religious minorities and cultural diversity in the dutch republic

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  • Religious Minorities and Cultural Diversity in the Dutch Republic

    Studies Presented to Piet Visser on the Occasion of his 65th Birthday

    Edited by

    August den Hollander, Alex Noord, Mirjam van Veen, Anna Voolstra


    Michael Driedger, Gary Waite


    This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV

  • Contents

    Notes on Contributorsvii


    A Reappraisal of the Contribution of Anabaptists to the Religious Culture and Intellectual Climate of the Dutch Republic6

    Gary K. Waite

    I Beg Your Pardon: I am a Heretic! A Countryside Conventicle in Holland in the 1520s29

    Hans de Waardt

    The Edition History of the Deux Aes Bible41August den Hollander

    Mattheus Jacobszoons New Testament and the Addition of Registers and the Epistle to the Laodiceans to Dutch Mennonite Bibles 73

    Wim Franois

    Caelatum in transitu: Karel van Manders The Nativity Broadcast by Prophets of the Incarnation and its Visual Referents89

    Walter S. Melion

    ...your praise worthy town Deventer... Caspar Coolhaes on Unity and Religious Tolerance111

    Mirjam van Veen

    The Spirituality of Hil124Alastair Hamilton

    Lusthof des Gemoets in Comparison and Competition with De Practycke ofte oefffeninghe der godtzaligheydt: Vredestad and Reformed Piety in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Culture133

    Willem J. op t Hof

    This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV

  • vi contents

    Being Mennonite: Neighborhood, Family, and Confessional Choice in Golden Age Amsterdam 150

    Mary S. Sprunger

    Membership Required? The Twofold Practice of Believers Baptism within the Amsterdam Mennonite Lamist and Zonist Congregations during the 17th and 18th Centuries171

    Anna Voolstra

    Christian Hoburgs Lebendige Hertzens-Theologie (1661): A Book in the Heart of Seventeenth-Century Spirituality192

    Willem Heijting

    Religion and Spinoza in Jonathan Israels Interpretation of the Enlightenment208

    Douglas H. Shantz

    Mennonite Preachers on the Dutch Pastoral Market, 16501865222Fred van Lieburg

    God Ensures the Existing Order: A Lutheran M inisters Sermon for a Day of Repentance in the Year 1788 235

    Christoph Burger

    Mennonites and Politics in Late Eighteenth-Century Friesland249Yme Kuiper

    The Tares in the Wheat. Henry E. Doskers Calvinist Historiography of Dutch Anabaptism268

    George Harinck

    Index of Names280Index of Places285

    This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV

  • koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2014|doi 10.1163/9789004273276_003This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV

    A Reappraisal of the Contribution of Anabaptists to the Religious Culture and Intellectual Climate of the Dutch Republic

    Gary K. Waite

    The cultural contributions of seventeenth-century Dutch Anabaptistsboth the conservative Mennonite and in particular the more liberal Doopsgezinden or baptism-minded camps which deemphasized formal confessions of faith in favor of a minimalistic theology that allowed collaboration with other pious nonconformistshave been the focus of Piet Vissers original research. In numerous insightful studies he has neatly traced how this religious minority moved from a quasi-revolutionary movement to persecuted minority and finally to an accepted and assimilated part of Dutch culture.1 This chapter will therefore suggest some further directions that might be taken in exploring the contributions of Anabaptists and their heirs to the unusual culture and mind-set that came to characterize the Dutch Republic.2

    For a small minority religious group, the Anabaptists and their heirs have had the benefit of significant scholarly attention in the last century, with five academic journals and two major encyclopedias devoted to them.3 Since the 1970s scholars have portrayed Anabaptism as a diverse, populist, and radical reform movement that competed seriously with the magisterial Lutheran and Reformed versions.4 One feature of the early Dutch Anabaptist stream was that it was dominated by artisans, not university educated leaders. It was there-

    1 See Alistair Hamilton, Sjouke Voolstra, and Piet Visser, eds., From Martyr to Muppy: A Historical Introduction to Cultural Assimilation Processes of a Religious Minority in the Netherlands: The Mennonites (Amsterdam, 1994).

    2 See Willem Frijhofff, Religious Toleration in the United Provinces: From Case to Model, in Calvinism and Religious Toleration in the Dutch Golden Age, ed. R. Po-Chia Hsia and Henk van Nierop (Cambridge, 2002), pp. 2752.

