Theodore Beza lived from 1519 until 1605. This means that he was a boy when the Reformation occurred and was nearing his death as the controversy between Arminius (whom Beza taught in Geneva) and the Reformed churches was developing. In between, he engaged in debates with Romanists, Lutherans, and others in defense of the Reformed confession. He was Calvin’s ambassador to the world beyond Geneva, a leader in the French Reformed Churches, a humanist-classicist, a text-critic, a playwright, a pastor, and a counselor. He was Calvin’s trust friend and succeeded him as the moderator of the company of pastors in Geneva. He was influential on generations of Reformed pastors and theologians. In his own time his work was widely read and appreciated.
Sadly, after the virtual death of Latin instruction in the English-speaking world, his work became more or less lost to most Reformed pastors and teachers since there is relatively little of his work available in English translation. In the same period (when his work was relatively inaccessible to most), it became fashionable to set him against Calvin and to position him as the corrupter of Calvin’s theology, piety, and practice. In recent decades, however, thanks to the work of Jill Raitt, Richard Muller, and Scott Manetsch, to name only three, the false narrative that colored opinion about Beza for the last century and a half has been overturned, at least among those who have been paying attention.
So, we all owe a great debt to David Noe, who has produced an excellent translation and to Reformation Heritage Books for producing this edition of Beza’s 1559 Clear and Simple Treatise on the Lord’s Supper. This edition features an introduction by Martin Klauber and a foreword by yours truly.