Faith, Scripture, and Reason: The Debate between Transylvanian Sabbatarians and Christian Francken
Research Centre for the Humanities
In this study, I present two Sabbatarian texts which were written in response to texts by Christian Francken. Based on the argumentation in the Sabbatarian texts, I try to clarify which writings by the German philosopher they were responding to. I offer an explanation of the ferocity of the Sabbatarian response, and I clarify the reasons why the Sabbatarians found it so important to respond to Francken’s ideas. My analysis of the Sabbatarian texts shows persuasively that Francken’s attacks were related to the basic and specific teachings of the Sabbatarians. The challenge presented by fashionable philosophical trends at the time compelled the Sabbatarians to face not only the benefits but also the dangers of following the ratio in the interpretation of Scripture. Sabbatarian texts arrived at a solution (by drawing a distinction between the concepts of ratio and philosophy) which, although formulated earlier in the established churches, was still undeveloped in the Transylvanian Antitrinitarian movement out of which Sabbatarianism grew.
Keywords: Sabbatarianism, philosophical skepticism, early modern atheism, ratio