Adultery and Divorce in Calvin's Geneva (Harvard Historical Studies No. 118)
By: Robert M. Kingdon (author)Paperback
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The changes associated with the Reformation were particularly abrupt and far-reaching in John Calvin's Geneva, in large part owing to Calvin himself. This text makes two major contributions to the understanding of this particular period. The first is to the history of divorce, whilst the second is in illustrating the operations of the Consistory of Geneva - an institution designed to control in all its variety the behaviour of the entire population - which was established at Calvin's insistence in 1541. This mandate came shortly after the city officially adopted Protestantism in 1536, a time when divorce became legally possible for the first time in centuries. Robert Kingdon illustrates the changes that accompanied the earliest Calvinist divorces by examining in depth a few of the most notable cases and showing how divorce affected real individuals. He considers first, and in the most detail, divorce for adultery, the best-known grounds for divorce and the best documented. He also covers the only other generally accepted grounds for these early divorces - desertion.
The second contribution of the book, to show the work of the Consistory of Geneva, is intended to be a first step toward a fuller study of the institution. Kingdon has supervised a complete transcription of the 21 volumes of registers of the Consistory and has made extended use of these materials, as well as other documents that have been largely ignored.
Robert M. Kingdon was Hilldale Professor of History at University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Acknowledgments Introduction 1. The Institutional Matrix 2. The Pierre Ameaux Case: Divorce for Adultery and Blasphemy 3. The Antoine Calvin Case: Divorce for Adultery 4. The Jean Bietrix Case: Forced Reconciliation 5. Death for Adultery 6. The Galeazzo Caracciolo Case: Divorce for Religious Desertion 7. The Rationale for Divorce: Theodore Beza's Treatise Conclusion Abbreviations Notes Bibliography Index
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