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      Revisiting the History of Religious Resistance to Vaccination in the Netherlands

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          Abstract

          This article provides a new framework for the history of religious objections to vaccination in the Netherlands. In public opinion and scholarly literature, these are often associated with the contemporary group of conservative Reformed people or inhabitants of the Dutch Bible Belt and projected back onto the past in a static way. In early modern times, however, reluctance to perform any preventive medical act on the human body was embedded in a general perception of the divine governance of daily life. During the eighteenth century, the innovation of inoculation was gradually accepted by medical and theological specialists, replacing providentialism by supernaturalism. In the nineteenth century, under the influence of orthodox Protestant opinion leaders, spiritual hesitation and anti-science feelings took the form of conscious religious choices and decided positions on personal freedom, especially in education. In the twentieth century, the movement against the vaccination policy of the national state became entangled with political and social mobilisation and theological legitimisation. The COVID-19 crisis reconfirmed the mix of religious and other objections. The reinterpretation of these developments bears on the direction and content of further cultural-historical research.

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          Most cited references61

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          Bodily Matters: The Anti-Vaccination Movement in England, 1853–1907

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            Contagion and the State in Europe, 1830-1930

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              De vreselijkste aller harpijen: pokkenepidemieen en pokkenbestrijding in Nederland in de achttiende en negentiende eeuw: een sociaal-historische en historisch-demografische studie

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                NTT
                NTT Journal for Theology and the Study of Religion
                Amsterdam University Press (Amsterdam )
                2542-6583
                2590-3268
                September 2022
                : 76
                : 3
                : 215-239
                Affiliations
                Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
                Author information
                https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0532-4616
                Article
                NTT2022.3.003.LIEB
                10.5117/NTT2022.3.003.LIEB
                c5c87dee-a0da-44a1-9ad7-d93549e6d739
                © Fred van Lieburg
                History
                Categories
                Article

                Bible Belt,epidemics,providence,inoculation,predestination,vaccination,Protestantism,COVID-19,conscience

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