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I have found many articles and discussions online regarding the Canons of Dort but have yet to find who was actually instrumental in formulating this document. Can anyone tell me or link to some information about that?

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    A link to give you a lead to a book written in 2019 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Synod of Dort, 'Grace Worth Fighting For' by Danny Hyde, Davenant Press. He examines the history of the event, so might have the info you desire. Go to reformation21.org/mos/podcast/45738 the page headed "Mortification of Spin" [smiles!] Hope this helps. – Anne Feb 22 at 18:06
  • Thank you kindly @Anne. – Nigel J Feb 22 at 19:46
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Summary

Johannes Bogerman, president of the Synod of Dort, wrote the first draft, which was then amended by the Drafting Committee consisting of 9 members:

  1. Johannes Bogerman: President
  2. Hermannus Faukelius and Jacobus Rolandus: Assessors
  3. Dutch theologians Johannes Polyander, Antonius Walaeus, and Jacobus Trigland
  4. Bishop George Carleton: British representative
  5. Genevan theologian Jean Diodati: French representative
  6. Heidelberg theologian Abraham Scultetus: German representative

The committee held meetings over 3 weeks and produced 3 committee drafts which were reviewed and debated by several delegates from different countries. The final conclusion draft was read publicly on April 20 and then debated and negotiated until the final form was reached on 23 April 1619 at 10 PM. The whole process took about 4 weeks.

Source

This answer is based on a paper The Drafting Of The Canons Of Dordt: A Preliminary Survey Of Early Drafts And Related Documents published 2011 in the Brill's Series in Church History Volume 49 Revisiting the Synod of Dordt (1618-1619), written by Trinity Christian College theology professor (emeritus) Donald Sinnema. Prof. Sinnema reconstructed the drafting timeline based on his preliminary examination of 5 main repositories of more than one hundred archival documents, some multiple copies. The first 8 pages of the paper are available here.

Another paper by Prof. Sinnema published in the same book: The Canons of Dordt: From Judgment on Arminianism to Confessional Standard has the following quotes (emphasis mine):

From 6 to 21 March the Synod was occupied with reading the judicia of the nineteen delegations on the Five Articles. Following the earlier instructions of Bogerman, these judicia all consisted of positive statements expressing the orthodox Reformed view as well as a rejection of Remonstrant errors. ...

When all the judicia had been read, president Bogerman noted that the States General "did expect that the Canons should be made" by Easter, ten days away.²⁸ He then proposed that "the synodical judgment (judicium Synodicum) should now be formed from all of them [the judicia] compared with each other:' For that purpose, he informed the Synod, he had drafted "some Canons" from these judicia, to which the delegations might suggest amendments.²⁹

The next day, 22 March, Bogerman presented his views on the form of the proposed Canons. "The order and style of these canons ought to be directed to the instruction of these churches:' They should be proposed simply, but not meagerly, "so that the Canons may not be scholastic or academic, but ecclesiastical:' On the question whether the heterodox or orthodox section should be first, Bogerman thought that "the doctrine of the truth is to be placed first because it is by nature prior:'³⁰ The English Bishop Carleton also gave advice on how the Canons should be formed. He too recommended that the affirmative view be placed first, then the negative, and that "the style of the Canons be popular, not scholastic:'³¹ The same day Bogerman dictated to the Synod the "Canons" he had drafted on Articles One and Two. ³² Since these consisted of positive "articles" and a rejection of errors, it is apparent that here the term "Canons" referred to the whole document. ³³

This procedure immediately aroused the complaint of some foreign theologians that Bogerman intended to draw up the Canons by himself and merely dictate them to the Synod for its consent.³⁴ To resolve the discontent the civil delegates on 25 March advised that some foreign and Dutch theologians work with the president and the assessors to draft the Canons. The Synod approved this advice and appointed a drafting committee of nine.³⁵

For about three weeks the Synod did not officially meet while the drafting committee was at work. Working from Bogerman's draft the committee prepared its own draft of the Canons, which it revised twice, before coming up with the final version of the Canons. After receiving the Bogerman draft and each of the three committee drafts, the various delegations had an opportunity to suggest amendments.³⁶

...

On 16, 18, and 23 April the full Synod after some final changes approved the final version of the Canons.⁴² Then on the 23rd three copies were signed by all delegates. ...

Other resources

  1. A paper by Prof. Sinnema describing a new project to produce ten-volume critical edition of all the documents of the Synod of Dort to celebrate the 400th anniversary: The Documents of the Synod of Dort (1618-1619) - A New Edition
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    Excellent piece of work. Thank you. Up-voted and accepted. First Class. – Nigel J Feb 25 at 6:54
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    @NigelJ Thanks! I enjoyed doing this research, made me appreciate more and more church history in the process. By the way, I added a new article that has full text available, which tells the whole story in summary form. – GratefulDisciple Feb 25 at 7:16
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    This is the best use of this site, I find myself. The contribution of many furthering the knowledge of all. – Nigel J Feb 25 at 7:17
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    Very well done answer, GratefulDisciple. – Ken Graham Feb 25 at 15:47

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