A verbose historical figure remains, through his own words, alive even when he is dead. But as one reads through John Calvin's own words, one becomes gradually unsure if John Calvin was ever alive even when he was alive. One gets the strange sensation when reading, for example, his explanation of the decretum horribile, that while damning a large chunk of the world to Hell may have been difficult for John Calvin's God, it was rather easy for John Calvin. To read him very long is to find a man who perpetually seemed not so much a stranger in his homeland or at home in a strange land, which are both perfectly Christian discoveries, but rather that saddest of all men: a stranger in a strange land; which is a man who isn’t at home even in himself.
John Calvin’s view of Christianity is like a rather poetic robot’s view of Christianity, or Mr. Spock's view of Christianity. It is a view of Christianity by someone who never fully grasped it, not because he never knew what it meant to be a Christian, but because he never knew what it meant to be a human.