How the Rumors Started: A Brief History of Calvin's Bad Press

Thursday, 11 Jun 2009

Myths about Calvin survive in high school history textbooks, collegiate lectures on "Intro to Western Civilization," and, even worse, untold areas of divinity school curricula. Even with careful, reproving scholarship rolling off the presses, Marilynne Robinson has sarcastically written, Many of us know that Calvinism was a very important tradition among us. Yet all we know about John Calvin was that he was an eighteenth-century Scotsman, a prude and obscurantist with a buckle on his hat, possibly a burner of witches, certainly the very spirit of capitalism….We want to return to the past, ...

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