Ford Lewis Battles’ translation of Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, ed. John T. McNeill (2 vols; Library of Christian Classics 20-21; London, SCM Press, and Philadelphia, Westminster Press, 1960) has become the standard one in general use, and unlikely to be superseded in a hurry. Yet it is far from perfect. The aim of this web-site is to collect and list errors in Battles’ translation, for the benefit of users (and perhaps in the longer term as one preparation for a new translation).

Contributions are invited, and should be submitted to Jon Balserak. A few simple guidelines will be helpful.

*This exercise relates only to the text, including Calvin’s opening address to the reader and his preface, and not to the annotations.

* Errors should be clearly identified by a reference to Battles – always page number (and preferably line number also) and book/chapter/section (e.g. Inst. 3:6:10). The identification must enable Balserak to track the Latin source in the Opera Selecta or Calvini Opera, if contributors cannot provide this.

* Balserak will receive all submissions and add them to the web-site according to their order in the Institutes in a uniform style.

*We retain a modicum of editorial discretion in cases which may reflect matters more of interpretation than translation.

*We are open to refining these guidelines in response to suggestions.

CURRENT LIST OF CORRECTIONS TO FORD LEWIS BATTLES'
ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF CALVIN'S INSTITUTES
(last updated 5 August 2020)

Section headings: users of Battles’ translations should be aware that the section headings are his work and do not derive from Calvin’s text. For example, Battles 464: the title to Book 2, chapter 12 is Calvin’s own, but not the summary of sections 1-3 in italics in brackets nor the heading for section 1, similarly in italics.

Lectori; Battles, 5; OS III, 6, 30-31: instead of Battles’ ‘approach Scripture’ T.H.L. Parker, Calvin’s NT Commentaries, 53, proposes ‘approaches the commentaries’, which the context undoubtedly confirms. The Latin has no object to the verb accedat.

Lectori; Battles, 5; OS III, 6, 32: huius instituti should be ‘intention’ or ‘aim’, not ‘instruction’ (Parker, ibid.). Battles is wrong. A better translation would be design, as per Allen. The Latin phrase is huius instituti ratio, and ‘the reason for this purpose’ or ‘aim’ would not make any sense (Blacketer).

Praefatio; Battles, 23; CO 2, 34: Battles omits a phrase, specifically: hoc est, ne in sceleratum populi consensum una ipsi conspirarent.

1:3:3; Battles 1: 47; Calvin is speaking of Plato's teaching re: the soul being transformed by the knowledge of God. Battles has: "the soul...is wholly transformed into his likeness." He translates "ipsum" as "likeness"; but "similitudo" is feminine and thus cannot be the referent of "ipsum." The correct meaning is: "the soul ... is wholly transformed into God." Norton and Beveridge agree; Allen is also in error here. The French for comparison: ...car c'est ce qu'a entendu Platon, disant que le souverain bien de l'รขme est de ressembler ร  Dieu, quand aprรจs l'avoir cogneu elle est du tout transformรฉe en luy. (Blacketer)

1:6:1; Battles 1: 70, line 17, misses a line in 1.6.1, OS 3:61 lines 1-3; directly after "lips." Battles misses the phrase "neque tantum promulgat colendum esse ailquem Deum, sed eum se esse simul pronuntiat qui colendus sit." "He not only makes it known that some god ought to be worshipped, but at the same time also declares that he is the one who is to be worshipped." (Blacketer)

1:6:2; Battles 1: 72, line 11, In translating Inst. 1.6.2, Battles seems to miss the word praecipue, "especially," losing the contrast and emphasis in the sentence, namely, that while it is appropriate to see creation as the theatre of God's glory, it is especially important for people to pay attention to God's Word. (Blacketer)

1.7.3; Battles, 1:77; OS 3:68.24. An odd error. The phrase is "๐˜ค๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช ๐˜ง๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ." The context is Calvin's polemic against the argument that the church lends scripture its authority, and which later theologians supported by appeal to Augustine's comment that he would not have believed apart from the authority of the church. At the end of 1.7.3, Calvin argues that there is a kind of faith without evidence, a kind of testing trust, one might say, by which one preliminarily accepts the faith based on the testimony of others while testing it out. This is a preliminary faith that could lead to full faith. Battles inexplicably translates the line: "There [in ๐˜›๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜œ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ง๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ด ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜‰๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ฆ๐˜ง] he will find that the author recommends no other *inducement* to believe except...." But ๐˜ง๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ด is not "inducement." Here it has to do with believing something "easily" or "readily" in the sense that one has not yet done the work of examining the claims. Cf. the French: "il ne nous commande pas d'estre crรฉdules, ou aisez ร  recevoir ce qui nous est enseignรฉ des hommes..." "he does not command us to be gullible, or easy to receive that which is taught by men." We might say, "quick to believe," or "to believe easily." (Blacketer)

