Jews and Christians United: The 1701 Prosecution of Oliger Paulli and his Dutch Printers
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Original versionStudia Rosenthaliana. Journal of the History, Culture and Heritage of the Jews in the Netherlands. 2020, 46(1-2), 71-95 10.5117/SR2020.1-2.004.KUNE
Numerous religious texts were printed that would have been censored, elsewhere including Jewish religious texts. Yet freedom had its limits. In August 1701, Amsterdam’s judiciary council ordered the books authored by the Danish visionary Oliger Paulli, who advocated for a new religion uniting Jews and Christians, to be destroyed. In addition, the council sentenced Paulli to twelve years, imprisonment and later to permanent banishment, while two of his printers received hefty fines for printing his books. While earlier accounts have explained Paulli’s arrest by pointing to his heretical ideas, Paulli had publicly been advocating his views without causing scandal for years. The present chapter explores an alternate reason for his arrest, focusing on his printing connections that year, which caused Amsterdam’s authorities to associate Paulli with some of Amsterdam’s most outspoken religious dissenters and critics of religious authority.