Tag Archives: Christianity

Review: A History of Religious Ideas 2: From Gautama Buddha to the Triumph of Christianity

A History of Religious Ideas 2: From Gautama Buddha to the Triumph of Christianity
A History of Religious Ideas 2: From Gautama Buddha to the Triumph of Christianity by Mircea Eliade
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The second volume of “A History of Religious Idea – From Gautama Buddha to the Triumph of Christianity” by Mircea Eliade covers the vast religious area between:

  • The ancient religions in China (Taoism and Confucianism),
  • Brahmanism and Hinduism,
  • Buddhism,
  • Roman religions,
  • Celts and Germans,
  • Judaism,
  • The Hindu Synthesis: The Mahabharata including the Bhagavad Gita,
  • Iranian Synthesis,
  • Paganism,
  • The Birth of Christianity and
  • Christianity as official Religion of the Roman Empire.

This vast area of religious ideas is described in a considerable depth, although experts will certainly notice significant omissions at once; e.g. the Upanishads and the Mahabharata deserve more attention.

This volume ends with “Deus Sol Invictus”; a religious idea taken by the Roman Emperor Aurelius (270 – 275 AC) from Egypt as uniting monotheistic Sun-God principle in the Roman Empire, before his successor Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity a preferred religion within the Roman Empire. The name Sunday – the day of God – originates from “Deus Sol Invictus” or Sun-God in the Roman Empire.

Highly recommended!

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Review: Six Memos For The Next Millennium

Six Memos For The Next Millennium
Six Memos For The Next Millennium by Italo Calvino
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Six Memos For The Next Millennium” by Italo Calvino is a collection of five Charles Eliot Norton Lectures written in 1985/1986 about what should be cherished in literature with intriguing titles:
1 – Lightness,
2 – Quickness,
3 – Exactitude,
4 – Visibility,
5 – Multiplicity
and the never written memo “6 – Consistency”.

In my opinion these lectures transcend “Goodreads”, these lectures are a must-read for every serious writer and reader!

The third memo by Italo Calvino – Exactitude – begins as follows:

“For the ancient Egyptians exactitude was symbolised by a feather, that served as a weight on scales used for the weighing of the Soul. This light feather was called “Maat” (also the Dutch word for measure) – Goddess of the scales”.

Italo Calvino begins his memo on “Visibility” with the verses:

“Then rained down into the high fantasy…”.

According to Italo Cavino:

”Rains the “Visibility” – or images – down from heaven; that is, God sends them to the people”.

As clarification of imagination, Italo Calvino quotes the following lines from the Purgatory by Dante:

You, imagination, that prevented us
Many times to perceive the world,
Although around may sound a thousand cymbals

What moved you, outside our sense?
A flash of light, created in heaven,
By itself, or by the will of God.

This is Italo Calvino’s testimony on literature in our Western contemporary world rooted in Christianity.

Highly recommended.

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Free and bound

After Carla, Narrator and Man have visited the English Church, they walk to the Catholic Begijnhof chapel. At the entrance Man explains:

“In spring 1942, I have received the first sacraments [1] of the Catholic faith in this Catholic chapel with the official name Johannes and Ursula chapel. In 1671, this chapel had started as a hidden chapel by connecting two houses in the Begijnhof to create a Church space. The former city council had approved the plans for the reconstruction on the condition that from the outside one cannot see that in here a Catholic chapel was located.
Katholieke Begijnhof kapel buitenzijde[2]
With the receiving of the first sacraments in this Catholic Begijnhof Chapel my faith had changed from Jewish to Catholic to the outside world. Via friends of my aunt at the Civil Registry in Rotterdam, I have received a few days later my other name Hermanus Jacobus Maria Leben including accompanying identity papers; from that moment on my name was Man Leben instead of Levi Hermann. With this other identity on paper I arrived through a number of intermediate steps at the farm of my godparents in South Limburg [3]. Although I have had the best time of my life at their farm, the free rendering of the poem by Rudyard Kipling [4] about the loss of his son during a fight on the Western Front in Great War had been in my life for a long time:

