Sestiende eeuse Nederlandse versetliteratuur, Johannes Althusius en die transformasie van natuurreg, natuurlike regte en gewetensvryheid in die vroeg-Reformatoriese politieke filosofie
Sixteenth century Dutch resistance literature, Johannes Althusius and the transformation of natural law, natural rights and liberty of conscience in early Reformational political philosophy
The Reformational resistance literature of the Dutch Revolt, 1555 to 1590, was an important historical impetus to the development of politico-philosophical principles in the Reformational fold. The culmination of this process was the systematic conceptualisation of these principles by the Herborn political philosopher, Johannes Althusius (1557-1638). The Dutch Revolt of the sixteenth century contributed in various respects to the development of a more nuanced Reformational political philosophy: stronger emphasis on personal liberty, constitutional rights and privileges, and representative political institutions ? all of which surfaced in Althusius’ politico-covenantal theory. Although the points of departure of classical Reformational political philosophy form the basis of the political thought of Althusius, his work also reflects the impact of sixteenth century Dutch thought and the profound changes brought about by the Dutch resistance literature of that century. Martin van Gelderen noted that the most important point of divergence between the political thought of Dutch Reformed Protestants and Calvin concerned freedom of conscience. Though Calvin was not at ease with notions of liberty, and, in contrast to Luther, Calvin even distrusted the idea of Christian liberty, as many had abused it to shake off all obedience to God and to break out into unbridled licentiousness, Dutch Reformed authors of the Revolt, grounded civil liberties and rights in the fundamental right to liberty of conscience. In this article the focus is on the transformation of the protection of civil liberties in the Reformational thought of the sixteenth century, the reception thereof in Althusius’ politico-philosophical work and the contribution of sixteenth century Dutch Reformed authors to the transformation of the classical Reformational points of view.
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