Michelle Chaplin SanchezMay 21, 2021
Calvin and the Resignification of the World
Creation, Incarnation, and the Problem of Political Theology in the 1559 'Institutes'
Cambridge University Press 2019
John Calvin's 1559 Institutes takes the reader on a journey that ends not in the celestial city but rather an ordinary, terrestrial city with all the attendant political and social secular concerns. Michelle Chaplin Sanchez, associate professor of theology at Harvard Divinity School, brings this crucial text into conversation with critical theories of secularization, modernity, and political theology. In her theoretically-informed study, Calvin and the Resignification of the World: Creation, Incarnation, and the Problem of Political Theology in the 1559 Institutes (Cambridge UP, 2019), Sanchez helps readers of Calvin contextualize his continual revisions of his most well known work. Her attention to artifactuality, design, and genre offers students of the Institutes an window into a text that defies periodization and challenges static readings of this dynamic text. Calvin's attention to providence and incarnation become the dominant lenses through which he develops his understandings of divine and political sovereignty. This monograph deserves attention by anyone interested in Reformed theology, secularization, and the rise of modern political theory.
Ryan David Shelton (@ryoldfashioned) is a social historian of British and American Protestantism and a PhD researcher at Queen’s University Belfast.