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.
About the Author
John Calvin, born in 1509 and designated for the Catholic priesthood by his father, became the great French Protestant reformer famous for his doctrine of predestination and his theocratic view of the state. When he died in Geneva in 1564, he left both a city and a world transformed by the impact of his ideas and beliefs. Marilynne Robinson is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Gilead. Her previous novel, Housekeeping, was nominated for the Pulitzer and has made numerous lists of the best novels of the twentieth century. She is also the author of a collection of essays, The Death of Adam: Essays on Modern Thought, which deals with Calvin's legacy. John F. Thornton is a literary agent, former book editor, and the coeditor of Dumbing Down: The Strip-Mining of American Culture and Tongues of Angels, Tongues of Men: A Book of Sermons. He lives in New York City. Susan B. Varenne is a New York City high school teacher with a strong avocational interest in and wide experience of spiritual literature. She holds an M.A. from the University of Chicago Divinity School and a Ph.D. from Columbia University.