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Jesuits in Indonesia, 1546–2015

(10,512 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
Karel Steenbrink [email protected] Last modified: December 2016The Portuguese, as part of their journey eastwards in search of spices for trade and souls to be converted to Christianity, conquered Malacca…
Date: 2019-06-18

Cornelis Stout

(453 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
Biography Cornelis Stout is only known through his account of a trip he planned to Surinam to start a life as a planter, with his wife and two children. The family left Rotterdam on 28 October 1678. On 9 November, their boat was captured by Algerian pirates, and on 22 December they were taken to Tunis to be sold as slaves. Nobody wanted to buy the family and they were taken to Algiers, where they were brought to the royal court. The ruler said they should be kept together and they were bought by a member of the family of a certain Captain Monstafaris. From February 1679, they were under the orders…

Olfert Dapper

(483 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
Biography Not much is known about Olfert Dapper. He was born in Amsterdam and baptised in the Lutheran Church on 6 January 1636, probably very soon after his birth. He studied medicine at Utrecht University and then returned to Amsterdam. It is not certain that he actually worked as a medical doctor, but the abbreviation Dr appears before his name in his numerous works. Dapper never left his home country and never married. In 1663, at the age of 27, he published a well-received book on the history of Amsterdam, some 650 pages in folio. The book was reprinted…

Dutch versus Portuguese colonialism. Traders versus crusaders?

(5,647 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
The year 1492 was immensely significant in global history. It marked the end of the Reconquista, the long process of ending Muslim rule in the Iberian Peninsula, and also the beginnings of the expansion of European rule over the new territories discovered by Christopher Columbus, first in the Americas and then, after 1498, in Asia. Is there a connection between the two? Or rather, should we consider the Portuguese and Spanish expansion of trade and power into regions of Asia (and also Africa) as a continuation of the Reconquista? This idea was encapsulated succinctly by a student o…

 De Trinitatis erroribus libri septem

(1,026 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
De Trinitatis erroribus libri septem'Seven books on the errors of the Trinity' Miguel Servet, Reves ab Aragonia Hispanum, Michael Servetus Villanovensis Date: 1531 Original Language: Latin Description De Trinitatis erroribus libri septem, 119 small double pages ( recto and  verso) in all, attack the doctrine of the Council of Nicea as a major mistake in the development of Christianity. In the first book (44 double pages), biblical texts are compared with classical theology, with Peter Lombard as its main representative. In the secon…

 Christianismi restitutio

(1,261 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
Christianismi restitutio‘The restitution of Christianity’ Miguel Servet, Reves ab Aragonia Hispanum, Michael Servetus Villanovensis Date: 1553 Original Language: Latin Description In 1553, Servetus published his major (and fatal) work on the restitution of Christianity. The first and longest section of 287 pages discusses in seven ‘books’ the doctrine of the Trinity. The second, third and fifth sections concentrate on the end times, the just rule of Christ superseding the signs and realm of the Antichrist. Sections…

Michael Servetus

(888 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
Miguel Servet, Reves ab Aragonia Hispanum, Michael Servetus Villanovensis Date of Birth: 1509 or 1511 Place of Birth: Villanueva de Sijena (Sigena), Aragón Date of Death: 27 October 1553 Place of Death: Geneva Biography Miguel Servet, or according to the Latin style of his name Michael Servetus, was born in Aragón, northern Spain, in the small village of Villanueva de Sijena, probably in 1511. After basic education about which little is known, in the late 1520s he studied arts and law in Toulouse. Also in the 1520s, he entered t…

Cornelis Pijnacker

(497 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
Biography As a young man, Cornelis Pijnacker studied theology and law in Leiden and Heidelberg. In 1598, he began an academic career in Leiden, and in 1614 he moved to Groningen University, where he became rector two years later. Between 1622 and 1627, he was Dutch ambassador to Algiers with instructions to seek a peace treaty preventing further piracy and the release of Dutch citizens held as slaves or taken captive for ransom. He made two trips to the central towns of the Mediterranean corsairs…

 Disputatio theologica prima[-quinta] de Pseudislamismo seu Mohammedanismo (...) sub praesidio (...) Iacobi Revii

(520 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
‘First [-fifth] theological disputation on Pseudo-Islam or Muḥammadanism … under the supervision … of Jacobus Revius’ Johannes Maurus Date: 1654-6 Original Language: Latin Description These five  disputationes on Islam were prepared between February 1654 and January 1656 for academic debates. The president of the series was Jacobus Revius, Regent of the Leiden Statencollege, the national college for students of theology. They were printed, as was usual, in about 100 copies. Johannes Maurus based the format on the Five Pillars of Islam: the first two texts are on …

 Utilissima consultatio de bello Turcis inferendo, et obiter enarratus Psalmus XXVIII

(1,843 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
Utilissima consultatio de bello Turcis inferendo'A most useful discussion concerning proposals for war against the Turks, including an exposition of Psalm 28' Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus Date: March 1530 Original Language: Latin Description After victory at the Battle of Mohács in 1526, the Ottoman Empire had taken control of large sections of Hungary and Transylvania. On their return to Central Europe in the summer of 1529, Ottoman troops took the rest of Hungary by force and laid siege to Vienna. Parts of the city walls w…

Johannes Coccejus

(245 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
Biography Johannes Coccejus was born in Bremen as Johann Coch. He studied languages, philosophy and theology in Bremen, and after 1626 in Franeker. In 1630, he became a professor at the Gymnasium Illustre in Bremen, where he taught ‘sacred philology’, concentrating on Greek and Hebrew. In 1650, he moved to Leiden. As a Calvinist theologian, he attempted to stay in touch with humanist trends in church and society, often showing more interest in biblical studies than in strict Calvinist orthodoxy. He is best known for his divergent opinion on the …

 Naukeurige beschrijvinge van ...

