Published in four volumes between 1671 and (posthumously) 1704, Geeraardt Brandt's monumental History of the Reformation and other Ecclesiastical Transactions in and about the Low-Countries challenges abiding assumptions about Reformation, confession, and modernity. Recasting the Reformation as a long series of jurisdictional conflicts that begin in the early Middle Ages and continue well into the Dutch Golden Age and beyond, Brandt illustrates how most, if not all, “theological” doctrinal conflicts are at a basic level contests of jurisdiction and imperium. Moreover, Brandt redefines the very term “Reformation” against confession—not with reference to Luther or Calvin but to Desiderius Erasmus, the irenicist hero of the History, for whom doctrine is remarkably simple, unchanging, and conducive to unity. Based on this account of minimal orthodoxy, Brandt introduces a striking vision of “mutual forbearance” that complicates vaunted accounts of Dutch tolerance.

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