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The Amsterdam Millenarian Petrus Serrarius (1600–1669) and the Anglo-Dutch Circle of Philo-Judaists

  • Ernestine G. E. Van Der Wall
Part of the Archives Internationales D’Histoire des Idées / International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 119)

Abstract

Among those seventeenth-century Christians who showed a great open-mindedness towards Jews and Judaism the Anglo-Dutch millenarian Petrus Serrarius takes a special place. Serrarius belonged to the small group of the so-called philo-Judaists whose attitude towards the Jews was marked by deep sympathy. The writings of these philo-Judaists, the tone in which they spoke about the Jews, the activities they organised to support poor members of the Jewish nation, bespeak a sympathy which at that time was uncommon. Admittedly, thanks to several factors like the influence of the Reformation with its emphasis on the study of the Old Testament, the seventeenth century was an age in which there was an increasing open-mindedness towards Jews and Judaism. There reigned an atmosphere in which pro-Jewish views could flourish.1

Keywords

Seventeenth Century Friendly Relation Jewish Study Oriental Language Jewish Learning 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    See R.H. Popkin, ‘Some Aspects of Jewish-Christian Theological Interchanges in Holland and England, 1640–1700’, in this volume pp. 3–32. For philo-Judaism and some of its most important adherents, see H.-J. Schoeps, Philosemitismus im Barock, Tübingen 1952.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    For Petrus Serrarius, see E.G.E. van der Wall, De mystieke chiliast Petrus Serrarius (1600–1669) en zijn wereld, Leiden 1987 (diss.).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    See Van der Wall, De mystieke chiliast Petrus Serrarius, ch. 9.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    See De Labadie’s Preface to his Oordeel der liefde en gerechtigheyt over den jegenwoordigen toestandt der joden, 1667. On De Labadie’s request this originally French treatise was translated by Serrarius into Dutch.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    See e.g. his Brevis dissertatio defatali et admiranda ilia omnium planetarum conjunctione, Amsterdam 1662, which was translated into English under the title An Awakening Warning to the Wofull World.Google Scholar
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    For Henry Jessey, see D.S. Katz, Philo-Semitism and the Readmission of the Jews to England 1603–1655, Oxford 1982, passim; D.S. Katz, ‘Philo-Semitism in the Radical Tradition: Henry Jessey, Morgan Llwyd, and Jacob Boehme’, in the present volume pp. 195–200; D.S. Katz, ‘Menasseh ben Israel’s Christian Connection: Henry Jessey and the Jews’ (forthcoming); Van der Wall, De mystieke chiliast Petrus Serrarius, 161–65 and passim.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    No copy of the English original version of The Glory and Salvation of Jehudah and Israel has been preserved. Up till now only one copy of the Dutch translation, made by Serrarius, has been found (in the Herzog August Bibliothek at Wolfenbüttel). Professor D.S. Katz and the author of the present article are preparing a publication of this treatise.Google Scholar
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    See J. Crossley (ed.), The Diary and Correspondence of Dr. John Worthington II/1, 108.Google Scholar
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  18. 17.
    John Durie to Samuel Hartlib, HP 3/3/32 (Sheffield University Library). I thank Lord Delamere and the Librarian of Sheffield University Library for the use of the Hartlib Papers.Google Scholar
  19. 18.
    For Johann Stephan Rittangel, see e.g. Popkin, ‘Some Aspects of Jewish-Christian Theological Interchanges’, in this volume pp. 3–32; J. van den Berg, ‘Proto-Protestants? The Image of the Karaites as a Mirror of the Catholic-Protestant Controversy in the 17th century’, in this volume pp. 33–50. On his visit to Amsterdam, see P.T. van Rooden & J.W. Wesselius, ‘J.S. Rittangel in Amsterdam’, NAKG 65 (1985), 131–152; Ernestine G.E. van der Wall, ‘Johann Stephan Rittangel’s Stay in the Dutch Republic (1641–1642)’, see below pp. 119–34.Google Scholar
