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Five Reasons Why 2010 is the Year of Calvin

December 29, 2009

2009 is coming to an end and the “Year of Calvin,” Calvin’s 500th birthday, is almost complete.  This is the year that many started to read through the Institutes and stopped around the second week of February (just enough to get through book 1!).  Who knows how many books were published this year on Calvin’s life, thought, influence, and friends and who knows how many publications will survive a second printing.  There were conferences on Calvin and tours of Geneva.  Ref21 devoted a blog site to blogging through the Institutes.  While the Year of Calvin is coming to a close for the “professionals”, its about to begin for the regular Calvinists.

Five reasons why 2010 is the Year of Calvin:

  1. For the many who do actually desire to read through the Institutes, there are now many helpful guides by those who have been either blogging through it or creating a study guide.  Here are a few:
    1. Doug Wilson has been creating a study guide of the Institutes that not only may be helpful to have as you read through it, but has questions that may be good for teenagers to have while reading through it for the first time.
    2. Ref21’s Blogging Through the Institutes has every almost every living evangelical Calvin scholar contributing to this project.  Here is a list of the contributors:
  2. Until this year, the only good biography on John Calvin was T. H. L. Parker’s John Calvin: A Biography, which is now out of date and has a Neo-Orthodox swing to it.  Many others give an unfair caricature of Calvin.  But 2009 brought two new biographies on Calvin that should stick around for a while:
    1. Calvin, by Bruce Gordon
    2. John Calvin: A Pilgrim Life, by Herman Selderhuis
  3. Many conferences were held this year on Calvin where audio is now available.  Here are a few:
    1. Desiring God’s National Conference: Calvin and the Theatre of God
    2. SBTS had a mini conference sponsored by The Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies:
  4. The Calvin 500 series put out by P&R (8 volumes):
  5. Volume 1 – Theological Guide to Calvin’s Institutes: Essays and AnalysisEdited by, David W. Hall and Peter A. Lillback.  Capturing both the best of elite scholarship, as well as exhibiting a firm understanding of and passion for Calvin’s own work, these essays by 20 elite Calvin scholars who appreciate the abiding value of Calvin’s Institutes provide definitive and section-by-section commentary on Calvin’s magnum opus. A section by section commentary on Calvin’s Institutes.

    Volume 2 – Legacy of John Calvin: His Influence on the Modern World by David W. Hall.  David Hall identifies 10 seminal ways that Calvin’s thought transformed the culture of the West, complete with a nontechnical biography of Calvin and tributes by other leaders. The Legacy of John Calvin is brief enough for popular audiences and analytical enough to provide much information in a short space.

    Volume 3 – The Piety of John Calvin: A Collection of His Spiritual Prose, Poems, and Hymns by Ford Lewis Battles.  The Piety of John Calvin is an anthology that promotes “a warm personal grasp” of Calvin, the man. This book seeks to show the Christian man as he saw himself, to see the Christian life as he understood it, and to examine both his theoretical exposition or prayer and his own prayers, in the liturgy and for other occasions.

    Volume 4 – Calvin in the Public Square: Liberal Democracies, Rights, and Civil Liberties by David W. Hall. In the past two decades, a small cottage industry of important new scholarship has emerged documenting the distinctive Calvinist contributions to the development of Western theories of law, democracy, and human rights. In this engaging volume, David Hall offers a crisp distillation of the latest scholarly findings and a clarion call to reclaim the Calvinist pedigree of some of our most cherished political ideas and institutions.

    Volume 5 – Calvin and Commerce, by David W. Hall and Matthew D. Burton.  Is Capitalism dead? Should it be? This volume explores the seminal thought of John Calvin on business, commerce, investment, stewardship, philanthropy, and other economic areas. His thought revolutionized certain areas of life; it may be time for that revolution to be revisited.

    Volume 6 – Tributes to Calvin (forthcoming), Edited by David W. Hall.  Calvin500 marked the 500th anniversary of Calvin’s birth with an international conference in Geneva. These 24 addresses by a host of international scholars were presented in Geneva for that conference and provide one of the most comprehensive, informed, and rounded assessments of Calvin’s thought today.

    Volume 7 – Commemorating Calvin: Sermons in Honor of John Calvin from Calvin500 (forthcoming), Edited by David W. Hall.  One of the signatures of Calvinism is expositing the Scriptures, and no anniversary of Calvin would be complete without preaching from modern Calvinists. Thirteen sermons, delivered in St. Pierre Cathedral as part of Calvin500, are given to commemorate the lively preaching of Calvinists today.

    Volume 8 – Calvin and Culture: Exploration of a Worldview (forthcoming), Edited by David W. Hall and Marvin Padgett.  Calvin’s thought was not confined within the walls of the church; it had a pervasive cultural overflow. Thirteen scholars each discuss an academic discipline (art, law, science, philosophy, economics, literature, music, politics, etc) and reflect on how Calvin impacted each of those and provide a salutary worldview.

  6. New translations of Calvin’s sermons have been released in 2009 by Banner of Truth.  Every Christian can benefit from Calvin’s sermons.  They are expository and very affectionate.  Here are a few:
    1. Sermons on Genesis: Chapters 1-11
    2. Sermons on the Acts of the Apostles: Chapters 1-7
    3. Sermons on the Beatitudes

Let the Year of Calvin begin!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. December 30, 2009 7:06 am

    You forgot to mention Charles Partee’s The Theology of John Calvin, and excellent book; although it came out in 2008, but close enough 🙂 .

    • John Starke permalink*
      December 30, 2009 10:34 am

      Sorry Bobby. I kept it within 2009. But thanks for recommendation. I hadn’t read Partee’s volume. I never get any review copies from WJK, so sometimes their books get left out.

  2. December 30, 2009 9:47 pm

    I know, review copies are the best (cheapest) way to do reading. Thus far I’ve only received one from my friend Dr Myk Habets, it is his recently released book, from Ashgate, entitled: Theosis In The Theology Of Thomas Torrance I still have to write the review, but an excellent book; and would help enhance your readings of Torrance, and Calvin.

    Happy New Year!

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