Hugo Grotius as Apologist for the Christian Religion: A Study of His Work De veritate religionis christianae (1640)


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.


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Biographical Note

Jan Paul Heering, Ph.D. (1992), University of Leiden, is now solicitor at the Dutch Supreme Court (Hoge Raad der Nederlanden) and partner of the law firm Barents & Krans in The Hague.

Review Quote

' ...Grotius takes the very Erasmian stance that religious truth is witnessed not by dogmatic purity but by peace and unity and it was to this end that he built his argument...that made De veritate so useful for later thinkers attempting to defend religion in Europe from a rationalized, often Neo-Stoic, latitudinarian, or "Arminian" position, or attempting to convert followers of other religions.' Wood Bouldin, Renaissance Quarterly, 2005. ‘ This work is a very fundamental, careful piece of scholarship and will be of great help to Grotius scholars in the English-speaking world.’ Jeremiah Hackett, University of South Carolina, Sixteenth Century Journal

Table of contents

Foreword List of Abbreviations Introduction 1. Bewijs van den waren godsdienst a. Background b. The writing of the apologetic work ( Bewijs) c. Editions d. Dedication Summary 2. De veritate religionis christianae a. Latin editions b. Development of the text Conclusion 3. The contents Book 1. On God and religion Book 2. The truth and excellence of the Christian religion Book 3. The credibility of the Bible Book 4. Against paganism Book 5. Against Judaism Book 6. Against Islam 4. Intention and method a. Intention b. Method 5. Sources Introduction Book 1—Mornay Book 2—Socinus Book 3—Socinus Book 4—Mornay Book 5—Mornay Book 6—Vives 6. The Notes Book 1 Book 2 Book 3 Book 4 Book 5 Book 6 7. Reception a. Criticism b. Translations c. Editions and translations after 1645 Conclusion Sources and literature a. Sources I. The Bible II. Classical and Patristic Works III. Medieval and Humanist Works IV. Works of Grotius V. Contemporary Works b. Literature Indexes Index of Names Index of Subjects


All those interested in intellectual history, the history of Renaissance thought, the history of the Church, Christian apologetics, as well as theologians, legal historians and philophers of religion.