“Have you news of my mother?”
Not this tide.
“When do you think that she will come back?”
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide

“Has anyone else had word of her?”
Not this tide.
For what has disappeared, will not return
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide

“Oh, what comfort can I find?”
None this tide, nor any tide,
Except she had given her child —
with this wind blowing to that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,
This tide and every tide;
because I am her sun
given with this wind blowing and that tide! [5]

Much later, much later, in the preparation of saying Kaddhish in memory of my mother, the following haiku came into my life:

Wind takes you along
Volatile and fatal
From Hades’ realm.

After honouring my mother and father in the Jewish commemoration Kaddish [6], the following haiku came into my life. I always carry this haiku with me wherever I go and stand:

Where I go and stand
Your voice and your face
This tide and all tide

The long version of this haiku is the following poem:
Wherever I go, wherever I am
This tide and all tide
within this wind blowing I hear Your voice.

Wherever I go, wherever I am
This tide and all tide
within this wind blowing You’re near.

In every voice, I hear
In every face, I see
This tide and all tide
Your face.

Wherever I go, wherever I am
This tide and all tide
The passing of my life
Your face.

Let us enter the chapel”, says Man.
“You were so lonely”, says Carla.
“All one, never lonely as you had been in the solidified time. Let’s enter the chapel”, says Man.
Carla, Man and Narrator enter the Catholic Begijnhof chapel.
Katholieke Begijnhof kapel binnenzijde[7]
After visiting the chapel, Carla, Man and Narrator have a drink at the Spui.
“A long time, my memories of the Catholic Begijnhof Chapel had been vague and diffuse, but now I am old, it seems that my baptism, confirmation and first communion took place yesterday, so clearly I see and smell these events from my memories.
I also remember my dislike of the priest who has given me the first sacraments of the Catholic Church. An aversion to authority is a constant in my life. From childhood on I wanted as little as possible to do with power, because it brought me no good. Now I must admit – with shame – my mistake to the influence and – especially at the time – to the courage of the Catholic priest in Begijnhof Chapel; to him I owe further my life.
Although this priest had probably followed the Catholic canon law, he went – risking his own life – at least beyond the profane requirements of the occupier in the Netherlands and he also went beyond open undercurrents of anti-Judaism in the Christian church since this church under Constantine the Great had become the official church of the Roman Empire.
The anti-Judaism in Christianity had probably had its origins in the usual rivalry between religions in the struggle for survival, and had been shaped in the struggle for dominance between both religions and in the pursuit of purity of faith.
Before the Christian church under Constantine the Great had practically become the official church of the Roman Empire, Christians had to deal with prosecutions . In addition, they had to bend in many places in Asia Minor to the Jewish precepts and laws. The Christians could only express their dormant and sometimes outright hatred of the Jewish in words, sermons and writings. The Christian faith had emanated from and had built on the Jewish faith and rules, but as adolescents move away from their parents in order to start their own life, so the Christians moved away – and sometimes rebelled against – the Jewish faith and Jewish law and rules. Although at that time the Christians in Asia Minor had rebelled against the Jews, as descendants of the Jews – on the road to independence – both beliefs were closely linked. Also a very significant group of Christians – called Judaizers [8] – were sympathetic to Judaism: in addition to the Christian Sunday rest, they practiced the Sabbath rest, they fasted with fellow Christians and observed the Jewish rules for fasting, they celebrated the Christian Passover in the church and in their own circles the Jewish Pesach. The Christian church leaders – seeking purity of faith – were not pleased with this mix of both believe; they wished to establish the renewal of the Christian faith and eternally safeguard it in the future whereby simultaneously introduce rigidity, hierarchy and authority. In addition, the Christian church leaders wanted to establish a homogeneous block in their struggle against paganism [9]. Perhaps the Christian church leaders were more anxious about the temptations and paganism in their own sections or in their selves, than about the paganism in the outside world. An organization or person with inner doubt often tries to derive securities from the vicinity: if the environment offers security and support, the inner uncertainty will have less incentives to manifest themselves. This corresponds to a liar who do every effort to let the environment appear honest in order to avoid being caught.
