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Title: The decalogue in early Reformed teaching, with special reference to Calvin
Author: Speirs, William
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1950
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The argument followed is divided into seven chapters. The first reviews the place of the Decalogue in Judaistic and Christian ethical thought, the object being to show that the Decalogue has always had a strong revival v/henever there has been a serious return to personal faith. In other words, the Decalogue is to be regarded not as a human code, not even a human "ideal", but as an ethical actuality to be lived out by believers in a living God. The second and third discuss the particular revival of the 16th century. As Troeltsch says-1', the Deformation movement was a "Church" and not a "Sect" movement. The Reformers did not seek the perfection of selected souls, but the reformation of the Church herself, and they very soon discovered that Church and state were so intermingled that reform of the one meant revolution in the other. The Reformation was a religious and not a political or social movement; but the life of Europe was in its process changed from top to bottom, from the idea of monarchy to the idea of the home. The implications were not seen all at once, however, and a distinct evolution can be traced from Luther to Calvin and beyond. The fourth, fifth and sixth chapters discuss the main theme, which is Calvin's doctrine of Christian citizenship. The basis of the argument is the section of the Institutes (INST., 2: 7 and 8) in which Calvin treats the Moral Law. Chapter four refers mainly to INST., 2: 7, paragraphs 1-5, that is to say, with the problems of Christian interpretation of Scripture, and of the universal need of man, whether under the Old or the New Covenants, for grace. Chapter five brings the discussion to a more practical issue, referring to paragraphs 6 - 17 of Chapter 7, which concern the three uses of the Law and which thus involve Calvin's idea of Christian justice and the value of personality. Chapter six is a treatment of the Decalogue itself, first under a general survey (2: 8: 1-5) and then under each commandment. Parallel reference is made in this chapter to relevant passages in the Sermons and in the "Harmony" of the Pentateuch. The point which it is desired to make is that Calvin, like the other Reformers, but more consistently, attempted to rear a Christian social system upon the revealed Word of God in Scripture. Finally, reference is made in chapter seven to Calvin's immediate contemporaries in the larger world beyond Geneva. Bucer in his "De Regno Christi" was painting a canvas for a nation, not a city state. Could he succeed in deriving his principle of right conduct from Scripture, and Scripture alone? Or was it necessary to invoke, as the Monarchomachists invoked, the dangerous principle of the sovereignty of the people?
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available