Professor Bouwsma studies the theologian John Calvin as a way to bring into focus the cultural, psychological, and intellectual problems of the sixteenth century. He argues that Calvin represents an historical moment of transition from traditional modes of philosophical and religious thought to modern ones. Beginning with a description of the traditional culture of Calvin's time, and of the moralism which exerted such a powerful hold over medieval thought, he goes on to identify the crucial issue in this transition as the ability of a culture to manage the anxiety of existence. Medieval society, by creating simplified polarities such as Good and Evil, he argues, was conspicuously successful in performing this task. Finally Bouwsma provides a critical analysis of this medieval philosophy, and explains the significance of Calvin's concept of a "New Order" in providing an ethical system which no longer relied upon these established views of the world.