Calvin and the consolidation of the Genevan Reformation
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This study is concerned with the process involved in Calvin's consolidation of his power in Geneva and his success in implementing his vision of a Reformed society and structure in the city. The principal aim is to re-evaluate all of the relevant data and to correct, where necessary, the present understanding of this process. This has involved detailed research in the primary, unpublished documentation held in the Genevan State Archives. This material has then been compared with the traditional interpretation of Genevan history which is derived largely from Calvin and his supporters. In an attempt to discover the true reasons which explain Calvin's triumph, particular attention has been focussed on the various groups in Geneva at the time. Thus, detailed examination has been made of the relevant documents to identify the various social, economic, and political links which bound together the opposing factions. In particular, the research in this study has examined the impact which the French religious refugees had on every aspect of Calvin's struggle in Geneva. In addition, the direct effect which the predominantly French pastors had on the city, through their ministerial and political activities, has been detailed. Special emphasis has also been laid upon the personal relationships which existed among Geneva's ruling élite. The results of this study show that the interpretation of Calvin's triumph in Geneva is, in fact, based too heavily on Calvin's own view of the events and personalities involved. Calvin's opponents are shown to be men determined to maintain their magisterial power in the city in the face of the threat posed by the French ministers and their refugee compatriots. The local Genevans who supported Calvin have been found to be men who profited, both personally and politically, from Calvin's defeat of his opponents. Therefore, the study presents a thorough re-examination of Calvin's Genevan ministry and demonstrates the motives and methods which produced Calvin's victory in the mid-1550s.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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