1.7.3; Battles, 1:78; OS 3:68.9: This seems to be an odd translation. The Latin has: ...ut Christi fidem ex Evangelio discere sustineant... Battles: "so that they may ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ in learning faith in Christ..." I think this is wrong. ๐˜š๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฐ here means "to tolerate, to put up with, to submit to, etc." The context is that one has been brought to a state of being teachable (๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ด) by the Holy Spirit. Confirmed by the French: "pour souffrir que" Ergo, something like: "so that they acquiesce to learning faith in Christ from the gospel." (Blacketer)

1.7.5; Battles 1:81, line 16; OS 3:71, lines 25-26. ๐˜š๐˜ช ๐˜ฉ๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ค ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜จ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ข๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ข๐˜ถ๐˜ณ๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ง๐˜ช๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ด๐˜ถ๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ฆ ๐˜‹๐˜ฆ๐˜ถ๐˜ด ๐˜ท๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ถ๐˜ช๐˜ต... Battles has: "If God has willed this treasure of understanding to be hidden from his children..." Battles misunderstands ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ here. It does not mean "hidden from," but "reserved for." Cf. the French: Si Dieu a voulu rรฉserver ร  ses enfans ce thrรฉsor d'intelligence comme cachรฉ... The French has the idea of hiddenness (comme cachรฉ), but the meaning is that this knowledge is reserved for the children of God and thus is like a hidden treasure of knowledge, hidden from the common lot. (Blacketer)

1.8.8; Battles 1:88, near the end of the section. OS 3:77, 20-21: Quid Daniel? annon usque ad annum fere sexcentesimum de rebus futuris prophetias ita ๐™˜๐™ค๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™š๐™ญ๐™ž๐™ฉ... Battles translates it: "What of Daniel? Did he not so clothe his prophecies of future events..." Battles takes ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜น๐˜ช๐˜ต as the perfect active indicative of ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜จ๐˜ฐ, to cover, hide, clothe, etc. Rather, I think it is the present active indicative of ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜น๐˜ฐ, to weave, compose. The French has the verb ๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ, simply, "to treat." Thus, rather than "clothing" prophecies, we should read "composing" prophecies. (Blacketer)

1:9:3; Battles, 95; CO 2, 71: Battles translates translates ‘verbi religio’ as ‘religion of the Word’ though within the sentence it seems more appropriately translated as ‘reverence for the word’ (as per Norton, Allen, Beveridge). Secondly Battles ignores the word ‘illic.’ The Holy Spirit shines ‘there’ namely, in the Scripture (Blacketer).

1.9.3, Battles p. 95; 0S 3:84, 16: "For by a kind of mutual bond the Lord has joined together the certainty of his Word and of his Spirit so that ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™ฅ๐™š๐™ง๐™›๐™š๐™˜๐™ฉ ๐™ง๐™š๐™ก๐™ž๐™œ๐™ž๐™ค๐™ฃ ๐™ค๐™› ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™’๐™ค๐™ง๐™™ may abide in our minds etc. more like a theological presupposition or ๐˜›๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ป affecting the translation. The phrase in question = ๐˜ด๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ข ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฃ๐˜ช ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜จ๐˜ช๐˜ฐ. This translation makes Calvin appear to back some very modern idea of the religion of the incarnate Word, when in fact he is talking about devotion to scripture, in contrast to Anabaptist claims to direct revelations from the Spirit. In fact, I found a few books on Barth citing this translation, making a lovely connection between Calvin and Barth's theology. But it's misleading. The meaning of that phrase in context is: robust or genuine reverence for the word, i.e. scripture. The French is a little different, which says that our understanding "reรงoive icelle parolle en obรฉissance," receives this word in obedience. There's nothing about a "religion of the Word" there. Rather, ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฃ๐˜ช is a genetive of the object, and ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜จ๐˜ช๐˜ฐ here means devotion (to) or reverence (for). There may be a bit of irony to this in that the title of chapter 9 is: "Having Demoted the Scripture, the Fanatics who Fly over to Revelation Overturn Every Principle of Godliness." Barth, of course, wants to emphasize revelation over scripture in his own post-Kantian way, so that Scripture cannot ever be revelation ๐–†๐–“ ๐–˜๐–Ž๐–ˆ๐–, but only a witness to revelation, or whatever. Such an idea would be incomprehensible to Calvin. The French title is even more fun, by the way: "Some hairbrained spirits pervert all the principles of religion by leaving the Scripture to flit after their fantasies, under the pretext of revelations from the Holy Spirit.” (Blacketer)

