Ozment, Steven E. The Age of Reform: 1250-1550 : An Intellectual and Religious History of Late Medieval and Reformation Europe. New Haven, Conn. ; London: Yale University Press, 1980. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 11, “Calvin and Calvinism” pp. 352-381. Part 2, “Political Revolt and Religious Reform in Geneva” pp. 358-362.
Between 1534 and 1536 Calvin, while travelling in France and Italy, wrote his Institutes of the Christian Religion. “This work grew through subsequent editions into a summa of Reformed Protestantism by the final edition of 1559” (Ozment 1980, 358). In 1536 Calvin settled in Geneva. “Whereas in Saxony a religious reform, undertaken at the initiative of theologians, led to a political revolt b princes against the emperor, in Geneva a political revolt against the House of Savoy, led by the city’s magistrates, prepared the way for the introduction of Protestant religious reforms” (Ozment 1980, 358). Ozment describes the political background in some detail. Geneva became independent in 1528 then experienced a Protestant Reformation as “part of the consolidation of the political revolution of the 1520s, not of that revolution itself” Ozment 1980, 360). Disputes on religious and civil matters flared up around 1530 and again in 1535, at which time the city council suspended the Mass and gave Catholic clergy the choice of becoming Protestant or being exiled. Conflict continued for some years. Ozment makes an interesting statement about the resolution. “On May 25, 1536 the Genevan people accepted the Reformation, pledging ‘to live according to the Law of the Gospel and the Word of God, and to abolish all Papal abuses.’ Calvin arrived that summer, just as Farel and his co-workers were beginning to implement this new mandate” (Ozment 1980, 361). One must question the definition Ozment uses of “Gospel.” Calvin quickly received a position of leadership. In 1537 he presented articles for church organization to magistrates. He also prepared a catechism. Churchmen were to be selected to govern and report legal failures to ministers for discipline. The populace did not receive these proposals willingly, as they seemed akin to the magisterial authority the people had opposed in the past. The Genevan council removed Calvin’s right of excommunication and re-established traditional holiday observances. Calvin was exiled in 1538.