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Calvin at the Centre$
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Paul Helm

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199532186

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199532186.001.0001

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Intermediate States

Intermediate States

(p.273) 9 Intermediate States
Calvin at the Centre

Paul Helm

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers Calvin's view of the intermediate state of men and women between death and resurrection, and Christ's ‘intermediate state’ between his Ascension and Second Coming. Calvin is strongly dualist in his anthropology, often adopting Platonic terminology, routinely referring to the body as the ‘prison house’ of the soul. His strong denial of ‘soul sleep’ in his debates with the ‘Libertines’ raises the question of how he thinks of human awareness after death, and an attempt is made to reconstruct his views. His position is contrasted with the Aristotelianism of his fellow Reformer Peter Martyr Vermigli, but while there are distinct philosophical differences between the two these tend to be minimized because both are committed to the resurrection of the body. In the second half of the chapter Calvin's views of Christ's ‘intermediate state’ and their implications for his account of the real presence of Christ at the Lord's Supper are discussed, especially his attempt to articulate the real presence in terms of the totum?totus distinction. The chapter ends with a consideration of the attitude of two eighteenth‐century Calvinists, John Gill and Jonathan Edwards, to the Stoics.

Keywords:   body–soul dualism, intermediate state, Jonathan Edwards, John Gill, Libertines, Lord's Supper, real presence, soul sleep, totum–totus, Vermigli

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