In 313 AC, the Christian church was liberated from persecution under Licinius and Constantine the Great – the emperors respectively the Western and Eastern Roman Empire – with the Edict of Milan [10], by the words ” that it was proper that the Christians and all others should have liberty to follow that mode of religion which to each of them appeared best” [11 ]. Although there had arisen freedom of religion within the Roman Empire by this Edict, in reality shortly after the Edict the Christian church had become he official church of the Roman Empire. At the Council of Nicaea Constantine personally made sure that the Christian Easter and the Jewish Passover were separated [12]
Around 380 AC the anti-Jewish rhetoric had reached its peak at that time in Johannes Chrysostomus (Church father, and later Archbishop of Constantinople from 398 to 403 AC). In Antioch – in that place Johannes Chrysostomus was a normal priest – was a substantial group Judaizers, despite all efforts of the Christian church to separate Christians and Jews. With his ” Preaching against the Jews ” Johannes Chrysostomus had tried to end the habit of Judaizers definitively. He compared the Judaizers with mortally ill fellow Christians that had to be cured of the Jewish plague. With all his extraordinary rhetorical gifts and his extraordinary charisma, he had disreputed the Jews in these sermons by comparing them with the lowest earthly beings around. The ultimate argument of Johannes Chrysostomus in his anti-Jewish sermons was the proposition that – without exception – all Jews were “the murderer of Jesus Christ”: herewith the Jews had call upon themselves all their misery and rejection of God. The influence of these sermons has been enormous; the translated sermons had been distributed within the Christian church. By the sermons of Johannes Chrysostomus the attitude of Christians towards the Jews had been profoundly affected; latent dislikes of the Jews have been given a voice and the image of the “Christ Killer” stigma had been inculcated [13].
Johannes Chrysostomus[14]
Before the Reformation, especially Antwerp and also Amsterdam were refuges for Jews from Spain and Portugal, and later to people of other faiths or dissenters. After the fall of Antwerp during the revolt against Spain in the Low Countries in 1585 AC [15], many – most prosperous – refugees had moved to Amsterdam. During and after the Reformation, Amsterdam has been – to a greater or lesser extent – a refuge and a kind of haven for dissenters and beliefs of others faits. My parents had relied on it as they had fled from Frankfurt am Main to Amsterdam in 1934 to escape from the effects of the other regime in Germany.
With the rise of the other regime in Germany in the 30s, xenophobia had been connected with the always latent aversion to Jews, coupled with the memory of shame of the loss of the Great War and the repayment of the war debt – that had caused a crisis and hyperinflation during the Weimar Republic between 1921 and 1923 [16] – linked with the urge to permanently establish and sustain innovation in Germany permanently. The result was a widely accepted dictatorship in Germany that had accepted no other voice and a society that wished to eradicate existing fears by projecting uncertainties on scapegoats. Removing the scapegoats from society might also remove the fears and uncertainties; this mechanism cumulative in dictated persecution of Jews that was strictly executed by the bureaucrats.
In the prime of my life I had the idea that I could shape my own life, that I could liberate myself from my past by free choices, that I did give shape to my own future shape. This liberation had largely taken place, but I have owed my whole life and the way I’ve lived for a very large part due to the Christian Church, to John Chrysostom and the consequences of his Sermons against the Jews, and the authority of the priest who has given me the first sacraments of the Catholic faith in this Catholic Begijnhof chapel. As much as I had tried to escape hereof, and how much I had resisted ‘ve done myself in the prime of my life, now I’ve peace with it. Free and bound”, says Man.
“Once I read somewhere that Church History is all encompassing. Arguably I think this is correct”, says Narrator.
“Shall we have lunch. Mid-afternoon we can continue with “Free and bound” in a personal relationship with God, during and after the Reformation. Then I suggest to continue with the rise of capitalism in Holland amongst others caused by the Reformation. Do you like of this proposal”, says Man.
“That is good. Shall I continue with the personal relationship with God? ”, says Narrator.
“Afterwards I will continue with the rise of capitalism”, says Carla.

