Britain and the Bestandstwisten
Eric Platt examines British participation in the Dutch religious and political disputes of the early 17th century (the Bestandstwisten) and its significant impact on both countries. Although the disputes began over predestination, they quickly took on political overtones as the two sides, the Remonstrants (Arminians) and Contra-Remonstrants, vehemently debated proper church-state relations and leading Dutch officials began supporting differing sides. By 1611 King James I and other important British figures had also become closely involved. Although the King's initial impulse was to defuse the conflict, he eventually threw his considerable influence behind the Contra-Remonstrants. This assistance helped them and their political allies secure victory, and a large British contingent participated in the Synod of Dordt that took place in the aftermath of the conflict. Not all British influences, however, came about as a result of direct involvement. Both sidesgreatly relied on British precedents and sources in arguing their positions. The conflict also had an impact on Great Britain. Observers there closely followed developments in the Bestandstwisten and repeatedly expressed concern that the conflict would spread to the British Isles. These fears proved true as the Dutch disputes contributed to increased British disputes about predestination during the 1620s.Scholars have long recognized the importance of the Bestandstwisten and Synod of Dordt for Dutch history and the development of Reformed doctrine. But there has never before been published a full-length treatment of the British involvement in the conflict and its impact on both countries. As the world prepares to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Synod of Dordt, Platt's book fills this scholarly gap. Eric Platt, Ph. D., is assistant professor of history at the St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York.
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