John Calvin: Steward of God's Covenant Selected Writings

ISBN-10: 1400096480
ISBN-13: 9781400096480
Edition: 2005
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Description: This selection of the writings of John Calvin (1509--1564) is the first for general readers to appear in many years. It showcases his powerful legacy, which has had far-reaching consequences for the development of religion and culture in Western  More...

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Book details

List price: $17.95
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 2/14/2006
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 464
Size: 5.50" wide x 7.75" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 0.748
Language: English

This selection of the writings of John Calvin (1509--1564) is the first for general readers to appear in many years. It showcases his powerful legacy, which has had far-reaching consequences for the development of religion and culture in Western Europe and in the shaping of American identity. Calvin was a prodigious preacher and writer, and his sermons, Bible commentaries, tracts, and letters fill dozens of volumes. The works chosen for "John Calvin: Steward of God's Covenant "highlight ideas central to the Reformation but also to his influence on modern life, e.g., the importance of a work ethic and the notion of being "called" to action in the world; his belief in universal education for boys and girls; and his belief in the sanctity and freedom of individual conscience. Calvin's theology of the "elect" of God motivated the English and Dutch Calvinists who settled the Atlantic seaboard, their Promised Land. The traditions of their communities and churches and laws produced the widespread present-day American belief in a divinely favored national destiny. In her brilliant preface to this edition, Pulitzer Prize--winning novelist Marilynne Robinson makes the clearest connection between John Calvin's own biblical and patristic heritage and the heritage he in turn left the modern world.

Born Jean Cauvin in Noyon, Picardy, France, John Calvin was only a boy when Martin Luther first raised his challenge concerning indulgences. Calvin was enrolled at the age of 14 at the University of Paris, where he received preliminary training in theology and became an elegant Latinist. However, following the dictates of his father, he left Paris at the age of 19 and went to study law, first at Orleans, then at Bourges, in both of which centers the ideas of Luther were already creating a stir. On his father's death, Calvin returned to Paris, began to study Greek, the language of the New Testament, and decided to devote his life to scholarship. In 1532 he published a commentary on Seneca's De Clementia, but the following year, after experiencing what was considered a sudden conversion, he was forced to flee Paris for his religious views. The next year was given to the study of Hebrew in Basel and to writing the first version of his famous Institutes of the Christian Religion, which he gave to the printer in 1535. The rest of his life-except for a forced exile of three years-he spent in Geneva, where he became chief pastor, without ever being ordained. When he died, the city was solidly on his side, having almost become what one critic called a "theocracy." By then the fourth and much-revised edition of his Institutes had been published in Latin and French, commentaries had appeared on almost the whole Bible, treatises had been written on the Lord's Supper, on the Anabaptists, and on secret Protestants under persecution in France. Thousands of refugees had come to Geneva, and the city-energized by religious fervor-had found room and work for them. Though Calvin was sometimes bitter in his denunciation of those who disagreed with him, intolerant of other points of view, and absolutely sure he was right on the matter of predestination, he was nonetheless one of the great expounders of the faith. From his work the Reformed tradition had its genesis, and from his genius continues to refresh itself.

Marilynne Robinson is the recipient of a 2012 National Humanities Medal, awarded by President Barack Obama. She is the author of Gilead, winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Home, winner of the Orange Prize and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and a finalist for the National Book Award. Her first novel, Housekeeping, won the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award. Robinson's nonfiction books include When I Was a Child I Read Books, Absence of Mind, and The Death of Adam. Her novels Mother Country and Lila, were nominated for a National Book Award.

Susan B. Varenne holds an M.A. from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. She is a New York City teacher and a freelance writer specializing in religion.

About the Vintage Spiritual Classics
Preface to the Vintage Spiritual Classics Edition
Chronology of the Life of John Calvin
A Note on the Texts
From The Necessity of Reforming the Church (1543)
From The Institutes of the Christian Religion
Of the Knowledge of God the Creator (Book 1, Chapters 1-5)
The Life of a Christian (Book 3, Chapters 6-10)
Of Prayer (Book 3, Chapter 20)
Commentary on Scripture
The Old Testament
The Author's Preface to the Commentary on the Psalms
Psalm 16
Psalm 23
Psalm 51
Psalm 90
Isaiah 55:1-13
The New Testament
Matthew 5:1-12/Luke 6:20-26 (The Beatitudes)
Matthew 7:1-5/Mark 4:24/Luke 6:37-42 (Judge not ...")
Matthew 8:5-13/Luke 7:1-10 (The Cure of the Centurion's Servant)
Luke 7:36-50 (The Woman Who Was a Sinner)
Matthew 27:45-56/Mark 15:33-41/Luke 23:44-49 (The Crucifixion)
Matthew 28:1-7/Mark 16:1-7/Luke 24:1-8 (The Women at the Tomb of Jesus)
John 14:15-18 ("If you love me, keep my commandments.")
Romans 1:16-17 (God's Righteousness)
James 2:14-26 (Faith and Good Works)
Selected Prayers and Sermons
Prayers
Sermon on the Fourth Commandment (Deuteronomy 5:13-15)
Sermon on the Fifth Commandment (Deuteronomy 5:16)
The Lord Answers Job (Job 38:1-4)
When Curse Becomes Blessing (Galatians 3:13-18)
Sermon on the Doctrine of Election (2 Timothy 1:9, 10)
The Death of John Calvin
Suggestions for Further Reading

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