The publisher provided a review copy, some months back which I have enjoyed reading tremendously. All 950+ pages.
This volume is a part of a tremendously important series of volumes being published over the course of the next several years which will become the standard for research for decades to come: Acta et Documenta Synodi Nationalis Dordrechtanae (1618–1619).(ADSND), A Project of the Johannes A Lasco Bibliothek Emden.
The Synod of Dordrecht 1618/1619 was one of the most important church councils in the history of the reformed tradition. International delegates from all over Europe served as important participants and played a significant role in the evaluation of Remonstrant doctrine and in the formation of the canons. The Synod made important pronouncements on issues like Sunday observance, catechism instruction, and theological education.Given the continuing worldwide historical significance of the Synod’s canons and church order, the absence of a critical scholarly edition of the majority of documents composed at the time of the Synod is remarkable. The Johannes a Lasco Bibliothek in Emden, being a leading research center for the history and theology of Reformed Protestantism, has taken the initiative to edit the Acts of the Synod of Dordrecht 1618/1619. The edition is organized as a RefoRC project with the participation of several institutions and scholars in Europe and North-America.
At the link above the reader can find the table of contents for this work, so please do take a look at it before continuing reading the review below.
As is the case with all collections of primary sources, this volume proffers something extremely important for research: first hand material. Such a work demands incredible devotion and meticulous care on the part of minor and major editors. And when done properly, is literally indispensable. Selderhuis, Moser and the others who worked very hard to make this volume happen are owed a debt of gratitude by all of us.
The materials here collected are composed in Latin, Dutch, English and French- depending on the place of origin and the purpose of the text. English introductions are provided for every primary source and these introductions give readers critical information regarding the date of the document, the textual source of the document, collated sources for the document, and the editor of the document for the present edition. As well, a brief history of the Synod of Dort is composed by Donald Sinnema and Christian Moser gives readers an overview of the volumes which will be found in the series of which this volume is part. Footnotes are kept to a minimum and normally focus on important textual variants and historical notices. Certain documents are also summarized, in English, for the benefit of the reader.
At the volume’s close there are a series of indices including names, scriptures, manuscripts, subjects and contributors. Additionally, the index of names also offers a one sentence bio of the persons named.
The meat of the volume is historical documents related to the Synod at Dort. To be precise, there are 298 historical documents covering everything from the credentials of those in attendance at the Synod to the Sermons preached at the Synod to the statements of various participants at the Synod and all manner of letters written about the Synod from those in attendance.
And what a slab of meat it is. There is so much of interest between the outer covers of this book. Reading the statements, sermons, letters, and other documents transport readers to the gallery of the Synod and indeed to the debate floor itself. It’s no exaggeration to say that this book is exciting in that it excites a desire for further details about the Synod and awakens a desire for the forthcoming volumes in the series to appear now, today, without delay.
The Harry Potter series is popular because it leads readers to escape their own reality. The Synod of Dort volume at hand is thrilling because it connects readers to real history. As events unfolding. Allowing us to be there in a very real sense. In a sense that can never be true of fantasy works because those works are simply make believe. Real history is always more engaging than pretend history because truth, as we all know is stranger than fiction. It’s also more enthralling.