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Sweet Communion: Trajectories of Spirituality From the Middle Ages Through the Further Reformation (de Reuver)

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Sweet Communion introduces scholars and interested Reformed readers to the spirituality practiced during the Further Reformation, a seventeenth-century movement that strove for a contemporary application of the sixteenth-century Reformation. The book is organized around leading figures of the era, including Willem Teellinck, Theodorus à Brakel, Guiljelmus Saldenus, Wilhelmus à Brakel, and Herman Witsius. Sweet Communion examines the quality, form, and roots of this period’s spirituality. De Reuver determines that each of the Further Reformation authors promotes a spirituality in which the heart experiences communion with God by the Word and Spirit. In examining the roots of this spirituality, de Reuver reaches back to the Middle Ages and the spirituality of Thomas à Kempis and Bernard of Clairvaux.


Table of Contents:

1. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153)

2. Thomas à Kempis (c. 1379–1471)

3. Willem Teellinck (1579–1629)

4. Theodorus à Brakel (1608–1669)

5. Guiljelmus Saldenus (1627–1694)

6. Wilhelmus à Brakel (1635–1711)

7. Herman Witsius (1636–1708)



Arie de Reuver (ThD, University of Utrecht) teaches systematic and historical theology at the University of Utrecht and is the author of numerous academic monographs.

James A. De Jong (ThD, Free University of Amsterdam) is president emeritus of Calvin Theological Seminary.



“Interest in Reformed spirituality has been growing in recent years, particularly with reference to the English Puritans. In this volume Professor de Reuver opens up the world of the Dutch Nadere Reformatie, of such theological luminaries as Teellinck and Witsius, for an English-speaking audience, thus offering some of the riches of this tradition to the Anglo-American world. Dr. de Reuver is well qualified to do this, having spent a lifetime studying and teaching this material. This book is warmly recommended to all who want to deepen their understanding of the catholic dimensions of Reformed spirituality.” — Carl R. Trueman, Professor of Historical Theology and Church History, Westminster Theological Seminary

“Dutch Reformed spirituality is a relatively unknown jewel in the history of spirituality. In this excellent study of a renewal movement in the Netherlands known as the Second or Further Reformation, Arie de Reuver introduces us to five of its leaders, as well as Bernard of Clairvaux and Thomas à Kempis. Here we have a piety that is scripturally grounded, informed by the confessions, and suffused with the warmth of the Holy Spirit. The author reflects this spirit in his study, which he hopes will ‘inspire an authentic spirituality that is contemporary.’ The fine translation by James A. De Jong contributes toward that end.” — I. John Hesselink, Albertus C. Van Raalte Professor of Theology, Emeritus, Western Theological Seminary

“After carefully defining the significant but often-neglected Dutch Further Reformation and concepts such as spirituality and mysticism, Arie de Reuver expounds the spirituality of the movement’s divines through the lives, ministries, and writings of five premier representatives. The author shows that their ‘secondary differences in emphasis do not thwart the spiritual basis that all of them have in common.’ This unified experiential spirituality is perceptively set in its medieval backdrop, highlighting the influence and spirituality of Bernard of Clairvaux and Thomas à Kempis while stressing that the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Dutch divines did not abandon their Reformed theological convictions. Rather, these writers were masters at marrying Reformed orthodoxy and Reformed piety to promote a life of intimacy and discipleship with God.” — Joel R. Beeke, President and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary