Home » Course Material » Syllabus




The Theology of John Calvin (THEO 0632)


Department of Theology
Tyndale Seminary
Winter 2004
Instructor: Victor Shepherd
Office Hours as Posted
Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Tel. 416 226 6380 (6726) or 905 821 0587
E-mail: vshepherd@tyndale.ca or victor.shepherd@sympatico.ca

Prerequisite: THEO 0531 and THEO 0532 or THEO 0530

Description: The course endeavours to acquaint students with the major aspects of Calvin’s theology as organized in the final edition of his Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559).

1.      to examine in detail the doctrines that are commonly recognized as major “building blocks” of the
Christian faith;
2.      to have the student understand how these doctrines are related to each other and how their
relationship illustrates the unity and coherence of Calvin’s thought;
3.      to situate Calvin’s theological understanding in the history of the Church, in the sixteenth century
Reformation, and in Reformed developments subsequent to the Reformation;
4.      to grasp the variegated background (social, political, ecclesiastical) of Calvin in particular and the
Reformation in general;
5.      to assess critically the adequacy and consistency of Calvin’s theological expression.
6.      to perceive the pastoral sensitivity of the Institutes
7.      to understand Calvin as pastor, churchman and civic official, all with a view to informing the student’s
own life, ministry and witness.

–        readings: of selected passages from the Institutes
–        essay: a  theologically critical exposition of and commentary upon Sadoleto’s Letter to the Genevans
and Calvin’s Reply to Sadoleto  (approximately 2000 words)
–        examination (in class.)


To be purchased: Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion (Library of Christian Classics.  editor,
John T. McNeill; translator, Ford Lewis Battles.)
: A Reformation Debate: Sadoleto’s Letter to the Genevans and Calvin’s Reply
                                (John C. Olin, editor.)
To be consulted: Francois Wendel, Calvin: The Origins and Development of his Religious Thought.

essay: 40%
examination: 60%


Jan. 22   Introductions, Requirements; Calvin Biography
Jan. 29 Knowledge of God Book I: chapters 1-5
Feb. 5 Scripture I:  6,7,9,10
 Feb. 12 Providence I:  16,17,18
Feb. 19 Trinity I:  13
Feb. 26 Law and Gospel II:  7,9-11
Mar. 4 The Mediator and His Work II:  6,12,13,15,16
Mar. 11 The Holy Spirit and Faith III: 1,2
Mar. 18 No Class: Reading Week
Mar. 25 Justification  III: 11,14
Apr. 1 Predestination III: 21,22 (omit 6-9), 23,24
Apr. 8 Church and Ministry IV:  1,8
Apr. 15 Sacraments, Baptism IV:  14,15,17
Apr. 22 Lord’s Supper             “
Apr. 29 Examination


A bibliography will be distributed in class.