Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Life of John Calvin” as Want to Read:
Life of John Calvin
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Life of John Calvin

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  69 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
The first biography of John Calvin since 1975 and the only life of the great reformer to analyse his impact on subsequent generations of theologians, politicians, economists and philosophers. This biography is theologically unbiased and is written as much for historians and general readers as for those interested in Calvin the Church reformer.
Paperback, 358 pages
Published October 1st 1993 by John Wiley & Sons (first published November 1990)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Life of John Calvin, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Life of John Calvin

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jul 22, 2009 Nathaniel rated it really liked it
McGrath is fantastically detailed and does an excellent job of attending to both the historical and systematic elements of Calvin. For example, The chapter he does on Geneva is one of the best I have come across even among strict historical accounts. You can tell that McGrath has spent significant time digesting Calvin.
Jacob Aitken
Aug 04, 2011 Jacob Aitken rated it really liked it
This book can be easy to criticize if one evaluates it from the standards of "normal biography." Biographically considered, McGrath tells you little of Calvin's lief. Even thematically it can be seen wanting in some areas. However, as a piece of writing dealing with John Calvin it is good enough. I will try to hit the highlights of the biography and offer my own conclusions at the end.

McGrath begins (or ends, I can't remember) his book with a long excursus on the writing of Calvin's Institutes.
Jan 22, 2009 Matt rated it did not like it
Not much of a biography, but more of a historical appreciation. McGrath relies on secondary sources to the neglect of primary sources. Calvin comes our looking flat, mean, and boring though brilliant.
Aug 12, 2016 Alexander rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography, religion
McGrath's 'biography' of Calvin is an illuminating read, although I am sad to say that I learned much more about such subjects as the 16th century, the effects of Calvinism, and the organization of the French University than I did about Calvin himself. This does not appear to have been McGrath's fault, however, since Calvin was a very private individual who held back his personality whenever possible so as to let the Word of God gain precedence in all he did.

This isn't to say that you don't lear
Lady Jane
Sep 05, 2014 Lady Jane rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those already acquainted with Calvin and Calvinism.
If the subtitle of A Life of John Calvin: A Study in the Shaping of Western Culture doesn't give away that Dr. McGrath, an intellectual historian and theologian, intended to write a historical analysis--not a traditional biography--then reading the Preface perhaps dispels any confusion:

This book is not concerned with praising or condemning Calvin or his cultural legacy, but with establishing the nature and extent of that legacy in the first place. It is an attempt to bring out the vitality of th
Apr 27, 2015 John rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
The book is excellent and I had a difficult time putting it down. I highly recommend this book and its author.
Aug 18, 2009 Steve rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-of-2009
Chase rated it it was amazing
Oct 31, 2016
Michael Kelley
Michael Kelley rated it really liked it
Feb 24, 2010
Joseph Weyel
Joseph Weyel rated it really liked it
Sep 20, 2012
Daniel rated it it was amazing
Feb 23, 2009
John rated it it was ok
Jan 01, 2008
Jeff Irwin
Jeff Irwin rated it liked it
May 12, 2009
J.S. rated it it was amazing
Feb 03, 2008
John B.
John B. rated it liked it
Jul 14, 2016
Si Lee
May 10, 2014 Si Lee rated it liked it
Found this book very dry and boring.
Rich rated it really liked it
Aug 07, 2007
James rated it really liked it
Mar 18, 2014
Joseph rated it really liked it
Jun 08, 2009
Beverly Bentley
Beverly Bentley rated it liked it
Jul 15, 2009
Calvert Wallace
Calvert Wallace rated it it was amazing
Sep 30, 2015
Jorge Bessa
Jorge Bessa rated it it was amazing
Aug 27, 2010
Robbie rated it liked it
Jul 23, 2011
Andrew Mantle
Andrew Mantle rated it liked it
Jun 05, 2016
Feb 21, 2009 Michael marked it as to-read
Started to read and will continue at a later date.
Tom rated it did not like it
Mar 03, 2008
Kim rated it liked it
May 26, 2012
Katrina rated it liked it
Nov 05, 2014
Adam Embry
Adam Embry rated it it was ok
May 23, 2013
Kirk rated it it was ok
Feb 26, 2013
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Alister Edgar McGrath is a Northern Irish theologian, priest, intellectual historian, scientist, and Christian apologist. He currently holds the Andreas Idreos Professorship in Science and Religion in the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford, and is Professor of Divinity at Gresham College. He was previously Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at King's College ...more
More about Alister E. McGrath...

Share This Book