Beyond Minimalism

Didactic Secularisation in De Veritate

in Grotiana
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This paper offers an interpretation of De veritate that resolves its ostensible self-contradictions and uncovers its coherence when it is read as a text designed primarily with an irenic purpose, a didactic method, and having a secularising effect regardless of the author’s intention.

The article has seven sections: (1) Introduction; (2) Proofs of Religious Truth (Standards of good religion: ethics, rewards, and the violence of conquest; Testimony and consensus; Miracles; Oracles and prophecies; Simplicity); (3) Religious Practice (Ceremonies and rites; Sacrifices; Adiaphora); (4) Distinctive Christian Truths (The Trinity; Jesus Christ; Son of God, Son of Man; Death, Resurrection, and Ascension; Free will; Immortality; Doctrinal omissions); (5) Proofs from Providential History (The Bible’s textual integrity; The spread of Christianity; The early Church and the Bible), (6) Aspects of Reception; and (7) Conclusion: Christianity according to De veritate (Summary of findings; Thesis 1: Secularising legalism; Thesis 2: Didactic secularisation).

Beyond Minimalism

Didactic Secularisation in De Veritate

in Grotiana




J.P. HeeringHugo Grotius as Apologist for the Christian Religion: A Study of His Work De veritate religionis christianae (1640) (Leiden: Brill2004) pp. 102–3. Dietrich Klein ‘Hugo Grotius’s Position on Islam as Described in De veritate religionis Christianae Liber vi’ in ed. by Martin Mulsow and Jan Rohls Socinianism and Arminianism: Antitrinitarians Calvinists and Cultural Exchange in Seventeenth-Century Europe (Leiden: Brill 2005) 149–73 at p. 159.


HeeringGrotius p. 106.


tr. IV.viii.118; 1629. ed IV.146–7: ‘Neque est quod miretur quisquam passum esse summum Deum ut mira quædam à pravis Spiritibus ederentur cum deludi talibus præstigijs meriti essent qui à veri Dei cultu pridem defecerant.’ The pagan miracles’ breach of human laws is in the preceding sentence. In the same context Grotius describes the pagan attribution of miracles to humans and to natural phenomena as the legal crimes of high treason and rebellion against God on IV.138 and 140 of the 1629 ed.


HeeringGrotius p. 14.


HeeringGrotius p. 69. Somos Secularisation pp. 289–91 322 386.


AugustineOn the City of Godx.


 E.g. HeeringGrotius pp. 209–12. Nellen ‘Minimal’ p. 40.


 See for instance SomosSecularisation pp. 413–4 for the same technique in De iure praedae.


HeeringGrotius p. 215 with references and summary of their 1640–1 exchange.


References in HeeringGrotius p. 9.


Cited in HeeringGrotius p. 73. Note that my concern here is Grotius’s original intention not the later missionary uses of his work.


HeeringGrotius pp. 200–2.


HeeringGrotius p. 70.


HeeringGrotius p. 200.


HeeringGrotius p. 36.


 See HeeringGrotius p. 71 references to relevant passages in other Grotius works.


HeeringGrotius pp. 62 71 242 passim.

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