Knowledge and Culture in the Early Dutch Republic
Knowledge and Culture in the Early Dutch Republic
Isaac Beeckman in Context
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Table of Contents
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List of illustrations
A Note on Abbreviations
1. (Klaas van Berkel, Albert Clement, and Arjan van Dixhoorn) Introduction
Part I. Assessing Beeckman
2. (John A. Schuster) Isaac Beeckman in the Context of the Scientific Revolution
3. (H. Floris Cohen) Isaac Beeckman at Gresham College in 1668. An Alternative ‘As if’ Scenario
. (Klaas van Berkel) Framing Beeckman. Cornelis de Waard as Editor of the Beeckman Papers
Part II. Understanding Beeckman
5. (Tiemen Cocquyt)) ‘Like Water, that Is Forced to Flow Through a Narrow Opening’: Isaac Beeckman’s Early Conceptualization of the Telescope
6. (Edouard Mehl) Optics, Astronomy, and Natural Philosophy: Beeckman, Descartes, Kepler, and the Dutch Connection
7. (Elisabeth Moreau) Combining Atomism with Galenic Medicine: The Physiological Theory of Isaac Beeckman (1616-1627)
8. (Daniel Moerman) Physician, Patient, Experimenter, and Observer. Isaac Beeckman’s Accounts of Illness and Death
9. (Samuel Le Gendre) Beeckman, Descartes, and the Principle of Conservation of Motion
10. (Fabrizio Baldassarri) Isaac Beeckman’s Corpuscular Study of Plants
Part III. Situating Beeckman
11. (Huib Zuidervaart) Networks of Knowledge in Middelburg Around 1600. The Context of Isaac Beeckman as a Young Man
12. (Albert Clement) Musical Culture in Middelburg in the Times of Isaac Beeckman
13. (Arjan van Dixhoorn) Consten-Culture. Beeckman, the Rhetoricians, and a New Style of Philosophizing
14. (Fokko Jan Dijksterhuis) Harnessing the Elements. Beeckman and Atmospheric Instruments
15. (Vera Keller) ‘Communicated only to Good Friends and Philosophers’: Cornelis Drebbel, Isaac Beeckman, and the Circulation of Artisanal Philosophy
16. (Semra Meray) What’s in a Language? Dutch and Latin in Isaac Beeckman’s Journal
17. (Klaas van Berkel) ‘Ut patet in figura.’ On the Use of Images in Beeckman’s Journal
18. (Klaas van Berkel, Albert Clement, and Arjan van Dixhoorn) Concluding Remarks
On the Authors

Knowledge and Culture in the Early Dutch Republic

Isaac Beeckman in Context

The Dutch Republic around 1600 was a laboratory of the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century. Here conditions were favourable for the development of new ways of knowing nature and the natural philosopher Isaac Beeckman, who was born in Middelburg in 1588, was a seminal figure in this context. He laid the groundwork for the strictly mechanical philosophy that is at the heart of the new science. Descartes and others could build on what they learned, directly or indirectly, from Beeckman. As previous studies have mainly dealt with the scientific content of Beeckman’s thinking, this volume also explores the wider social, scientific and cultural context of his work. Beeckman was both a craftsman and a scholar and fruitfully combined artisanal ways of knowing with international scholarly traditions. Beeckman’s extensive private notebook offers a unique perspective on the cultures of knowledge that emerged in this crucial period in intellectual history.

Klaas van Berkel

Klaas van Berkel recently retired as Rudolf Agricola professor of history at the University of Groningen. In his research he focuses on cultural history and the history of science, especially the history of scientific institutions (academies, universities). In 2021 he published, with Guus Termeer, The University of Groningen in the World. A Concise History (Amsterdam: Pallas Publications).

Albert Clement

Albert Clement is Professor of Musicology (University of Utrecht), Professor of Theology and Music (Theological University of Apeldoorn), organist and theologian. He was deeply involved in setting up Utrecht University’s International Honours College in Middelburg in the years 2003-2004, and introduced Performing Arts in the Dutch university system. He published widely on the history of music from the fifteenth to the twentieth centuries, notably on Johann Sebastian Bach and Felix Mendelssohn Bartoldy, and supervises a large international circle of PhD students.

Arjan van Dixhoorn

Arjan van Dixhoorn is Hurgronje Professor by special appointment for the History of Zeeland in the World at Utrecht University and teaches history at its international honours college, University College Roosevelt, in Middelburg. He was FWO-research fellow at the universities of Antwerp and Ghent from 2005 until 2014. His publications investigate the early modern history of public opinion and the social history of knowledge, with a focus on the role of vernacular literary cultures in Europe.