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    E.G.E. van der Wall, ‘“Without Partialitie Towards All Men”: John Durie on the Dutch Hebraist Adam Boreel (1646)’, in this volume pp. 145–49.Google Scholar
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    John Durie to Samuel Hartlib, HP 1/6/13 (University Library of Sheffield).Google Scholar
  22. 21.
    See Popkin, ‘The First College for Jewish Studies’, 356.Google Scholar
  23. 22.
    See An Information Concerning the Present State of the Jewish Nation in Europe and Judea, London 1658, 18.Google Scholar
  24. 23.
    An Information Concerning the Present State, 17.Google Scholar
  25. 24.
    Serrarius to John Durie, 20.V. 1660, in: W. Kennett, A Register and Chronicle Ecclesiastical and Civil I, London 1728, 139. See also Van der Wall, De mystieke chiliast Petrus Serrarius, 276–77.Google Scholar
  26. 25.
    For Justus Brau (Braw/Brauw), see C.C.G. Visser, ‘Die mystisch-pietistische Strömung in der Niederländisch-Lutherischen Kirche in der zweiten Hälfte des 17ten Jahrhunderts’, in: J. van den Berg & J.P. van Dooren (Hrsg.), Pietismus und Reveil, Leiden 1978, 169–81, esp. 174–75. The Hebraist Matthias Drudius was befriended by Hartlib’s friend, the Silesian iatrochemist Joachim Polemann.Google Scholar
  27. 26.
    See Kennett, A Register and Chronicle, 139.Google Scholar
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    An Information Concerning the Present State, 2.Google Scholar
  29. 28.
  30. 29.
    See R.H. Popkin, ‘Rabbi Nathan Shapira’s Visit to Amsterdam in 1657’, in: J. Michman & T. Levie (eds.), Dutch Jewish History, Jerusalem 1984, 185–205;Google Scholar
  31. a.
    R.H. Popkin, ‘Spinoza and the Conversion of the Jews’, in: C. de Deugd (ed.), Spinoza’s Political and Theological Thought, Amsterdam etc. 1984, 171–83, esp. 175–76; Van der Wall, De mystieke chiliast Petrus Serrarius, 176–84.Google Scholar
  32. 30.
    See Popkin, ‘Rabbi Nathan Shapira’s Visit’, 185; Popkin, ‘Spinoza and the Conversion of the Jews’, 175, 181 n. 41.Google Scholar
  33. 31.
    An Information Concerning the Present State, 5.Google Scholar
  34. 32.
    Serrarius to Henry Jessey, MS Lansdowne 754, f. 372 (British Library London).Google Scholar
  35. 33.
  36. 34.
  37. 35.
  38. 36.
    An Information Concerning the Present State, 2.Google Scholar
  39. 37.
    An Information Concerning the Present State, 7.Google Scholar
  40. 38.
    An Information Concerning the Present State, 11.Google Scholar
  41. 39.
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  42. 40.
    An Information Concerning the Present State, 12.Google Scholar
  43. 41.
    An Information Concerning the Present State, 13.Google Scholar
  44. 42.
    An Information Concerning the Present State, 16.Google Scholar
  45. 43.
    John Durie to Samuel Hartlib, HP 4/1/15 (Sheffield University Library).Google Scholar
  46. 44.
  47. 45.
  48. 46.
  49. 47.
    Kennett, A Register and Chronicle, 138.Google Scholar
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  52. 50.
  53. 51.
  54. 52.
  55. 53.
    On this story, see E.G.E van der Wall, ‘Prophecy and Profit: Nicolaes Van Rensselaer, Charles II and the Conversion of the Jews’, in: C. Augustijn e.a. (red.), Kerkhistorische opstellen aangeboden aan Prof. dr. J. van den Berg, Kampen 1987, 75–87.Google Scholar
  56. 54.
    Gershom Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi. The Mystical Messiah 1626–1676, London 1973, xii.Google Scholar
  57. 55.
    Scholem, Sabbatai Sevi, 334 n. 12.Google Scholar
  58. 56.
    On Serrarius’ correspondence, see Van der Wall, De mystieke chiliast Petrus Serrarius, ch. X.Google Scholar
  59. 57.
    On Serrarius’ role in spreading the news to England, see also M. McKeon, ‘Sabbatai Sevi in England’, Newsletter Association for Jewish Studies Review I (1976), 131–69.Google Scholar
  60. 58.
    Oldenburg to Boyle, 13.III. 1666, in: A.R. Hall & M.B. Hall, The Correspondence of Henry Oldenburg III, 59.Google Scholar
  61. 59.
    Serrarius to Durie, 23.VII. 1666, Thes. Hott. 30F65, f. 139 r/v (ZBZürich).Google Scholar
  62. 60.
    Serrarius to Oldenburg, 5.VII. 1667, in: Hall & Hall, The Correspondence of Henry Oldenburg III, 447.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernestine G. E. Van Der Wall
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LeidenThe Netherlands

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