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Institutes of the Christian Religion (Two Volumes in One) Paperback – 2001

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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Latin

About the Author

John Calvin (1509-1564) the French theologian and reformer was persecuted as a protestant. As a result, he traveled from place to place. In 1534 at Angouleme he began the work of systematizing protestant thought in the "Institutes of the Christian Religion, " one of the most influential theological works of all time. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1310 pages
  • Publisher: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802881661
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802881663
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 2.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,438,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

161 of 168 people found the following review helpful By dude on October 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion is a classic. And the two most frequently suggested English translations seem to be the older Henry Beveridge translation and the newer John McNeill and Ford Lewis Battles translation. But it's hard for a layperson like me to know which English translation is "best." So for what it's worth, if anything, I thought the following quotations from Christian scholars might be helpful to some people:

1. Here's what Reformed Christian scholar and theological philosopher Paul Helm (who himself has studied and contributed several works on John Calvin) says:

"Incidentally, if you have the need of a translation of the Institutes, then the reissue of the Beveridge translation (newly published by Hendrickson) may be just the thing. It has new indexes, and has been 'gently edited', which means, I hope, only the removal of typos and other detritus. (I have not yet had the chance to check). Beveridge is superior to Battles in sticking closer to the original Latin, and having less intrusive editorial paraphernalia."

2. Here's another Calvin scholar, Richard A. Muller, on the two translations (from the preface of The Unaccommodated Calvin):

"I have also consulted the older translations of the Institutes, namely those of Norton, Allen and Beveridge, in view of both the accuracy of those translation and the relationship in which they stand to the older or 'precritical' text tradition of Calvin's original. Both in its apparatus and in its editorial approach to the text, the McNeill-Battles translation suffers from the mentality of the text-critic who hides the original ambience of the text even as he attempts to reveal all its secrets to the modern reader."

3. The following is from J.I.
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71 of 74 people found the following review helpful By T. B. Vick on September 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
Unfortunately this translation of Calvin's 'Institutes' is often overlooked due to the more popular translation from Battles. However, this is an excellent translation of Calvin's most famous work and given its age (first published in 1845), it is surprisingly modern - due in part to this very edition which has been 'tweaked' into a more modern verbiage.

This 'tweaking' in no way has diminished, however, the wonderful job Beverage did in translating this work. From what I have been told by several Latin scholars and theologians, and having studied Latin myself, Calvin's Latin is not a walk in the park. That being the case, once you read this translation, you can see why Beverage did such a great job.

The one feature I like best about this translation is the fact that it is well footnoted for the researcher and reader. Therefore, this translation is well documented for further research into Calvin's thought. This also helps to clear up difficulties of translation (remember Calvin's Latin is very tough). At certain points in Calvin's work, his thought via a solid translation gets confusing for scholars, this edition has footnotes detailing these difficulties, and that makes for a better read.

Now, about Calvin's 'Institutes' This work is Calvin's Opus and gives the reader the best information regarding Calvin's thoughts on the Church and Church Government, Calvin's hermeneutic, Calvin's theology of God, Calvin's epistemology, Calvin's Soteriology, the benefits of the grace of Christ, his views on the Papacy (of his day), the Roman Catholic Church, the current state of Christendom, and much more. The interesting thing about this work (the Institutes), it is not Calvin's definitive work on the theology of predestination.
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Douglas VanderMeulen on September 8, 2004
Format: Paperback
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 sights from the early church fathers and the long history of the Church's understanding of doctrine.

This one-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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