[1] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacrament
[2] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begijnhof_Chapel,_Amsterdam
[3] See also: Drift, Carla, Man Leben – One life. Amsterdam: Omnia – Amsterdam Publisher, 2012 p. 21 – 21
[4] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudyard_Kipling
[5] Free rendering of: Kipling, Rudyard, My Boy Jack. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Boy_Jack_%28poem%29
[5] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudyard_Kipling
[6] Zie ook: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaddish
[7] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begijnhofkapel_(Amsterdam)
[8] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judaizers
[9] Source and see also: Trouillez, Pierre, Bevrijd en gebonden – De Kerk van Constantijn (4e en 5e eeuw n. Chr.). Leuven: Davidsfonds, 2006, p. 154
[10] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edict_of_Milan
[11] Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_I_and_Christianity
[12] Source: Schama, Simon, De geschiedenis van de Joden – Deel 1: De woorden vinden 1000 v.C. – 1492. Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Atlas Contact, 2013, p. 266
[13] Source and see also: Trouillez, Pierre, Bevrijd en gebonden – De Kerk van Constantijn (4e en 5e eeuw n. Chr.). Leuven: Davidsfonds, 2006, p. 155
[14] Image of Johannes Chrysostomus in the Hagia Sophia. Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Chrysostom
[15] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fall_of_Antwerp
[16] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weimar_Republic


Mid-afternoon Carla and Man are seated on bench before Atheneum bookshop on the Spui in Amsterdam near “Het Lieverdje” [1].
“Were we not too outspoken in our opinion on the Reformation and the schisms in the Reformed church in Netherlands during and after the second world war in our discussion this morning?”, asks Man to Carla.

“On our quest we have arrived at intensities and associations and at the Reformation of the Christian faith; This is not a gentle topic.

During the Reformation, a Eighty Years’ War of independence had raged in Holland with all the characteristics of a religious war. Every war is terrible – although I know least one author who is not averse to a good fight [3] – also a war of independence and a religious war. In the first half of the twentieth century a modus vivendi was established with the pilarisation [4] between the separate religious groups in the Netherlands. The schism in the Dutch Reformed Church of 1944 did not cause bloodshed, but the separation was no less painful and inevitable for those involved. There is Narrator”, says Carla.

“Shall we walk to the Begijnhof and continue with the iconoclasm there”, says Narrator.
“This afternoon during my rest hour I read the following paragraphs [5] on iconoclasm in “The prophets” by Abraham Joshua Heschel that I have borrowed from Man:

The prophet is an iconoclast, challenging the apparently holy, revered, and awesome. Beliefs cherished as certainties, institutions endowed with supreme sanctity, he exposes as scandalous pretentions.

The prophet knew that religion could distort what the One demanded of man, that priests themselves had committed perjury by bearing false witness, condoning violence, tolerating hatred, calling for ceremonies instead of bursting forth with wrath and indignation at cruelty, deceit, idolatry and violence.


To the people, religion was Temple, priesthood, incense. Such piety the prophet brands as fraud and illusion. [7]

These paragraphs are from the description “What manner of man is the prophet”. Next to a ”rebel” [8], the prophet is a man with a sensitivity for the evil that is expressed brightly and explosively – preferably an octave too high – in rigor and compassion; the prophet wants to change the apathy of the others into a pathos with a direct connection to the One – or God in our language.
I think the Protestants in Holland had studied the texts of the Old Testament on the prophets and they had derived therefrom an engagement to regaining the sense of a true faith from the early days of Christianity”, says Carla.

