Faculty Advisor

David Doellinger

Faculty Advisor

Elizabeth Swedo

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


This paper identifies the links between Calvin’s theology, as laid out in his exegetical, political, and administrative writings and the policies that he put in place during his tenure as preacher in Geneva. The process of actualized theology which occurred within the spheres of liturgical, sacramental, and ecclesiastical changes demonstrates a more direct link between Calvin and the construction of a religious community in Geneva than the Confessionalization thesis holds. The paper addresses the historiographical failings of both historians who have sought to politicize Calvin to suit modern ideological frameworks, and historians who have ignored the links between structural and theological adaptations that occurred during the Reformation. The paper looks specifically at the development of eucharistic theology by Calvin, and how that intellectual development shaped the sacramental customs of the Lord’s Supper and the liturgy surrounding it. Additionally the paper observes a connection between Calvin’s thought on reconciliation within the Bible, such as the process of on hands, and the approach Calvin had towards punishment and reconciliation of sinners and criminals within the Genevan community. This paper argues that the application of the Confessionalization thesis, whereby the state leads the process of confession building in a preceding movement towards Early Modern centralization, does not apply to the early Genevan Reformed church and the process of confession building was, instead, led principally by Calvin.

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