Friday, April 21, 2006


In a refreshing sign of modernity, women may soon be allowed to become members of the 'Governmental Reformed Party' (Staatkundig Gereformeerde Partij) in the Netherlands.

But they will NOT be permitted to run for office.

This according to the party leadership, as detailed in the party report 'Male And Female He Created Them' (Man en vrouw schiep Hij hen), published today.

I expect that in typical Dutch fashion, if this proposal is approved by a two thirds majority of the party, a number of dissidents will break away to form a new reformed political party.

Note: Reformed in this context means Dutch Reformed Church - of which there are more than forty two sects active in the Netherlands, including two major branches, and several smaller and more doctrinaire groups. To the outsider one of the major disputes between the groups appears to be whether they are 'hervormd' (reformed) or 'gereformeerd' (reformed). There are other differences, such as which nusach they sing - in Ederveen the nusach of Petrus Datheen is used exclusively, elsewhere there have been concessions to modern Dutch in that regard, but the old Staten Bijbel translation is still widely used.

Some 'reformed' towns are monolithic and 'streng' - Staphorst and Opheusden come to mind. Think in terms of Mea Shearim (and don't even think of driving through on the Sabbath - your car will be stoned). Many communities preserve the sermons and writings of their preachers as part of their particular tradition, respecting these as being just one or two steps removed from the sanctity of actual scripture.

The Dutch Reformed are Calvinist, schismatic, given to rigid judgementalism, and a firm belief in predestination - which means that if you aren't one of them, they aren't really interested in what you do or think. Just don't do it in public and upset the horses, okay?!!

The decision to put this proposal up for vote is described as 'courageous' and 'daring'.

If you read Dutch, you may find the NRC article here:

Huzza. There's no stopping modernity.

--- --- --- --- ---

Communities that still use the Datheen nusach:

1. Reformed Community in the Netherlands (Gereformeerde Gemeente in Nederland):
St. Annaland
St. Maartensdijk

2. Reformed Community in the Netherlands - Non Union (Gereformeerde Gemeente in Nederland - Buiten verband):

3. Reformed Community (Gereformeerde Gemeente):
St. Annaland

4. Old Reformed Community (Oud Gereformeerde Gemeente)
St. Maartensdijjk
St. Philipsland

Petrus Datheen (1531-1588).
[Pronunciation: Pay-tress Dat-hain.]

Peter Datheen was born in 1531 or 1532 in Cassel (Flanders). As an adult, after a number of years as a member of the Catholic clergy he become a Protestant, and in consequence had to flee the Spanish Netherlands, along with many others. It will be remembered that king Philip of Spain was determined to eradicate heresy from his domains and to that end had sent the Duke of Alva (yemach shemo!) to his northern inheritance with orders to use all means at his disposal, even the extermination of whole populations, toward that goal. Exact numbers of the victims are not known, but a conservative estimate of the numbers of natives executed for heresy by the Spaniards runs well over a hundred thousand, and estimates of nearly half a million are not at all rare (bear in mind that the total population of the Netherlands, north and south, at that time was around three million).

When the north had been liberated, Peter Datheen and a number of others who were to be instrumental in the building of the Dutch reformed church finally returned to the Netherlands. At the same time, refugees from southern provinces still held by the Spanish flocked north to the cities of Holland and Utrecht - many of the great literati and artists of the Golden Age were of Flemish and Brabantine refugee stock.

[On a personal note, it was during that same period that my ancestor Pieter Janszoon van Deursen (b. 1575 in Brabant) fled to the north, ending up in Haarlem, where his son Abraham Pieterszoon van Deursen was born in 1607. Abraham Pieterszoon emigrated to Nieuw Amsterdam - his son Isaac Abrahamszoon was born in 1635 at Kings. Isaac Abrahamszoon van Deursen, adhering to the typically Dutch naming conventions of the time (names of fathers and sons alternating), subsequently named his son Abraham after his grandfather.]

The war against Spain would continue untill 1648 (treaty of Westphalia), but the Dutch had so succeeded in debilitating the Spanish during eighty years of fighting that the Dutch East India Company (V.O.C.) became for nearly a century the worlds naval superpower and regularly blew the Iberians out of the water. We're still kvelling about that, in mittn drinnen.

Peter Datheen is most known for his writings on Church structure and practise, especially his eloquent liturgy - a liturgy which, as has been mentioned above, is still used by a number of communities. His translations of the Psalms are extraordinarily beautiful Dutch, but are archaic and impenetrable to many modern eyes. They have been replaced by transparent, and unexciting, modern verses.

That replacing of older liturgical material, coupled with the many wicked innovations which reformist branches of the reformed church have slammed through, has led to many current Dutch reformed church members being neither reformed nor reformed.

[Not that that makes ever-so-what difference to me - my ancestors got the heck out of Brabant, got the heck out of Holland, and then got the heck out of the Dutch Reformed church, and out of organized religion entirely. Think of it as a family tradition of wanderlust. We've even wanderlustily miscegenated with Anglo-Saxons, Scots, and others since then.]

The only work of Petrus Datheen which is still in print was first published on June 24, 1584, six years after the synod of Dordrecht, thirteen years after the synod of Emden (the first synod of the rebel faith).

It bears the somewhat cumbersome title "Een Christelijke samenspreking uit Gods Woord, tot troost van alle bekommerde harten, die de Wet en het Evangelie niet recht kunnen onderscheiden; en die zich met de last der zonden en met de vreze voor de verdoemenis bezwaard vinden" ('A Christian discourse over G-d's word, to the comfort of all troubled hearts that cannot rightly differentiate between the Law and the Evangelion, and who find themselves contested by the burden of sins and the fear of damnation').

No comments:

Search This Blog


There are times I'm glad that I don't live in Delaware. In fact, whenever I think of Delaware, which isn't often, I am mighty gl...