Academic journal article Church History

Church History

Academic journal article Church History

Church History

Article excerpt

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Book Reviews and Notes

Jon Balserak has written an insightful and masterful work of historical scholarship. Establishing the Remnant Church in France: Calvin's Letters on the Minor Prophets, 1556-1559 offers close analyses of John Calvin's (1509-1564) sermons and lectures (many of which were addressed to the congregants of the French Reformed churches) on the twelve minor prophets of the Bible. Balserak meticulously studies the content of these sermons and places them in their broader historical context, connecting them to an important time in early modern European history which witnessed both the Council of Trent (1545-1563) in Italy and the Peace of Augsburg (1555) in the German states. But this was also a period when Calvin was working diligently in Geneva to implement the Protestant Reformation, work that often entailed communicating and collaborating with the clergy of the Huguenot churches in France. Indeed, many Protestant churches here relied on Geneva for help (for instance, in the form of missionaries). Finally, this was also the time when Calvin ousted the Perrinists from Geneva.

Balserak begins his book with a discussion of the ancient and medieval theologians' exegesis of the minor prophets, claiming that Calvin was inspired by their work. Such exegesis continued in the early modern era, when humanists (Christian humanists as well) put pen to paper and gave detailed explanations of the minor prophets (and the rest of the Bible more generally). …

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