The study of the life and thought of John Calvin is not merely the study of a figure who once graced the scene of history, but is also an important means of gaining a deeper understanding of the present. Even though comparatively few read Calvin's works today, his thought is subtly woven into the texture of modern Western society. Such diverse areas as the modern market economy, American civil religion and the French language, not to mention contemporary evangelicalism, have all been decisively shaped by the life and ideas of this Frenchman who has been rightly described as ‘the theologian of the Reformation'. And although there have been a veritable multitude of articles and books on Calvin's life and thinking, this one by Theodore Beza retains a distinct uniqueness. It is the earliest life of the Reformer and was written within weeks of Calvin's death. Moreover, its author was one who intimately shared Calvin's labours and who, with Calvin and a band of other godly pastor, sought to create a Christian community in Geneva that would be known throughout Europe as a mirror of apostolic Christianity. As such, Beza's biography of his friend contains invaluable insights about the pathway of reformation and renewal.