This Article analyzes John Calvin’s reformation of Western family law in sixteenth century-Geneva. Calvin depicted marriage as a sacred and presumptively enduring union, but also a conditional and breakable covenant with distinct and discernible goods and goals that couples and communities alike had to support. This covenantal framework gave Calvin new rationales for old rules concerning marital and non-marital sex and cohabitation, courtship and weddings, procreation, nurture, and education of children, and the punishment of adultery, polygamy, and “unnatural” sex within and beyond the marital bed. But Calvin also set out new teachings on the proper communal formation and maintenance of the marital covenant, and introduced into Genevan law the rights of husbands and wives alike to divorce and remarry in cases of hard fault.
John Calvin (LC)
Thursday, December 13, 2018
Witte on Calvin on Marriage
John Witte, Emory University School of Law, has posted The Marital Covenant in John Calvin’s Geneva, which appears in Political Theology 19 (2018): 282-299: