In 1618, during his detention at Loevestein Castle, the Dutch humanist Hugo Grotius (1583–1645) began to work on a project that would occupy him for the remainder of his life: a commentary on the New Testament, later completed with annotations on the Old Testament. Grotius embarked on this project because he was convinced to have found a remedy for the continual dogmatic strife that divided the Christian Churches. He directed his research to placing the books of the Bible in their original historical context. If he could show Christian believers how the divine message had worked at the moment of its first expansion, it would be easy to retrace its quintessence and transpose it to the seventeenth-century world. This paper deals with the reception of Grotius’ biblical annotations in Holland and France. It elaborates two major themes, for which Grotius’ research soon proved to be both innovative and influential: divine inspiration and prophecies. Grotius’ views on these two topics will be discussed as far as they surface in the works of scholars like André Rivet, Jean Leclerc, Richard Simon and Pierre Bayle.
The 7725 letters of Hugo Grotius's correspondence of the years 1594 to 1645 reflect the highlights and drawbacks of an eventful career. Some important gradual developments and abiding features in the letters will be pointed out. In this way Grotius's political and scholarly activities can be analysed from the perspective of the correspondence.