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Philippus van Limborch’s Amica Collatio and its Relation to Grotius’s De Veritate

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This paper deals with the influence of De veritate on Van Limborch’s Amica collatio cum erudito Judaeo (1687), which is often considered as an early example of interfaith dialogue in a tolerant atmosphere. The first section introduces the Remonstrant theologian Van Limborch (1633–1712), with special attention to his relation to Grotius. The second section focuses on the Collatio. Van Limborch’s discussion partner Orobio de Castro (ca. 1620–1687) is introduced. The way in which the dialogue develops is sketched: it starts in a reasonable mode, but towards the end Van Limborch’s tone can hardly be called ‘friendly’ anymore. He cannot accept that a reasonable man does not see the superiority of Jesus, and tries to convert his discussion partner. The third section summarizes the influence of Grotius on the Collatio. Van Limborch learned from him not to argue about dogmatic constructions, but to start from the Bible and its unquestionable revelations. He follows the logic of De veritate, Book II and III, arguing that the truth about Jesus can only be proven from the New Testament, which contains reliable testimonies to him and his miracles. He follows the tenor of Book v as well, arguing that the Jews should look upon the miracles of Jesus as sufficiently attested and greater than those of Moses, and therefore should convert themselves. On closer analysis the Collatio can hardly be considered as an example of interfaith tolerance, neither can Grotius’ De veritate.

Affiliations: 1: Professor emeritus, University Leiden,


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