Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Reader

Richard A. Muller

Second Reader

Lyle D. Bierma

Third Reader

John Bolt

Fourth Reader

John L. Thompson


This study reveals both the variety and complexity of Calvin’s eschatology by way of a historical and contextual approach. Against an ahistorical and dogmatic approach to Calvin, it discusses the necessity of locating and examining his eschatology in several contexts: theological and exegetical traditions, both his predecessors and contemporaries; variety of genre of his own works, from catechism to polemical treatise and biblical commentaries; and their chronological developments. Calvin’s eschatology is basically traditional and owes much to the theological and spiritual heritage in the past. It is definitely, among others, in the Augustinian tradition though strongly characterized by his biblical and teleological emphasis, in which his own study of the book of the Romans seems to have played a significant role. This study also demonstrates that Calvin’s teachings of last things are fundamentally exegetical and, thus, largely found in his exegetical works rather than in his magnum opus, the Institutes. Although Calvin eventually made a doctrine of the final resurrection as one of the theological loci in the last edition of his Institutes, the doctrine does not necessarily summarize the full content of Calvin's eschatology. Calvin, instead, extensively argues many other eschatological subjects in his biblical commentaries. Another aspect of this study is its chronological examination of Calvin’s teachings of last things. Besides the well-known history of development of the Institutes, it is crucially important for the balanced understanding of Calvin’s eschatology to pay attention to his later commentaries/lectures on the Old Testament prophets. Our study shows that the young Calvin’s uplifting eschatology is considerably expanded to a broad vision of the “kingdom of Christ,” a vision rather social than individual, geographical than spiritual, in the thought of a matured Reformer.



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