Original Research

Calvin and the spiritual trends of his time: the uniqueness of the sixteenth-century protestant Reformation

B.J. van der Walt
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 44 | a178 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v44i0.178 | © 2010 B.J. van der Walt | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 July 2010 | Published: 26 July 2010

About the author(s)

B.J. van der Walt, School of Philosophy, Potchefstroom Campus, North-West University, South Africa

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This article is of an exploratory nature, and it will try to answer the difficult question as to who Calvin really was – a man born 500 years ago who disliked self-disclosure. The main question to be investigated is which spiritual trends influenced Calvin’s thinking. To arrive at an answer to this important question in Calvin research, the following steps will be taken. Firstly, a few misconceptions about who Calvin was will be argued. Secondly, attention is asked for the problems encountered in this kind of research. Thirdly, an overview of the different spiritual currents forming the backdrop of the sixteenth-century Reformation will be given. This will inter alia reveal the unique character of Calvin’s own reformational endeavours. The last (fourth) section will summarise the results regarding the complex and decisive times in which Calvin lived and worked, and also indicate the uniqueness of the reformational endeavour of the sixteenth century.


Calvin J.; Reformation Protestant; Sixteenth Century; Spiritual Trends


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