Hugo Grotius as Apologist for the Christian Religion: A Study of His Work De Veritate Religionis Christianae, 1640

Hugo Grotius as Apologist for the Christian Religion: A Study of His Work De Veritate Religionis Christianae, 1640

Hugo Grotius as Apologist for the Christian Religion: A Study of His Work De Veritate Religionis Christianae, 1640

Hugo Grotius as Apologist for the Christian Religion: A Study of His Work De Veritate Religionis Christianae, 1640

Synopsis

This study deals with Hugo Grotius' famous apologetic work "De veritate religionis christianae, the Latin version of a Dutch poem which he wrote in 1620 while imprisoned in Loevestein, entitled "Bewijs van den waren godsdienst. The first part of this book examines the genesis of the work and the development of the text. The middle sections give an analysis of the motives that led Grotius to write this work and of the sources he most probably used. The final chapters examine the notes that Grotius added to his work in 1640 and the reception of the work in the author's lifetime. The book is illustrated with several historical drawings and prints of Grotius and his time.

Excerpt

Paci christianorum studentis offcium et hoc est, demoliri dogmata, quae pacem civilem perturbant. Prius est bonum civem esse quam bonum christianum.—So said Hugo Grotius in one of his last polemical works against the theologian André Rivet (Rivetiani Apologetici pro schismate contra Votum pacis facti discussio, in Opera Theologica, 1732, IV, p. 701). This is just one example of a statement of Grotius, which as a theologian when I wrote the Dutch version of this study I could not fully comprehend (especially not the last sentence meaning: it's more important to be a good citizen than a good christian), but which more than ten years later as a lawyer I now feel that I understand rather better.

In 1987, when I began to study Grotius' apologetic work, encouraged by my promotor Prof. Dr Hans Posthumus Meyjes, I could not have suspected that this study would turn my life into another course. The first result of this study was my dissertation, which I defended at Leiden in 1992. The thesis was written in Dutch and therefore only accessible to a relatively small public. Once again it was Hans Meyjes who urged an English translation. That plan, however, hung fire for a long time, because very soon after my promotion all my time was taken up by my legal studies and later by my work as a lawyer. It was in fact Hugo Grotius who had led me to this, for it was his work that aroused my interest in juridical thought. In the meantime Hans Meyjes continued to urge an English translation of the thesis, which I had almost forgotten. After overcoming some hesitation I decided to apply to NWO for a translation subsidy, which was granted.

I am very grateful to Hans Meyjes for the way in which he initiated me into Grotius' thought, for his friendly encouragement from the beginning of my studies, and especially for the patience with which time and again he urged on my dilatoriness.

My promotor also recommended me to Chris Grayson, who had translated several Leiden studies, including Hans Meyjes's own thesis. I was therefore particularly pleased that Mr Grayson was willing to undertake the translation of my work. I thank him for the prompt and expert way in which he acquitted himself of his task.

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