Brief essay plans on previous questions/ key content.

  • Created by: Christina
  • Created on: 06-05-13 09:51

Was Geneva a Theocratic state by 1564?

ANSWER: To a great extent by 1564 however it was not an easy or short journey.

3 things are key for theocracy:                                         Theocracy = State run by faith

Collaboration                        Discipline                        Education

- 1541 The Ecclesiastical Ordinances were a step on the road to Calvinism (Collaboration)

- 1553 M. Servetus was a key example of theocratic discipline by execution (Discipline)

- 1559 Genevan Academy (Education)

Paragraph 1: Geneva fulfilled E. Ordinances when state requested theocracy
Paragraph 2: Dufour argues it was an autocratic not theocratic state - Geneva "brutal" and violent, however the state ignoring Calvin's opinion on the execution of Servetus infers otherwise. (Give detail on Servetus leading to A. Perrin fleeing...)
Paragraph 3/ Conclusion: Academy enforce discipline "most perfect school of Christ" - J.Knox

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How did Calvin overcome opposition?

ANSWER: By fulfilling Collaboration in 1553.

  • 1553 - The execution of Servetus (2 sentences maximum)
  • Briefly: Ami Perrin's downfall - his wealth funding the Academy.

(+ downfall of all Libertines), 

Calvin brought perseverance/ a legal mind/ discipline 

    • Previous attempts at collaboration show the 1540s is a weight that proves 1553 (persevered for ten years proving his worth through repeated smaller victories).

Even an international feeling that this was "the most perfect school of Christ" - J.Knox.

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Establishing Calvinism in Europe

ANSWER: To an extent however it only became established in Northern Europe.

Introduction: (ANSWER) + France being the major success.
Paragraph 1: Where was it established and why?

Geneva                Scotland                 France                Netherlands

  • Scotland:
    • Leader = John Knox
    • Knox wanted Protestantism but Catholics were unsure, Calvinism = compromise 
  • France
    • By 1559 1/2 of the nobility accepted Calvin.
    • 1559 there were 120 missions (32 were to France)
    • Up to 10% of the population converted

Paragraph 2: Where wasn't it established and why?

  • Southern Europe, Catholicism = strong with the Pope in Italy and HRE Charles in Spain

Conclusion: Geneva's printing press = a major role in establishing success. 

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Why was Calvin expelled?

ANSWER: The council were too slow to enforce discipline; immature and                                    unsophisticated. 

~However his theology was valid and respected - hence Calvin's return in the 1540s.

The council chose to side with the Pro-Berne faction whilst collaboration was still in its infancy.

Contributing Factors - 

  • Calvin was a foreign influence attempting to enforce discipline 
  • Geneva having expelled priest (1527) was used to chaos not strict discipline
  • Failed attempt at co-operation when few attended appointments to sign the
    "Articles of the Organisation of the the Church and its worship in Geneva"
     - A public statement of faith

Calvin needed strong state enforcement not just "support".

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Explain the work of the Consistory

A court to supervise beliefs and morals.
Consisted of 4 officers:

Pastors - to teach, preach and enforce sacraments

Doctorsto instruct on true doctrine

Deacons - help the sick and needy

Lay Elders - 12 worthy citizen appointed to reugulate every person's conduct

  • Gave Calvin strong social control
  • Introduced the Grabeau 
    • Company of Pastors would meet every 3 months for "voluntary" humiation,
    • Or "mutual criticism" as Lotherington calls it.
      Effective in making the pastors more cautious/ attentive in their work and life in general.

The consistory and grabeau "gave Calvinism an institutional strength which Lutheranism lacked" (Lotherington)

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Calvin's Ideas

His beliefs were accepted because they reinstated some core Christian beliefs
- e.g. Incarnation and Christ's atoning sacrifice

1536 Institutes of the Christian Religion ~ Foundation of Calvinism.

  • God is Just
  • Predestination
    • Both relied on "Sola Fide"

Calvin opposed Catholic doctrine enforcing salvation by faith alone - hence a relief
~ made heaven accessable to the poor 

  • Place of Christ (a just sacrifice of love by God)
  • 'Invisible Church' concept establishes true faith
  • Rejected Sacraments

The Institutes established a moral code contributing greatly toward the E. Ordinances
- and the eventual construction of the Academy. 
Key Point: Implementing his ideas was an extremely lengthy process.

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Importance of Calvin

  • His strict education and discipline was essential to relief and hope from Geneva's turmoil.
  • No political parties gained enough influence to enforce discipline.


  • Had to convince extreme numbers.
  • Few understood reform - terrified of eternal damnation.
  • Hated being disciplined by a foreigner
    ~ No one wanted his as "moral policeman of Geneva" (Mullett) 

Farel had already convinced Geneva to abandon papal ways therefore Farel was the reformer not Calvin

    • Little Council (Geneva) = getting increasingly furious not knowing who's in charge.
    • 1555 downfall of the Libertines (Perrin, Ameaux, Gruet)
    • 1559 Academy founded (shows Calvinism as a clear victory of his ideas)

1559: Ideas, discipline, theology, order, law and faith - "all ready to be transported"


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Best Calvin revision notes that I have ever come across. Thank you! 5*s!

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