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 Repen Ripangi

(887 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
‘The Ripangi poem’ Repen Ripangi Date: 1886 or before Original Language: Javanese Description Repen Ripangi is a poem written in the style of traditional Javanese literature, following strict rules in which the length of each line and the rhyme are fixed, and suited for sung performance. It is divided into seven cantos, and occupies 60 pages in the printed edition. The first three cantos describe the religious teacher Ripangi, the familiar name for Aḥmad al-Rifaʾi, who successfully establishes a  pesantren or boarding school in the village of Kalisalak in central Java. H…

Willem Bilderdijk

(601 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
Date of Birth: 7 September 1756 Place of Birth: Amsterdam, The Netherlands Date of Death: 18 September 1831 Place of Death: Haarlem, The Netherlands BiographyBorn in 1756, Willem Bilderdijk was the son of a physician who had political vision and ambitions, but who worked mostly as a tax collector. At the age of six, Willem seriously injured his left foot and, for the next ten years, he had to remain at home, where he developed his knowledge through wide reading. He proved to be multi-talented, excelling in drawing, poe…

 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…

No (longer) fear, but control and care. Europeans and Muslims in South East Asia, 17th and 18th centuries

(3,287 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
The VOC ( Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie, Dutch East India Company, 1602-1799) and its European partners were often seen primarily as a trade link between Europe and Asia. They brought Asian spices, and later also coffee, tea, valuable timbers, textiles, garments and other commodities to Europe, for which the Europeans initially paid in precious metals or diamonds and later also in goods produced by the developing European industries. One of the first Dutch traders to come to Aceh to buy spices, Fr…

 Het Geopende en Wederleyde Muhammedisdom of Turckdom

(596 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
‘Islam or Turcism opened and rejected’ Simon Oomius Date: 1663 Original Language: Dutch DescriptionOomius wrote this work, which is 991 pages long, with the twin purposes of correcting false representations of Islam and of giving examples of piety among Muslims, all for the benefit of his fellow Christians. But he also wrote to argue against the teachings and practices of Islam, because in his view Islam was built upon a combination of fragments of heresies and false teachings. His major sources were the wor…

Nederlandsch-Indisch Plakaatboek

(26 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
Date of Birth: Place of Birth: Date of Death: Place of Death: Biography Primary Sources of Information Secondary Sources of Information Works on Christian-Muslim RelationsNederlandsch-Indisch PlakaatboekKarel Steenbrink

Simon Oomius

(331 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
Date of Birth: 1 March 1630 Place of Birth: Heenvliet, The Netherlands Date of Death: 25 November 1706 Place of Death: Kampen, The Netherlands BiographySimon Oomius (also Omius, Ooms) was born into a family of teachers and Reformed ministers. He studied Eastern languages, philosophy and theology in Leiden and Utrecht between 1647 and 1652, and in 1674 was awarded a doctorate in theology from Harderwijk University. He served as a minister in Purmerland (1654-74), in the Dutch army (1674-7) and in Kampen (from 1677 until his death). In Leiden, he studied Arabic and Islam with Jacob …

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…

 Journael ofte Dagh-register van de tweede Schipvaert op Oost-Indien

(1,486 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
‘Journal of the second voyage to the East Indies’ Jacob Corneliszoon van Neck Date: 1601 Original Language: Dutch DescriptionJacob van Neck wrote an account of the major events of his first trip to the Indonesian archipelago, from 1 May 1598 to 16 July 1599, as a report to the Amsterdam directors of the undertaking. This is often referred to as an account of the ‘second trip’ because it was in fact a follow-up to the first Dutch voyage under the leadership of Cornelis de Houtman (1595-7). The first report of this first voyage undertaken by van Neck (only preserved in English translation, True re…

 Het Mekkaansche feest

(832 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
'The Meccan festival' Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje Date: 1880 Original Language: Dutch DescriptionAt the age of 23, Christiaan Snouck Hurgronje published and defended his doctoral dissertation at Leiden University on the Meccan ḥajj. In this book of 191 pages, he sought to reconstruct the original Arab festival at Mecca that preceded the preaching of Muḥammad, as well as to identify the changes that were introduced to it by the Prophet Muḥammad in the last five years of his life.The first chapter discusses references to the ḥajj within the Qur’an. Here, Snouck Hurgonje emphasise…

 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 …

 Spraeck ende woord-boek inde Maleysche ende Madagaskarsche talen met vele Arabische ende Turcsche woorden

(701 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
‘Grammar and dictionary of the Malay and Malagasy languages with many Arab and Turkish words’ Frederick de Houtman Date: 1603 Original Language: Dutch DescriptionDuring his nearly two-year imprisonment in Aceh (1599-1601), de Houtman acquired a good command of Malay. On the basis of this, he wrote Spraeck ende woord-boek inde Maleysche ende Madagaskarsche, a practical guide to the language, comprising 243 pages in the 1603 edition. The work follows the format of 12 conversations followed by a Malay-Dutch vocabulary, a model used in Europe, and by…

 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…

 Corpus Diplomaticum Neerlando-Indicum

(1,482 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
VOC Treaties;Collected contracts of the Dutch Indian Administration, 1596-1799 Corpus Diplomaticum Date: 1596-1799 Original Language: Dutch DescriptionOn 23 June 1596, Cornelis de Houtman arrived in Bantam, West Java, at the head of the first Dutch fleet to reach Indonesia. On 1 July 1596, the first of many treaties with Asian rulers was signed with the sultan of Bantam, pioneering a practice of peace-making between the locals and the VOC (Dutch East India Company) that lasted from 1602 to 1799. These treaties …

François Valentijn

(604 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
François Valentyn Date of Birth: 17 April 1666 Place of Birth: Dordrecht Date of Death: 6 August 1727 Place of Death: s'Gravenhage (The Hague) BiographyFrançois Valentijn (also Valentyn) was born into a middle-class family in the important Dutch harbour town of Dordrecht. His father was rector at the local grammar school. François studied theology in Leiden and Utrecht, and in May 1685, as a 19-year-old minister, he left for the Dutch East Indies, arriving on 30 December. He was appointed to the eastern island of Ambon…

Salomon Keijzer

(418 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
Date of Birth: 18 January 1823 Place of Birth: Kampen, Holland Date of Death: 25 February 1868 Place of Death: Delft, Holland BiographySalomon Keijzer (also written as Keyzer and Keyser) was born into a Jewish family. In September 1843, he became a student in Leiden University, where he combined study in the law faculty with the study of Hebrew and Arabic. On 11 June 1847 he defended two doctoral dissertations, one on the Codex Justinianus and one on Talmudic jurisprudence. After teaching Greek for some time at a private institution, while also following courses in Ja…

Frederick de Houtman

(1,172 words)

Author(s): Steenbrink, Karel
BiographyFrederick de Houtman is best known for the second of his four trips to Indonesia. He was born in the Dutch town of Gouda shortly before the ‘alteration’ of 1572, when the town officially accepted the Calvinist ‘Reformed’ faith in place of Roman Catholicism. He attended grammar school, where he studied Latin and modern sciences, including arithmetic. He grew up a Reformed Protestant and in 1590 moved to Alkmaar, where in 1592 he married Vroutgen Frederick, the daughter of a wealthy businessman still loyal to the Catholic faith.In December 1592, he followed his brother Corn…
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