Sunday, January 4, 2009

Reading Calvin's Institutes

I got a deal on Calvin's Institutes Of The Christian Religion in seminary. To maintain theological equilibrium I always shelve them next to the 3 volume Works of James Arminius, but unfortunately both remain among the unread books that line my study walls.
That will change this year, I hope, thanks to Princeton Seminary's read-the-Institutes-in-a-year plan to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth. At just a few pages a day, the reading schedule is not too demanding, and it's not too late to join in. You don't even have to own your own copy: Along with the reading schedule, this website provides the text for each day as well as a podcast version for those on the move.
Anyone up for the Works of Arminius in 2010?


Anonymous said...

I had the opportunity to work through the Institutes in a seminar in seminary. What was particularly helpful was reading some biographical material to give some ecclesial and political context to Calvin's writing. Calvin was systematic, but he also had an agenda which in my opinion prejudiced some of his conclusions. In fairness, we are all probably guilty of that so I say it with grace, not contempt. It will be interesting to hear your response to Calvin.

d. miller said...

So far I've been impressed by his knowledge of Scripture, his vision of God, and his hatred of anabaptists.

Anonymous said...

I think you will find that his "hatred of Anabaptist" has more to do with his appeal to King Francis I both politically and in terms of ecclesial rhetoric.

Calvin's "Prefatory Address to King Fancis I of France" is interesting to say the least, particularly in light of Calvin's desire to return to France in safety, something he never enjoyed. He speaks of "wicked persons" and "madmen" without specifying who they are. In the Institutes it is clear that the Anabaptists are the villains and the Catholic (French at least) are the good guys who need a little guidance.

At least that's how I see it :)

BTW: I wrote a paper that suggested that the ordering of Calvin's institutes should have lead to some more Anabaptist conclusions.

d. miller said...

That's helpful. Thanks, Bill!

Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do at all with the Institutes, and no, I'm not up for Arminius in 2010...sorry...but please tell me that Shoshonah (sp?) does not actually sit there on your lap while you read a book of your own...?? Our kids love reading and will do so an hour at a time but only if we're reading TO them (not with them)...!!

d. miller said...

Hi Andrea,

No, unfortunately, Shoshana doesn't sit still for long on her own. That was a rare occasion--long enough for a photo-op!


Kent said...

I thought you might be interested in a whole bunch of Calvin-related materials at, including a link to the digitized version of the Institutes from Logos Bible Software.

Check it out: