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Coffee Colored Calvinists

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Neo-Calvinist Perspectives on Race in the Dutch Colonial Empire

image of Journal of Reformed Theology

This article aims to discuss neo-Calvinist perspectives on race in the Dutch Colonial Empire. How did the colonial racial practice affect the Dutch neo-Calvinist perspectives on race? This article is based on new research: an analysis of a race-debate among neo-Calvinist church leaders in the Netherlands and colonial Indonesia. It is a debate which took place in the Dutch Christian weekly De Heraut in 1893 and 1894 and focused primarily on the practice of racial separation in the reformed church of Batavia. This article will describe, analyze and criticize this debate and bring it into context by making use of a model for racial categorization proposed by the Dutch scholar Dienke Hondius. In the end, it argues that the main argument of the neo-Calvinists for defending a separation policy was based on a linguistic, societal and cultural distinction. The neo-Calvinists however, ignored their own racial prejudice and preserved their church-practice of racial disjunction.

Affiliations: 1: Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and, Utrecht University, The Netherlands


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