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Title: The life of Francis Turretin (1623-87) and his impact on the Protestant Reformed tradition
Author: Cumming, Nicholas Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0004 7656 235X
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis studies the life, writings, and impact of the Protestant Reformed minister and theologian Francis Turretin (1623-87). Turretin was born, educated, and worked in the influential city of Geneva during a tumultuous period. Of primary concern is Turretin’s publications and ministry within the context of his life, the situation of seventeenth-century Geneva, and the religious turmoil of Early Modern Europe. Analysis of Turretin’s life is scant, with no new research carried out in the twentieth or twenty-first centuries. This study, then, re-contextualises the life and work of Turretin, with the broader goal of filling-in, to a degree, the history of Early Modern Protestantism through new, original research of archival and published materials. The thesis comprises seven chapters that are ordered first, by situating the political and ecclesiastical endeavours of the city of Geneva within its historical and historiographical framework, then by examining the life of Turretin in particular. With the historical context firmly in place, the thesis then moves on to analysis of Turretin’s most influential work, The Institutes of Elenctic Theology (1679-85). What is especially important to this chapter is Turretin’s identification as ‘one amongst the Reformed’ in terms of history and theology. Historically, Turretin understood himself to be in a long line of ‘orthodox’ theologians, from the Reformation and pre-Reformation Church, and he believed that his theology was congruent with the Evangelical movement begun with Jean Calvin (1509-64). By analysing Turretin’s soteriology in light of Calvin’s, not least the theology of predestination, and the theological situation of Early Modern Europe, this thesis argues that Turretin’s ideas did stand alongside established Reformed thought from Calvin’s time to the seventeenth century. Moving on from the Institutes, then, the thesis analyses Turretin’s disputations, sermons, and his work on the Helvetic Formula Consensus (1675). Finally, the body of the thesis concludes with an examination of Turretin’s posthumous impact. Ultimately, this thesis argues that, significantly, Turretin’s work stood in clear continuity with the theology of the Reformed since Calvin. Though this thesis does not seek to make Calvin the only font for theology in the Reformed Tradition, due to the polemical and confessional nature of twentieth-century historiography, it was necessary to re-examine this influential theologian within his historical context without the confines of modern ecclesiastical boundaries. The original contribution to research that this study provides is the examination of Turretin’s life, correspondence, theology, and ministry in the light of Early Modern Christian history and with an eye towards its development in the modern period.
Supervisor: Crankshaw, David James ; Ticciati, Susannah Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available