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Calvin Institutes Vol 1 and 2 Set: Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion (Library of Christian Classics) Paperback – January 1, 1960


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Calvin Institutes Vol 1 and 2 Set: Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion (Library of Christian Classics) + She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse + Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms
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Product Details

  • Series: Library of Christian Classics
  • Paperback: 1822 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press (January 1, 1960)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664239110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664239114
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 4.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Latin (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

John T. McNeill was an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. He taught at Westminster Hall; Queen's University, Ontario; Knox College, Toronto; the University of Chicago; and Union Theological Seminary, New York. McNeill authored many books, and was one of the general editors of The Library of Christian Classics.

Customer Reviews

Truely recommend this book for serious studies.
Lien, Chen Hsiang
Best read in small doses lest one miss the truth beneath the words.
old gink
This is the best edition to date of the Institutes.
Brian Douglas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

146 of 146 people found the following review helpful By Douglas VanderMeulen on September 8, 2004
Format: Hardcover
John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion is a monumental work that stands among the greatest works of Christian theology and Western literature. It ranks with works such as St. Augustine's Confessions and City of God in value, insight and significance. The Institutes have molded the church's understanding of Christian doctrine for generations and has had untold influence in the development of Western thought in both the religious and civil arenas.

Calvin's Institutes represent his life work in teaching theology. They first appeared in 1536 and went through three significant revisions - each expanding and building upon the previous. This particular edition represents the final form and of which Calvin was very pleased.

Originally written to give basic understanding of Christian doctrine, they became one of the earliest systematic theologies of the Reformed tradition. Calvin's stated desire is to give the reader the necessary background to read and accurately handle the great doctrines and promises of the Bible.

Calvin sent a copy to the King Francis I to encourage him to stop persecuting the Christians who were embracing the gospel as taught by the Reformers. His basic argument was that if the king understood what these people believed he would stop killing them as heretics but rather see them as faithful adherents of historical Christianity. Calvin was no lover of novelty and throughout the Institutes copiously cites from the early church fathers and the long history of the Church's understanding of doctrine.

This two-volume work is broken down into four books that loosely follow the outline of the Apostle's Creed. Book 1 concerns knowledge of God. Book 2 is about Jesus Christ as redeemer.
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80 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Dave K on May 3, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Why you should read this book:
1. It's not to heavy (thought it does make you think a lot). I have read a couple of puritan book of the 17th century and they are filled with great stuff but because you read them in the original English it's hard going, but this book translated from the Latin is much more readable. Although the book is v. long it is not as hard as you think it is - trust me.
2. It is nice to read a good theologian not setting out purely with the aim of defending the doctrines his own denomination has been teaching for centuries. Although is influenced by tradition he is not as obsessed by it as some Protestants today. He does suffer slightly sometimes, i.e. has some wrong ideas about minor points (e.g. the ancient church on confirmation), because he is not just re-plowing a furrow that has be furrowed a thousand times, but these slips are usually picked up in the notes. It's so refreshing.
3. He really, really cares about the truth. Yes he does sometimes call his opponents "dogs" and "swine" which is less acceptable now than it once was, but he calls them that because he is angry because he sees heretics catching Christians in their nets, are you not upset when you see that?
Earlier reviewers have called him a tyrant because he used his limited power (he wasn't even a citizen of Geneva) to try to stop people sinning as much. Sometimes he went a bit overboard but at least he cared.
4. He uses the church fathers a lot more than anyone else I've ever read. He had read so much compared to now. I have heard that he worked very hard, 4hrs sleep, into an early grave etc, and it's not hard to see what he did. He was a full time pastor and yet had read all these books.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
There's so much here, it's difficult to write a review of it.
Perhaps my main recommendation of this book is that it presents such a clear, organized outline of the "basics" of the Christian faith. Regardless of one's position on the man or his theology, one cannot escape the fact that this man's faith was obviously vital to him, and he passionately describes his beliefs in these volumes.
Reading Calvin's Institutes was, for me, quite valuable in finally being able to separate John Calvin and his theology from later "Calvinism" that followed, including some of its excesses. I found John Calvin's Institutes to be a balanced, easily understood outline of biblical Christianity.
My final commendation would address the organization of the work. The fact that Calvin has provided the reader with a clear outline and direction in his writing, and addressed each point of his outline in concise, manageable units makes the reading of this immense work much more approachable; the brief readings on each topic, with the saturation of biblical references throughout, makes the reading of the Institutes almost a devotional experience.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By T. Stevenson on March 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is simply the finest translation of Calvin's Insitutes. What makes this translation so good is the indexes of names, topics, and biblical verses....Mcneil's edition is tried and tested in this two volume set. It is a must have for anyone wanting to read Calvin in a durable hardcover edition. The indexes are invaluable in finding subjects that Calvin addresses. This is the one--i think. While the isbn matches, the price does not. You might want to contact amazon and make sure you are getting the hardback two volume set. The isbn is 0664220207 for the first book and 0664220215 for the second. The price should be around 60 dollars or so.
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