(2,738 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
‘An accurate description of...’ Olfert Dapper Date: 1668-88 Original Language: Dutch Description Olfert Dapper was a prolific writer of books on ‘foreign parts’, although he never travelled outside The Netherlands. His books are compilations of materials gathered from a variety of sources, such as travelogues, letters and interviews. Between 1668 and 1688, he published a series of eight volumes, all beginning with Naukeurige  beschrijvinge  van ... (‘An accurate description of …’). Dapper started his series with a description of mainland Africa and the Africa…


(451 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
Reijsbeschrijvinge'Description of the journey of Cornelis Stout' Cornelis Stout Date: About 1680 Original Language: Dutch Description The work, 51 double folio pages long in the surviving manuscript, which is probably an autograph, is the diary of the sad history of Stout’s failed voyage to the Dutch colony in Surinam, where the young family planned to start a new life. Shortly after they left their homeland, their ship was seized by Algerian pirates and all their belongings were taken. The pork and wine on boa…


(835 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus Date of Birth: 27 October 1467 Place of Birth: Rotterdam Date of Death: 12 July 1536 Place of Death: Basel Biography Erasmus’s father, Gerard, was a priest in Gouda, now in the Netherlands, then part of the territory of the Count of Holland, one of the petty semi-independent states within the German Empire. His mother, Margaret, was the daughter of a physician in Zevenbergen. This situation did not allow that their second child should be born in their house, so the mother moved for some t…

Johannes Maurus

(477 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
Biography This Johannes Maurus should be distinguished from his better-known namesake, the Spanish convert from Islam to Christianity known as Juan Andrés or Johannes Andrea Maurus, author of the treatise  Confusión o confutación de la secta Mahomética y del Alcorán (1515). This ‘Dutch’ Johannes is mentioned in archival sources as the ‘Arab’, the ‘Turc’ and sometimes as ‘Jan Cornelisz’. He asked for baptism in Delft in 1643, where the sources give his age both as 23 and 19. He appears to have been a popular young man who received sub…

 Journael ofte Dagh-Register van de Reyse naar Algier van Thomas Hees, gedaan int jaar 1675

(829 words)

Author(s): van den Boogert and Karel Steenbrink, Maurits
‘Account or diary of the journey to Algiers of Thomas Hees, undertaken in the year 1675’ Thomas van Hees Date: 1675-80 Original Language: Dutch, with at least one fragment, vol. 1, pp. 91-5, in French Description Thomas Hees kept a diary between mid-1675 and 27 February 1680. The diary is a mixed record of his way of life en route to Algiers and while residing there, and also of the efforts he made for the release of slaves and the discussions concerning the forthcoming treaty with the ruler of Algiers. These were probably notes w…

 Historisch verhael van den steden Thunes, Algiers ende andere steden in Barbarien gelegen

(628 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
‘History of Tunis, Algiers and other towns of Barbary’ Cornelis Pijnacker Date: 1626 or 1627 Original Language: Dutch Description After his second mission to Algiers in 1626, Pijnacker composed his monograph  Historisch verhael van den steden Thunes in the same year or the year after.  It is not the story of his travels (which was published in print in 1650 as the anonymous booklet  Reyse naer Africa) but rather of his diplomatic mission and the general culture of the two cities of Tunis and Algiers. It consists of 54 unnumbered chapters, of which chapters 46-…

 Oratio de religione Turcarum

(707 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
‘Lecture on the religion of the Turks’ Johannes Coccejus Date: About 1625 Original Language: Greek Description As a 22 year-old student in Bremen, Coccejus delivered a lecture in Greek on the religion of the Turks, partly as a linguistic exercise. This formed the basis for Oratio de religione Turcarum (constituting 11 pages in print), written as an admonition for the reformation of church and state in his time. The origin of Islam and its immense progress at the time presented a great challenge for Christians. Using secondary sources, Coccejus summarises the life of Muḥammad an…

Thomas Hees

(773 words)

Author(s): van den Boogert and Karel Steenbrink, Maurits
Thomas van Hees Date of Birth: 1634 Place of Birth: Weesp, near Amsterdam Date of Death: Buried 3 September 1693 Place of Death: Nieuwer-Amstel, near Amsterdam Biography In 1612, the Dutch Republic was granted its first capitulations ( ahdname) by the Ottoman sultan, according trade privileges to Dutch merchants residing in the Levant and the assurance that slaves would be freed without payment. The North African (‘Barbary’) principalities of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli acknowledged the suzerainty of the Ottoman sultan, but were auto…


(4,375 words)

Author(s): Karel Steenbrink
Since the arrival of Islam in the Indonesian archipelago, Arabic has been used as a religious language for the basic rituals and for technical instruction of specialists in the religious sciences. It has, however, remained restricted to the religious realm, the major vehicle of contact being Tamil rather than Arabic. Many Indonesian commercial terms bear witness to the influence of southeast Indian Muslims in the period before Malay developed into the lingua franca of the archipelago and, after …
Date: 2018-04-01
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