Synopses & Reviews
This briskly told history of Reformed Protestantism takes these churches through their entire 500-year history—from sixteenth-century Zurich and Geneva to modern locations as far flung as Seoul and São Paulo. D. G. Hart explores specifically the social and political developments that enabled Calvinism to establish a global presence. Hart’s approach features significant episodes in the institutional history of Calvinism that are responsible for its contemporary profile. He traces the political and religious circumstances that first created space for Reformed churches in Europe and later contributed to Calvinism’s expansion around the world. He discusses the effects of the American and French Revolutions on ecclesiastical establishments as well as nineteenth- and twentieth-century communions, particularly in Scotland, the Netherlands, the United States, and Germany, that directly challenged church dependence on the state. Raising important questions about secularization, religious freedom, privatization of faith, and the place of religion in public life, this book will appeal not only to readers with interests in the history of religion but also in the role of religion in political and social life today.
“Calvinism covers its imposingly diverse subject with scholarly precision and the kind of charity and balance one hopes for in any historian. […] In Calvinism, Mr. Hart skilfully combines political and institutional history, on the one hand, and theological developments and the ‘history of ideas, on the other.”—Barton Swaim, Wall Street Journal
“The great merit of this book is that it pulls so many threads together in a coherent tapestry. The writing is clear and efficient.”—James Bratt, Christian Century
The first single-volume history of Reformed Protestantism from its sixteenth-century origins to the present
This brisk single-volume history explores Calvinism from its origins in the sixteenth century through today, assessing political and social dynamics as the church grew and evolved. The book also raises important questions about the relation of church and state in our own times.
About the Author
D. G. Hart is visiting professor of history, Hillsdale College, and former director of the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals, Wheaton College. He is author of more than a dozen previous books, including most recently From Billy Graham to Sarah Palin. He lives in Hillsdale, MI.