“Calvin’s literary corpus is well known, with around one hundred volumes published from the time he arrived in Geneva in 1536 until his death twenty-eight years later.
During the 1550s, Calvin’s literary output ranged from 100,00 to a remarkable 250,000 published words per year.
Late nights spent writing at his desk by candlelight or long days spent dictating from bed inevitably took a toll on his health and spirits:
‘I get so tired from that endless writing that at times I have a loathing for it, and actually hate writing,’ Calvin complained to Bullinger in 1551.
But true religion needed to be defended in print as well as from the pulpit.
‘I would be a real coward if I saw God’s truth being attacked and remained quiet without a sound.’
Theodore Beza also recognized the strategic value of defending reformed Christianity through print media and he encouraged colleagues such as Chandieu, Daneau, and Goulart to join him in this important endeavor.
To a minister friend in Zurich, he wrote in 1575:
‘I rejoice that my colleagues Daneau and Goulart are friends of yours, and I beg that you also exhort them to write [books]. For you see how few men we have today who are able to write with precision and substance– which is the very thing that we need.’
From Beza’s perspective, the ministry of writing books that defended the truth and edified the people of God was of vital importance for the well-being of the church.”
–Scott M. Manetsch, Calvin’s Company of Pastors: Pastoral Care and the Emerging Reformed Church, 1536-1609 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 225-226.