Isaac da Costa (1798-1860) se besware teen die gees van sy tyd
Isaac da Costa’s (1798-1860) objections against the spirit of his time: trumpet-call of the Dutch Reveille and its relevance for today
This reconnaissance focuses, firstly, on a today unfortunately little-known but important phase in the development of an integral Christian tradition, viz. the Dutch Reveille (of approximately 1815-1865). Questions like the following are addressed: What characterised this awakening or revival? How did it develop and who were its main representatives? How did it react against the growing secularisation of society in the Netherlands, a result of the European rationalist Enlightenment?
Secondly, the investigation zooms in on the life and work of one of the representatives of this remarkable Christian movement, Isaac da Costa (1798-1860), enabling the contemporary reader to better understand and appreciate his booklet Bezwaren tegen de geest der eeuw. (Objections against the spirit of the time), first published in 1823. In this trumpet-call of the Reveille, the writer analysed various aspects of the Dutch society of his time, indicating the detrimental influence of secular Enlightenment rationalism. In spite of the assumption of this philosophy to be neutral, tolerant and liberal, it is considered by Da Costa to be intolerant towards Christian influence in the public domain. In this and other respects Da Costa’s popular little book bears continuing relevance up to today’s increased secular world.
Therefore, the third main section first traces how the idea of secularisation developed up to the present and how it is interpreted in the Western world since Da Costa’s wake-up call nearly two hundred years ago. Secondly, it directs attention to the fact that today, in a post-secular world of many competing religions, a secular – neutral-liberal approach (inherited from the Aufklärung and rightly criticised by Da Costa) is unable to provide religious freedom and justice in the public square.
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