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FROM MODESTY TO MEDIOCRITY: Regulating Public Dispute, 1670-1840: The Case of Dutch Divines

FROM MODESTY TO MEDIOCRITY: Regulating Public Dispute, 1670-1840: The Case of Dutch Divines Charity and peace for all mankind are usually ranged among the characteristic aspects of the message put forward in the sacred texts on which the Christian religion is based. Yet the official interpreters of these texts (theologians and ecclesiastical office holders) in Western countries of the early modern period are often associated with exactly the opposite: with hostility, antagonism, belligerence — in short, with what was at the time called odium theologicum or theological hatred. This term of opprobrium was usually bestowed on theologians by the objects of their attack and by other immediate adversaries, by critics of ecclesiastical influence (often jurists and philosophers; sometimes physicians), and by the representatives of suppressed religious minorities. One would of course do well not to accept such accusations at face value. Nevertheless, it is a notion that crops up regularly in early modern intellectual and religious history that theologians, especially those who belonged to the state church and held orthodox doctrinal views, too often displayed an antisocial tendency toward disputatiousness. The expression odium theologicum (like its twin, rabies theologorum, or the insanity of theologians) seems a contradiction in terms, and drawing attention to such contradictions was a major theme of early http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Common Knowledge Duke University Press

FROM MODESTY TO MEDIOCRITY: Regulating Public Dispute, 1670-1840: The Case of Dutch Divines

Common Knowledge , Volume 8 (2) – Apr 1, 2002

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2002 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0961-754X
eISSN
1538-4578
DOI
10.1215/0961754X-8-2-310
Publisher site
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Abstract

Charity and peace for all mankind are usually ranged among the characteristic aspects of the message put forward in the sacred texts on which the Christian religion is based. Yet the official interpreters of these texts (theologians and ecclesiastical office holders) in Western countries of the early modern period are often associated with exactly the opposite: with hostility, antagonism, belligerence — in short, with what was at the time called odium theologicum or theological hatred. This term of opprobrium was usually bestowed on theologians by the objects of their attack and by other immediate adversaries, by critics of ecclesiastical influence (often jurists and philosophers; sometimes physicians), and by the representatives of suppressed religious minorities. One would of course do well not to accept such accusations at face value. Nevertheless, it is a notion that crops up regularly in early modern intellectual and religious history that theologians, especially those who belonged to the state church and held orthodox doctrinal views, too often displayed an antisocial tendency toward disputatiousness. The expression odium theologicum (like its twin, rabies theologorum, or the insanity of theologians) seems a contradiction in terms, and drawing attention to such contradictions was a major theme of early

Journal

Common KnowledgeDuke University Press

Published: Apr 1, 2002

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