christ 32
7 Original Sin in Infants 42
8 Pighius on Adam’s Original Wholeness 50
9 Natural Knowledge 53
10 The Transition of Original Sin 55
11 The Punishment of Unbaptized Infants 63
12 Generational Guilt 65
13 Godly Parents and Inherited Sin 74
14 Aggregated Guilt 78
15 Digression on Romans 5: Sin Defined 84
16 Digression on Romans 5: How Sin Enters the World 87
17 Digression on Romans 5: How Sin is Propagated 92
18 Digression on Romans 5: Creatures and the Fall 101
Select Bibliography 114
Index 120


The Davenant Institute endeavors to restore wisdom for the contemporary church. We seek to sponsor historical scholarship at the intersection of the church and academy, build friendships and facilitate collaboration within the Reformed and evangelical world, and equip the saints with time-tested resources for faithful public witness.
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