Scriptural Authority and Biblical Criticism in the Dutch Golden Age: God's Word Questioned

ISBN : 9780198806837

Henk J. M. Nellen; Dirk van Miert; Piet Steenbakkers; Jetze Touber
464 ページ
153 x 234 mm

Scriptural Authority and Biblical Criticism in the Dutch Golden Age explores the hypothesis that in the long seventeenth century humanist-inspired biblical criticism contributed significantly to the decline of ecclesiastical truth claims. Historiography pictures this era as one in which the dominant position of religion and church began to show signs of erosion under the influence of vehement debates on the sacrosanct status of the Bible. Until quite recently, this gradual but decisive shift has been attributed to the rise of the sciences, in particular astronomy and physics. This authoritative volume looks at biblical criticism as an innovative force and as the outcome of developments in philology that had started much earlier than scientific experimentalism or the New Philosophy. Scholars began to situate the Bible in its historical context. The contributors show that even in the hands of pious, orthodox scholars philological research not only failed to solve all the textual problems that had surfaced, but even brought to light countless new incongruities. This supplied those who sought to play down the authority of the Bible with ammunition. The conviction that God's Word had been preserved as a pure and sacred source gave way to an awareness of a complicated transmission in a plurality of divergent, ambiguous, historically determined, and heavily corrupted texts. This shift took place primarily in the Dutch Protestant world of the seventeenth century.


List of Illustrations
List of Abbreviations
List of Contributors
Editors' Introduction
1 Henk Nellen and Piet Steenbakkers: Biblical Philology in the Long Seventeenth Century: New Orientations

Part I: Famous Cases of pia fraus
2 Grantley McDonald: The Johannine Comma from Erasmus to Westminster
3 Jan Krans: Stronger than Fiction: The 'Velesian Readings' of the Greek New Testament

Part II: The Boundaries of Early Modern Orthodoxy Challenged
4 Dirk van Miert: The Janus Face of Scaliger's Philological Heritage: The Biblical Annotations of Heinsius and Grotius
5 Anthony Ossa-Richardson: The Naked Truth of Scripture: Andre Rivet between Bellarmine and Grotius

Part III: Old Testament Judaism
6 David Kromhout and Irene E. Zwiep: God's Word Confirmed: Authority, Truth, and the Text of the Early Modern Jewish Bible
7 Benjamin Fisher: God's Word Defended: Menasseh ben Israel, Biblical Chronology, and the Erosion of Biblical Authority

Part IV: Benedictus de Spinoza: Ancestry and Heritage
8 Anthony Grafton: Spinoza's Hermeneutics: Some Heretical Thoughts
9 Jonathan Israel: How Did Spinoza Declare War on Theology and Theologians?

Part V: Innovative Exegesis by Remonstrant, Mennonite, and Other Liberal Thinkers
10 Kęstutis Daugirdas: The Biblical Hermeneutics of Philip van Limborch (1633--1712) and Its Intellectual Challenges
11 Jean Bernier: Pierre Bayle and Biblical Criticism
12 Maria-Cristina Pitassi: Bayle, the Bible, and the Remonstrant Tradition at the Time of the Commentaire philosophique
13 Scott Mandelbrote: Witches and Forgers: Anthonie van Dale on Biblical History and the Authority of the Septuagint

Part VI: Orthodox Reformed Exegetes Enter the Fray
14 Aza Goudriaan: Biblical Criticism, Knowledge, and the First Commandment in Gisbertus Voetius (1589--1676)
15 Jetze Touber: Biblical Philology and Hermeneutical Debate in the Dutch Republic in the Second Half of the Seventeenth Century

Part VII: Biblical Criticism in the Eighteenth Century
16 Martin Mulsow: The Bible as Secular Story: The Northern War and King Josias as Interpreted by Hermann von der Hardt (1660--1746)
17 Bernd Roling: Critics of the Critics: Johann Scheuchzer and His Followers in Defence of the Biblical Miracle

Index of Names
Index of Biblical Passages


Dirk van Miert is Assistant Professor of Early Modern Cultural History at the University of Utrecht.; Henk Nellen is Senior Research Member at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences at Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands, and Emeritus Professor of the History of Ideas of Early-Modern Times in the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication, Erasmus Universiteit, Rotterdam. ; Piet Steenbakkers is Senior Lecturer of the History of Modern Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Utrecht, and Emeritus Professor of Spinoza Studies at the Erasmus Universiteit, Rotterdam. ; Jetze Touber is Lecturer in the Department of Languages, Literature, and Communication at the University of Utrecht.