The Banished Scholar: Beverland, Sex, and Liberty in the Seventeenth-Century Low Countries
Keywords:Hadriaan Beverland, humanism, original sin, history of sexuality, lust, sexual liberty
AbstractScholar Hadriaan Beverland was banished from Holland in 1679. Why was this humanist exiled from one of the most tolerant parts of Europe in the seventeenth century? This article argues that it was Beverland’s singular focus on sexual lust that got him into such great trouble. In his studies, he highlighted the importance of sex in human nature, history, and his own society. Dutch theologians disliked his theology, exegesis, and his use of erudition to mock their authority. His humanist colleagues did not support him either, since Beverland threatened the basis of the humanist enterprise by drawing attention to the sexual side of the classical world. And Dutch magistrates were happy to convict the young scholar, because he had insolently accused them of hypocrisy. By restricting sex to marriage, in compliance with Reformed doctrine, secular authorities upheld a sexual morality that was unattainable, Beverland argued, and he proposed honest discussion of the problem of sex. This article shows that by exposing the gap between principle and practice, Beverland highlighted the hypocrisy of a deeply conflicted elite at a precarious time, since the Dutch Golden Age had started disintegrating by the late-seventeenth century. Positioning Beverland’s fate in this context of change, his story and scholarship provide a fresh perspective on the intellectual environment of the Low Countries in this period.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2017 Karen Hollewand
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with EMLC agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0) or a Creative Commons NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
Authors are explicitly encouraged to deposit their article in their institutional repository.