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Institutes of the Christian Religion, 1536 Edition Paperback – August 9, 1995
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From the Back Cover
This revised edition of Battles's translation will interest general readers who wish to better understand the earliest expression of Calvin's theology, as well as scholars who wish to pursue further research.
About the Author
(1509-1564) One of the most influential reformers, his work was of significance throughout Europe and beyond. John Calvin was born in Noyon, France on July 10, 1509. His father was the secretary and attorney for the bishopric of Noyon. Calvin was a brilliant scholar and studied law in Paris, Orleans and Bourges. After what he called a "sudden conversion" at the age of 23, Calvin became a fervent Christian and scholar of the Scripture. Calvin did not immediately break with the Roman Catholic Church, but rather worked toward its reform. His pleas for reform soon brought upon him the hatred of the Catholic Church, and in time he was banished from Paris. Calvin fled to Switzerland, broke with the Catholic Church, and joined with the reformers. In 1536 he published his famous Institutes of the Christian Religion, which was a systematic presentation of the Protestant position. In 1559 he founded what later became the University of Geneva. Here he taught his beliefs to thousands of students who in turn carried "Calvinism" back to their homelands throughout Europe. John Calvin died in Geneva, Switzerland on May 27, 1564.
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Top customer reviews
Since there are already a number of reviews talking about the general significance of Calvin's Institutes and the general contents, I thought I'd make a few points in case you're hesitant to buy this phenomenal book:
1. This is a magnificent work of systematic theology and Calvin's famed exegetical skills are on full display. This book will give you both a big picture view with all the shining details that are brought out in Scripture. The work also builds on itself and lays the foundation in the beginning, so as you get past the first half of Book 1, you'll find yourself being able to follow his logic in the later parts of this work.
2. Yes, the language can be a bit wooden -- but it gets easier as you read and you'll come to appreciate the richness of the language.
3. The translator's footnotes are helpful and worth reading, especially the footnotes on differences between the Latin and French versions. Calvin was aware that those reading his French version may not have had as much of rigorous theological training as a Latin reader, and so he'll add or reformulate statements and comparisons to be more understandable to a lay person.
Being able to read this work is being able to sit at the feet and learn from one of the most spiritually gifted teachers in Christianity. It has already been an immense help in my faith by correcting incorrect thinking and will be a book I read and re-read for decades to come.
Calvin isn't cold; he's actually passionately devout.
He isn't forbidding; he's far easier to read than you might think. Anyone with average intelligence can make their way through this book (and it will be worth it to do so).
He isn't nasty; he was a very holy man and his love for God and the church comes through on every page of this book.
I love Luther and used to think that he was the greatest theologian. I enjoy his explosive personality, wit, and sarcasm. Reading him is like reading a brilliant friend who can always be counted on to say something memorable, insightful, and profound. But I now think that Calvin was greater than Luther. While Calvin lacked Luther's very vigorous personality, Calvin's cool head and even temperament produced an intellectual tour de force with this book. Nothing written in the last three hundred years can come close to this book. Really, if you only read this one book of theology, you would need no other. It says it all.
I checked 4 stars for the content. This Kindle version was not very serviceable. Amazon has apparently recognized this and is stopping further sales until it is fixed by the publisher.