Pastors and Their Books

Scott M. Manetsch

in Calvin's Company of Pastors

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199938575
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980741 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Historical Theology

Pastors and Their Books

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Chapter 8 describes the strategic role that print literature played in Geneva’s religious life from 1536 to 1609. After surveying the contents of the ministers’ private libraries and the ministers’ role in censoring “bad” books, this chapter quantifies and examines the books that Geneva’s pastors wrote. Most of these writings fall into five major categories: theology and confessional polemics; translations and editions; history and biography; biblical studies and exegetical aids; practical theology and devotional writings. This body of literature indicates an intellectual culture that was vibrant, creative, and eclectic. As authors, Geneva’s ministers were committed to Calvin’s religious vision while at the same time in conversation with the broader Christian tradition. On the basis of this analysis, it will be argued that Beza and his colleagues, as they remained faithful to Geneva’s official theology, did not merely parrot Calvin but attempted to apply the reformer’s theological vision to the ethical concerns, confessional challenges, and spiritual needs of new generations of reformed Christians. Consequently, historical approaches that pit “Calvin against the Calvinists,” or portray Geneva’s ministers after Calvin as “scholastics” or “rationalists” are simplistic and unwarranted.

Keywords: Calvinism; reformed theology; censorship; reformed scholasticism; exegesis; biblical studies; devotional literature; historical literature; reformed orthodoxy; Theodore Beza

Chapter.  16091 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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