John Calvin, the French Protestant theologian, had planned a life of quiet, scholarly study. But while travelling to Strasbourg in 1536, a local war forced him to make a detour through Geneva. Here he stayed, apart from a short period of exile, until the end of his life. His time in Geneva was marked by long, bitter struggles over the independence of the Church from the State and the rules Calvin tried to impose on Geneva as as a whole. Calvin's reputation as a controversialist is strong even today. In this major biography he is seen against the background of the turbulent times in which he lived. By putting Calvin in his context, the book brings to life the quiet, `timid scholar' whose ideas took Europe by storm.
Dr T.H.L. Parker was for many years a country vicar and later Reader in Theology at the University of Durham. He has given much of his working life to the study of Calvin and is widely known as an authority on him.