Fun Facts From Church History: Trashy Novels Weren’t Welcome in Calvin’s Geneva

sillySome of the ladies (and odd men) like ‘Romance novels’ but in Calvin’s Geneva such books were unwelcome. As P. Henry remarks

We learn from the state-register of March 13, 1559, that romance-reading was altogether prohibited in Geneva. It is said:—“Inasmuch as many persons are in the habit of reading Amadis de Gaule, which contains much that is licentious and wicked, let them be gravely admonished, and let the said book be abolished and destroyed.” Shortly after Calvin’s time, Henry Stephens was excommunicated and imprisoned, because he had written a dissolute book.*

You have to admire Calvin.  He knew garbage when he saw it.  The world would be a better place if unrealistic titillation didn’t exist (fostering, as it does, unrealistic expectations and inevitably, disappointment).  In the real world, ladies, men wear shirts, and cut their hair.  And don’t work out 12 hours a day.  Just so you know…

*P. Henry, The Life and Times of John Calvin, the Great Reformer Volume 1, p. 174.

About Jim

I am a Pastor, and Lecturer in Church History and Biblical Studies at Ming Hua Theological College.
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One Response to Fun Facts From Church History: Trashy Novels Weren’t Welcome in Calvin’s Geneva

  1. wken says:

    The wind also usually only blows in one direction at a time. Somehow, the wind is blowing in the faces of each of those two (as shown by the wind-blown hair).

    Anyway … let’s be honest. “Romance” novels are as much as misnomer as “gentlemen’s clubs.” Maybe not in the 16th century, but certainly these days those books are just pornography packaged to look legitimate.


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