John Calvin's "Institutes of the Christian Religion" (Lives of Great Religious Books)

John Calvin's "Institutes of the Christian Religion" (Lives of Great Religious Books)

By: Professor Bruce Gordon (author)Hardback

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John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion is a defining book of the Reformation and a pillar of Protestant theology. First published in Latin in 1536 and in Calvin's native French in 1541, the Institutes argues for the majesty of God and for justification by faith alone. The book decisively shaped Calvinism as a major religious and intellectual force in Europe and throughout the world. Here, Bruce Gordon provides an essential biography of Calvin's influential and enduring theological masterpiece, tracing the diverse ways it has been read and interpreted from Calvin's time to today. Gordon explores the origins and character of the Institutes, looking closely at its theological and historical roots, and explaining how it evolved through numerous editions to become a complete summary of Reformation doctrine. He shows how the development of the book reflected the evolving thought of Calvin, who instilled in the work a restlessness that reflected his understanding of the Christian life as a journey to God. Following Calvin's death in 1564, the Institutes continued to be reprinted, reedited, and reworked through the centuries. Gordon describes how it has been used in radically different ways, such as in South Africa, where it was invoked both to defend and attack the horror of apartheid. He examines its vexed relationship with the historical Calvin--a figure both revered and despised--and charts its robust and contentious reception history, taking readers from the Puritans and Voltaire to YouTube, the novels of Marilynne Robinson, and to China and Africa, where the Institutes continues to find new audiences today.

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About Author

Bruce Gordon is the Titus Street Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Yale Divinity School. He is the author of Calvin and The Swiss Reformation. He lives in New Haven, Connecticut.


Preface xi Acknowledgments xvii Note on the Translation Used xix Introduction Remembering a Man and His Book 1 Chapter 1 A Book Emerges 13 Chapter 2 1559: The Year of the Book 35 Chapter 3 The Inheritors 48 Chapter 4 Enlightenment Ambivalence 68 Chapter 5 Fashioning a Reformer 89 Chapter 6 America's Calvins 110 Chapter 7 "A Very Calvinist Professor" and His Dutch Friends 122 Chapter 8 Titans: Barth and Brunner 133 Chapter 9 Prophet of Modernity-Prince of Tyrants 148 Chapter 10 Oppression and Liberation: South Africa 166 Chapter 11 Change and Dissent: China 183 Chapter 12 Contemporary Voices 198 Afterword 219 Appendix 1 Burning a Man and His Books: Michael Servetus and John Calvin 223 Appendix 2 Calvin's Editions of Institutes of the Christian Religion 227 Notes 229 Index 255

Product Details

  • publication date: 14/06/2016
  • ISBN13: 9780691152127
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 304
  • ID: 9780691152127
  • weight: 371
  • ISBN10: 0691152128

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