John Calvin: A Sixteenth-Century Portrait

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9780195059519: John Calvin: A Sixteenth-Century Portrait
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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.

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About the Author:


William J. Bouwsma is Sather Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley. He is also the author of the highly-acclaimed Venice and the Defense of Republican Liberty: Renaissance Values in the Age of the Counter-Reformation.

Review:

"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

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9780195043945: John Calvin: A Sixteenth-Century Portrait

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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 1989. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.Professor Bouwsma studies the theologian John Calvin as a way to bring into focus the cultural, psychological, and intellectual problems of the sixteenth century. He argues that Calvin represents an historical moment of transition from traditional modes of philosophical and religious thought to modern ones. Beginning with a description of the traditional culture of Calvin s time, and of the moralism which exerted such a powerful hold over medieval thought, he goes on to identify the crucial issue in this transition as the ability of a culture to manage the anxiety of existence. Medieval society, by creating simplified polarities such as Good and Evil, he argues, was conspicuously successful in performing this task. Finally Bouwsma provides a critical analysis of this medieval philosophy, and explains the significance of Calvin s concept of a New Order in providing an ethical system which no longer relied upon these established views of the world. Seller Inventory # AAV9780195059519

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