jg.43 (2011) 1-2

De Achttiende Eeuw 43 (2011) nr.1

Eveline Koolhaas-Grosfeld, Verklaring der Plaat

Christophe Madelein, Introduction: Enlightenment? Ideas, transfers, circles, attitudes, practices

John Robertson, Do we need more than one Enlightenment?
The significance of the Enlightenment is once again highly contested, within both public and scholarly discourse. Faced with such criticism, the scholarly tendency to deny that there ever was one Enlightenment has intensified: many prefer to think in terms of plural ‘Enlightenments’. This paper asks whether such disaggregation of Enlightenment is necessary or desirable. It points to two recent developments in scholarship which are re-assembling the Enlightenment: the study of ‘trans-national’ Enlightenment, and the revival of interest in irreligious Enlightenment, spear-headed by Jonathan Israel. Neither is without problems: ironically, the renewed interest in irreligion has offered encouragement to the parallel idea of a ‘religious Enlightenment’. This paper argues, however, that what characterized and unified the Enlightenment was not so much a direct engagement with religion, as a refocusing of intellectual attention on the improvement of the human condition in this world. As an instance of this development, the paper outlines the way in which the study of the earliest development of society became the subject of ‘philosophical’ rather than sacred history.

David Sorkin, Four characteristics of the Religious Enlightenment
The Enlightenment can no longer be seen as a secular or secularizing phenomenon. It had a central component of believers who constituted the ‘Religious Enlightenment’, which cut across confessional lines and national borders; it included Protestants, Jews and Catholics. The religious Enlightenment was characterized by a commitment to reasonable belief, which meant a balance between faith and reason, science and scripture. Reasonable belief was supported by updating inherited forms of exegesis, especially the principle of accommodation, which allowed religious enlighteners to reduce the ‘scope’ of Scripture to salvation, thereby eliminating extraneous historical elements. It was also characterized by a commitment to toleration grounded in ecclesiastical natural law theory. All religious enlighteners advocated toleration, yet that toleration was selective. No one would tolerate atheists, and every religious enlightener had a sect or denomination that was considered beyond toleration. The religious Enlightenment developed and was an integral part of the public sphere of the eighteenth century. Religious enlighteners actively contributed to all aspects: indeed, many of them gained greater reputations for writing history, aesthetics or belles-lettres than for theology. Finally, the religious Enlightenment proposed the moderate idea of a ‘state church’ as an alternative to the then radical notion of separation of church and state or the retrogressive notion of a confessional state.

Peter Clark, Spaces, circuits and short-circuits in the ‘European Enlightenment’
This paper looks to compare and contrast the accelerators and constraints – the circuit-breakers – affecting the performance and dissemination of two important new forms of cultural and leisure activity during the Long Eighteenth Century: first clubs and societies, and the second new style commercial sports. Using mainly data from the freemasons, we see how voluntary associations became widely dispersed across Europe though with significant local variations. By comparison new sports made only limited impact outside England and more traditional games continued to hold sway in much of Europe.

Alise Jameson, Enlightenment authorship? The case of The Society for the Encouragement of Learning
The Society for the Encouragement of Learning (1735-1749) provided an alternative publication route that offered authors a higher degree of financial independence and possession of their copyright, as the publisher was eliminated from the chain of book production. However, the Society foundered in its attempt at transforming established publication conditions. This piece reevaluates a unique authorship practice that translates Enlightenment ideas for profit and progress, as well as exposes both the complex and contradictory nature of authorship and the Enlightenment and the impact of the latter’s values on the professional development of the former.

Hanco Jürgens, How to study the history of change? The Enlightenment and the Sixties
In this essay, the historiographies of the Enlightenment and of the Sixties are compared with each other. The two main schools of research of eighteenth-century history are the new cultural history (or the social history of ideas) and the history of thought. These schools are juxtaposed with the two main scholarly traditions of the history of the Sixties, which are generation research and the history of mentalities. Furthermore, two issues which are crucial for the understanding of the history of change in both periods are discussed: the history of nature and the role of history. Theo most striking difference between the historiography of the Enlightenment and of the Sixties is the role ascribed to philosophy in both periods. A closer look at this difference should lead to a more balanced picture of the importance of ideas in history.


