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Jesuit Books in the Dutch Republic and its Generality Lands, 1567–1773

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Chapter Summary

In the 1540s the Society of Jesus came to the Netherlands from Nijmegen through Peter Canisius and from Louvain, where a community of Jesuits had settled two years previously. From the very beginning, the Jesuits in the Dutch Mission were exposed to political persecution and were involved in painful quarrels with the secular clergy. According to the laws of the Republic, the Catholic faith could not be practised, and priests were considered unwanted strangers. The publication of Jesuit books in the Dutch Republic and its Generality Lands was the work of the Jesuits and also of printers, publishers and booksellers who copied or translated Jesuit writings, published outside of the Dutch Republic, without asking for permission. One of the most popular meditation books in the Dutch Mission was the Imitation of Christ, by Thomas a Kempis. There were publications on fortifications, medical guides, biology, controversies, discoveries, schoolbooks and dictionaries.

Keywords: Dutch; Generality lands; Imitation of Christ; Jesuit; Peter Canisius; Society of Jesus; Thomas a Kempis

10.1163/9789004272057_004
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