    3 The journals are: Mennonite Quarterly Review, Doopsgezinde Bijdragen, Mennonitische Geschichtsbltter, the Journal of Mennonite Studies, and Conrad Grebel Review; the encyclope-dias are the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online ( and Mennonitisches Lexikon (in addition to the older printed edition, see the newer contributions online at See also George H. Williams, The Radical Reformation (Kirksville, MO, 1992); and John D. Roth and James M. Stayer, eds., A Companion to Anabaptism and Spiritualism, 15211700 (Leiden, 2007). See also S. Zijlstra, Om de ware gemeente en de oude gronden: Geschiedenis van de dopersen in de Nederlanden 15311675 (Hilversum, 2000).

    4 See now Roth and Stayer, A Companion to Anabaptism and Spiritualism (see above, n. 3).

  • 7A reappraisal of the Contribution of Anabaptists

    This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV

    fore something of an artisans Reformation, giving voice to the religious aspi-rations of urbanites typically excluded from civic governance.5 Over time the educational and professional aspirations of later Mennonites and Doopsgez-inden led some of their number to seek higher levels of education and entry into professional occupations. By 1600, several Doopsgezind elders were physi-cians with university degrees, while in 1735 the Doopsgezinden had established their own seminary. Even so, the very structure of the Doopsgezind and Men-nonite fellowshipswith congregationally elected elders who were expected to have alternate occupations continued to reflect, in theory if not in practice, an artisanal, non-hierarchical model of church structure and governance.6

    Most of the research on the Dutch Anabaptist traditions has focused on their internal dynamics and their adaptation to the changing circumstances they faced. Whether they intended to or not, Anabaptists also contributed sig-nificantly to various aspects of the creative climate of the Dutch Republic. Study of the role played by religious dissidents in the English Scientific and Industrial Revolutions has similarly revealed how their rejection of traditional authorities on the religious front paved the way for new approaches in other intellectual and cultural fields.7 So too did giving voice to artisans. This chapter

    5 Gary K. Waite, The Anabaptist Movement in Amsterdam and the Netherlands, 15311535: An Initial Investigation into its Genesis and Social Dynamics, The Sixteenth Century Journal 18 (1987), pp. 24964.

    6 See Zijlstra, Om de ware gemeente (see above, n. 3), pp. 2503 and 43842. By the middle of the seventeenth century some of the Waterlander preachers were receiving a salary (ibid., 440). See also Jelle Bosma and Piet Visser, Inleiding: over ketters en kerkvolk, notabelen en nieuwe rijken, socialisten en liberalen, vrijzinnigen en orthodoxen, heterodoxen en homosek-suelen, lesbos en ander ongeregeld, in Gedoopt! Vijf eeuwen doopsgezinden in Nederland, special issue of Doopsgezinde Bijdragen, 3536 (2009/2010), ed. J. J. Bosma and Piet Visser (Hilversum, 2011), pp. 921.

    7 The classic study is Robert K. Merton, Science, Technology and Society in Seventeenth Century England (Bruges, 1938); see also Steven Shapin, The Scientific Revolution (Chicago, 1996), pp. 78 and 13455; and Ernst P. Hamm, Mennonites, Science and Progress in the Dutch Enlightenment, in The Global and the Local: The History of Science and the Cultural Integra-tion of Europe. Proceedings of the 2nd ICESHS (Cracow, Poland, September 69, 2006), ed. M. Kokowski, online edition,, 6507; On the Dutch, see Michael Driedger, An Article Missing from the Mennonite Encyclopedia: The Enlightenment in the Netherlands, in Commoners and Community, ed. C. Arnold Snyder (Kitchener, 2002), pp. 10120; and Piet Visser, Keurige ketters. De Nederlandse doopsgezinden in de eeuw van de Verlichting (Amsterdam, 2004), and Enlightened Dutch Mennonitism: The Case of Cornelius van Engelen, in Grenzen des Tufertums / Boundaries of Anabaptism: Neue Forschungen, ed. Anselm Schubert, Astrid von Schlachta, and Michael Driedger (Gtersloh, 2009), pp. 36994.

  • 8 waite

    This is a digital offfprint for restricted use only | 2014 Koninklijke Brill NV

    will suggest that the intellectual trends that began in the radical vortex of the early Reformation had long lasting impact, much of it unanticipated by those early pious Anabaptists who would have been afffronted to be told that their ideas, for which many of them died, contributed, for example, to the rise of religious skepticism.8 They may, however, have been happier to hear that their sacrifices paved the way for the initial experiments in religious toleration.

    In his impressive tour de force, Jonathan I. Israel argues that Benedict Spinoza (163277) was the principal carrier of the radical Enlightenment whose rational critique of revealed religion was formulated within the unusual context of Amsterdams climate of religious variety and tolerance. When in 1656 he was expelled from hi


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