The Blasphemy of Jan of Leiden is the oldest text by Menno Simons, and it indicates that he was an early opponent of the Anabaptists of Münster. This, at least, has long been the consensus view about early Mennonite history. A challenge for researchers, however, is that the oldest copy of The Blasphemy is from 1627. This post introduces a project to find out more about this 1627 text.
Amsterdam’s Doopsgezind (aka Mennonite) church on the inner city canal ring called the Singel is a major landmark in the history of Dutch dissenters. Its modern address is Singel 452. The building did not and still does not look like a church from the outside. Since Mennonites did not enjoy rights of public worship in most part of the Netherlands until the 19th century, they usually made the outside of their meeting houses to look like a regular building (for more, see the Wikipedia article on clandestine churches). The Singelkerk is a major example of a Dutch clandestine church.
The Singel Church was the epicentre of the so-called “War of the Lambs” in the middle of the 17th century (see the building’s symbol). Read more
In America the Sun of Salvation has risen, which will shine its rays upon us provided we so desire. Only America can revive our Trade and our Shipping…. America provides us again, if we dare look at it, a striking proof of how Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. America can teach us how to resist the degeneration of National Character, how to check the corruption of morals, how to prevent bribery, how to choke off the seeds of tyranny and restore moribund Liberty to health.
The title of this post is an allusion to Steven Nadler’s A Book Forged in Hell. That 2011 book is about Baruch Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise, a work that scandalized secular and ecclesiastical authorities in the later 17th century — and has influenced philosophers and historians in recent years. The purpose of this post is to share a bibliography compiled by Piet Visser and his students in the 1990s. Piet retired in June 2014 from his professorship at the Mennonite seminary at the Free University in Amsterdam. Before that he was the chief curator of rare books and professor of book history at the University of Amsterdam. It’s in this earlier role that the list that you can find below originated.
Romeyn de Hooghe (1645-1708) is a major figure in the world of European art history in the era of the Dutch Golden Age. What’s more, he played a significant role in Anglo-Dutch politics around the time of the Glorious Revolution as a supporter of William of Orange / William III. He’s been the subject of a significant number of exhibitions and academic studies recently. For example, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, has just finished an exhibit on “The Book Illustrations of Romeyn de Hooghe” (13 Sept. 2014 to 25 Jan. 2015). In this post I introduce an anonymous etching that I think might be by him (or maybe by his student Adriaan Schoonebeek).
Note: Since first publishing this post I have updated it a few times. One revision was from Feb. 8, and more thorough revisions are from Feb. 11 and 23. The main change in the most recent, thorough revisions is to downplay the importance of the 1660 edition of Hortensius.
Henri Krop’s paper at the Faultline 1700 conference discussed shifting conceptions of religion in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. His paper’s short title was “From Singular to Plural.” Inspired in part by his paper, I have tried out a new digital humanities tool from the DBNL, the online database for Dutch literature. The graph above shows the frequency across time of the keywords godsdienst (religion) in green and godsdiensten (religions) in blue. For more on the DBNL ngram viewer, see this video. I haven’t been able to figure out how to embed an active version of the tool in this blog. The data points on the graph are clickable, if you use it as intended at dbnl.org.
Betje (Elizabeth) Wolff and Aagje (Agatha) Deken, who collaborated as life partners and co-authors over many years, are giants in the Dutch literary canon. They were also integrated into the same religious, cultural and political networks that included many Mennonites. Can the tools of digital scholarship (Voyant Tools, in particular) provide any special insights into their loooooong epistolary novels? This post provides readers and me the opportunity to try out answers to the question using two novels: Historie van mejuffrouw Sara Burgerhart (1782), and Historie van den heer Willem Leevend (1784-85).
NB: Any italicization is from the original. I have highlighted some significant phrases and passages with bold text. The original is from earlydutchbooksonline.nl. If you find passages that need correcting, please let me know. My intention is to make all 11 of van der Kemp’s 1782 sermons available in digital format. –MD
PS: This web format allows you, the reader, to put the URL for this post into Voyant Tools. If you wish to do online analysis, this step is easier than copying and pasting the text into the Voyant window. I will eventually remove this English text from the sermon.
REDEVOERING, OP DEN BIDDAG, 27. Febr. 1782.
Jer. XXII, 29.
O Land, land, land! Hoort des HEEREN voort:
Het dient niet weinig ter opheldering der geschiedenissen, zo des Bibels als des Joodschen Volks, dat de Almachtige deszelvs bizondere Beschermgod en Regeerer waere; door het welk veele, anderzints onoplosselyke, zwarigheden, worden weggenomen. In dezen zin, te weten, met betrekking tot het Staetsbestuur, was het ook, by uitstekenheid, dat God aen Israël zyne rechten en instellingen bekend gemaekt had, het geen hy niet deed aen andere volken.