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Edited by Simone Zurbuchen

The Law of Nations and Natural Law 1625-1800 offers innovative studies on the development of the law of nations after the Peace of Westphalia. This period was decisive for the origin and constitution of the discipline which eventually emancipated itself from natural law and became modern international law.

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.

Enlightened Religion

From Confessional Churches to Polite Piety in the Dutch Republic

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Edited by Joke Spaans and Jetze Touber

The history of the relation between religion and Enlightenment has been virtually rewritten In recent decades. The idea of a fairly unidirectional ‘rise of paganism’, or ‘secularisation’, has been replaced by a much more variegated panorama of interlocking changes—not least in the nature of both religion and rationalism. This volume explores developments in various cultural fields—from lexicology to geographical exploration, and from philosophy and history to theology, media and the arts—involved in the transformation of worldviews in the decades around 1700. The main focus is on the Dutch Republic, where discussion culture was more inclusive than in most other countries, and where people from very different walks of life joined the conversation.

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.

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Wiep van Bunge

Abstract

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.

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Joke Spaans

Abstract

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.

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Albert Gootjes

Abstract

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.

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Arthur Weststeijn

Abstract

The historiography of early modern Dutch colonial expansion in the East and the West shows a rather stark division between studies on governance and trade on the one hand, and those on Christian mission on the other. This chapter explores a third field of research: the impact of cultural and religious entanglement in the context of the voyages of discovery, the creation of trade networks, and colonial enterprise. After an analysis of the legal justifications for rule and proselytizing overseas, either by conquest (Batavia, Brazil), first occupation (New Netherland, Cape Colony), or treaty (Ternate, Decima) the chapter presents three very different yet related projects for religious regimes in the Dutch overseas colonies of the second half of the seventeenth century: the first by the Leiden professor of theology Johannes Hoornbeeck, the second by the freethinkers Franciscus van den Enden and Pieter Plockhoy, and the third by the Labadists. Despite having very different inspirations, all three projects aimed to overcome the confessional strife afflicting Dutch society at the time. While Hoornbeeck’s ideal was missionary, Van den Enden and Plockhoy’s inclusive, and the Labadists’ sectarian, they all looked to the overseas colonies not merely as a source of worldly riches (for which purpose they had been founded in the first place) but most of all for spiritual gain. All these projects, however, ended as brilliant failures because of the problematic relationship between the secular sovereign and the public Reformed Church. Successful mission had to await the Dutch missionary societies of the later eighteenth century. Early modern settlements overseas can be seen as shelters for escapism and laboratories for experimentation, and they functioned as a safety valve to release interconfessional pressure.

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Henri Krop

Abstract

Guy Stroumsa has identified a paradigm shift that led to the modern pluralistic notion of religion. This chapter shows how, in the Dutch Republic, this shift emerged out of a general and long-lasting conversation on tolerance and diversity conducted by philosophers and theologians. Although well before 1700 the orthodox had also accepted the existing practices of tolerance, Reformed authors of all stripes regarded it as an—inevitable and deplorable—evil, because they all held that true religion should be based on correct theology. Consequently they recognized only one true religion: that is, their own. Over the course of the seventeenth century the knowledge of God necessary for true religion radically changed character. Instead of an extensive and logically coherent edifice of scholastic theology, the dictates of one’s conscience became the rule of faith. For radical thinkers the Bible became irrelevant, at least to the possession of divine knowledge. However, even these radical philosophers remained within the traditional paradigm in which there was one true religion among many forms of idolatry. Only after 1700 did the new religious paradigm develop in two traditions. The tolerance debate caused some influential scholars of natural law and philosophers to underline the individual character of all religions. Other scholars focused on the universal character of religion arising from human nature, which made the differences among existing religions insignificant.

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Volume-editor Joke Spaans and Jetze Touber

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Frank Daudeij

Abstract

De Hooghe used the genre of chorography not only to praise the Dutch Republic but also to mirror it so it could be measured against his own ideals of a well-ordered polity. Reading the Spiegel van Staat [Mirror of the State] in conjunction with his other work, the earlier interpretations of De Hooghe as an adherent and popularizer of radical philosophical ideas must be rejected. Rather, De Hooghe was a faithful disciple of Hugo Grotius, who extolls unity as the foundation of good governance and the guarantor of liberty. Although religion should be free, the clergy should be firmly under the control of the secular government so as to prevent confessionally driven conflict and division within the body politic. De Hooghe makes innovations to Grotian notions, integrating them into a view on the crucial role of local custom, which has an almost sacred value. In turn, De Hooghe’s valuation of custom derives from the works of skeptical authors and satirists such as Barclay and Boccalini, and shows some affinity with the political theory of Spinoza, although it deviates from the latter’s work on certain essential points. The erudite artisan De Hooghe represents a new type of opinion leader emerging at the outset of the eighteenth century, one who, moreover, extolled a new concept of the fatherland.