Graphic Calvin

calvin-graphic-novelI get books in my mailbox regularly and it’s usually because someone wants me to say something about it on the HB. Today I received this in my mailbox and thought that you would want to know about it. It’s an illustrated life of John Calvin (1509–64). If you click on the “Calvin” categories (below) you’ll find several posts introducing you to his life and work. This is an unusual resource. Calvin and Calvinists are usually regarded as a little uptight so we might be surprised to see Calvin’s life in this format. Graphic books are illustrated like comic books but with more substantive content. I remember comic books (Captain America, Spiderman, Superman and the like) but my impression is that this format developed after my childhood. Nevertheless, this project is well executed. This text is probably suitable for advanced upper grade school students through middle and lower high school students). It’s well illustrated. The story seems accurate. It’s an English translation by R. Gerald Hobbs of a French text by the Reformation historian Bernard Roussel.

The text gives a good account of Calvin’s life and times, his experience in Paris, Basel, Geneva, and Strasbourg. One gets a good sense of how Calvin was regarded during his life by a variety of people. It humanizes him without making him someone he was not. It also offers a few short articles providing background behind the Reformed Reformation and two articles on French noble women who supported the Reformation. It also treats the Servetus matter. I might have put differently a few minor things but it’s far better than the typical account. It gets right Calvin’s approach to worship. This book was produced by a Theological College of the Presbyterian Church of Canada and thus there is some discussion of the mainline churches and ecumenical organizations in Canada and no explicit mention made of the separating confessionalist.

This is a colorful, interesting, and helpful resource of which parents, students, teachers, and pastors will want to make use.

Click on the image to order the volume.

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    • I also got a chuckle of of Calvin and Hobbes. However, to get serious about the two, Hobbes was a big opponent of those Calvinists in Scotland and England who revolted against Charles I and brought about parliamentary rule. Thomas Hobbes’ _Leviathan_ is actually a defense of royal absolutism; while his _Behemoth_ is a scathing indictment of the Parliament.

      One of the fascinating things about the whole interplay of theology and political thought is that the Reformed were pretty consistently supporters of limited government, political compact, and the political supremacy of law and opponents of royal absolutism.

  1. This is a good start. They’re making movies out of comic book heroes these days. Maybe we’ll start seeing some good Reformation-based movies.

    • I always wondered why they never produced a movie on the life of John Calvin, even a student production of his life would be fantastic. But who would one cast in the lead role?

      • There was an attempt (on VHS) some years ago. It wasn’t a major film by any means. Lots of drama –

        • Dad’s trouble with the church
        • Paris – Affair of Placards
        • The “dreadful imprecation
        • Controversy with the city leaders and old families
        • Exile
        • Respite with Bucer
        • Controversy with the libertines
        • Servetus
        • Antoine’s divorce
        • other theological controversies
        • The looming threat of the house of Savoy
        • Controversies with consistory and company of pastors
        • Missons to France and intrique
        • Calvin’s death

        Maybe not too much humor but lots of drama.

  2. Oh c’mon…you KNOW why he looks so austere/mean: he’s a Calvinist…we all are scowly – faced ya know…

  3. Oh Christian…do you have that JOY JOY JOY down deep inside? Then…tell your face!

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