Contesting the Limits of Civic Equality and Participation in the Age of Revolutions
Eric Brandom and Tommaso Giordani
The translation is accompanied by an introduction and by a set of notes which situate the text both in Sorel’s overall intellectual trajectory and in the fin de siècle debates from which it emerged.
Edited by Cesare Cuttica and Markku Peltonen
By offering a new historical account of such development, the book provides an innovative exploration of an important but overlooked topic whose relevance is all the more considerable in today’s political debates, civic conversation, academic arguments and media talk.
Contributors include Camilla Boisen, Alan Cromartie, Cesare Cuttica, Hannah Dawson, Martin Dzelzainis, Rachel Foxley, Matthew Growhoski, Rachel Hammersley, Peter Lake, Gaby Mahlberg, Markku Peltonen, Edward Vallance, and John West.
Edited by Simone Zurbuchen
A specialist on the law of nations in the Swiss context and on its major figure, Emer de Vattel, Simone Zurbuchen prompted scholars to explore the law of nations in various European contexts. The volume studies little known literature related to the law of nations as an academic discipline, offers novel interpretations of classics in the field, and deconstructs ‘myths’ associated with the law of nations in the Enlightenment.
From Confessional Churches to Polite Piety in the Dutch Republic
Edited by Joke Spaans and Jetze Touber
Contributors include: Wiep van Bunge, Frank Daudeij, Martin Gierl, Albert Gootjes, Trudelien van ‘t Hof, Jonathan Israel, Henri Krop, Fred van Lieburg, Jaap Nieuwstraten, Joke Spaans, Jetze Touber, and Arthur Weststeijn.
Wiep van Bunge
Current historiography tends to present the Huguenot intellectuals as a relatively isolated group within Dutch society. In this article it is argued that it is vitally important to reconnect the exiled Huguenots, intellectuals as well as entrepreneurs and craftsmen, with their Dutch environment, a society in transition, politically and economically, and far less tolerant than its reputation had made them to expect, in the decades before and after 1700. In the case of Pierre Bayle, this offers possibilities for a new approach and for a possible solution of the ‘Bayle Enigma’: how did Bayle see the relation between faith and reason? Among leading Bayle scholars only those that are themselves committed Protestants tend to claim Bayle for the fideist cause, whereas others see his work as the prequel to the dechristianised eighteenth century French Enlightenment. Here Bayle’s fideism is seriously questioned, arguing from an analysis of Bayle’s plea for toleration, as developed throughout the body of his published works. It is shown how, departing from the ineffability of religious truth and an emphasis on the subjective nature of faith, Bayle moves to a position where he categorically denies the possibility of tolerance within a confessional context, as every Christian church or sect will eventually suppress or persecute others in the cause of what they consider true religion. On the contrary, Bayle extolled the virtue of the atheist, who does not expect a reward, over the morality of any religious tradition or custom. Any attempt to cast Bayle as a pyrrhonist when it comes to religion and, more specifically, theology should be rejected: whereas the natural sciences provide useful knowledge, Bayle denies the possibility of a sound natural theology and radically separates reason and religion. In this he essentially agreed with some of his compatriots who, under persecution, adopted Spinozist positions already before 1685.
Johannes Duijkerius (1661/1662-1702) has attracted some scholarly attention as a minor Spinozist. This assessment may well be misconceived. He is best or rather almost exclusively known as the author of the novel Het Leven van Philopater (The Life of Philopater), a theological roman à clef published anonymously in 1691. A second, and likewise anonymous Vervolg van ’t Leven van Philopater (Sequel to the Life of Philopater, 1697), has often been ascribed to him as well. Although Duijkerius emphatically denied authorship of this sequel, a plainly Spinozistic work, the suspicion of heterodoxy stuck. A closer look at Duijkerius’s career supports the contention that Vervolg was indeed not his, and produces a much richer, more intriguing picture of a minor intellectual living in interesting times. Instead of a frustrated candidate for the ministry and reluctant ‘radical,’ Duijkerius proves to have been an ambitious schoolmaster in Amsterdam, who fully participated in the lively debates of the Early Enlightenment but did not transgress the boundaries of Reformed orthodoxy. His life and works provide a perfect example of the entanglement of religious and intellectual history in the early modern period.
Scholarship on Dutch academic culture of the Golden Age often evokes a ‘college of savants’ held to have been operative in Utrecht during the middle decades of that century, be it as a network of Cartesians or as a rather vague ‘club’ of sorts. In this article I weigh a variety of source materials, often highly polemically charged, to demonstrate that such a thing as the ‘college’ really did exist, and describe its members and activities from inception to demise. It emerges that a network of ‘progressives’ was established in the early 1650s with the appointment of the Cartesians Johannes de Bruyn, Regnerus van Mansveld, Johannes Georgius Graevius, Francis Burman, and Louis Wolzogen to the university faculty, due at least in part to the secret scheming of the physician and councillor Lambertus van Velthuysen. This Cartesian network would clash repeatedly with the city’s ‘conservative’ party, led by the influential theologian Gisbertus Voetius, often seeking freedom from the meddling and censure of the latter’s Dutch Reformed church. I furthermore show how Van Velthuysen and company also began meeting weekly in the mid 1660s as a scholarly society, discussing a variety of literary, scientific, and philosophical themes in that closed setting until the early-to-mid 1670s. Above all, this scholarly society provided Utrecht’s leading intellectuals with a platform where they could openly reflect on and think through the latest and most provocative ideas—including those of Spinoza—and their implications for religion, away from the alarmed cries of the Voetians and their prying interference.