1:10:2; Battles, 97; CO 2, 72: Battles translates ‘eam’ in the phrase ‘Nam quum eam describeret Moses, ...’ as ‘image.’ Yet ‘eam’ surely refers back to the last word in the previous sentence ‘facies’ rather than to the word ‘ฮตฮน̓ฮบฮฟฮฝฮนฮบฯ‰͂ฯ‚’ which appears in the middle of the previous sentence. Hence Allen: ‘... an exact representation of his genuine countenance. For Moses, in the description which he gives of it ...’ (Blacketer).

1.11.9; OS 3:97 line 28; Battles, 109. "Tandem, toti et animis et oculis illic affixi..." Battles translates this: "Finally, all men, having fixed their minds and yes upon them [idols]..." But "toti" is not "all men." Calvin would have used "omnes." Norton, Allen, and Beveridge correctly connect "toti" with "affixi," and interpret it adverbially, as wholly or completely fixed. (Blacketer)

1.12.1, Battles p. 117, OS 3:105 line 33–34. While discussing idolatry, Calvin complains that people neither cling to the one God “neque delectum adhibent in eius cultu.” Battles: “nor manifest any delight in honoring him.” Forget, for the moment, that “cultu” means worship here and that “honoring” is just a strange choice. Battles more seriously errs in that “delectus” (choice, selection, discretion) is not the same word as “delectatio” (delight), and in that “adhibeo” does not mean “to manifest,” but to bring, summon, employ, exercise, etc. Cf. the French: “et n’ont nulle eslite en son service” And they have no discretion in his worship.” The correct meaning is: “they neither cling to the one God nor exercise discretion in his worship...” (Blacketer)

1.13.2, OS 3:110, 8-11. Battles, p. 122. The Latin is: "Nam quum simplex et individua sit essentia Dei, qui totam in se continet, neque ortione aut defluxu, sed integra perfectione, improprie, imo inepte dicetur eius character." Battles has translated it: “For since the essence of God is simple and undivided, and he contains all in himself, without portion or derivation, but in integral perfection, the Son will be improperly, even foolishly, called his ‘stamp.’” This may not be so much an error as a very confusing and terribly unclear translation, as long as we assume that the first use of "he" refers to the Son and not God. But that is not at all clear. My attempt to clarify this: "For, because the essence of God is simple and indivisible, it would be inappropriate —no, even foolish—to say that the one who contains that entire essence in himself, not partially or by derivation but in integral perfection, is the express image of it. " I could clarify further by putting "the Son" or "Christ" before "the one who." (Another issue is the nuance of meaning of the term defluxus, French defluxion, the latter which may have been coined by Calvin, cf. the OED. Here I'm following the lead of Norton.). Then, in the next sentence: Sed quia Pater, quanvis sua proprietate distinctus… Battles: "But because the Father, although distinct in his proper nature…" Incorrect. "But because the Father, distinct by his own [personal] property..." The referent is the Father's incommunicable personal property, the personal relation to the other persons of the Trinity. See Muller, Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms, s.v. proprietas and relatio personalis. (Blacketer)

1.13.27; OS 3:148 line 14-15. Battles, 156. Battles omits the final phrase of the paragraph (as he divides it): "๐™ฆ๐™ช๐™ž ๐™ซ๐™š๐™ง๐™š ๐™ฃ๐™ค๐™ฃ ๐™จ๐™ž๐™ฉ ๐˜ฟ๐™š๐™ช๐™จ." Should read: "...that one who is not truly God is not called ๐˜๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ in an enigmatic and metaphorical sense." Reference is to Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. 2.27.2, ๐˜—๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜จ๐˜ช๐˜ข ๐˜Ž๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ข 7.1:803: ๐˜๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ถ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜ข๐˜ถ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฐ๐˜ค, ๐˜ถ๐˜ต ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ฒ๐˜ถ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ด๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฒ๐˜ถ๐˜ช ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜‹๐˜ฆ๐˜ถ๐˜ด, ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต ๐˜ข๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ ๐˜—๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ, ๐˜ฒ๐˜ถ๐˜ช ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ฃ๐˜ฐ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ด ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต ๐˜ข๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜จ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ข ๐˜ด๐˜ช๐˜จ๐˜ฏ๐˜ช๐˜ง๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ณ ๐˜—๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ. But they [the Valentinian Gnostics] come down to this: they say that there is, in fact, one who is proclaimed God, and another who is proclaimed Father, who is signified as Father through parables and enigmas. (Blacketer)

