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Eentfoldich End Kortt Discours Van Henlegginge Der Huiden Riligionssverschillen, So Hier Alss Anders-Swaer in Der Evangelische Christenheitt Van Langerhandt40 Erressen

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image of Nederlands Archief voor Kerkgeschiedenis / Dutch Review of Church History
For more content, see Church History and Religious Culture.

The archives of the town of Kampen in Overijssel (the Netherlands) contain an early 17th-century manuscript by an unknown author. The manuscript is about an ecclesiastical conflict in the period preceding the Synod of Dort (1618-1619). The document might be related to peace efforts as also made by Hugo Grotius in the dispute between Remonstrants and Contraremonstrants. The author does not aim at a doctrinal decision or strict definition, but at accommodation and tolerance. The idea of an evangelical-Lutheran contribution to solve the party conflict in order to reach a conciliation between Lutherans and Reformed also strikes one as 'Grotiaans'. Another feature which makes this document look like the efforts of Grotius is the link between political and ecclesiastical peace. People should accept each other as citizens, despite their religious differences. The document contains a couple of indications which provide a profile of the author. This profile is applied to the border province of Overijssel, with concentration on the town of Kampen. The author may have been the headmaster of a Latin School. In 1617, this school in Kampen was run by Marcus Gualtherus, a scholar from Weinheim in the Lower Palatinate, near Heidelberg. He studied at Heidelberg. His scholarship, his Palatine origin, his many-sided contacts, all this corresponds with features of the treatise. The author shows familiarity with theological issues within the Lutheran Church in Germany. In his proposal, the five articles of the Remonstrants should be approached with the help of the Palatine experience. The writer of the treatise refers to the 16th-century Lutheran creeds and reformers like Luther, Bucer and Zwingli. He indicates the important role of the CA in achieving unity among Lutherans in Germany. This confession is quoted repeatedly as a model for the Protestants in the Netherlands. At the synod a final draft could be formulated with the aid of the Book of Concord. A final text might be endorsed by all evangelical churches. With the acceptance of this document upon which all parties agree, a general concordia of the whole of evangelical Christendom will have been established.


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