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John Calvin's American Legacy$
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Thomas Davis

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195390971

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195390971.001.0001

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Conclusion: John Calvin at “Home” in American Culture

Conclusion: John Calvin at “Home” in American Culture

(p.267) Conclusion: John Calvin at “Home” in American Culture
John Calvin's American Legacy

Thomas J. Davis (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This conclusion focuses on the published writings of Pulitzer-Prize winner Marilynne Robinson, who, in her works of nonfiction and fiction, has engaged the negative stereotypes that are often associated with John Calvin and his heirs. In some of her nonfiction work, she argues that historical reputation matters, and that John Calvin has been unfairly maligned. Especially in The Death of Adam, Robinson presents a case for why it is important to reckon fairly with the legacy of Calvin. In works of fiction—Gilead and Home—Robinson gives the Calvinist tradition an embodied existence, where it can be examined and (through the imagination) experienced in such a way that the complexity and vigor of the tradition may be appreciated. In this way, the conclusion argues, she may be creating a "home" for Calvin in American culture that moves beyond the caricatured and stereotyped textbook image.

Keywords:   John Calvin, Calvinism, Marilynne Robinson, historical reputation, tradition

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