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By Randall C. Zachman / Baker Academic / 2008
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This informative collection offers a new approach to the study of John Calvin. The authors move beyond traditional approaches to consider the influential reformer within the broader context of the Roman Catholic Church and his complicated relationship to it.
Several themes emerge in these studies, including the sense in which Calvin saw himself as a church reformer rather than the founder of a new tradition; Calvin’s engagement with his Roman Catholic contemporaries; and the importance of contemporary Calvin studies produced by Roman Catholic scholars.
This volume provides pastors and church historians with thoughtful perspectives on Calvin’s reforming work and points to an emerging ecumenical spirit in which Protestants and Roman Catholics can acknowledge that they have much to learn from each other.
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Able historians and theologians here take up the question of John Calvin’s relationship to Roman Catholicism. Polemics, dialogue, and engagement marked Calvin’s history with the Roman Catholics as it also did the churches stemming from Calvin’s influences. These pieces set the contexts, issues, and—in some cases—surprising results of these interactions. The studies benefit both Reformed and Roman Catholic traditions, offering not only enhanced knowledge but also ecumenical enrichment.
—Donald K. McKim, executive editor for theology and reference, Westminster John Knox Press
Serious reflection—especially theological—on the confessional distinctions and ecumenical commonalities of the Reformed and Roman traditions, traditions uneasily equipoised for many centuries, is long overdue. Zachman’s collection of essays importantly advances the conversation among those of ‘faith seeking understanding.’
—Charles Partee, P.C. Rossin Professor of Church History, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
These wide-ranging essays address Calvin’s views of Roman Catholicism, early modern Catholic lives of Calvin, concrete interactions of Catholics and Reformed Protestants in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and modern Catholic views of Calvin’s sacramentality. They suggest some unanticipated links, underline clear incompatibilities, and will prompt historical and theological reflection about the relationship of Calvin to Roman Catholicism.
—Brad S. Gregory, Dorothy G. Griffin Professor of Early Modern European History, University of Notre Dame
This collection of papers, by both Protestant and Roman Catholic scholars, is a valuable contribution to our understanding of Calvin and to today’s dialogue between the two sides.
—A.N.S. Lane, professor of historical theology, London School of Theology
These essays illustrate how Roman Catholic and Protestant scholars have moved from polemic to dialogue, in this case regarding interaction between John Calvin and Roman Catholicism. The result of this stimulating exchange is a new appreciation of Calvin’s catholicity and a better understanding of the Catholic milieu in which the reformer lived and worked.
—I. John Hesselink, Emeritus Albertus C. Van Raalte Professor of Systematic Theology, Western Theological Seminary
Zachman’s book offers an equal number of essays from Roman Catholic scholars and Reformed scholars, and it successfully balances the work of professors of historical theology and historians of the Reformation era. Historians, theologians, and pastors will profit from this book.
—John Patrick Donnelly, emeritus professor, Marquette University
Randall C. Zachman is professor of Reformation studies at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of several books, including Image and Word in the Theology of John Calvin.