Consent, Coercion, and Conditions to Marriage in Geneva

Marriage certificate

“In Calvin’s Geneva, as much as today, marriage was a contract between a fit man and a fit woman of the age of consent.  It was, of course, much more than a contract: it was a spiritual, social, natural, and economic relationship that could involve many other parties besides the couple. But marriage was never less than a contract. It could not be created unless both the man and woman consented voluntarily to this union.”

So begins Witte and Kingdon’s fourth chapter on marriage in Geneva. In this chapter the authors explore how Geneva dealt with coerced marriages or false promises of marriage that were never fulfilled. Continue reading