A Life of John Calvin: A Study in the Shaping of Western Culture / Edition 1

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The first biography of John Calvin since 1975 and the only life of the great reformer to analyse his impact on subsequent generations of theologians, politicians, economists and philosophers. This biography is theologically unbiased and is written as much for historians and general readers as for those interested in Calvin the Church reformer.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A most welcome study filling a real need for a scholarly biography that is historically sensitive and theologically well-informed." Religious Studies Review

"Not since Wendel's Calvin has one volume given as much breadth and depth to the life and thought of Calvin as this one... A splendid resource for both novices and Calvin scholars. McGrath's work will endure as a balanced, sensitive, historical-theological treatment." Sixteenth Century Journal

"A full range of Calvin students and scholars will be grateful for this book. Wide in scope, detailed in coverage, yet clear in focus, McGrath's work will find a secure niche for many years to come." Christianity Today

"A Skillful combination of biography, theology and history. A number of maps, charts and (monochrome) reproductions of paintings and other art works enhance the attractiveness of this handsome volume, which should serve students as a useful and readable introduction to John Calvin's life and times." Critical Review

"An absorbing study. It cannot be stated too strongly that Beyond Borders deserves high praise. Better than any other book known to the author." The Expository Times

"The best study of Calvin in English." Teaching History

Library Journal
This biography by the young yet amazingly prolific scholar of the Reformation ably combines historical narrative and theological interpretation. McGrath refuses the reductionistic temptation to isolate one central doctrine within Calvin's thought (such as predestination), contending instead that the Reformer's humanistic sympathies eschewed such rigid systematizing. In compelling fashion he argues both that Calvin must be understood as primarily a religious thinker and that his world-affirming outlook launched an international social and economic revolution comparable only to Marxism of the 20th century. McGrath acknowledges that his subject is a private, enigmatic figure, but thanks to this study he is perhaps a little less so. A very readable book, far more balanced than William Bouwsma's more psychological profile, John Calvin: A Sixteenth Century Portrait ( LJ 10/1/87).-- John R. Muether, Reformed Theological Seminary, Maitland, Fla.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631189473
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/18/1993
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 358
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Alister E. McGrath is Professor of Historical Theology at Oxford University. He is one of the worlds leading Protestant theologians and the author of numerous popular theology textbooks, including Christian Theology (Third Edition, 2001), The Christian Theology Reader, (Second Edition, 2001), Christian Spirituality (1999), Science and Religion (1998), Historical Theology (1998), and An Introduction to Christianity (1997), all available from Blackwell Publishing. He is also editor of The Blackwell Companion to Protestantism (2003).

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations.


1. Introduction.

2. Paris: The Formation of a Mind.

3. The Years of Wandering: Orleans and the Encounter with Humanism.

4. From Humanist to Reformer: The Conversion.

5. Geneva: The First Period.

6. Geneva: The Consolidation of Power.

7. Christianity according to Calvin: The Medium.

8. Christianity according to Calvin: The Message.

9. The Invasion of Ideas: Calvin and France.

10. The Genesis of a Movement.

11. Commitment to the World: Calvinism, Work and Capitalism.

12. Calvin and the Shaping of Western Culture.

Appendix I: A Glossary of Theological and Historical Terms.

Appendix II: Referring to Works by Calvin.





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