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Calvinism and the European Mind: Pitfalls and Prospects in Contemporary Research

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Chapter Summary

The author shows that revisiting Calvinism's interrelations with 'the European mind', as distinct from but also as compared to those of other traditions, may yield new scholarly insights. The author first elaborates on the need and relevance of new research in this area in relation to the current state-of-the-art, and sketches some concrete directions into which such research might be developed. A final introductory remark is made about the term 'Calvinism', since this is a disputed-and, indeed, disputable-denominator. Calvinist theologians and polemicists usually supported the right to resistance, but in some specific situations (e.g. when their own king happened to be reformed) they rejected it. Clearly, internal religious convictions and external cultural circumstances can interact in a complex variety of ways, and it is instructive to chart how this has worked within Calvinism and how Calvinism both helped to shape and was itself shaped by the emerging European mind-set.

Keywords: calvinism; European mind-set; polemicists; theologians



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