Sex, Marriage, and Family in John Calvin's Geneva (Volume 1) (Religion, Marriage And Family Series)
John Calvin transformed the Western theology and law of sex, marriage, and family life. Building on a generation of Protestant reforms, Calvin constructed a comprehensive new theology and law that made marital formation and dissolution, childrenbs nurture and welfare, family...
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John Calvin transformed the Western theology and law of sex, marriage, and family life. Building on a generation of Protestant reforms, Calvin constructed a comprehensive new theology and law that made marital formation and dissolution, childrenbs nurture and welfare, family cohesion and support, and sexual sin and crime essential concerns for both church and state. Working with other jurists and theologians, Calvin drew the Consistory and Council of Geneva into a creative new alliance to govern domestic and sexual subjects. Together, these authorities outlawed monasticism and mandatory clerical celibacy, and encouraged marriage for all fit adults. They set clear guidelines for courtship and engagement and mandated parental consent, peer witness, church consecration, and state registration for valid marriage. They radically reconfigured weddings and wedding feasts and reformed marital property and inheritance, marital consent and impediments. They created new rights and duties for wives within the bedroom and for children within the household. They streamlined the grounds and procedures for annulment and introduced fault-based divorce for both husbands and wives on grounds of adultery and desertion. They encouraged the remarriage of divorcees and widow(er)s. They punished rape, fornication, prostitution, sodomy, and other sexual felonies with startling new severity and put firm new restrictions on dancing, sumptuousness, ribaldry, and obscenity. They put new stock in catechesis and education, created new schools, curricula, and teaching aids, and provided new sanctuary to illegitimate, abandoned, and abused children. They created new protections for abused wives and impoverishedwidows. Many of these reforms of sixteenth-century Geneva were echoed and elaborated in numerous Calvinist communities, ultimately on both sides of the Atlantic, and a good number of these reforms found their way into our modern ci
You would not expect this from his dour reputation, but John Calvin transformed the Western understanding of sex, marriage, and family life. In this fascinating, even sensational, volume John Witte and Robert Kingdon treat comprehensively the new theology and law of domestic life that Calvin and his fellow reformers established in sixteenth-century Geneva. Bringing to light and life hundreds of newly discovered cases and theological texts, Witte and Kingdon trace the subtle historical forms and norms of sex, marriage, and family life that still shape us today.
John Witte Jr. is the Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University. He has published 120 articles and 20 books, including "Law and Protestantism: The Legal Teachings of the Lutheran Reformation" and "The Reformation of Rights: Law, Religion, and Human Rights in Early Modern Calvinism," ýFrank S. Alexander is Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University. He has published a dozen volumes, including "The Weightier Matters of the Law: Essays on Law and Religion,"
Robert M. Kingdon is the Hilldale Professor of History, Emeritus, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, former Director and current Member of the Institute for Research in the Humanities, and former editor of the Sixteenth Century Journal. A world authority on the religious, political, and legal history of Calvinist Geneva and France, he has published dozens of articles and seven books, including Adultery and Divorce in Calvinbs Geneva (1995) and the multi-volume Registres du Consistoire de GenC(ve au Temps de Calvin (1996- )