1.13.29. OS 3:151 lines 12-13. "Nam quos oblectat speculandi intemperies, minime placandos suscipio." Battles has: "For I suspect that those who intemperately delight in speculation will not be at all satisfied." But Battles has mistaken ๐˜ด๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ฑ๐˜ช๐˜ฐ for ๐˜ด๐˜ถ๐˜ด๐˜ฑ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ฐ. It would be better to translated this portion as: "For I make no effort at all to appease those who delight in speculative excess." (Blacketer)

1.14.6; Battles, 166; OS 3:158 line 37-38. "Pollicetur Abraham servo suo Angelum fore ducem itineris ipsius." On p. 166, Battles writes: "He [God] promises to Abraham his servant an angel to be his guide for the journey." The Latin is ambiguous, and the Biblical reference, Gen 24:7, records Abraham speaking to his servant about God's promise. Norton translates it like Battles does; Beveridge and Allen make Abraham the subject who makes a promise to his servant. They are correct, as the French makes clear: "Semblablement Abraham promettoit a son serviteur que l' Ange de Dieu luy seroit pour guide au chemin." (Blacketer).

1.14.20; Battles, 180; OS 3: 170 line 26ff. Calvin is talking about the creation again as the theater of God's glory. ⁸Est enim hoc (ut alibi diximus) etsi non praecipuum, naturae tamen ordine primum fidei ๐—ฑ๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐˜‚๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐˜‚๐—บ, quaquaversum oculos circunferamus‚ omnia quae occurrunt, meminisse Dei esse opera ..." Battles: “For, as I have elsewhere said, although it is not the chief ๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ for faith, yet it is the first ๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ in the order of nature, to be mindful that wherever we cast our eyes, all things they meet are works of God..." The Latin ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ๐˜ค๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ถ๐˜ฎ here certainly should not be translated as evidence. It is, rather, a lesson, the result of which we are mindful of the works of God in creation. Note the French: "ceste est la premiรจre instruction de nostre foy, selon l'ordre de nature, combien que ce ne soit point la principale..."

1.15.3; Battles, 190; OS 3:178, 29-30. The context is the creation of Adam and his original state of integrity, when Adam possessed right reason and control over his affections, and also the following: "๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฒ๐˜ถ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฆ๐˜น๐˜ช๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ด ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜ช๐˜ง๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ด๐˜ถ๐˜ช ๐˜ฆ๐˜น๐˜ค๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ข๐˜ฎ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ง๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ต." What we read in Battles: "and he truly referred his excellence to exceptional gifts bestowed upon him by his Maker." Here it seems Battles follows Beveridge: "...and when he truly ascribed all his excellence to the admirable gifts of his Maker." In contrast, Norton has: "...and when in excellent giftes he did truly resemble the excellencie of his Creator." Similarly Allen: "...and when in the excellency of his nature he truly resembled the excellence of his Creator." The crux is the translation of the Latin ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ง๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ. Does it mean ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ง๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ? It can also mean ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฑ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฃ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ. This decision, in turn, affects whether one takes ๐˜ฆ๐˜น๐˜ช๐˜ฎ๐˜ช๐˜ช๐˜ด ๐˜ฅ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ด as a dative (Battles, Beveridge) or an ablative (Norton, Allen). In short, one either has: "and [Adam] truly referred [his] excellence to the outstanding gifts of his Creator"; or, alternatively: "and by [these/his] outstanding gifts he truly resembled the excellence of his Creator." We might turn to Calvin's own French which reads: "et tout bien ordonnรฉ en soy pour reprรฉsenter par tels ornemens la gloire de son crรฉateur." "...and all well-ordered in him so as to represent by these adornments the glory of his Creator." Intriguingly Battles / Beveridge seem to diverge from Calvin's French whereas Norton / Allen is much closer to Calvin's French. (Blacketer)

1:15:6; Battles, 193; CO 2, 141: Battles wrongly translates vim concupiscendi as ‘the capacity to desire inordinately’ instead of simply as ‘the power of desiring.’ Additionally (as David Sytsma notes) Battles omits this reference to Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics [who distinguishes between irascible (vim irascendi) and concupiscible (vim concupiscendi) appetites, as Calvin does here]. Battles also inaccurately cites Themistius, whom Calvin does cite but not until later in this section.

