Resources for a Christian worldview

A. Sewell

Alida Sewell pages

Alida Leni Sewell (1948-) migrated to New Zealand in 1961. She graduated with a BA in 1971 from the University of Canterbury, she went on to obtain a MTh from Trinity Bible College and Seminary, and a doctorate from the VU University in 2011. She is married to Keith and has two sons.  She is the author of Calvin the Body and Sexuality: An Inquiry into his Anthropology (available from Amazon and the Book Depository)


Calvin, the Body, and Sexuality
An Inquiry into his Anthropology
Alida Leni Sewell
VU University Press, 2011
ISBN 978 90 8659 587 7
viii + 269pp; pbk

This doctoral dissertation:

 addresses Calvin's view of the human body as it comes to expression in his writings and sermons. After situating Calvin in the context of his education and culture, particular attention is paid to his frequent use of the metaphor of the body being the 'prison of the soul.' In all, 91 occurrences of his use of the metaphor are documented in chronological order in the Appendix. The possibility of direct or indirect Platonic influences is examined, as well as the eschatological meaning that Calvin assigns to the metaphor. Contemporaneous medical theories are explained and it is shown how Calvin appropriated them in his theology and general writings. The state of Calvin's own bodily health is discussed, mainly with reference to his correspondence. Attention is also paid to his attitude to death, dying, and burial. An important aspect of his theological anthropology is his teaching on the image of God in humankind, which is examined with respect to both men and women. The subsequent chapters deal with his views on marriage and childbirth, sexuality and gender, and nakedness and shame. For the present-day reader these reveal some surprising as well as disappointing views that Calvin held. However, in the context of his time they were not extreme, and some were in advance of his time. In the final chapters a more theological appraisal is given of Calvin's views as they were presented in the previous chapters and conclusions are presented. 

Chapter One: Introduction
Chapter Two: Context, Culture, and Education
Chapter Three: Calvin's Use of the Prison Metaphor 
Chapter Four: Calvin's Adoption of Current Medical Theories and His Experience and Perception of His Own Physical Self
Chapter Five: The Image of God 
Chapter Six: Marriage in Theory and Practice
Chapter Seven: Sexuality and Gender 
Chapter Eight: Nakedness and Shame
Chapter Nine: The Body at Creation, after the Fall, and at the Resurrection
Chapter Ten: Conclusions 
Calvijn en het lichaam: een onderzoek naar zijn antropologie


2011. 'Calvin, the body and sexuality' 

This was the original chapter 1 to the book Calvin, the Body, and Sexuality 


2009.  Paul at Athens: An Examination of His Areopagus Address in the Light of its Historical and Philosophical Background