• “Between Sacrament and Contract: Marriage as Covenant in John Calvin's Geneva

    Author(s):
    John Witte, Jr. (see profile)
    Date:
    1998
    Subject(s):
    Law, Religion, History, Families, Calvin, Jean, 1509-1564
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Geneva, Marital sacrament, covenant, church and state, Marriage, Family, John Calvin
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/v911-qj56
    Abstract:
    This Article analyzes John Calvin’s reformation of the life, law, and lore of the marital family in sixteenth-century Geneva. Calvin’s early efforts in the 1530s and 1540s were focused on the law of marital formation, maintenance, and dissolution. Particularly his 1545 Marriage Ordinance was famous for requiring parental consent, church consecration, and publicly attested marital contracts for valid marital formation, and for allowing both husbands and wives to divorce on grounds of adultery and desertion. When Calvin’s legal views were challenged, he both defended and refined them with a new theology of marriage as a covenant, modeled on the covenant between God and his elect. This theology emphasized both the spiritual and contractual qualities of marriage, its dependence on the moral law of God, and the participation of God through parents, peers, pastors, and political officials who each hold divine authority. In Calvin’s covenant theology, marriage was more than a mere contract (given its vital public rolls and roles) but less than a divine sacrament (only baptism and the Eucharist counted as sacraments). A German translation of this article appears as "Zwischen Sakrament und Vertrag: Ehe als Bund im Genf Johannes Calvins," Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung (Kanonisches Abteilung) 115 (1998): 386-469.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    3 years ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
    Share this:

    Downloads

    Item Name: pdf 61betweensacrmanentgenevactj1998printedx.pdf
      Download View in browser
    Activity: Downloads: 103