Monday, 21 September 2015
My First Dutch Book
Today, I received my first copy of a Dutch edition of one of Jonathan Edwards's works. I have previously posted about my copy of the first edition of The Life of David Brainerd, published at Boston in 1749. I now own a copy of Historiesch Verhaal, van Het Godvruchtig Levenen den Zaligen Doodt, Van den Eerwaarden Heer David Brainerd, Onlangs Bedienaardes Euangeliums, gezonden van de Eerwaarde Maatschappye in Schotland, totvoortplantinge der Christelyke kennisse; en Leeraar eener Gemeinte van ChristenIndianen, te Nieuwe-Jersey. Alles getrokken uit zyn Dag-register, en anderebyzondere Schriften, welke tot zyn eigen gebruik waren opgestelt; en nu totalgemeen nut uitgegeven, door Jonathan Edwwards, A. M. Bedienaar desEuangeliums te Northampton. Uit het Engels Vertaalt door J. Ros. Met een koorVoorberigt van G. V. Schuylenborgh, Dienaar in J. C. Kerke te Thienhoven. This is the first Dutch edition of The Life of David Brainerd, published at Utrecht in 1756 by the booksellers, Jan Jacob van Poolsum and Abraham van Paddenburg. This is a really cool edition, consisting of over 500 pages of text, a title page with red lettering, and a preface by Gerardus Schuylenburg.
The Dutch edition of The Life of Brainerd was translated by Jan Ross, a Rotterdam merchant who had connections with the Scots Church in that city. Ross was friends with Hugh Kennedy, one of the pastors of the Scots Church at Rotterdam. Kennedy emigrated from Scotland to Rotterdam in 1737 to serve as a minister there, but he continued to maintain correspondences with evangelicals in Britain. When a major Dutch revival took place in the Veluwe region of Gelderland in the Netherlands in 1749, Kennedy published a Dutch account of the awakening in 1751 (Nederige verdediging van het werk des Heiligen Geestes), defending the revivals as the authentic work of God. One year later, he published an English version of the Dutch awakening in London entitled, Short Account of the Rise and Continuing Progress of a Remarkable Work of Grace in the United Netherlands.
It is very possible that Kennedy approached Jan Ross to translate a Dutch edition of The Life of Brainerd since the latter had already established himself as a capable translator of such works as Robert Wodrow's History of the Sufferings of the Church of Scotland from the Restoration to the Revolution and Daniel Neal's History of the Puritans in the early 1750s. Historiesch Verhaal, however, was published at Utrecht, and not Rotterdam. My theory is that Gerardus Schuylenburg, Reformed pastor of Tienhoven (near Utrecht), probably arranged for the book to be published there. Schuylenburg wrote the six-page preface, which presented a providential account of New England church history, from its early settlement to the recent time of the revivals. In my previous post, I mentioned that Schuylenburg housed John Frelinghuysen at his parsonage during the Dutch awakening. John Frelinghuysen was the son of the legendary revivalist Theodore Frelinghuysen, a progenitor of the American Great Awakening in the Middle Colonies. His son John had been in the Netherlands studying for the ministry before he traveled to America to assume his duties as a pastor in his father's place.
I am slowly working my way through the literature on the Dutch revivals in 1749-50, and I hope to incorporate some of this information in my forthcoming book on how this awakening relates to some of Edwards's Dutch publications.
I also am close to finishing a digital humanities project involving the geographical plotting of four subscription lists for Freedom of the Will (1754), Original Sin (1758), A History of the Work of Redemption (New York: 1786), and Religious Affections (Elizabethtown: 1787). I am in conversation with the Jonathan Edwards Center at Yale about creating an online exhibit for these subscription lists. Keep checking in for further information on this development.