1.16.1; Battles, 197-98; CO 2, 144: Battles fails to translate singulari quadam providentia ('by a remarkable providence') (Blacketer). Battles, in fact, confuses Calvin's thought. Battles has '... not only in that he drives the celestial frame ... but also in that he sustains, nourishes, and cares for, everything he has made, even to the least sparrow.' But this is not a 'non solum ... sed etiam ...' construction. Calvin's construction is: 'neque id universali quadam motione ... sed singulari quadam providentia ...' So we find Allen: '... not by a certain universal motion, actuating the whole machine of the world, and all its respective parts, but by a particular providence sustaining, nourishing, and providing for every thing which he has made.' So Calvin seems to be eschewing a kind of mechanical conception of divine governance preferring instead a specific parental care.

1.18.1; Battles, 230; CO 2, 169: Battles' translation reads: 'Satan desperately tries to drive the holy man insane...' But the reference is to Satan's strategy with Job. The Latin: 'Molitur Satan sanctum virum desperatione adigere in furorem.' It might be rendered as: 'Satan works to drive the holy man, by way of despair, into a frenzy' (Blacketer) The French: 'd'inciter Iob par dรฉsespoir etc.' Beveridge has: 'Satan's aim is to drive the saint to madness by despair.' One could also turn desperatione into a verb: Satan strives to dishearten the holy man and drive him to folly.

2.1.5; Battles, 247; CO 2, 180: Battles has: 'But no man will wonder at the temerity of the Pelagians and Coelestians when he perceived from that holy man's warnings...' Battles incorrectly translates 'monumenta' as 'warnings,' which here clearly means writings or works. The Latin is: '... qui ex illius sancti viri monumentis perspexerit ...'. He also should have written: 'when he has perceived...' (Blacketer)

2:2:26; Battles, 286; CO 2, 207: Battles misunderstands the sentence beginning Nihil ergo…. Battles’ rendering is: ‘Therefore whether or not man is impelled to seek after the good by an impulse of nature has no bearing upon the freedom of the will.’ But as Calvin refers in the preceding sentence to a natural inclination which both animals and humans possess, it is clear that in the sentence beginning Nihil ergo, Calvin is drawing the conclusion that this natural inclination towards good cannot possibly be used as an argument for free will, since humans possess it in common with animals (Richard Muller, The Unaccommodated Calvin, 259 n.60). Beveridge comes closer to the sense of the text: ‘The question of freedom, therefore, has nothing to do with the fact of man’s being led by natural instinct to desire good.’

2.3.10; Battles, 303; OS III, 285, 22. Battles translates the phrase 'sed ipsum velle in nobis efficere' as: 'but that He wills to work in us.' But Calvin seems to be asserting he [God] himself brings about the willing in us, or brings it about in us to will. Calvin has been paraphrasing or alluding to Phil. 2:13, which in the Vulgate reads: Deus est enim qui operatur in vobis et velle et perficere… Cf. the French: 'mais que Dieu fait et forme en nous le vouloir,' Battles’ error may reveal some dependence on Beveridge, who makes a similar error: 'but that God himself is pleased so to work in us.' Allen comes closer, but (as is his wont) he just inserts the text of Phil. 2:13, which Calvin probably does have in mind, but is not citing verbatim here: 'but that he "worketh in us to will;"' Norton, uncharacteristically, is not that clear or accurate: 'but that he will performe it in us.' Meanwhile, Otto Weber seems to get it right: 'Er bringe in uns das Wollen hervor!' (Blacketer)

2.3.10; Battles, 304; OS III: 286, 21–24. Calvin says that we see that some kind of intermediate impulse, asserted by the Sophists, which persons are free to accept or reject, is obviously excluded 'ubi asseritur efficax ad perseverandum constantia." Battles: "when it is asserted that constancy is efficacious for perseverance.' Battles' translation is grammatically possible from Calvin's laconic Latin, but contextually quite wrong. It makes it seem that if one is constant, one will persevere, which is precisely the argument of Calvin's opponents. Rather, this constancy comes from God: a constancy is affirmed that is efficacious for perseverance. Calvin's French translation is much more expansive (see Benoit’s French ed., 2: 70): 'We see that this impulse without efficacy that the sophists imagine is excluded. I mean when they say this, that God only offers his grace on such a condition that each person may refuse or accept it as they see fit. Such absurdity, I say, which is neither flesh nor fish, is excluded when it says that God makes us persevere in such a way that we are in no danger of falling away.' (Blacketer)

2.8.59; Battles, 401; CO 2, 309. Battles obscures Calvin's meaning by translating 'venialia' as 'pardonable' rather than simply as 'venial,' as Beveridge does.

