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Predestination and Political Liberty

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Chapter Summary

The implications for early modern political theory and practice of the violent controversies about predestination are a topic well worth consideration. Dutch evangelicals collectively laid claim to the defence of political liberty, and also of freedom of conscience and freedom of worship, in virtue of their heroic resistance to the tyranny of Spain, the Duke of Alva, the Inquisition and popery generally. There was of course a conspicuous lack of freedom for Catholics in the United Provinces, and Dutch iconoclasm did not bespeak any practical endorsement of freedom of worship. Making sure that the 'true doctrine of predestination was taught and upheld in public was certainly a vital concern to the disputants. But this was not because of any ecclesiastical or political consequences that either party saw as flowing from either true or false doctrine.

Keywords: catholics; dutch iconoclasm; modern political theory; political liberty; predestination



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