Crucis Tolerantia: John Calvin’s Theology and Ethics of Toleration

Manfred Svensson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article leaves discussion of Servetus’ execution aside in order to clarify Calvin’s understanding of toleration in the light of his usage of the term tolerantia. A recurrent use of the phrase “toleration of the cross” (crucis tolerantia) emerges as a distinctly Calvinian version of the traditional imitatio Christi, combining a Stoic endurance of evils with an Augustinian understanding of the imperfections of the present life. Finally, the article discusses the degree to which Calvin’s reflection on toleration is intertwined with a language of virtue and the way in which it is able to bring light to contemporary discussions surrounding toleration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-199
Number of pages17
JournalPolitical Theology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • cross
  • John Calvin
  • Protestant Reformation
  • religious toleration
  • tolerance
  • toleration
  • virtue


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