Friday, March 13, 2009

On Books About Calvin: 4

In addition to the nine biographies of Calvin that I have listed, there are a number of special studies that deal with aspects of the Reformer's life that are worthy of mention.
1. Timothy George (ed.): John Calvin and the Church (Westminster/John Knox, 1990). This is a series of essays on Calvin. Despite the title, it does in fact deal with far more than just Calvin and the Church. There are essays on such diverse subjects as 'Calvin's Illnesses and Their Relation to Christian Vocation', 'The Church as the Elect in the Theology of Calvin', and 'The Place of the Academy in Calvin's Polity'. Its diversity makes it a great book to read. It is aimed at the scholar, but the intelligent Reformed non-scholar will find something here as well. Available from Amazon.
2. David W. Hall: The Legacy of John Calvin (Presbyterian and Reformed, 2008). The question of Calvin's influence on the world is one of the questions that will be asked in this year of Calvin 500. Hall tries to give an answer to this question. This book is in three parts, part one deals with 'Ten Ways Modern Culture is Different because of John Calvin', part two is a short biography of Calvin, and part three consists of quotations demonstrating Calvin's influence across the denominations. This is an excellent book, and well worth the read. Available from Amazon.
3. Richard Stauffer: The Humanness of John Calvin (Solid Ground Christian Books, 2008). Calvin is often caricatured as an ogre. Whilst the biographies that I have listed are all of a more balanced type, there are still some Arminians and free-willers out there who like to regurgitate the old lies about Calvin. This book, originally published back in 1964, was written to correct these misrepresentations. It draws on the best scholarship, and quotes Calvin himself. It is a good, short introduction for those who have been influenced by such people as Nelson Price and Dave Hunt. Available from Amazon.
4. Steven J. Lawson: The Expository Genius of John Calvin (Reformation Trust, 2007). Calvin was a preacher first and foremost. In this useful little book, Lawson examines Calvin as preacher, his abilities and his methods as a preacher and commentator. It is extremely useful for those who want to dig deeper into Calvin the preacher. Available from Amazon.
Of course there are other books about Calvin available. This list is simply those that I have first of all read, and secondly they are books that I have found helpful. The literature on Calvin is huge. That being so, there's no excuse for those who just regurgitate mere slander as if it actually described the real Calvin.
There will be other 'Calvin 500' posts here in future.

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