In the Netherlands

  • H. A. Enno van Gelder


What I have called the major Reformation of the 16th century is represented in the Netherlands most clearly by Cassander, Coornhert and Lipsius. They follow one another chronologically in this order and they show in that order an increasing subjection to the influence of the Classics and a reduced need of supernatural salvation in the christian sense. The first of these men is a Christian carrying out humanistic studies, while the third is a humanistic philosopher who is a faithful Christian as well.


Human Dignity Religious Idea Religious Matter Western EUROPE True Religion 
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  1. 1.
    For the ideas of the Prince of Orange cf. the article of the present author: “De religieuze ontwikkeling bij de Prins van Oranje”: Nieuw Theologisch Tijdschrift, 1933: 101-148, and of the nobility of his circle cf. the same, Erasmus, schilders en rederijkers (1959): 90 ff.Google Scholar
  2. 1.
    Nam de fide in Christum mortuum et resuscitatum pro nobis collocanda et charitate Deo et proximo exhibenda, controversia nulla est. Porro in his duobus capitibus pietatis summa consistit. Quid enim est aliud pietas quam officium praestare Deo? Quod officium quid aliud est quam eius obtemperare mandatis? [….] Hoc est mandatum eius, ut credamus in nomine Filii eius Jesu Christi et dili-gamus alterutrum.… Qui enim diligit proximum, legem implevit. — Georgius Cassandri Opera omnia (1616): fo. 794.Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    Opera omnia: fo. 894 (Praefatio to Cassander’s Consultatio ad imperatorem Ferdinandum …); fo. 917, 620; — Maria E. Nolte, Georgius Cassander en zijn oecu-menisch streven (1951): 165-168.Google Scholar
  4. 1.
    Loc. cit.: 50 ff.; Quare qui recta sententia de Christo capite iunguntur et chari-tatis et pacis vinculo, etiam si opinionibus quibusdam et ritibus discrepant, reliquo Ecclesiae corpori connectuntur: nullo modo ut schismatici et ab Ecclesia alieni habendi sunt, etiam [he means Lutherans and Calvinists] si ab alia Ecclesiae parte potentiore et gubernationem obtinente reiecti et ab eorum societate et communione, separati videantur (Opera omnia: fo. 788).Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    Nolte, op. cit.: 168.Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    Loc. cit.: 91, 178, 62.Google Scholar
  7. 4.
    Loc cit.: 57.Google Scholar
  8. 1.
    Nolte, op. cit.: chap. II.Google Scholar
  9. 2.
    Dilthey, Weltanschauung und Analyse: 109.Google Scholar
  10. 3.
    In Coornhert’s days they all shared the ideas of the early Baptist “teacher” Menno Simonsz and were called Mennists.Google Scholar
  11. 4.
    Zedekunst dat is Wellevenskunst, vermids waarheyds kennisse van den mensche, van de zonden ende van de dueghden, nu allereerst beschreven int nederlandsch, ed. by Bruno Becker, 1942 (quoted: Wellevenskunst).Google Scholar
  12. 5.
    A. Zijderveld, “Verwaarloosde ‘Renaissance’ litteratuur”: Keur uit de werken van A. Zijderveld (1953): 52 f.Google Scholar
  13. 1.
    J. D. Meerwaldt, Vormaspecten (1958): 12.Google Scholar
  14. 2.
    Wellevenskunst: 4de Boek, III.Google Scholar
  15. 3.
    Dilthey, op. cit.: 107.Google Scholar
  16. 4.
    Bronnen tot de hennis van het leven en de werken van D V. Coornhert, uitgegeven door Bruno Becker (1928), letter no. 38: “van de hanteringe der sacramenten; ver-vallen ende wederoprechten derzelven.Google Scholar
  17. 5.
    Coornhert, De blinde voor Jericho (one of his comedies); — Dilthey, op. cit.: 97.Google Scholar
  18. 6.
    Bruno Becker, “Coornhert, de 16e eeuwsche apostel der volmaakbaarheid”: Ned. Archief voor Kerkgeschiedenis, N.S. XIX (1926): 75.Google Scholar
  19. 1.
    H. Bonger, De motivering van de godsdienstvrijheid bij Dirck Volckertszoon Coornhert (1954): 52.Google Scholar
  20. 2.
    Loc. cit.: 45, 48; — Wellevenskunst, iste Boek: XII, XIV.Google Scholar
  21. 3.
    In order to be able to speak responsibly about this, he learnt Latin: this opened up for him the writings of the Church Fathers (Bonger, op. cit.: 48); during his lifetime he wrote numerous tracts discussing these dogmas in opposition to the theologians of tbe Dutch Reformed Church.Google Scholar
  22. 4.
    See note 6 p. 313.Google Scholar
  23. 5.
    Cf. inter alia letter no. 4 in: Bronnen; — Becker, “Coornhert de apostel”: 67; — Bonger, op. cit.: 42.Google Scholar
  24. 6.
    He devotes a whole chapter in his Wellevenskunst to “reason” which differentiates man from the animals, which directs the will to that which is good, while “misuse of reason” causes man to pursue evil.Google Scholar
