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Journal > Volumes > 36 (2005) / 3 (Autumn)
Making Use of God’s Remedies: Negotiating the Material Care of Children in Reformation Geneva
Karen E. Spierling
University of Louisville

Religious and civic authorities in Reformation Geneva considered the raising and educating of children within the Reformed community to be vital to the survival of their newly independent church and city. Jean Calvin, his colleagues, and the city magistrates viewed the care and nurture of the city’s children as a God-given responsibility of both fathers and mothers. Some parents, in turn, looked both to the city and to their own extended kinship networks, including Catholic relatives, to help them care for their offspring. When parents turned to Catholic kin, they directly challenged Genevan officials’ efforts to sever ties between the Reformed community and Catholics. The following examination of cases from the registers of the consistory and the city council illuminates the significant place of children and their material well-being in debates among parents, church, and city, and the unexpectedly persistent continuation of ties between Genevan residents and their Catholic neighbors.

Pages: 785 - 807