This book, a sequel to the author's well-received Luther in Context (1986, Indiana), illuminates Calvin's thought by placing it in the context of the theological and exegetical traditions--ancient, medieval, and contemporary-- that formed it and contributed to its particular texture. Steinmetz addresses a range of issues almost as wide as the Reformation itself, including the knowledge of God, the problem of iconoclasm, the doctrines of justification and predestination, and the role of the state and the civil magistrate. Along the way, Steinmetz also clarifies the substance of Calvin's quarrels with Lutherans, Catholics, Anabaptists, and assorted radicals from Ochino to Sozzini.
An accessible yet authoritative general introduction to Calvin's thought, Calvin in Context engages a much wider range of primary sources than the standard introductions. It provides a context for understanding Calvin not from secondary literature about the later middle ages and Renaissance, but from the writings of Calvin's own contemporaries and the rich sources from which they drew.
In this illuminating study, David C. Steinmetz places Calvin's thought in the context of the theological and exegetical traditions - ancient, medieval, and early modern - that shaped it.
Steinmetz does not limit discussion of Calvin's thought to his undeniably important handbook to theology, the much revised Institutes of the Christian Religion. Instead, he opens up a broader context by examining works less frequently cited, particularly Calvin's commentaries, classical studies, and polemical treatises. Steinmetz grapples with Calvin's views on a wide range of contested issues, including the natural knowledge of God, the problem of iconoclasm, the doctrines of justification and predestination, and the role of the state. Steinmetz also clarifies Calvin's quarrels with Lutherans, Catholics, and Radicals. Yet this book does not reduce Calvin's contribution to his usefulness as a resource for contemporary theological debates. The Calvin who emerges in these pages is a sixteenth-century figure, both strangely foreign and uncannily familiar, a man who frequently engages his enemies and sometimes even corrects his friends, but is never mute, never dull, and always stylistically elegant.
An accessible yet authoritative introduction to the mind of the historical Calvin, Calvin in Context provides a framework for understanding Calvin from his own writings and the writings of his contemporaries. This edition features a revised preface and six new chapters.
David C. Steinmetz taught for nearly 40 years at the Divinity School of Duke University. He is the founding editor of Oxford Studies in Historical Theology and has written numerous books and articles on the theology and biblical interpretation of early modern Europe.
"Three decades of detailed pilot studies have prepared David Steinmetz for this exquisite contribution to Calvin scholarship. With his singular grasp of biblical exegesis in the Middle Ages and the Reformation era, Steinmetz succeeds in tracing the precise profile of Calvin as biblical interpreter."
--The late Heiko Oberman, Regents' Professor of History, University of Arizona (for the first edition)
"This expanded collection of path-breaking studies reveals how David Steinmetz set investigation into Calvin's biblical interpretation on a new footing and the ways in which he has continued to build upon that solid foundation in the decade and half since Calvin in Context first appeared. No one has done more to shape for the 21st century a more nuanced and precise image of Calvin as an expositor of scripture."
--Barbara Pitkin, author of What Pure Eyes Could See: Calvin's Doctrine of Faith in its Exegetical Context
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