  25. 1.
    Bronnen, letter no. 33.Google Scholar
  26. 2.
    Coornhert could also speak of a “slavish will,” he would however mean by it that man lets his own will die in order to let God’s will live in him (Bronnen, letter no. 12).Google Scholar
  27. 3.
    Bonger, op. cit.: 57.Google Scholar
  28. 4.
    P. van der Meulen, De Comedies van Coornhert (1945): 64.Google Scholar
  29. 1.
    See for instance the ideas of a well-known and influential magistrate, father of the famous poet Pieter C. Hooft, in my De levensbeschouwing van Cornelis Pieterszoon Hooft, burgemeester van Amsterdam, 1547-1626 (1918).Google Scholar
  30. 1.
    For the latter two I follow the comprehensive treatment by Jason L. Saunders, Justus Lipsius, the Philosophy of Renaissance Stoicism, 1955.Google Scholar
  31. 2.
    Loc. cit.: 197, 200, 128.Google Scholar
  32. 3.
    Loc. cit.: 162.Google Scholar
  33. 4.
    Loc. cit.: 132.Google Scholar
  34. 1.
    Loc. cit.: 131, 123.Google Scholar
  35. 2.
    The formulation is of Saunders, the quotation from: Lipsius, Physiologica, I: 5; loc. cit.: 125.Google Scholar
  36. 3.
    Saunders, op. cit.: 137.Google Scholar
  37. 4.
    The translation is of Saunders, loc. cit.: 164.Google Scholar
  38. 5.
    Joost van den Vondel is the poet laureate of 17th century Holland; he was a Mennist, but was converted to Catholicism; his work was highly valued both by the protestant and catholic Dutchmen; Rudolf Otto published a translation of Vondel’s hymn in the appendix of Das Heilige.Google Scholar
  39. 6.
    Translation of Saunders, op. cit.: 138.Google Scholar
  40. 1.
    Tini M. van de But, Lipsius’ De Constantia en Seneca (1946): 59 ff, 75 ff.Google Scholar
  41. 2.
    Saunders, op. cit.: 141-143, 158, 157 (words between inverted commas are of Saunders not of Lipsius).Google Scholar
  42. 3.
    Dilthey, Weltanschauung und Analyse: 445.Google Scholar
  43. 4.
    Saunders, op. cit.: 156, 152, 155, XV, 211.Google Scholar
  44. 1.
    Quotation in: Dilthey, op. cit.: 445.Google Scholar
  45. 2.
    Although he does his best to show that the oldest christian thinkers were close to the Stoa in this respect and vice versa the (Roman) Stoa close to Christianity.Google Scholar
  46. 3.
    Saunders, op. cit.: 147 ff., 69, 91, 92, 99, 118, 96, 100-101.Google Scholar
  47. 4.
    Loc. cit.: 71, 72.Google Scholar
  48. 1.
    Quotation from Lipsius, Manudictio, II: io in: Saunders, op. cit.: 86, cf. also: 85.Google Scholar
  49. 2.
    Van de Bilt, op. cit.: chap. Ill, IV; — Saunders, op. cit.: passim.Google Scholar
  50. 1.
    omnis religio et nulla religio sunt mihi unum et idem. Et apud me lutherana et calvinistanim doctrina pari passu ambulant. (Saunders, op. cit.: 19 II.).Google Scholar
  51. 2.
    The papal pestilence which has to be eradicated (Saunders, op. cit: 12).Google Scholar
  52. 3.
    Alph. Roersch, Juste Lipse (1925): 11.Google Scholar
  53. 4.
    When Lipsius returned to Brabant, Scaliger said: “this resulted from the superstition of that troublesome woman, his wife, who disturbed his sick soul through ambition” (quoted in Saunders, op. cit.: 37 note, cf. Van der Bilt, op. cit.: 12).Google Scholar
  54. 1.
    Saunders, op. cit.: 52.Google Scholar
  55. 1.
    I do not forget Juan and Alonso Valdés, who are foremost in undergoing Erasmus’ influence, but the first emigrated early to Italy and the latter excelled in reproducing and propagating the ideas of the great humanist, without adding much to them. (Bataillon, Erasme en Espagne: chap. VII, VIII).Google Scholar
  56. 2.
    Bataillon dedicates a paragraph to Cervantes in his last chapter, XIV: “Derniers reflets d’Erasme”; it concerns more the author than his religious ideas.Google Scholar
  57. 1.
    The present author has treated this subject more elaborately in his recent book: Erasmus, schilders en rederijkers (1959).Google Scholar
  58. 1.
    Cf. the picture in the National Museum, Vienna, reproduced: Max J. Fried-lander, Pieter Bruegel (1927), no. 47.Google Scholar
  59. 1.
    The drawings are reproduced, with an introduction and analysis in: J. G. van Gelder en Jan Borms, Brueghel’s zeven deugden en zeven hoofdzonden (1939).Google Scholar
  60. 2.
    Fides maxime a nobis conservanda est praecipue in religionem, quia deus prior et potentior est quam homo.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1961

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  • H. A. Enno van Gelder

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