John Calvin (1509–1564) started his career as a thoroughly trained humanist who possessed, in
addition, a thorough knowledge of the Fathers of the Church. This article provides an overview
of this particular knowledge. It also focuses on the use Calvin made of the patristic argument
in both his instructive and apologetic writings. Some evident cases of Calvin’s misuse of the
patres are discussed as well. It is concluded that Calvin’s special patristic knowledge gave his
theology its special hallmark and still links authentic Calvinism with the church’s catholic
tradition through the ages.