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Calvin for Armchair Theologians

Author Christopher Elwood
Narrator Simon Vance
Runtime 3 Hrs. 53 Min. - Unabridged
Publisher christianaudio
Downloads ZIP MP3 M4B
Release Date August 22, 2005
Availability: Unrestricted (available worldwide)

In this concise introduction to Calvin's life and thought, Elwood offers an insightful and accessible overview of Calvin's key teachings within his historical context.
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In this concise introduction to Calvin's life and thought, Elwood offers an insightful and accessible overview of Calvin's key teachings within his historical context. The trials and travails Calvin encountered as he ministered and taught in Geneva are given with special attention to theological controversies associated with the Trinity and predestination. Elwood indicates the ways that Calvinism developed and its influence in today's world. Illustrations are interspersed throughout the text and humorously illuminate key points providing an engaging introduction to this important theologian. Christopher Elwood is Associate Professor of Historical Theology at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He is the author of The Body Broken: The Calvinist Doctrine of the Eucharist and the Symbolization of Power in Sixteenth-Century France.

Customer Reviews

7 Reviews Add Review
Good introduction to Calvin
I'll start this by saying I'm not Reformed and haven't really read much of Calvin, and I found this book a good introduction to the man, his ministry and his theology.

It starts with his early experiences that led him to Geneva and his Reformed theology (after contemplating a career in the Roman Catholic Church in France). It also deals with some of the controversies surrounding his life and theology, and finishes with somewhat dubious speculation about his heirs and successors down to the 20th century. But the latter part is short and its weakness does not detract from the overall book.

Elwood treats his subject sympathetically and with humour, skilfully making the time and issues understandable to the modern reader. Although Elwood makes clear Calvin could be a difficult person, one comes away far more sympathetic to the man than to many of his successors and followers today.

The audiobook is made all the more enjoyable by the excellent voice talent of Simon Vance.

I liked it and recommend it as an introduction to Calvin. As some one else has said, a kind of 'Calvin for Dummies'. This book will suit anyone who wants an introduction to this very influential theologian's life and teaching.
Review by / (Posted on 8/9/2011)
Calvin for Dummies
I think this book accomplished what it wants. It is brief (just under 4 hours) but does a good job summarizing Calvin's basic thinking. There is not much biography here. A little more than the basic birth, school, marriage, work, death, but not much more.

Elwood mostly uses Calivin's Institutes as an organizing method. Because that is what Calvin is most known for, I think it is an appropriate choice.

There is a some humor in this book. It sort of (in a good way) feels like a Dummies book. So as Calvin for Dummies, it throws in a few jokes and several modern illustrations to help explain what Calvin was talking about. The narrator is Simon Vance again. (Same as the Bonhoeffer book I reviews on Friday.) But in this book he did not come across nearly as pretentious and condescending. He did not hit some of the jokes all that well, but most of the jokes were fairly subtle, so it did not feel inappropriate.

I am not sure that I will pick up another Armchair Theologian book (there are a ton of them.) It is hard to balance a brief book with the desire for more in depth understanding of a theologian. And I think I probably have about the level of understanding that these books were written for on many of the subjects that have Armchair books.

But if want an introduction to an area that you do not have a lot of experience with, I think these are probably a good option.
Review by / (Posted on 1/20/2011)
\"Calvin for Armchair Theologians\" is an...
\"Calvin for Armchair Theologians\" is an excellent audio book in which to learn of the life and times of 16th century Reformer John Calvin. Included on this audio book are the spiritual triumphs of Calvin as well as his emotional and physical pains that he had to come to terms with throughout his own life\'s journey. Particularly helpful is the section which explains Calvin\'s view of the Eucharist in contrast to the views of the Roman Catholic Church, Martin Luther, and Ulrich Zwingli. For those who are searching for a somewhat concise but very helpful audio book on John Calvin, this one by Christopher Elwood (narrated well by Simon Vance) would be a great starting point.
Review by / (Posted on 12/17/2009)
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