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Personal profile

Research interests

I study Christian history and thought in the Renaissance and Early Modern period, especially:  the Reformations in France and Geneva, John Calvin, Theodore Beza, and Calvinism, dissimulation and lying, divine accommodation, the history of prophecy, and the interpretation of the Bible.  

Currently:  I have two books currently under contract:  Godly Cunning: Calvin’s Plan to Establish the Kingdom of Christ in France (Oxford Studies in Historical Theology) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming, 2024) and Calvinism: A Very Short Introduction 2nd edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming, 2025).  I will submit a Leverhulme Fellowship application in November to write a monograph on Roman Catholic and Protestant understandings of divine accommodation during the medieval and early modern eras.  I am additionally working on various book chapters and journal articles.

Research Supervision

I am happy to supervise postgraduate studies in any of the above fields, as well as:  Erasmian humanism, the Scottish and English Reformations, Post Reformation orthodoxy, and the American Reformed tradition.

PhD/MPhil Supervision

Eva Tal Glikman 

David Gordon

Iain McGee

Joachim Foot

Matthew Miller

Teaching

I teach units in Patristic, Medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation history and thought, sex, marriage and social issues, alchemy and science, church and state, history of interpretation of the Bible, manuscripts and textual criticism, Calvin and the Reformed tradition, Islam and comparative religions. I am happy to supervise MA and UG dissertations in these areas. 

Other information

I have taught at University of Bristol since 2008.  I was born in Washington D.C. and completed his doctoral work at University of Edinburgh with David F. Wright as his PhD supervisor. I was a research fellow at Birmingham University before moving to Bristol.  I have been a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society since 2016.

Selected Publications, media, and presentations (in five sections)

(for a fuller list click on the 'Research Outputs' tab) 

A) AUTHORED BOOKS

2024                 Godly Cunning: Calvin’s Plan to Establish the Kingdom of Christ in France. (Oxford Studies in Historical Theology) Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2017                 Calvinism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press - 2nd edition out in 2025.

    - Chinese translation (2018), Stephen Chan. Virtue and Wisdom Link Books, Ltd.

2014                 John Calvin as Sixteenth-Century Prophet. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2011                 Establishing the Remnant Church in France; Calvin’s Lectures on the Minor Prophets, 1556-1559. Leiden and Boston: Brill.

2006                 Divinity Compromised; A Study of Divine Accommodation in the Thought of John Calvin. Dordrecht: Springer.

B) EDITED BOOKS

2021                 Brill’s Companion to the Reformation in Geneva. Ed. Jon Balserak. Leiden and Boston:  Brill. 

2017                 Zwingli to Amyraut: Exploring the Growth of European Reformed Traditions. Eds Jon Balserak and Jim West. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

2015                 Learning from the Past: Essays on Reception, Catholicity, and Dialogue in Honour of Anthony N. S. Lane. Eds Jon Balserak and Richard Snoddy. London: Bloomsbury / T & T Clark.

2006                 Calvinus Evangelii Propugnator. Eds J. Balserak, A.N.S. Lane, D.F. Wright. Grand Rapids:  Calvin Studies Society.

C) JOURNAL ARTICLES AND BOOK CHAPTERS

2022                 "John Calvin" in The Bloomsbury Sourcebook in Christian-Muslim Relations. Ed. Clinton Bennett. London: Bloomsbury (forthcoming).

2022                 "Peter Martyr Vermigli’s Exegesis of the Pauline Letters" in Paulusauslegungen – Reformation Readings of Paul: (History of Biblical Exegesis). Eds. Krauter and Manuel Nägele. Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr Siebeck (forthcoming).

2022                 "Calvin, Jean." In: The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 4th edition. Ed.  Andrew Louth. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (forthcoming) 

2022                  "Calvinism." In: The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 4th edition. Ed.  Andrew Louth. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (forthcoming) 

2020                 “‘The church that cannot err.’ Early Reformed Thinking on the Church” in ‘Church’ at the Time of the Reformation; Invisible Community, Visible Parish, Confession, Building…? Ed. Anna Vind. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 53-66.

2019                 “Geneva’s Use of Lies, Deceit, and Simulation in their Efforts to Reform France, 1536-1563” in Harvard Theological Review 112/1, 76-100.

2017                 “The Renaissance Impulses that drove Theodore Bibliander to Publish Machumetis Saracenorum” in The Muslim World; special issue: Islam and the Protestant Reformation 107/4 (Oct), 684-697.

D) POPULAR ARTICLES, TEACHING, AND MEDIA

2022               Course on John Calvin and course on Martin Luther for www.massolit.io/.

2021               Course on Predestination for www.massolit.io/.

2020               Interview with Jane Whyatt on (www.resonancefm.com) to discuss predestinationand decision-making on Password. Date: Sept 9.  

2019               “The Meaux Circle Meaux Circle and the Holy Triumvirate” in Christian History, issue 132, 19-21.  

2018               Interview on “Voice of Islam Radio” (www.voiceofislam.co.uk) to discuss predestination, Calvinism, and divine accommodation. Date: Feb 7.  

2017               Interview published as “Reformation publications to celebrate the 1517 anniversary” in Ministry & Leadership Magazine, Reformed Theological Seminary. http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/rts/ml_2017fall/index.php#/35 

E) INVITED PRESENTATIONS  

2021              "The Reformation of Doubt: Early Modern Interpretations of John 20: 24-31" Dr. Barbara Pitkin. First respondent:  Jon Balserak.  Second respondent:  Erik de Boer.  Center for Dutch Reformation Studies, Theological University Kampen, the Netherlands

2021              Commentor on panel:  "Calvin's Geneva, Women, and Worship; Honoring the Career of Elsie A. McKee," Invited by Amy Nelson Burnett. Panel for Sixteenth Century Studies Conference, San Diego, CA, USA, October 30 (panel included Karin Maag, G. Sujin Pak, John Thompson, Haruko Nawata Ward)

2019              Commentor on panel: "Recent Trends in the Study of Calvin and Calvinism," Marking the SCSC’s 50th Anniversary. Invited by Amy Nelson Burnett. Panel for Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, October 17-20. (panel included Bruce Gordon, Karin Maag, Rebekah Earnshaw)

2019              "Theodore Beza on Prophets and Prophecy." Sessions entitled, Beza at 500, organized by Scott Manetsch and Kirk Summers. It honoured the 500th year anniversary of the birth of Theodore Beza at Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, October 17-20.

2019              "Comparing Ulrich Zwingli and John Calvin’s calling as Prophets," the Congress on the Zurich Reformation, Zurich, Switzerland, February 6-9.

2018              "The Difficulty of Patristic Reception during the Reformation," University of Alabama, Classics Department. Invited by Kirk Summers, September 20.

 
 

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    Balserak, J., 17 Feb 2022, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Louth, A. (ed.). 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

  • Calvinism

    Balserak, J., 17 Feb 2022, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Louth, A. (ed.). 4th ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

  • Comparing Zwingli and Calvin's Calling as Prophets

    Balserak, J., 22 Jan 2022, Kongress Zürich - Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation in Zurich, 6-9 February 2019: Zürcher Beiträge zur Reformationsgeschichte. Zurich: Theologischer Verlag Zürich, Vol. 29. p. 183-193 11 p.

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