Institutes of the Christian Religion: The First English Version of the 1541 French Edition

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Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Apr 6, 2009 - Religion - 735 pages
5 Reviews
The first English translation of a classic text of pastoral theology. / John Calvin (1509 1564) originally wrote his famous Institutes of the Christian Religion in Latin. Beginning with the second edition of his work published in 1541, Calvin translated each new version into French, simultaneously adapting the text to suit lay audiences, shaping it subtly but clearly to teach, exhort, and encourage them. Besides reflecting a more pastoral bent on Calvin's part, this 1541 Institutes is also notable as one of the founding documents of the modern French language. / Elsie Anne McKee's masterful translation of the 1541 French Edition the first-ever English version offers full access to the brilliant mind of John Calvin as he considered what common Christian people should all know and practice. / This sparkling translation of John Calvin s 1541 French Institutes offers modern-day readers in the English-speaking world the opportunity to read Calvin s first version of his masterwork intended for a general audience. Elsie McKee is to be commended for her faithful yet accessible translation of this key text. Karin Maag / Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies, Calvin College and Seminary / major event for Calvin students! English-language readers can, at last, access and use the 1541 version of the Institutes. Scholars of repute consider this version the most admirable of all: it combines freshness and maturity, it is not overloaded with polemical developments, and, as the first theological work in the vernacular, it made a decisive contribution toward shaping modern French. It is a landmark in Calvin s corpus. Elsie McKee s translation, checked against the original French, remains scrupulously accurate, while it reads with ease and harmonious fluidity. Henri Blocher / Facult Libre de Thologie Evanglique / Wheaton College Graduate School / I am impressed with what Elsie McKee has accomplished. It is amazing how she has managed to translate Calvin s smooth French into an English that is a pleasure to read. Even more important, however, is that she has made this important work of Calvin accessible for a wide audience, so all can experience the stimulus that reading Calvin can give to the church and theology today. Herman J. Selderhuis / Theologische Universiteit Appeldoorn / The 1541 edition of the Institutes has long been considered a gem among the various editions of Calvin s classic. Its special virtues are that it is more concise than the final 1559 edition and also more pastoral and practical, reflecting Calvin s years in the ministry. Finally we have a superb English translation of this edition by a premier Calvin scholar. Elsie McKee knows Calvin and knows French. The result is a wonderful contribution to Calvin studies in the English-speaking world. Readers of this version will gain fresh perspectives and new insights into the Reformer s theology. I. John Hesselink / Western Theological Seminary

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User Review  - CK -

I have not started reading the actual book yet.. I'm in the introduction/epistle to the reader pages and am not a scholar (the actual Institutes starts on page 36). The language does require a ... Read full review

User Review  - Aletheia -

The book is spiritual and devotional at core, its impact in history cannot be denied. Personally, I find this book (Beveridge's translation) superior to Ford's translation -- because it captures ... Read full review

Selected pages


The Argument of This Book
Dedication to Francis I
Of the Knowledge of God
Of the Knowledge of Man and of Free Will
Of the Law
Of Faith Where the Apostles Creed Is Explained
Of Penitence
Of Justification by Faith and by the Merits of Works
Of the Sacraments
Of Baptism
Of the Lords Supper
Of the Five Other Ceremonies Falsely Called Sacraments That Is Confirmation Penance Extreme Unction Ecclesiastical Orders and Marriage
Of Christian Liberty
Of the Power of the Church
Of Civil Government
Of the Christian Life

Of the Similarities and Differences between the Old and New Testaments
Of Gods Predestination and Providence
Of Prayer Where the Prayer of Our Lord Is Explained

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About the author (2009)

Elsie Anne McKee is Archibald Alexander Professor of Reformation Studies and the History of Worship at Princeton Theological Seminary.

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