to give some background about the career and ideas of the unconventional Dutch Mennonite preacher and revolutionary-era activist — François Adriaan (Francis Adrian) van der Kemp.
In this post I have several interactive windows from Voyant Tools. The text-combination I use in each Voyant window includes 3 sermons from the anti-Orange activist and Dutch Patriot Movement leader François Adriaan van der Kemp. Each sermon is from Elftal Kerkelyke Redevoeringen [11 Sermons]. In 1782, when he published the collection, van der Kemp was the preacher of the Doopsgezind (also known in English as “Mennonite”) congregation in Leiden. The sermons were presented at several Doopsgezind congregations in the Dutch Republic. The stop-word list helps make the Voyant analysis manageable and productive.
NOTE: This post is best viewed on a laptop or desktop computer, not a phone or smaller tablet.
Gy vrouwen! zyt uwe eigene mannen onderdaenig, geljk ‘t betaemt in den Heere.
“Wel dien, die een vernuftig wyf heeft; wel dien die een deugdzaem wyf heeft; dies leeft hy nog eens zo lange. Een huislyk wyf is haeren man ten vreugde, en vervult de jaeren zyns levens met vreede. Een deugdelyk wyf is eene edele gave, en wordt dien gegeven, die God vreest. ‘t Zy dat hy ryk of arm is, zo is ‘t hem een troost en maekt hem altyd vrolyk. Een vriendelyk wyf verblydt haeren man, en wanneer zy vernuftiglyk met hem omgaet, ververscht zy hem zyn harte; een vrouwe die zwygen kan is eene gave Gods; eene welgemanierde vrouwe is een onwaerdeerbaer goed, het liefst op aerde; en een kuisch wyf is ‘t kostelykst van allen”.
Van der Kemp is probably best known among scholars today as a friend to several of the American Founding Fathers and an immigrant to the young American Republic. His pre-American, Mennonite career in the Dutch Republic is much less well-known, especially in the English-speaking world. This post is about what might seem at first glance to be a surprising link between religion and politics. After all, what was van der Kemp doing giving a set of revolutionary sermons? Weren’t Mennonites pacifists? The answers are quite complex. This post will provide some historical background to the sermons. For a biography of François Adriaan (Francis Adrian) van der Kemp, see the biography included at https://dutchdissenters.net/wp/2019/03/francois-adriaan-van-der-kemp/.
Updated: 18 Feb. 2023. In “The Year 1625, the Dutch Republic, and Book History” (Jan. 2023) I provide reasons for preferring “adult baptizers” to “Anabaptists” or even “Mennonites” as a general term. In short, the people who baptized adults in the early modern world were diverse. In addition to Mennonites, they included people from Mennonite milieus who rejected that name, and they included Baptists (of course), as well as some Socinians and Collegiants. With this diversity in mind, I have expanded the list below to include women who do not fit into the general framework of Mennonite church history.
On the technical front, I have also updated the URLs from http the https (it looks like the website has been updated).
Names that I have added in Feb. 2023 I have marked with an *. In an older version of this post I had two lists, and I have now integrated these lists into one.
A mainstream assumption in Mennonite studies since the early 20th century (maybe the 1880s, more accurately) is that early modern Mennonite history (i.e., Mennonite history before 1800 or even 1900) was shaped primarily by German culture and German-language sources. This assumption is problematic because it is built on an empirically questionable foundation. In other words, the sources and evidence for this assumption are weak.
The essay for which I prepared this research — “The Year 1625, the Dutch Republic, and Book Production: Perspectives for Reframing Studies of Mennonites and Early Modernity” — has now been printed in three languages. You can find the details by clicking the links for the German, Dutch, and English versions.
For a little fun on Hallowe’en 2021, this post provides highlights from a short, 8-page pamphlet written in the voice of a ghostly Menno Simons. The Dutch-language pamphlet is anonymous and undated, but it from the early 1780s. This was the era of the Patriot Movement against Orange family rule in the Dutch Republic. One of the leading national organizers of the Movement was the Mennonite preacher in Leiden, François Adriaan van der Kemp. The anonymous author of the pamphlet uses the voice of Ghost Menno to wag a finger at Van der Kemp and his ilk. In 2020s terms, the author seems to be “trolling” democratically oriented, anti-Orange, Dutch Mennonites of the 1780s.
I’m planning more posts about the following politically significant figures, about whom little is known in the non-Dutch-reading world. For now, the links to Dutch and English sources (Biografisch Portaal van Nederland and the Global Anabaptist-Mennonite EncyclopediaOnline, plus a few others when appropriate) will serve as a start.