Published online by Cambridge University Press: 14 November 2019
One of the most important legacies of the Protestant Reformation was the splintering of the western Catholic Church into competing confessions. Protestants introduced permanent schisms into Latin Christendom, both between Protestants and Catholics and amongst Protestants. But even as these divides began to form in the sixteenth century, earnest theologians and rulers, both Protestant and Catholic, sought to reverse and heal them, hoping to recover the unity among Christians for which Christ had prayed (John 17:21). John Calvin participated in a number of these religious colloquies, or formal conversations about contested theological issues. He was present at colloquies in Hagenau (summer 1540), Worms (autumn 1540), and Regensburg (January 1541), although he was more interested in unity among Protestants than between Protestants and Catholics.1 Such colloquies, which were supposed to be cordial in nature, should be distinguished from disputations, where the goal was to prove the truth of one’s position against all claims to the contrary. The English word colloquy comes from the Latin colloquor: to talk together or hold conversation. The goal of Reformation-era religious colloquies was not to arrive at complete uniformity of belief and practice, rather, it was to determine where reconciliation on matters of belief and practice might be possible.