Die godsdienstig-teologiese en filosofiese konteks van die negentiende-eeuse Réveil in Nederland

  • Bennie J. van der Walt North-West University, South Africa

Abstract

Onder andere met die oog op meer duidelikheid oor hoe kerke (die gereformeerdes ingesluit) moontlik weer kan vernuwe en herleef, handel hierdie artikel oor die Réveil, ʼn opwekking of ontwaking in die Christendom (hier met die fokus op Nederland) gedurende die negentiende-eeuse Europa. Veral op die agtergronde waarteen die beweging afgespeel het, word gefokus. Na ʼn kort, inleidende tipering van die Réveil, volg die hoofdis. Daarin word vanuit twee kante daarna gekyk. Enersyds as ʼn beweging wat ʼn religieuse reaksie was teen die destydse droë, formalistiese, gereformeerd-skolastieke ortodoksie asook ʼn respons op lewensbeskoulik-filosofiese vlak teen veral die heersende maar sekulêre verligtingsdenke of Aufklärung. Andersyds is die Réveil-denkers op religieuse gebied beïnvloed deur die destydse piëtisme en filosofies deur die romantiek, ʼn stroming nog gewortel in die verligting, maar al op pad na die idealisme. Uit die komplekse interaksie is ʼn unieke beweging gebore wat nie tot die 19e eeu en Nederland beperk was nie, maar ʼn veel langer en wyer impak gehad het. Die slotafdeling wys op die belang daarvan ook vir die huidige Suid-Afrikaanse impasse ten opsigte van die kerklike en breëre Christelike lewe.

The religious-theological and philosophical context of the nineteenth century Réveil in the Netherlands
Beginning during the last years of the previous century, and continuing up to today, ordinary church members as well as leading theologians of reformed denominations (e.g. Reformed and Dutch Reformed) are earnestly discussing the lack of credibility and growth in their churches. They indicate the urgent need for ecclesiastical renewal. Questions like the following are asked. What could be the causes of the decay and decline? How could it be overcome? Can we perhaps learn something from our past?
Against this background this contribution firstly draws attention to an important, but in the Afrikaans and English speaking world little known movement – the Réveil or re-awaking across nineteenth century Europe. Although this movement occurred about two centuries ago some clear similarities between then and now exist. Furthermore, the impact of the Dutch Réveil was not confined to the relatively limited time and small geographical space (Holland) during its flourishing, but reverberated far beyond, resulting in a wide-ranging spectrum of Christian involvementsin society at large.
The second section of this essay provides a brief characterisation of the Réveil. The third sketch the different-rationalistic philosophical currents of the time, viz. scientialism, practical enlightenment and idealism, mentions some of their representatives as well as their influence on church and theology.
The main part of the investigation consists of section four and five. Section four indicates how the Réveil was, firstly, a personally-focussed religious reaction against dry, formalistic reformed-scholastic orthodoxy. Secondly, how it responded on a worldviewish-philosophical level to especially the current but secular enlightenment philosophy or Aufklärung.
Section five switches from reaction to influence and argues that the thinkers of the Réveil were religiously influenced by contemporary pietism and philosophically by romanticism. From these very complex interactions a unique renewal movement was born, a rich heritage. Against the backdrop of these varying historical currents are we able to assess how unique the Réveil really was.
The concluding section (six) indicates some points of relevance for our present impasse. Secularism, for instance, growing already during the Réveil, has increased tremendously today and may – in spite of the fact the many Christians are still unaware of its dangers in their own midst – be regarded as the number one challenge to a Christian way of thinking and living.

Published
2016-07-29
How to Cite
van der Walt, B. (2016). Die godsdienstig-teologiese en filosofiese konteks van die negentiende-eeuse Réveil in Nederland. Tydskrif Vir Christelike Wetenskap | Journal for Christian Scholarship, 52(2), 227-250. Retrieved from http://pubs.ufs.ac.za/index.php/tcw/article/view/398
Section
Artikels | Articles

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