In Calvin’s commentary on Romans 2:17, he discusses the origin of the name ‘Jew’ as referring to all of the Israelite people, which occurred sometime during the dispersion following the Babylonian captivity. Whether his hypothesis is correct or not is not my main issue with this piece, but pay particular attention to the principles underlying it. He writes:
It seems, indeed, very likely, that after having been degraded and scattered through so many disasters, they were not able to retain any certain distinction as to their tribes; for a census could not have been made at that time, nor did there exist a regular government, which was necessary to preserve an order of this kind; and they dwelt scattered and in disorder; and having been worn out by adversities, they were no doubt less attentive to the records of their kindred. But though you may not grant these things to me, yet it cannot be denied but that a danger of this kind was connected with such disturbed state of things.
A few vital socio-political principles in Calvin’s thought can be derived from this text:
1. The retention of tribal distinctions is an integral part of God’s intended social order.
2. Government has an obligation to play its part in preserving this order. In other words, government must ensure the state remain ethnically homogeneous. The most obvious means of doing this is through immigration and border control.
3. Treasuring one’s ancestry and ethnic identity is a part of a healthy culture and society, a virtuous custom only disrupted by disastrous circumstances.
4. Ethnic amalgamation, and by extension, also racial amalgamation is detrimental to a nation’s well-being.
This commentary undoubtedly places Calvin in the (proto-)kinist camp. He would have had nothing of the modernist and egalitarian notions of multiculturalism.
Part XII: Martin Luther, German Nationalist