In 1637 the Aberdeen Doctors, in response to a request by the irenicist John Dury, penned a treatise proposing fraternal peace between Reformed and Lutheran churches in Europe. Despite common recognition of the Doctors as early-modern irenicists if not forerunners of modern ecumenism, their treatise on Protestant unity has attracted little scholarly interest. The only modern scholar to comment upon that work perceived heteredox impulses at work in the Doctors' proposal.
Through careful analysis of the Doctors' treatise and comparison of it to early modern Reformed works of the same genre, this article aims to shed greater light on the nature—the grounds, scope, and limits—of the Doctors' irenicism. Against the judgment that their proposal for peace marked some level of departure from the confessional orthodoxy of their day, their work is shown to be thoroughly consistent with, and very likely indebted to, programs for Protestant peace advanced by orthodox peers and predecessors in the international Reformed tradition.