Graphic Calvin


I get books in my mailbox regularly and it’s usually because someone wants me to say something about it on the HB. Today I received this in my inbox and thought that you would want to know about it. It’s an illustrated life of John Calvin (1509–64). If you click on the “Calvin” categories (below) you’ll find several posts introducing you to his life and work. This is an unusual resource. Calvin and Calvinists are usually regarded as a little uptight so we might be surprised to see Calvin’s life in this format. Graphic books are illustrated like comic books but with more substantive content. I remember comic books (Captain America, Spiderman, Superman and the like) but my impression is that this format developed after my childhood. Nevertheless, this project is well executed. This text is probably suitable for advanced upper grade school students through middle and lower high school students). It’s well illustrated. The story seems accurate. It’s an English translation by R. Gerald Hobbs of a French text by the Reformation historian Bernard Roussel.

The text gives a good account of Calvin’s life and times, his experience in Paris, Basel, Geneva, and Strasbourg. One gets a good sense of how Calvin was regarded during his life by a variety of people. It humanizes him without making him someone he was not. It also offers a few short articles providing background behind the Reformed Reformation and two articles on French noble women who supported the Reformation. It also treats the Servetus matter. I might have put differently a few minor things but it’s far better than the typical account. It gets right Calvin’s approach to worship. This book was produced by a Theological College of the Presbyterian Church of Canada and thus there is some discussion of the mainline churches and ecumenical organizations in Canada and no explicit mention made of the separating confessionalist.

This is a colorful, interesting, and helpful resource of which parents, students, teachers, and pastors will want to make use.