I thank the Law and Liberty site, and Dr. Bruce in particular, for their respectful attention to my book, in a new edition by St. Augustine’s Press, Calvin and the Foundations of Modern Politics.
Dr. Bruce nicely frames the question of Calvin’s theology in relation to modernity, and there is surely some validity in what he says about the limitations of my enterprise as a comprehensive guide to Calvin’s political teaching. It is certain that I focus almost exclusively on the Institutes, and it may be that I sometimes concede too much to venerable authors like Emil Doumergue. (Still, does Bruce mean to deny, against Doumergue and myself, that there is a pronounced antimonarchic element in Calvin’s teaching, one that emerges, unsurprisingly, when he is discussing biblical passages that tend that way?)
I’m afraid, though, that Dr. Bruce misses my point when he characterizes my approach as a kind of middle way “between the two extremes” of secular and religious interpretations of modernity, and, likewise, when he gives me credit for a “modest judgment of [my] own work.”