You wouldn't expect it from his dour reputation, but John Calvin transformed the Western concept of sex, marriage, and family life. This fascinating, occasionally sensational volume comprehensively treats the new theology and law that he established in sixteenth-century Geneva. Calvin made marriage and divorce, children's welfare, and sexual sin matters of both church and state, and the reforms that he initiated--new right and duties for wives in the bedroom, fault-based divorce on grounds of adultery and desertion, protection for impoverished widows, and more--have made their way into civil and common law traditions on both sides of the Atlantic. Bringing to light hundreds of newly discovered cases and laws, as well as scores of theological texts, Witte and Kingdom trace the subtle historical patterns of sex, marriage, and family life that have continued to shape new generations.
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