In this Very Short Introduction Jon Balserak explores major ideas and issues associated with the Calvinist system of thought. He looks at how Calvinist ideas and practices spread and took root, helping shape societies today. Much of contemporary thought - especially western thought - on everything from civil government to money, suicide, and divorce has been influenced by Calvinism. Balserak also combats common misconceptions about Calvinism, and explores the relationship between Calvinism and the modern world.
- Discusses the ideas and practices of
Calvinism, and their influence on modern society
- Traces the history of Calvinism and its global spread via migrating peoples such as the early American settlers
- Examines the life of John Calvin and the origins of Calvinism
- Part of the Very Short Introductions series - over seven million copies sold worldwide
About the Author(s)
Jon Balserak, Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies, University of Bristol
Jon Balserak is Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Bristol. He has published numerous scholarly articles on John Calvin and the Calvinist and Reformed tradition. He has written or edited four books
including Divinity Compromised; A Study of Divine Accommodation in the Thought of John Calvin (Springer,
2006), Calvinus Evangelii Propugnator; Calvin, Champion of the Gospel (ed., Calvin Studies Society, 2006),
Establishing the Remnant Church in France; John Calvin's Lectures on the Minor Prophets, 1556-1559 (Brill,
2001), and John Calvin as Sixteenth Century Prophet (OUP, 2014).
"[T]his book achieves its goal to introduce readers to the topics of Calvinism in a stimulating and accessible way." - Eundeuk Kim, Reading Religion
"The task of writing a "very short introduction" to such a disputed phenomenon, then, is a tall order, if not next to impossible. Jon Balserak, however, has forged a concise and admirable overview of a phenomenon that resists simple description, and with an impressive breadth and depth, given the limitations of the series format. ... Balserak's concise, learned, and insightful treatment of other themes in this diminutive introduction is impressive. ... Especially given that writing a very short introduction to this faith tradition is an impossible task, Balserak's success in doing just that has resulted in one that is also very helpful." - Raymond
Blacketer, Church History and Religious Culture 98/1 (April, 2018)
"Jon Balserak's study appears in a series which has the aim of providing readers with an accessible way into a new subject. He certainly achieves this objective, through a thematic analysis of Calvinist ideas that will also be of interest to those already familiar with Calvinist thought." - Graeme Murdock, Journal of Ecclesiastical History 68 (2018)
"Jon Balserak's volume on Calvinism in the Very Short Introduction series offers a profoundly accessible and well-written introduction to the 'living body of doctrines' (p. xvi) that is the Reformed faith. This 'family resemblance' approach to Calvinism is extremely salutary insofar as it gives Balserak the ability not to overemphasize any particular architectonic feature of Reformed culture as the sine qua non of the movement." - Jonathan Warren, Bunyan studies 21 (Jan, 2017)
"This very small volume introduces and entices, familiarizes and complicates all at once. Those pairings are hard to pull off, but this little gem does so...this reviewer can imagine it being of much use to young undergraduates, especially those seeking to get a feel for how neo-Calvinism or Kuyperianism with all its entanglements in varied fields and disciplines relates to the wider world, deeper history, and ongoing debates about Calvinism or Reformed theology. In that regard, Balserak proves to be a particularly helpful guide."