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Banned Books in Tarlton's Collection

Jean Calvin, Lexicon Juridicum

Jean Calvin, Lexicon iuridicum ivris Caesarei simvl, et canonici... studio et opera Ioannis Calvini, alias Kahl, Wetterani, Iuris Doctoris, & in Academia Heidelbergensi Professoris. Editio postrema. Genevae : Apud Philippum Albertum, M. DC. XXII [1622].

Jean or Johannes Calvin (1509-1564), not to be confused with his much more famous near contemporary, the French Theologian John Calvin, was an author and jurist best known for his work Lexicon juridicum, a highly influential legal reference work which was published first in 1600. The text combines compilations drawn from the writings of earlier lexicographers and scholars with Calvin’s original work and annotations. The Lexicon proved to be both popular and inspirational – John Cowell credited Calvin’s text as his inspiration to undertake his own law dictionary (Interpreter, 1607).

Because Calvin was a Protestant, and possibly because he shared a name with a particularly troublesome Protestant, this text ended up on the Vatican’s Index librorum prohibitorum in 1659. In spite of this prohibition at least 14 editions were printed between 1600 and 1673, six of them after the initial decree.

Tarlton Law Library holds five editions of this dictionary.