John Calvin's Ideas

John Calvin's Ideas

by Paul Helm
Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press


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John Calvin's Ideas

John Calvin is universally acknowledged as one of the formative Christian theologians, one of the great doctors of the Church. This book is the first substantial treatment of some of his key ideas which have a philosophical aspect to them. In the past Calvin has frequently been thought of as a anti-philosophical in his bent, and attention has been drawn to his intense dislike of speculation. His role as a theologian of 'the Word' has been emphasized, together with his Renaissance background. Paul Helm does not deny that Calvin was first and foremost a theologian, and not a philosopher, and the influence of the Renaissance upon him, particularly upon his style, must be recognized. However, through a careful analysis of Calvin's theology, Helm reveals both Calvin's thorough familiarity with a range of philosophical ideas, and a willingness to use these, putting them to work in elucidation of his own theological positions, and even on occasion indulging in a little speculation on his own account. In order to emphasize Calvin's often positive relationship to philosophical ideas, the chapters of the book are arranged in philosophical rather than theological order. Thus there are chapters on metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics. As well as examining Calvin's theology in its late medieval context. Helm also explores the way in which Calvin has been appealed to in contemporary philosophy by 'reformed' epistemology. This study should lead to a reappraisal of Calvin's theological method, and of the way in which his work relates not only to late miedieval theology but also to later developments in Reformed theology, Puritanism and Reformed Scholasticism.

About the Author:
PaulHelm is currently a Teaching Fellow at Regent College, Vancouver

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199255696
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 01/27/2005
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 9.30(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Paul Helm is J. I. Packer Professor of Philosophical Theology, Regent College, Vancouver.

Table of Contents

Introduction     1
God in Se and Quoad Nos     11
The Trinity     35
The Extra     58
Providence and Evil     93
The Soul     129
Free Will     157
Divine Accommodation     184
Natural Theology and the Sensus Divinitatis     209
Revelation     246
The Angels     282
The Power Dialectic     312
Equity, Natural Law, and Common Grace     347
Faith, Atonement, and Time     389
Bibliography     417
Index     429

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