At his New York Times “Beliefs” column, Peter Steinfels reviews Bruce Gordon’s new biography of John Calvin and discusses the legacy of the Swiss theologian and leader, born on July 10, 1509:

Professor Gordon, who teaches Reformation history at Yale Divinity School, knows exactly how complicated it is to trace modern realities to 16th-century roots. Indeed, putting Calvin back in the context of that very different world, a world suffused with religion and animated by spiritual forces, was, he says, one of the great challenges of writing his book.

So is it fanciful, he was asked this week, to detect powerful traces of Calvin’s work and thought in, say, the American Constitution or in the Declaration celebrated this weekend? “Absolutely not,” he said.

Read the rest of the piece here.