Announcing a New Project to Translate Vermigli’s Common Places

As Protestants this year remember the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, they will understandably focus on the legacy of Martin Luther and other big-name Reformers. However, it is to be hoped that this anniversary will also help rekindle interest in figures that were, at the time, hardly less significant to the formulation of Protestant doctrine and the establishment of reformed churches and liturgies. Chief among such figures is surely Peter Martyr Vermigli, the Florentine Reformer whose pilgrim life saw him teaching and building networks of disciples in Italy, Strasbourg, England, and Zurich, and who through his copious writings shaped Reformed churches throughout Europe. During the 16th century, his writings were esteemed as highly as Calvin’s in many regions, and particularly on the topics of Christology and the Eucharist. On the latter subject, Calvin himself declared that “the whole [doctrine of the Eucharist] was crowned by Peter Martyr, who left nothing more to be done.”

However, despite a vigorous revival of scholarly interest in Vermigli since the 1970s, he remains unknown and unappreciated by most theologians today. Here, as so often, the culprit is the lack of a readily accessible magnum opus in modern English that can serve as a touchstone and reference work for students of Reformation theology.[1] Vermigli never wrote a systematic summary like Calvin’s Institutes, but his students compiled one from his writings, published in 1576 as the Loci Communes and translated into English in 1583 as the Common Places. Sadly, this English translation has never been updated since and has not even been reprinted since the 1600s, so that it is largely inaccessible today.

But not, we hope, for much longer. Read more…