Frames /sing


Tag Archives: Collegiants

Jan Hendriksz Glazemaker…the Glazier

Jan Hendriksz Glazemaker was born in 1619 or 20, married in 1651, and buried Dec 5 1682.

Assumed to be the translator of Spinoza’s works into Dutch, on the strength of the evidence from Duijkerius’ Philopater novel, Glazemaker is seen to be a thorough participant in the Van den Enden and Jan Rieuwertsz circle of Cartesian-Collegiant politicists. Nadler counts him, taking him as part of the Mennonite Amsterdam community, a likely friend of Jelles from youth. It should be noted as a very shallow but perhaps significant resource that, as per his adopted name, he worked as a glazier before becoming a professional translator. As a glazier, and part of a glazier family (after his step father Wijbrandt Reijndersz), he was familiar with techniques of glass making (if peripherally), sources for very good glass, and possibly spectacle makers.

(There is a history that connects the glass used for lens-grinding to the glass used for windows and mirrors. Rolf Willach in his “Development of Lens Grinding and Polishing…” reports that at least in the early part of the century, the glass used was window glass cut into circles, and deduces that three telescopes from the first decades of the 1600s used Venetian mirrors to grind into their plano-convex shape.)

Though a negligable lead in the quest for Spinoza’s early lens-grinding knowledge, because Hudde’s technique of microscope lenses was a glass-beading technique, and by one report Van Leeuwenhoek was inspired to learn lens-crafting from watching a fair glass-blower, it is something to mark.


A list of some of Glazemaker’s translations and their dates [Spinoza leaves Amsterdam mid 1661]

De deugdelijke vrou (1643)
Joh. Barclai, D’Argenis (1643)
Toonneel der werreltsche veranderingen (1645)
Romainsche Historien van Titus Luvius, sedert de bouwing van Romen tot aan d’ondergang van ‘t Macadonische Rijk. (1646)
Nikolous Coeffeteau, Romanische historien (1649)
D. Erasmus, Onderwijs tot de ware godgeleertheit (1651)
Homerus, De Iliaden (1654)
Descartes, Redenering om ‘t beleed, om zijn reden wel te beleiden ende waarheit in de wetenschappen te zoeken (1656)
Descartes, Meditationes de prima philosophia: of bedenkingen van d’eerste wijsbegeerte (1656-1657)
Descartes, Principia philosophiae: of beginselen der wijsbegeerte (1657)
Descartes, Proeven der wijsbegeerte (1659)
J. Lily, De vermaakelijke Historie, Zee- en Land-Reyze van Euphues (1668 )

Anti-Trinitarian Politics at the Time of Spinoza’s Collegiants

For those interested in a summation of the political difficulties facing Spinoza’s group of Collegiants, here is an excerpt from Jonathan Israel’s The Dutch Republic: Its Rise, Greatness and Fall (1477 – 1806). In all likelihood Spinoza’s circle organized itself around the political protestor, Latin instructor, physician and playwright Van den Enden, and the bookshop of Rieuwertsz, who would publish, among other things, Spinoza’s study of Descartes’ Principles of Phllosophy and his Theological-Political Treatise.


Menno Simon (1496 -1561)

Fausto Sozzini (1539 – 1604)

Israel writes:

“But it [the centrality of the Socinian issue] was also due to the spread of the Collegiant movement, especially in the 1640s, to Amsterdam, and mounting evidence that some Dutchmen were being influenced by Socinian doctrines. Zeeland had already acted by the time the North and South Holland Synods petitioned the States of Holland, in 1653, to combat this ‘sickness’, which they called the most dangerous, and most ‘Jewish’, of all Christian heresies, alleging that it was spreading rapidly, especially in Holland, Friesland, and Groningen, and indication that Mennonites were regarded as particularly susceptable to Socinian arguments.

“In September 1653, the States of Holland duly prohibited Socinian and other anti-Trinitarian ‘conventricles’, warning participants they would be charged with blasphemy and as ‘disturbers of the peace’. Booksellers found stocking anti-Trinitarian books were to be fined 1000 guilders [a day laborer made about a guilder a day], printers of anti-Trinitarian literature 3000 guilders. The edict was aimed at Collegiants, and others who were susceptible to anti-Trinitarian influences, as well as avowed Scocinians, meeting in groups. There was a crackdown on anti-Trinitarianism throughout Holland, as well as in neighboring Utrecht, which continued through the 1650s and undoubtably had a considerable effect….At Amsterdam, too, the Collegiants were for some years forced to meet in smaller groups, than before, private homes, and be more circumspect….The crackdown on anti-Trinitarianism extended also to the countryside. The baljuw of Alkmaar wrote to De Witt, in March 1655, reporting his enquiries in the villages around the city, with the help of the ‘regents of the principal villages’, as to whether there were any Scocinians, or anti-Trinitarian books, in the vinciity, concluding that there were not…

…At Amsterdam, it proved impossible to halt the flow of Socinian publications for long…Collegiant meetings in large groups, or ‘colleges’, revived in the early 1660s [Spinoza moved to Rijnsburg in mid 1661]. In 1661, the Amsterdam Reformed consistory complained to the vroedschap of the ‘exorbitance of the Socinian gatherings, in which Quakers and Boreelists mingled, such that one hundred, one hundred fify, and sometimes even greater numbers attended them’. What was at issue here was not the existence of the Collegiant groups, as such, but that there was no longer sufficient pressure to compel them to meet only in small groups, in private homes” (911 – 912) [without footnotes].

Professor Israel does not take into immediate account that the consistory’s claim is likely an exaggeration, so as to make the complaint more forceful, but it is notable that by the time of Spinoza’s move to Collegiant center Rijnsburg, College gatherings in Amsterdam appeared to have bloomed to rather large numbers.