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In: Religious Minorities and Cultural Diversity in the Dutch Republic


In 1700 the Reformed minister Wilhelmus à Brakel published a voluminous compendium of theology in the vernacular for a Dutch lay audience. The book immediately proved a best-seller. Still in print, it remains highly valued as a work of devotional literature among Dutch neo-calvinists. In the third edition (1707) the author added a new chapter, delineating Reformed orthodoxy against various forms of ‘natural’ religion. Brakel appears to have been very apprehensive of the developments in German Pietism. The genesis and content of the new chapter, warning his audience ‘against Pietists, Quietists, and … Spiritless Religion Under the Guise of Spirituality’ show how a prominent minister like Brakel found himself moving the frontiers between Reformed orthodoxy and rationalism, reacting against some of the pietisms of his day, and evolving towards a ‘new Protestantism.’

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In: Enlightened Religion


In the 'genealogy' of Dutch national bibliographies there follows - after the Catalogus universalis by Broer Jansz and lists published by Johannes Janssonius van Waesberge between 1675 and 1684 - a hand-written booksellers catalogue by Pieter van der Aa in Leiden. It was copied, augmented and published in 1743 by his pupil Johannes van Abkoude. Publication was accompanied by conflicts with several rivals, like Bernardus Noordbeek in Amsterdam and Nicolaas Goetzee in Gorinchem. Van Abkoude defeated his colleagues' disputes thanks to the quality and public function of his work. It was not only intended for booksellers, but also for book lovers, especially for persons with a theological interest. Reinier Arrenberg, coming from a comparable religious lay culture, developed into a follower of the Christian but tolerant Dutch Enlightenment. Inspired by learned people and other socially involved individuals he himself promoted 'the education of the people' by composing, translating and publishing stories for young and old. His revised new edition of Van Abkoude's catalogue is characterised by the removal of all small publications, such as pamphlets, popular literature and religious or political controversial writings for the reason that they were no longer commercially important. The booksellers catalogues reflected the eighteenth-century developments of levelling up book prices and marketing copyrights. As precursors of national bibliographies the catalogues of Van Abkoude, Arrenberg and De Jong will keep their value.

In: Quaerendo