“I am certain that the Protestants knew the text regarding the cleansing of the Temple by Jesus from the Gospel of John:

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found livestock traders and moneychangers. Jesus drove the livestock traders with their sheep and cattle out of the temple, he threw the money of the changers on the ground and overturned their tables and shouted: “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” The Jews then responded to him: “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”. Jesus answered them: “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” They replied: “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?”. But the temple Jesus had spoken of was his body. [10]

At the temple of his body, I think of “et incarnatus est [11]” from the Credo.
In the first half of the 16th century, the churches were places of devotion stuffed with devotional objects that each had its group of supporters in the local population. Some devotional objects were relics of saints whereupon the status and value of churches was based. For example, the St. Peter’s Basilica was built on the site where according to tradition the tomb of St. Peter – one of the twelve disciples of Jesus and for the Catholics the first pope – could be located. Between 1940 and 1949 excavations had been conducted under the floor of St. Peter’s Basilica uncovering a tomb with the presumed bones of Peter. This claim cannot be scientifically substantiated [12].

With the widespread use of literate information by the rise of the printing press, the always lingering doubts about the authenticity of the relics changed in a simmering uncertainty and sometimes in a proof of inauthenticity of the origin of these devotional objects located in devotion sites.

Within the Catholic Church the role of saints had many similarities with the position of former local Gods. Because the believers began to study the Bible themselves, the role of these saints – including their prominent place in the local churches – was questioned.
The forces against the iconoclasm were not only caused by the Catholic clergy, but also by the (wealthy) individuals and groups that had provided donations to the creation of statues of saints and to images of religious events in paintings on walls and ceilings and in the church windows.

In the course of the 16th century the people’s devotion to saints and devotional objects changed to an outright rejection of these forms of belief in some parts of Europe – mostly in areas just outside the border of the Roman Empire more than 1,000 years ago. In 1535, a iconoclasm took place in Geneva. After seditious sermons the altars in the church had been destroyed and the church windows smashed; later young people had taken the remaining devotional objects from the church [13]. Previously there had already occurred an iconoclasm in 1522 in Wittenberg, in 1523 in Zürich, in 1530 in Copenhagen, in 1534 in Münster; and later in 1537 in Augsburg, in 1559 in Scotland [14].

The iconoclastic in 1523 in Zürich had been initiated by Ulrich Zwingli – prophet, dictator and champion of purity of the church that in his opinion shall be traced to the Bible and partly based on the reason according to Erasmus – who almost simultaneously and in imitation of Luther in Germany had begun a Reformation in Zürich. Zwingli’s revolt was initiated by social injustice in Switzerland – including young men who had to perform military service as mercenary for foreign powers – and altered social relations with an emerging literate citizenry and a peasantry who wanted greater independence from the governors. In 1519 Zwingli opposed the indulgences in the Catholic Church, and from 1520 he left the Catholic Church. In 1522 he had married Anna Reinhard in secret – a young widow with three children – who was known for her beauty , faith and allegiance to the Reformation. On April 2, 1524 Zwingli had married her in a public service, whereupon they had received four children between 1526 and 1530. Zwingli’s radical followers took advantage of the situation in Zürich to remove the statues and icons from the church, to change the liturgy and to simplify the Mass. By the end of 1524, the monasteries in Zürich were abolished. By Zwingli the entire church doctrine and religious ceremonies in Zürich were brought in accordance with the bible. Zwingli had issued a ban on interest on loans and usury. Opponents of Zwingli could count on a relentless persecution. From 1526 to 1531 Zwingli ‘s translation of the Bible – the Froschauer Bible – was printed . On Thursday in Holy Week in 1525 the Eucharist was celebrated according to Zwingli’s new liturgy. For the first time the men and women sat on opposite sides in the church along a long table on which stood bread on wooden plates and wine in wooden cups. The difference with the Catholic Holy Mass was enormous. For Zwingli and his followers the bread and wine refers – even after the consecration – to the body and blood of Christ; communion is a confession of a symbolic union with Christ. Communion in the liturgy of Zwingli is a memorial celebration similar to the Jewish Passover [15]. Hereby Zwingli differs fundamentally from the Catholic Church wherein the bread and wine during the consecration through transubstantiation [16] change in the body and blood of Christ. Herewith Zwingli also differs fundamentally from Luther and Melanchthon who believed in a form of consubstantiation [17] in which Christ is present during the celebration of the communion by (or in addition to) the bread and wine.

