Enlightened Religion

From Confessional Churches to Polite Piety in the Dutch Republic


Editors: and
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 The idea of a fairly unidirectional ‘rise of paganism’, or ‘secularisation’, has been replaced by a much more variegated panorama of interlocking changes—not least in the nature of both religion and rationalism.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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Joke Spaans, Ph.D. (1989, Leiden University), is Associate Professor for the history of Christianity at Utrecht University. She publishes on early modern Dutch religious history — her most recent monograph is Graphic Satire and Religious Change, The Dutch Republic 1676-1707 (Brill, 2011).
Jetze Touber, Ph.D. (2009, Groningen University), is Postdoctoral Fellow at the Department of History, Ghent University. He has published on the interrelations between religion, scholarship and science in early modern Europe, including the monograph Spinoza and Biblical Philology in the Dutch Republic (1660-1710) (Oxford University Press, 2018).
“The volume focuses on developments in the Dutch Republic at the turn of the eighteenth century, a society unique for its tolerance both of a wide variety of confessions and of radical philosophical ideas [...] these trends helped contribute to a new kind of Protestantism in the Enlightenment, where Protestant believers of all kinds were redefining how their beliefs could coexist in a time and place of growing possibility and knowledge. These essays will be valuable reading for scholars interested in the continuing evolution of the various Protestant Christianities in the post-Reformation era.”
Christine Kooi, Louisiana State University. In: The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 71, No. 1 (2020), p. 197.

“[The editors] have taken an important step forward to a new understanding of that complex period called the Enlightenment; their volume […] will no doubt prompt further studies in these fields.”
Francesco Quatrini, Università degli Studi di Napoli L’Orientale. In: Renaissance and Reformation, Vol. 44, No. 2 (2021), pp. 273–275.

“Der Band vereint eine Mixtur von mitunter sehr speziellen, meistenteils aber interessante und große Linien ziehenden Beiträgen. Diese eröffnen zwar nicht eine völlig neue Perspektive auf den religiösen Wandel in den Niederlanden am Beginn des 18. Jahrhunderts, doch regen sie sehr wohl dazu an, sich der Gestalt des Protestantismus in Holland etwas differenzierter und auch mit einem frischem Blick zuzuwenden, gerade auch unter Einbeziehung von bislang übersehenen schriftlichen und visuellen Quellen.”
Jürgen Overhoff, Münster, in: Das achtzehnte Jahrhundert
[“The volume combines a mixture of sometimes highly specialized, but mostly interesting and broad-based contributions. These do not open up a completely new perspective on the religious change in the Netherlands at the beginning of the 18th century, but they do stimulate studying the shaping of Protestantism in Holland in a more differentiated way, with a fresh look, especially with the inclusion of previously overlooked written and visual sources.”]

List of Illustrations
About the Authors

Introduction: Enlightened Religion: From Confessional Churches to Polite Piety in the Dutch Republic
Joke Spaans and Jetze Touber

PART 1: Trends

1 From Religion in the Singular to Religions in the Plural: 1700, a Faultline in the Conceptual History of Religion
Henri Krop

2 Tracing the Human Past: The Art of Writing Between Human Ingenuity and Divine Agency in Early Modern World History
Jetze Touber

3 Colonies of Concord: Religious Escapism and Experimentation in Dutch Overseas Expansion, ca. 1650–1700
Arthur Weststeijn

4 Negotiating Ideas: The Communicative Constitution of Pietist Theology within the Lutheran Church
Martin Gierl

5 The Collegie der Sçavanten: A Seventeenth-Century Cartesian Scholarly Society in Utrecht
Albert Gootjes

part 2: Individuals

6 “Let no citizen be treated as lesser, because of his confession”: Religious Tolerance and Civility in De Hooghe’s Spiegel van Staat (1706–7)
Frank Daudeij

7 The Power of Custom and the Question of Religious Toleration in the Works of Marcus Zuerius Boxhorn (1612–1653): An Investigation into the Sources of the Transformation of Religion around 1700
Jaap Nieuwstraten

8 Romeyn de Hooghe’s Hieroglyphica: An Ambivalent Lexicographical History of Religion
Trudelien van ’t Hof

9 Popularizing Radical Ideas in the Dutch Art World of the Early Eighteenth Century: Willem Goeree (1635–1711) and Arnold Houbraken (1660–1719)
Jonathan Israel

10 Bayle’s Skepticism Revisited
Wiep van Bunge

11 Between the Catechism and the Microscope: The World of Johannes Duijkerius
Joke Spaans

12 Warning against the Pietists: The World of Wilhelmus à Brakel
Fred van Lieburg

Cultural historians, historians of ideas, of philosophy, and of religion, interested in the debate over the place of religion in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century Dutch Republic. Keywords: controversy literature, epistolary culture, early modern knowledge cultures, Enlightenment encyclopedias, intellectual history, pietism, political theory, Romeijn de Hooghe, theology
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