“Spectatissimo, eruditione & pietate, insigno viro”: Abraham Rogerius, the Open-Deure, and the Identity of A.W. JCtus

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Abstract

In 1643, a manuscript was sent from Batavia to Amsterdam. It described
in vivid detail a world virtually unknown to the West, that of South-Indian Hinduism, taken from the words of local Brahmins and drawn up by VOC minister Abraham Rogerius. It was not until 1651 that De Open-Deure tot het Verborgen Heydendom appeared from the presses of the Leiden printing house of François Hackius. By then, its author had died, and circumstances regarding the actual publication are shrouded in mystery. This is also true about the life of Abraham Rogerius and the identity of the Open-Deure’s anonymous editor, A.W. JCtus. Traditionally associated with the Polish Socinian theologian Andreas Wissowatius, A.W’s annotations added a wealth of scholarly detail to Rogerius plain narrative. In this paper, I greatly expand upon the existing biographies of Rogerius and draw lines between the various actors involved with the eventual publication of his writings. I provide a fresh insight into the editorial history and afterlife of the Open-Deure, showing that there are in fact two different editions that diverge at key points. Moreover, I demonstrate that the elusive A.W. JCtus is most certainly not Wissowatius, but instead the Leiden lawyer and politician Arnoldus Wittens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-277
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Early Modern Christianity
Volume10
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.

Keywords

  • Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC)
  • history of religions
  • Hinduism
  • book history
  • biography

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