In the spirit of the new naturalism, Adriaan Koerbagh defends in Een ligt schijnende in duystere plaatsen (1668) the freedom to philosophize with a fundamental critique of religion and metaphysics. He links this criticism to the politically radical, anti-hierarchical idea of universal equality and freedom. Moreover, by writing in Dutch, he addresses a broad audience with this explosive mixture of ideas. At the very center of his naturalism is the idea of an indifferent God or nature. He criticizes, unmasks and translates improper language that is aimed at deception and oppression, and leads to violence. His loanword dictionary Een Bloemhof van allerley lieflijkheyd sonder verdriet (1668) can be seen as the preparatory handwork to this critical project. Koerbagh thereby places himself in the line of the clandestine freethinkers such as Vanini, the anonymous authors of Theophrastus redivivus and De jure ecclesiasticorum, Spinoza, and the clandestine text written ‘in the spirit of Spinoza’, Traité des trois imposteurs. I will illustrate this genealogical line and thus illuminate the significance of this (politically) subversive thinker for the radical Enlightenment.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9
Pages (from-to)255-271
Number of pages17
JournalChurch History and Religious Culture
Volume100
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020

    Research areas

  • Koerbagh, Spinoza, naturalism, freethought, religion critique, philology, dictionary, libertas philosophandi

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