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    A Dutch Preacher Denies the Existence of the
    Devil and Witchcraft - Signed by Him

    Balthasar Bekker. De Betroverde Weereld, Zynde een Grondig Ondersoek Van 't gemeen gevoelen aangaande de Geeten, derselver Aart en Vermogen, Bewind ea Bedryf: als ook't gene de Menschen door dereiver kraght en gemeenschap doen. In vier Boeken... Amsterdam: Daniel Van Den Dalen, 1691-1693. First Complete Dutch Edition. Signed by the author on the verso of the first title-page, on the verso of the second title-page and at the end of the preface in volume IV. Four quarto volumes bound in one. *-2 +2*2 [*1 and 2 bound at rear], 2*4, a-d4, A-4, S2 [S2 register--not blank-- in this copy]; **4,Aa--3K4; *4, A-2A4; *4, A-2E4, 2E*-2E2*4, 2F-2M4. [20], 138, [2]; [8], 262, [2]; [8], 188, [2]; [6], 277, [3] pages. Full-page woodcut of drinking horn, volume IV, page 141. Contemporary full vellum, ink title on spine. Binding somewhat soiled, marginal dampening in text has caused some chipping to edge of first leaves and light damp and mold stains throughout; corner torn off **4 in second volume, some text affected; clean tear on 2T2 in volume II (repaired); inner margin repairs to first leaves of volume III; margin of last leaves edge chipped. A portrait sometimes found in this edition (not reported in Van Der Linde or STCN and probably not issued for this edition but for the French edition) is not in this copy. Still, a very good copy. From the Krown & Spellman Collection.
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    Bekker was a Dutch precursor of rationalism; born at Metslawier Mar. 30, 1634; died in Friesland June 11, 1698. He studied at Groningen under J. Alting and in Franeker, where he was rector of the Latin school, was made doctor of theology, and preacher in 1666. Being an enthusiastic follower of the Cartesian philosophy, he published at Wesel in 1668 an Admonitio sincere et candida de Philosophia Cartesiana, and gave greater offense by his catechisms in 1668 and 1670. He was accused of Socinianism, although Alting and other theologians pronounced him to be orthodox. After many controversies, he accepted a call as preacher to Weesp, and, in 1679, to Amsterdam. The appearance of a large comet in 1680 induced him to issue a work against, popular superstition, which stirred up more commotion; and, in 1691, in De betoverde Wereld, published at Leeuwarden, he denied the existence of sorcery, magic, possessions by the devil, and of the devil himself. The consistory of Amsterdam instituted a formal process against him, and he was deposed July 30, 1692.

    "He was the last of the Dutch thinkers from Johan Weyer to Grevius who had kept Holland free from the abuses of the witch hunters... In 1691... he published his attack on belief in witchcraft, on the only logical basis possible: that spirits, either good or bad (the existence of which Bekker did not deny), could exercise no influence over human affairs; nor should seemingly paranormal effects be attributed to witchcraft." - R.H. Robbins.

    It was a very influential book and editions were also published in German, French, and English.

    Coumont B40.2. STCN 169104 & 169304. Jouin 857. Cornell Witchcraft 41. Van der Linde 16,17,19,20. Caillet 915 (French ed.) Rosenthal, Magica, 2873. Ferguson, Glasgow, 79. Graesse, Magica 61.

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    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    5th Wednesday
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