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Acceptilatio. Hugo Grotius on Satisfaction

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In 1617, Hugo Grotius had his treatise On satisfaction published. Explicitly directed against Faustus Socinus’s 1594 book On Jesus Christ as our Saviour, it purports to contribute to the confutation of the Italian scholar’s teachings, which in the Netherlands were widely regarded as utterly heretical. The way in which he perceived Socinus, however, was mainly determined by the image of Socinianism as disseminated by its detractors, foremost Sibrandus Lubbertus of Franeker. Grotius did read Socinus’s work, but not with much care, and at least unaccommodatingly. The reason for Grotius to intervene in this theological debate is often assumed to have been to vindicate his and his ecclesiastical party’s views on religion as orthodox, or at least far removed from Socinianism and other heresies. In contrast, it is proposed here to take the explicit motivation in the preface at face value, and assume that Grotius wrote it to refute Socinus on the basis of his juridical, philological, and historical errors, simply because he could, and genuinely abhorred Socinianism as he had learned to understand it.

Affiliations: 1: Leiden University,


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