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John Calvin

French theologian John Calvin (1509–1564) converted to Protestantism at a time when the French government severely persecuted anyone who was not Catholic. This courage of his convictions led Calvin to become a leading figure in Protestantism, causing him to sometimes be referred to as "the Protestant Pope." His austere approach to Christianity resulted in the founding of the morally strict Puritans, who sought to "purify" the Church of England from any remnants of the Catholic Church, and of Calvinism, a religion begun by his followers after his death.

Calvin's major work was the Institutes of the Christian Religion (1536), excerpted below, the first systematic explanation of Protestant doctrine. Widely translated, it became the most influential religious manual of the sixteenthcentury Reformation, when the rise of Protestantism split the Roman Catholic Church.

I. Man proceeded spotless from God's hand; therefore he may...

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This section contains 1,605 words
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Buy The Renaissance Encyclopedia Article
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The Renaissance from Greenhaven. ©2001-2006 by Greenhaven Press, Inc., an imprint of The Gale Group. All rights reserved.
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