This essay argues that Calvinist versions of God and human redemption cannot be adequately grasped without studying the medieval traditions from which they emerged. Beginning with a close reading of Calvin's extremely violent understanding of the atonement, the essay moves through examinations of medieval versions of human redemption (literary, theological, and devotional) before turning to the political and ethical consequences of Calvin's reformation of these versions of God as played out in the Cromwellian regime of the mid-seventeenth century. Finally, the essay explores the reemergence of a version of God and charity recognizable to medieval readers in the writings of the “Ranter” Abiezer Coppe. Throughout, the essay demonstrates how models of redemption with their attendant versions of God have clear consequences for ethics and politics.

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