Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Reader

Richard A. Muller

Second Reader

David M. Rylaarsdam

Third Reader

Henry Zwaanstra

Fourth Reader

Lech Szxzucki


Daniel Kałaj (d.1681) was a Polish Reformer of Hungarian background, born in Little Poland (Małopolska) and trained in Franeker, Friesland under some of the most brilliant Reformed theologians of seventeenth-century Europe, such as Cocceius and Cloppenburgh. Kałaj’s ministry in the Reformed Church of Little Poland was abruptly interrupted when he was wrongly accused by Catholic authorities of spreading then-outlawed Arianism and being called a “Calvinoarian.” Kałaj became the first Polish Protestant minister to receive a sentence of capital punishment as a result of the new anti-toleration law issued in 1658 against Arians, under the false pretext of military treason during the Second Northern War (1655-1660). He escaped the ax by fleeing to Lithuania (and later to Gdańsk), where he wrote his best-known work, A Friendly Dialogue between an Evangelical Minister and a Roman Catholic Priest. The Friendly Dialogue is both Kałaj’s own personal defense and a compendium to Polish Reformed doctrine, which has a strongly irenic disposition. In contrast with many Reformed thinkers of his day, Kałaj is capable of communicating Reformed doctrine in a friendly and peaceful manner. He places special emphasis on the unity of the catholic Church, as expressed in his statement that “the three churches Roman, and Lutheran and Reformed are all part of one true church before God,” while at the same time attempting to retain his Reformed orthodoxy. The first part of this project describes the social circumstances that impacted Kałaj’s life and work, placing him properly within the historical and theological context of the Reformation and Post-Reformation periods and providing analysis of his own self-defense against charges of Arianism. The second part examines four theological chapters of Kałaj’s Friendly Dialogue, in which Kałaj presents his approach to Scripture, justification, sacraments and the church. Going beyond the presently-existing literature on Kałaj and seventeenthcentury Reformed Polish theology, this dissertation analyzes these key doctrines while setting them against the intellectual trajectory of Reformation and Post- Reformation thought in Western and Central-Eastern Europe. It examines Kałaj’s method and fundamental stances on issues that characterized the significant debates of his time, which went on not only between Reformed theologians but also among Polish Jesuits, Lutherans, and Socinians, as well as the Czech Brethren.



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