De Achttiende Eeuw 44 (2012) nr.2 

Eveline Koolhaas-Grosfeld, Verklaring der Plaat

Frasie Hertroys, Coöperatie of conflict? Relaties tussen VOC-dienaren en jezuïeten in Azië, circa 1680 tot 1795
When Jesuits traveling in Asia met servants of the Dutch East India Company (VOC) at trading posts between the Cape of Good Hope and China, both cooperation and conflict can be observed during the period between circa 1680 and 1795. This analysis shows that political interest in Asia determined relations between Jesuits and VOC-servants to a greater extent than religious tensions. Jesuits who shared strategic information with the Dutch could be rewarded by transport on a VOC-ship. In Batavia however, national rivalry caused the deportation of French Jesuits to the Dutch Republic. Wishes of Asian princes moreover shaped Dutch willingness to transport missionaries. In China the Emperor determined the degree of cooperation between VOC-ambassadors.

C. Houtman, Hoe een rooms-katholiek boek ‘geprotestantiseerd’ werd. Over een bijzondere achttiende-eeuwse nadruk
By comparing four fragments of two eighteenth-century ‘biblical histories’, namely De Historien des Ouden en Nieuwen Testaments which appeared in 1683 with the Roman Catholic Amsterdam publisher the Widow J.J. Schippers, and, secondly, Historische verklaring der voornaamste geschiedenissen van het Oude en Nieuwe Testament which was published in 1743 by the Amsterdam Protestant bookseller Jacobus Loveringh, it is demonstrated that Geschiedenissen is a Protestant revision of Historien, a Dutch translation from the French of the so-called ‘Royaumont Bible’ from 1670, a writing by the hand of the Jansenist Nicolas Fontaine.

Helen Metzelaar, De grote reis van Jan Alensoon (1683-1769): van zijn gezang was ‘ieder een verstelt en verwondert’
While most seventeenth and eighteenth century Grand Tours were trips of Europe meant to complete a young man’s education, Jan Alensoon is forty years old when he leaves Leiden in 1723. A learned connoisseur with clear opinions, Alensoon visits countless churches and palaces en route, especially in Italy, his primary destination. His record of the time he spends in Rome mainly consists of numerous Latin inscriptions on ancient and Renaissance tombs and gravestones, one of his many hobbies. Alensoon also demonstrates an avid interest in musicians and the musical practices of the many cities he visits. In Venice he calls on the composer Benedetto Marcello and the famed singer Faustina Bordoni. A talented amateur singer, he never passes up an opportunity to display his vocal prowess, consistently noting that everyone is impressed with his vocal range (three octaves) and his ability to quickly switch between high and low notes. He demonstrates his vocal talents with the same hit during the entire trip of more than a year: a dialogue between a male and female, which he performs by himself.

Amber Oomen-Delhaye, ‘Geef acht! – (mijn spleen!) – rechtsom keer!’ Politieke kaders in het literair-kritisch tijdschrift De Post van den Helicon (1788-1789) van Johannes Kinker
De Post van den Helicon is a vivid literary-critical periodical written by Johannes Kinker. It deals with contemporary literature, criticizing it in a creative way, using Sternian irony in a personal and non-traditional style. Its ultimate goal is to dismiss the neoclassical assessment model and by doing so De Post van den Helicon proves to be innovative and progressive. Although De Post is a literary-critical periodical, it also reveals concerns with the contemporary political situation. Two parties are at war in De Post, political writings are criticized and political terms are used throughout De Post. In his periodical Kinker passes judgment on all parties and doesn’t reveal any preference for one or another.

Marleen Brock, Groningse studenten op reis. Natuur- en landschapsbeleving rond 1800 (Scriptieprijs 2009)
In the summer of 1809 six students from Groningen made a walking tour through the German countries. Using their published travel story as the main source I describe how their experiences of nature relate to prevailing opinions about art, philosophy and society. The world-view of the Groninger students turns out to be surprisingly many-sided. Enlightened ideas about Bildung and cultivated citizenship go hand in hand with a religiously inspired nature observation and classicist notions about beauty and truth, but also with sublime feelings and romantic historical sensations. The case of this travel document shows the entanglement of Classicism, Enlightenment and Romanticism in the Netherlands around 1800.


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