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
The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada has just awarded Michael Driedger (Brock University) and Gary K. Waite (University of New Brunswick) a five-year Insight Grant for their research program “Amsterdamnified! Religious Dissenters, Anti-Providential Ideas and Urban Associationalism in the Emergence of the Early Enlightenment in England and the Low Countries, 1540-1700.” For more details, please visit the project website.
(Click the images for more details.)
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.
Post updated: Nov. 2021 (new reference added; and the original Dutch sermon is included below in full)
The quotation above is an English translation of a passage from François Adriaan van der Kemp’s prayer day sermon of 27 February 1782 (sermon 11 from Elftal Kerkelycke Redevoeringen [11 Sermons]). The original passage reads:
In America is de Heilzon opgedaegd, welke ons ook zal bestraelen, indien wy willen: America alleen kan onzen Koophandel, onze Zeevaert doen herleven: America kan onze Fabrieken op nieuw doen bloeijen, en ons LEYDEN herstellen in zynen voorigen luister. America levert ons op nieuw, indien wy ons zelven niet durven beschouwen, een spreekend bewys op, hoe de Gerechtigheid een Volk verhoogt en de Zonde de schandvlek is der Nation. America kan ons leeren, hoe de verbastering van het Volkscharacter tegen te gaen, het bederf der zeden te stuiten, de omkooping te weeren, de zaeden der dwingelandy te verslikken, en de zieltogende Vryheid in gezondheid te herstellen.
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.