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Calvin’s Ladder: A Spiritual Theology of Ascent and Ascension

, 2010
ISBN: 9780802864499

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This groundbreaking study offers a sweeping overview and reconsideration of John Calvin’s theology. In Calvin’s Ladder, Julie Canlis recovers some of the common (and neglected) themes that Calvin shared with the early Church Fathers. She shows that his works are soaked in a vibrant theology of “participation,” not unlike the Christian mystical tradition.

A work of both theology and spiritual formation, Calvin’s Ladder suggests a distinct new way of conceiving the relation between God and humanity—challenging not only old caricatures of Calvin but also our own self-portraits.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Save more when you purchase this book as part of the Eerdmans Reformed Thought and History Collection (23 vols.).

Resource Experts

Key Features

  • Explores common themes Calvin shared with the early Church Fathers
  • Examines Calvin as part of the Christian mystical tradition
  • Challenges old, over-simplified caricatures of Calvin


  • Ladders of Ascent: A Brief History
  • Creation: The Ground and Grammar of Ascent
  • Christ: The Ascending One
  • The Spirit: The Eucharistic Ascent
  • The Ascending Vision of Irenaeus
  • Reforming Ascent: Irenaeus, Calvin, and Christian Spirituality

Top Highlights

“Ascent not only represents the moment when the human Jesus was taken up to his Father but also when all of humanity is opened to this relationship as well.” (Page 2)

“Calvin brilliantly synthesized the two movements of ascent and descent into one primary activity: the ongoing story of God himself with us. God has come as man to stand in for us (descent), and yet as man he also leads us back to the Father (ascent).” (Page 3)

Praise for the Print Edition

It is rare to find a book that is historically rigorous, theologically rich, lucidly written, and at the same time pastorally engaging: this book by Julie Canlis is all of these. A superb exposition of a theme at the very heart of the Christian life.

Jeremy Begbie, Thomas A. Langford Research Professor of Theology, Duke Divinity School

Canlis gives us a striking interpretation of how Calvin and the Reformation understood the doctrine of salvation—an interpretation of wide ecumenical significance.

George Hunsinger, Hazel Thompson McCord Professor of Systematic Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary

Calvin comes into clear and compelling focus in Julie Canlis’ Calvin’s Ladder as a theologian and pastor who insists that the Christian life at the core is a matter of Christ drawing us into a full participation in all the operations of the Trinity and the community of the church. The academic precision on offer here is in the service of lived, not just argued, theology.

Eugene H. Peterson, professor emeritus of spiritual theology, Regent College

  • Title: Calvin’s Ladder: A Spiritual Theology of Ascent and Ascension
  • Author: Julie Canlis
  • Publisher: Eerdmans
  • Print Publication Date: 2010
  • Logos Release Date: 2016
  • Pages: 298
  • Language: English
  • Resources: 1
  • Format: Digital › Logos Research Edition
  • Subjects: Calvin, Jean, 1509-1564; Ascension of the soul; Spirituality › Reformed Church; Reformed Church › Doctrines
  • ISBNs: 9780802864499, 080286449X
  • Resource Type: Monograph
  • Metadata Last Updated: 2022-09-29T22:46:32Z

Julie Canlis won the Templeton Award for Theological Promise in 2007 for her work on John Calvin. She earned a doctorate from the University of St. Andrews and now works in a Church of Scotland parish.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


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Digital list price: $29.99
Save $6.09 (20%)