2:14:1; Battles, 482; OS III, 458, 18-19: e Virginis utero templum sibi delegit should be ‘he chose for himself from the Virgin’s womb a temple.’

3:3:1; Battles, 593; OS IV, 55, 16: continuo means ‘immediately, promptly’, not ‘constantly.’

3:3:19; Battles, 614; OS IV, 77, 15. Battles’ ‘both kinds of grace’ too loosely translates utraque gratia, which carries no implication of different kinds. In the context, ‘each grace’ would sufficiently point to the ‘each of two’ which utraque conveys. An earlier translator (Beveridge) gives ‘both graces’. See also on 3:11:1.

3:4:2; Battles, 625; OS IV, 87, 20. Perhaps the fault of McNeill’s editing error, Battles’ translates the phrase ut quisque amare deflendo sua peccata se ... magis acuat in such a way that the verb acuat is left out entirely. His reading ‘what his displeasure and hatred’ should be ‘whet’ or ‘incite his displeasure ...’. Beveridge gives ‘stimulate himself more and more to dislike and hate.’

3:11:1; Battles, 725; OS IV, 182, 9. Battles seems to avoid the clear meaning of the Latin in writing ‘the second of these gifts’. It should be simply ‘the second grace’ (quae secunda est gratia). Earlier in this section Battles rightly translates Calvin’s duplicem gratiam as ‘a double grace’ – although most Calvin scholars prefer ‘twofold grace’. See also on 3:3:19.

3:11:6; Battles, 732; OS IV, 187, 21-22: percipimus – ‘receive’, not ‘perceive.’

3:20:37; Battles, 900; OS IV, 347, 10-12: Battles omits a negative here, and should read ‘his father’s heart cannot pretend not to be moved by such entreaties’ (non enim tum se paterna viscera dissimulare possunt quin ad tales preces commoveantur).

4:8:16; Battles, 1165; OS V, 150, 18-21: Battles misconstrues the construction, and potentially the meaning, of the sentence beginning Nemo excepit…. By omitting his ‘to the notion’ one gets it more or less right: ‘No one objected that the church could add something of its own, that the Spirit had not revealed everything to the apostles, or at least had not transmitted everything to posterity.’ The rendering of the third clause varies among translators, since some (e.g. Beveridge, Allen) assume that ‘the apostles’ must be the subject of prodidisse (‘or at least that the apostles had not transmitted everything to posterity’), but this assumption seems quite insecure.

4:15:22; Battles, 1323; OS V, 303, 19-20: Accedit postea sacramentum sigilli instar should be rendered ‘There is added afterward a/the sacrament like a seal’ (Battles: ‘a sort of seal is added to the sacrament’).

4:16 title; Battles, 1324; OS V, 303, 32-33: optime is probably not so much ‘best’ as ‘very well’, since both comparatives and superlatives were widely used to express emphasis ( and of what could infant baptism be said strictly to be ‘best’?).

4:16:1; Battles, 1324; OS V, 304, 8: Battles omits to translate non parum habitura sit momenti: ‘so to organize this discourse that it will have no little importance for explaining the mystery of baptism more clearly’ [perhaps clarius better ‘very clearly, really clearly’, without strict comparative force].

4:16:5; Battles, 1328; OS V, 309, 9-10: ad infantes destinetur Baptismi verbum, not simplistically ‘the word “baptism”’, but ‘the word of baptism’ in the sense of ‘the promise, meaning, substance of baptism.’

4:16:20; Battles, 1343; OS V, 324, 33: ‘regeneration’ instead of ‘resignation.’

4:16:27; Battles, 1350; OS V, 332, 8-11: Battles’ translation is at best ambiguous: ‘For they make more than a merely childish error when from these passages [i.e. Matt. 28.19, Mark 16.16, Matt. 3.13, Luke 3:21-22] they derive the first institution of baptism which [quem, i.e. baptism] from the beginning of his preaching ….’

4:17: 10; Battles, 1370-71; OS V, 352: in this section Battles translates three times the verb exhibeo and once the noun exhibitio by ‘show, showing’. Without entering into debates about Calvin’s theology of the supper, we can all agree that ‘show’ is an inadequate rendering of exhibeo.