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Issus De Calvin: Collective Memories Of John Calvin In Dutch Neo-Calvinism

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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides a comprehensive account of Neo-Calvinist John Calvin representations. Adopting a terminology developed by Willem Frijhoff, the chapter distinguish between Calvin as an 'icon' and Calvin as a 'saint.' Iconic representations are to be understood as representations that valued Calvin not for himself (his character, his deeds), but for the, often less visible, more abstract cause he had sustained (Calvinist theology or a Reformed "life and worldview"). The chapter argues that by the time of the 1909 commemoration, iconic representations of Calvin had a more contested and less privileged position among Dutch Neo-Calvinists than their criticism of the Genevan festivities suggested. Partly as a supplement, partly as an alternative, the iconic Calvin gradually took on saint-like qualities as well. The chapter also interprets this emerging tension between icon and saint as reflecting changing attitudes vis-à-vis the acknowledged founding father of Neo-Calvinism: Abraham Kuyper.

Keywords: Dutch Neo-Calvinism; John Calvin



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