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Mennonites and Doopsgezinden in the Netherlands, 1535–1700

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Chapter Summary

Through the ages the history of the Dutch Anabaptism/Mennonitism has been described through a variety of perspectives, contexts and paradigms. The situation of being a religious minority implied that Mennonites and Doopsgezinden had to develop a common approach in their socio-economic and intellectual engagement with the “outside world,” which gradually became their “inner world.” The followers of Menno have continually seen themselves confronted with processes of appropriation: they have incorporated the outside world albeit hesitatingly according to their own insights about biblical and societal norms and values. This external dynamic was considerably complicated and promoted by an on-going internal dynamic, related to the dogmatic latitude of the Anabaptists that resulted from the absence of a central, firmly-established doctrinal authority apart from the gospel. This chapter takes into account the manner in which the religious, political, socio-economic, and cultural contexts became factors of change in the Mennonite and Doopsgezind experience.

Keywords: biblical norms; Doopsgezinden; Dutch Anabaptism; gospel; Mennonites; Netherlands



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