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John Calvin : A Sixteenth-Century Portrait - William J. Bouwsma

John Calvin

A Sixteenth-Century Portrait

Paperback Published: 16th March 1989
ISBN: 9780195059519
Number Of Pages: 320

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Historians have credited--or blamed--Calvinism for many developments in the modern world, including capitalism, modern science, secularization, democracy, individualism, and unitarianism. These same historians, however, have largely ignored John Calvin the man. When people consider him at all, they tend to view him as little more than the joyless tyrant of Geneva who created an abstract theology as forbidding as himself.
This volume, written by the eminent historian William J. Bouwsma, who has devoted his career to exploring the larger patterns of early modern European history, seeks to redress these common misconceptions of Calvin by placing him back in the proper historical context of his time.
Eloquently depicting Calvin's life as a French exile, a humanist in the tradition of Erasmus, and a man unusually sensitive to the complexities and contradictions of later Renaissance culture, Bouwsma reveals a surprisingly human, plausible, ecumenical, and often sympathetic Calvin. John Calvin offers a brilliant reassessment not only of Calvin but also of the Reformation and its relationship to the movements of the Renaissance.

"W.Bouwsma's John Calvin offers an excellent view inside the life and the times of one of histories most complex and intriguing minds. An excellent resource for intellectual, religious, and cultural historians; first rate."--James LeSueur, University of LaVerne "A wonderful book. Brings fresh insights not only to our understanding of Calvin's life, but also to our understanding of the intellectual climate of early modern Europe."--David Koeller, Phillips University "At last someone has rescued the great reformer of Geneva from the stony grayness to which he had been so wrongly consigned and has drawn an animated picture of a passionate and complex man."--Harvey Cox, Harvard Divinity School "A fresh and insightful exploration of John Calvin's thought, viewed within the context of sixteenth-century intellectual, psychological, cultural, and religious forces."--Dave Rightmire, Asbury College "This is must reading for anyone interested in the Reformation period as a whole or Calvin in particular. All future studies on Calvin should interact with this work."--Trinity Journal "By intense reading in Calvin's work [Bouwsma] has come up with a twentieth-century psychological scheme, giving a genuinely new insight into the man and into the sixteenth century as a whole."--The New York Times Book Review "A richly wise, and splendidly engaging portrayal of a man whose doctrines and aspirations--and whose anxieties and fears--shaped, and perhaps are still shaping, the modern world."--Los Angeles Times Book Review "An intellectual tour de force. We will never be able to think of Calvin the man in the same way again."--St. Petersburg Times "An impressive contribution to our understanding of Calvin and our understanding of ourselves from one who is thoroughly acquainted with Calvin's Institutes, commentaries, sermons, treatises, and letters."--Eternity "A study that Calvin scholars have been waiting for....It provides a 'disclosure model' of Calvin's personality and his work that will fertilize future studies....A booming success."--Sixteenth Century Journal "A clear and brilliantly argued analysis of Calvin's place in sixteenth-century European intellectual history, focusing on his thought rather than his life."--Library Journal "Will provide solid ground for a new interpretation of his theology. Highly recommended for history and religion collections."--Booklist "[Bouwsma's] penetrating analysis of Calvin's creative confrontation with both the labyrinth of late-medieval philosophy, and the abyss threatened by the humanism of his own schooling, puts many of our own fears into historical perspective. A thoughtful, and thought-provoking, book."--Commonweal "A thoughtful, and thought-provoking, book."--Commonweal "An important book....Remarkable....This book will be one which Calvin scholars will have to read. No one will be able to ignore it."--Jill Raitt, University of Missouri, Columbia "To read this book closely is to be brought very close to something original, something pure."--The Christian Science Monitor "A singularly fascinating 'portrait' quite unlike anything extant in the Calvin literature....A many-faceted panorama which has something for everyone....[A] masterpiece."--Church History "The most comprehensive and illuminating biography of John Calvin available today."--Melvin H. Shoemaker, Azusa Pacific University "A remarkably clear exposition of Calvin's thought (the chapter on humanism is especially good.) Bouwsma brings Calvin to life superbly."--Paul J. Hauben, University of the Pacific "The first serious study of Calvin accessible to undergraduates. I can't imagine teaching a course on the Reformation without it."--Paul Teverow, Missouri Southern State College "An excellent study of John Calvin's life and thought. Insightful. Careful. Useful."--D. Hein, Hood College "A historical drama, beautifully constructed and highly informative....Brilliant and imaginative."--Journal of the American Academy of Religion "A very learned and stimulating reinterpretation of Calvin's thought."--James Boyden, Tulane University "Bouwsma's careful study of Calvin's program for the church should be read by every Presbyterian minister and every thoughtful layperon."--Presbyterian Record "There is much here to interest and challenge. It is an exciting and novel exploration of a person who did not always say the same thing, who was eclectic in the influences he absorbed....A stimulating and refreshing study."--European Historical Review "A challenging study."--History of European Ideas

Acknowledgmentsp. v
Introduction the Quest for the Historical Calvinp. 1
The Man and the Timesp. 7
A Sixteenth-Century Lifep. 9
Calvin's Anxietyp. 32
A World out of Jointp. 49
The Labyrinthp. 67
Cosmic Inheritancesp. 69
Restoring Orderp. 86
Rational Religionp. 98
The Openingp. 111
Humanismp. 113
The Abyssp. 129
Beingp. 131
Knowingp. 150
Powerp. 162
Dramap. 177
A Program for the Timesp. 189
Societyp. 191
Polityp. 204
Churchp. 214
Conclusionp. 230
Notesp. 235
Bibliographyp. 295
Indexp. 303
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195059519
ISBN-10: 0195059514
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 16th March 1989
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.6  x 2.1
Weight (kg): 0.51