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Foreword to Sex, Marriage and Family in John Calvin's Geneva I: Courtship, Engagement and Marriage

SEX, MARRIAGE, AND FAMILY IN JOHN CALVIN'S GENEVA, Vol. 1, COURTSHIP, ENGAGEMENT, AND MARRIAGE, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI, 2005, Introduction

8 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2007 Last revised: 13 Nov 2014

John Witte Jr.

Emory University School of Law

Robert M Kingdon

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Abstract

This project analyzes the reformation of sex, marriage, and family life as revealed in the systematic writings, sermons, lectures, commentaries, letters, consilia, catechisms, polemics, statutes, and Consistory cases authored or influenced by sixteenth-century Protestant reformer, John Calvin. Courtship, engagement, and marriage are the first step of the family cycle and the focus of this first volume of the series. The volume begins with an overview of the whole reformation of sex, marriage, and family life in Calvin's Geneva, and a close sifting of its main sources, personalities, and institutions involved. After explaining Calvin's views and experiences of courtship and matchmaking, the discussion then turns to parental consent in making engagement and marriage contracts. Next, it explores the tangled jungle of impediments to engagement and marriage whose presence could lead to annulment - infancy, mental inability, polygamy, lack of virginity, sexual incapacity, contagion, age disparity, and incest. Then, the volume works through the delicate issue of interreligious courtship and marriage, the complex laws of marital property, and the problems of premarital sex, cohabitation, and desertion. After following the couple on their wedding day and detailing the surprising liturgy and celebration that awaited them, the volume concludes with a sketch of these sundry topics of reform, using the biblical doctrine of covenant. This chapter introduces and frames the project as a whole, which will continue in sequel volumes, subtitled "The Christian Household" and "Divorce and Death, Inheritance and Remarriage."

Keywords: John Calvin, protestantism, reformation, law, theology, religion, marriage, sex, courtship, contract, covenant, family, sermon, Catechisms, Consistory cases

Suggested Citation

Witte, John and Kingdon, Robert M, Foreword to Sex, Marriage and Family in John Calvin's Geneva I: Courtship, Engagement and Marriage. SEX, MARRIAGE, AND FAMILY IN JOHN CALVIN'S GENEVA, Vol. 1, COURTSHIP, ENGAGEMENT, AND MARRIAGE, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI, 2005, Introduction . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1014822

John Witte Jr. (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-6980 (Phone)
404-712-8605 (Fax)

Robert M Kingdon

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

716 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States

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