Starting Point of Calvin's Theology
This volume is unique in the field of Calvin studies. George Tavard introduces readers to Calvins little-known Psychopannychia, the first writing in which he spoke as a theologian. Tavard shows how this early work, generally neglected by Calvin scholars, serves...
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This volume is unique in the field of Calvin studies. George Tavard introduces readers to Calvins little-known Psychopannychia, the first writing in which he spoke as a theologian. Tavard shows how this early work, generally neglected by Calvin scholars, serves as an essential starting point for understanding Calvins final theology found in the Institutes. Composed during Calvins sojourns around Angoulme and Orlans in 1534, Psychopannychia was aimed primarily against "heretics"like the anabaptists, who held that the soul "sleeps"after the death of the body. Tavard insists on the books importance for several reasons. First, it shows Calvins essential humanism against its Renaissance backdrop, along with his ambition to write the definitive work on the immortality of the soul. Second, it shows how Calvin departed from the standard methodology in a revolutionary way: complete dependence on analysis of Scripture and the testimonies of the early church. Third, it shows Calvins rootedness in the medieval mystic tradition and his deep catholicity, even as he took the steps that would define him as a Reformer. Finally, it shows the intricate relationship between Calvins earliest theological concerns and the themes he would later develop in his Institutes. The only study of Calvins Psychopannychia in English, Tavards work is essential to a full-orbed understanding of Calvins thought, including the "catholic"scope of his reforming intentions. As such, it will be equally valuable to students of theology, church history, and contemporary ecumenical dialogue.
This volume is unique in the field of Calvin studies. George Tavard introduces readers to Calvin's first theological writing, Psychopannychia (1534), showing why this little-known work is essential to understanding Calvin's mature thought, including the "catholic" intent of his Reformation. The only study of Psychopannychia Calvin's first theological writing in English, this volume explores the content and purpose of Calvin's early treatise, its development of themes that would later inform Calvin's monumental Institutes, and the light the book sheds on Calvin's deep catholicity. Historically informed and ecumenically focused, this volume provides valuable insights into Reformation history and the continuing significance of Calvin's thought for present-day ecumenical dialogue.