The Banishment of Beverland

Sex, Sin, and Scholarship in the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republic


In 1679 Hadriaan Beverland (1650-1716) was banished from the province of Holland. Why was this humanist scholar exiled from one of the most tolerant parts of Europe in the seventeenth century? To answer this question, this book places Beverland’s writings on sex, sin, and scholarship in their historical context for the first time. Beverland argued that sexual lust was the original sin and highlighted the importance of sex in human nature, ancient history, and his own society. His audacious works hit a raw nerve: Dutch theologians accused him of atheism, he was abandoned by his humanist colleagues, and he was banished by the University of Leiden.

By positioning Beverland’s extraordinary scholarship in the context of the seventeenth-century Dutch Republic, this book examines how his radical studies challenged the intellectual, ecclesiastical, and political elite, providing a fresh perspective upon the Dutch Republic in the last decades of its Golden Age.

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Karen Hollewand is a Postdoc at the University of Utrecht, where she currently studies the ideal of sharing knowledge in the early modern Republic of Letters and the development of a science of sex in seventeenth-century Europe. She completed her DPhil on the banishment of Beverland at the University of Oxford in 2016.

List of Tables and Illustrations

Abbreviations and Translations

Note on Translations

 1 Studies on Beverland
 2 The Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republic
 3 Sin, Scripture, Scholarship, Sex

Prologue: Banishment (1650–1680)
 1 Early Life and Student Years
 2 First Publications
 2 Trial and Banishment

1 Sin
 1 The Fall of Adam and Eve
 2 Ideas on Sex and Sin
 3 Beverland and the Dutch Theologians
 4 Conclusion

2 Scripture
 1 The Bible in the Seventeenth Century
 2 Philological Criticism
 3 Composition and Conservation
 4 A Spinozist?
 5 Conclusion

3 Scholarship
 1 The Humanist
 2 Sex and Humanist Scholarship
 3 Conclusion

4 Sex
 1 Bars, Brothels, and Obscenities
 2 Enticing Texts and Images
 3 Truth and Liberty
 4 Conclusion

Epilogue: Exile (1680–1716)
 1 Studies and Services
 2 Return to the Dutch Republic
 3 A Broken Man

Those interested in Hadriaan Beverland, the Dutch Republic, the history of sexuality and of science, and ideas on lust, on original sin, and on sexual liberty in the early modern period. Keywords: Hadriaan Beverland, Dutch Republic, original sin, lust, sexual liberty, humanism, history of sexuality, history of science, intellectual history, censorship.