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Summer Term 2009: Calvin-related courses, on occasion of the 500th anniversary

Among the highlights of this year’s Summer Term course lineup—coinciding with the 500th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth—will be the course John Calvin (1509-2009): Reformer of the Church, taught by Bruce Gordon, professor of Reformation history at YDS, who has just published the book Calvin with Yale University Press.  Recently added to the course list is another class of potential interest to Calvin enthusiasts, Jonathan Edwards and His World.

Gordon The course description for Gordon's course says: “Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation with his proclamation of grace, faith, and scripture alone: John Calvin was the reformer of the Church. This course will follow Calvin's developing understanding of the Christian Church, his pursuit of unity, and his role as mentor to emerging communities in Reformation Europe.”  The course will be held during the first week of Summer Term, June 8-12, 1:30-4:00 pm.

Jacket copy for Gordon’s book says, “The book explores with particular insight Calvin’s self-conscious view of himself as prophet and apostle for his age and his struggle to tame a sense of his own superiority, perceived by others as arrogance. Gordon looks at Calvin’s character, his maturing vision of God and humanity, his personal tragedies and failures, his extensive relationships with others, and the context within which he wrote and taught. What emerges is a man who devoted himself to the Church, inspiring and transforming the lives of others, especially those who suffered persecution for their religious beliefs.”

Before his arrival at YDS in 2008, Gordon taught for 14 years at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, where he was professor of modern history and deputy director of the St. Andrews Reformation Institute.   Among his other works, The Swiss Reformation was the first comprehensive study of the subject and was named an “Outstanding Publication” for 2003 by Choice magazine.  His research interests range across late-medieval and early-modern religious history, in particular the Swiss and German Reformations, Bibles, devotional literature, the clergy, death and the dead, historical writing and historiography. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

MinkemaJonathan Edwards and His World will be taught by Kenneth Minkema, executive director of the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale University and assistant professor (adjunct) of American Church History.  The course will be held during the second week of Summer Term, June 15-19.

The course description says, “The classroom portion of the course will feature lectures and discussions of common readings. There will be ample time allowed for questions and dialogue. Common readings will include selections from printed collections of Edwards’s writings and secondary sources. Also, the course will be integrated with the use of materials located in The Works of Jonathan Edwards Online.  Special features of the course will be a viewing of Edwards’s manuscripts at Yale’s Beinecke Library, and a daylong tour of sites in the Connecticut River Valley relating to Edwards and the Great Awakening. These sites include East Windsor (Edwards’s birthplace) and Enfield, Connecticut (where he preached “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”), and Northampton and Stockbridge, Massachusetts, the towns where he ministered for most of his career.”

Minkema is the author of numerous papers on Edwards and the Puritans and the editor of a number of books including, most recently, Jonathan Edwards at 300: Essays on the Tercentenary of His Birth (with Harry S. Stout and Caleb J.D. Maskell).  His areas of specialization, in addition to the life and thought of Jonathan Edwards, include Colonial, Revolutionary, religious, intellectual, and social history; historical editing; American Revivalism; Western and World Civilizations, 1500 to present.

Summer Term 2009 (June 8 - June 26) at Sterling Divinity Quadrangle offers clergy and practitioners, as well as church musicians and those with an interest in worship and the arts, a series of short courses in subject areas ranging from history and biblical scholarship, to hymnody and liturgical music, to topics in pastoral care. Summer Term is presented jointly by the Yale Divinity School, Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music.

While Summer Term courses do not carry academic credit, they are available for denominational continuing education credit. Complete Summer Term information is available here.

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