Who was John Calvin and why is he still read five hundred years after his birth? In this volume an international and interdisciplinary group of leading specialists explores both the reasons for Calvin's enduring influence and the story of his reception across five centuries. The book's initial essays lay bare features of his ideas, his work as a church reformer, and his manner of presenting himself in his books and letters that clarify his impact both in his lifetime and after his death. The second half of the volume examines how he was read, perceived, and appropriated in different times and places from the seventeenth century to the present.
If Calvin's writings were widely cited by leading Reformed theologians in the generations immediately after his death, they receded from view in the eighteenth century. What was most often recalled was his role in the burning of Michael Servetus, for which he was widely criticized in those quarters of the Reformed tradition now attached to the idea of toleration or the ideal of a free church. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, his theology was recovered again in a variety of different contexts, while scholars drew his treatises and letters together into the monument to his life and work that was the Opera Calvini and undertook major studies of his life and times. Church movements claimed the label "Calvinist" for themselves with insistence and pride, whereas before the term had been derogatory. The movements that identified themselves as Calvinist nonetheless varied considerably in the manner in which they understood or misunderstood Calvin's thought.
Calvin and His Influence, 1509-2009 should become the starting point for further reflection about Calvin's impact in his own time and throughout the subsequent history of Calvinism, as well as, more broadly, about the relationship between leading figures of the Reformation and the traditions subsequently associated with their names.
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press, USA|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Irena Backus and Philip Benedict are Professors at the Institute for Reformation History at the University of Geneva.
Table of Contents
Irena Backus and Philip Benedict
Chapter One: Calvin:
Fifth Latin Doctor of the Church?
Chapter Two: The Ideal of Aristocratia Politiae Vicina in the Calvinist Political Tradition
Chapter Three: Calvin the Workaholic
Chapter Four: Calvin's Self-Awareness as Author
Chapter Five: Calvin's Church in Geneva:
Constructed or Gathered? Local or Foreign? French or Swiss?
Chapter Six: Calvin, the Swiss Reformed Churches, and the European Reformation
Chapter Seven: Calvin 1509-2009
Chapter Eight: Calvinism as an Actor in the Early Modern State System around 1600:
Struggle For Alliances; Patterns of Eschatological Interpretation; Symbolic Representation
Chapter Nine: Reception and Response:
Referencing and Understanding Calvin in Seventeenth-Century Calvinism
Chapter Ten: The Dutch Enlightenment and the Distant Calvin
Ernestine van der Wall
Chapter Eleven: Lost, then Found:
Calvin in French Protestantism, 1830-1940
Chapter Twelve: Calvin in the Plural:
The Diversity of Modern Interpretations of Calvinism, especially in Germany and the English-Speaking World
Friedrich W. Graf
Chapter Thirteen: Calvin, Modern Calvinism and Civil Society:
The Appropriation of a Heritage, with Particular Reference to the Low Countries
Cornelis van der Kooi
Chapter Fourteen: Calvin and British Evangelicalism in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
Chapter Fifteen: Calvin(ism) and Apartheid in South Africa in the Twentieth Century: The Making and Unmaking of a Racial Ideology
John W. de Gruchy