Original Research

Reformation of marital laws in Hungary: Early reception of Luther, Calvin and Beza before and until 1667

Balázs D. Magyar
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 45, No 1 | a2946 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v45i1.2946 | © 2024 Balázs D. Magyar | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 July 2023 | Published: 07 March 2024

About the author(s)

Balázs D. Magyar, Department of Systematic and Historical Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Pretoria, Pretoria Department of Social Ethics and Church Sociology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, Debrecen Reformed Theological University, Debrecen, Hungary


The main achievements of the huge research on the history of the Hungarian Protestantism show that at the beginning of the Protestantism the local reformers and preachers were interpreting Luther’s ideas, but from the 1550s Calvin’s doctrines became decisive. The reception of the great reformers’ ideas was far from being evident in the practice. It means pastors and preachers in Hungary did not cite directly from the written heritage of Luther (Pelikan & Helmut 1955-1986), Calvin (Calvin 1863–1900) or Beza. They used to use the Bible itself. Nevertheless, many new and unknown problems raised, which deserved prompt and clear theological and moral advice. Most of the challenges were related to the burning, everyday questions of sexual sins and of family life. Therefore, it is not surprising that contemporary preachers were trying to commit everything to renew the public morality of people. The article intends to illuminate the evolution of the early Protestant marriage law system and theological thinking in Hungary after the temporary ’collapse’ of the Roman Catholic Church and its canon law in the 1550s. At the same time, it is raising the question, how did the ’great reformers’ influence the early Protestant marriage law system and theological thinking in Hungary.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article is based on the field of systematic theology. The study intends to understand the development of Hungarian Reformed regulations of marriage in the 16th and 17th century from theological, judicial and historical perspectives.


marriage; adultery; Hungarian Protestantism; Calvin; Beza; Melius; Tarpai

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 15: Life on land


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