Openjournals.nl / BMGN - Low Countries Historical Review / Volume 136 - 1 - 2021 / Article

Of Church Orders and Postmodernism: The Convent of Wesel, the Construction of the Dutch Reformed Church Order and the History and Nature of History

Philip Benedict |

Abstract

Self-avowedly influenced by the postmodernist critique of nineteenth-century ‘positivism’, Jesse Spohnholz's ambitious and multiple prize-winning 2017 The Convent of Wesel: The Event that Never was and the Invention of Tradition speaks at once to the political and institutional history of the Reformed churches of the Netherlands and northwestern Germany, to the role of archiving practices in shaping historical understanding, and to the nature of historical study. This review offers both an extended synopsis and a critique of the book. While recognizing its considerable achievement, it questions its framing of its findings about the Reformation era with reference to the ‘confessionalization’ debate, its reliance on a prefabricated narrative about archives as instruments of power and marginalization, and its mischaracterizations of post-Rankean historical practice and theory. Implications of the book’s findings for further research into the politics and personalities of the Reformation in the Low Countries are also suggested.

Authors
Philip Benedict
Biography

Philip Benedict is Professor Emeritus at the Institute for Reformation History of the University of Geneva. Among his many publications are two that examine the institutional history of Europe’s Reformed churches: Christ’s Churches Purely Reformed: A Social History of Calvinism (2002) and (edited with Nicolas Fornerod), L’organisation et l’action des Églises réformées de France (1557-1563). Synodes provinciaux et autres documents (2012). His most recent book, Season of Conspiracy: Calvin, the French Reformed Churches, and Protestant Plotting in the Reign of Francis II (1559-1560), appeared from the American Philosophical Society Press in 2020. E-mail: Philip.Benedict@unige.ch.

Published 2021-03-30
Issue Vol. 136 No. 1 (2021)
Section Discussion
Download
How to cite
Benedict, P. (2021). Of Church Orders and Postmodernism: The Convent of Wesel, the Construction of the Dutch Reformed Church Order and the History and Nature of History. BMGN - Low Countries Historical Review, 136(1), 59-77. https://doi.org/10.18352/bmgn-lchr.10897
Download Citation
Endnote/Zotero/Mendeley (RIS) BibTeX
License

Copyright (c) 2021

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

This journal is powered by  
Openjournals.nl