Calvin?s Old Testament Exegesis in Context Calvin in Context Jean Calvin, the reformer and pastor of Geneva, is renowned as one of the most important figures in what came to be known as the Reformed and Presbyterian branch of the Protestant Reformation. Perhaps less well known is the fact that he devoted the bulk of his creative efforts to prea- ing, lecturing, and commenting on the Bible. Calvin envisioned a program of reform in Geneva in which the Bible, properly interpreted, would shape the minds and morals of the Genevan populace. The people of Geneva, whom Calvin viewed as a precise spiritual reincarnation of the ?sti- necked, intractable Hebrews? of the Old Testament, were in need of some serious remedial education, and it was his duty as their chief minister to provide the requisite training in doctrine and godliness. Despite Calvin?s emphasis on preaching and producing biblical c- mentaries, however, scholars have often portrayed him as ?a man of one 1 book??that one book being the Institutes of the Christian Religion. In so - ing, they have produced a one-dimensional and consequently incomplete view of Calvin?s theological work. Scholars have tended to study Calvin?s theology exclusively from the perspective of his Institutes, without taking into account his work of biblical interpretation and preaching, or the re- tionship of those efforts to the Institutes.
This study examines Jean Calvin?s attempt to nurture a godly society and further his vision of ecclesiastical and societal reform by means of sound pedagogy and persuasive rhetoric. The focus of this work is Calvin?s interpretation of the latter Pentateuch, and particularly the book of Deuteronomy. The author examines Calvin?s exegesis and rhetoric in his commentary on the latter Pentateuch, as well as the sermons that Calvin preached on Deuteronomy ? material that has received little scholarly attention. Calvin?s interpretations are compared with the preceding exegetical tradition and with his contemporaries, and always considered in the contexts of the early modern interest in classical rhetoric and that of the reform of church, theology, and society in Switzerland and beyond. Commonly held assumptions about Calvin?s methodology, such as his alleged aversion to rhetoric and the scholarly fixation on his laconic style, are challenged, nuanced, and corrected.
Because of its fresh, contextual approach to Calvin?s thought, this study will be an important resource for students of the history of exegesis as well as for Calvin scholars, and it will appeal to seminary as well as university students.
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