Zwingli succeeded in letting Zurich declare war to the Roman Catholic cantons in Switzerland hoping to spread the Reformation throughout Switzerland; he dreamed of a Swiss / German alliance against the Habsburg Holy Roman Catholic Empire. In October 1531 the Catholic cantons committed a joint attack on Zürich. Due to the suddenness of the attack, the Protestants were hardly ready to defend themselves. Zwingli had led the way with sword and helmet in the Protestant army. In Kappel the army of Zurich was finally defeated and the Peace of Kappel was signed. Zwingli himself was slain in battle, his body quartered, burned and his ashes mixed with manure [19].

The iconoclasm that had raged over North France and the Western Netherlands in the late summer until October 1566, began on August 10, 1566 in Steenvoorde (today’s Northern France) where the images in a monastery were destroyed [21]. In these three months many churches were violated and the interior destroyed. The intensification of contradictions that amongst others became visible through this iconoclastic, indirectly led to the outbreak of the Eighty Years’ War and the emergence of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands.

In Zeeland in the Netherland, the route of the iconoclastic can be followed to some extent. On August 22 in 1566 the first church buildings were destroyed in Middelburg. The citizens of Middelbug went to Buttinge, Poppendamme, Arnemuiden, to the monastery in Aagtekerke near Serooskerke, to the monastery Sint-Jan ten Heere under Domburg. From Veere and Vlissingen iconoclasts were on their way to the rural communities and the rural churches of Walcheren were destroyed. The citizen of Vlissingen performed demolitions in Oost Souburg, West Souburg Koudekerke Biggekerk, Zoutelande and Oud-Vlissingen. [23].

This iconoclasm in the western part of the Netherlands was an expression of dissatisfaction with the obsolete social relationship in society and religion. At the same time the iconoclasm was the start of the Eighty Years’ War [24] – a terrible and inevitable revolt against the then Spanish king of the Western Netherlands – and the beginning of the first modern Republic”, says Narrator.

“Shall we visit the Begijnhof tomorrow?“, asks Carla.

“Good idea. Tomorrow we may continue with the iconoclasm. I would like to highlight a iconoclasm of 2000 years earlier in Jewish history. I think that iconoclasm also influenced the emergence of Protestantism. Shall we have a drink in the pub across the street”, says Man.

[1] At “Het Lieverdje” in Amsterdam started the Provo movement in the 1960s. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provo_(movement)

[2] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spui_(Amsterdam)

[3] See Introduction in: Creveld, Martin van, The Culture of War. New York: Ballantine Books, 2008

[4] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verzuiling

[5] See: Heschel, Abraham Joshua, De Profeten, Vught: Skandalon, 2013, p. 38

[6] Image of Isaiah – a painting by Marc Chagall – on the cover of the Dutch edition of “The Prophets” by Abraham Joshua Heschel. Source image: http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/marc-chagall/prophet-isaiah-1968 (see “fair use” on this website)

[7] See also: Jeremia 7:4

[8] See also: Camus, Albert, The Rebel.

[9] Painting by Benjamin West Isaiah’s Lips Anointed with Fire. Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prophet

[10] Free rendering of: John’s Gospel 2:13-21

[11] Strophe from: “Et incarnatus est de Spiritu Sancto (en hij is vlees geworden uit de Heilige Geest)

[12] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vatican_Necropolis

[13] Source: Fernández – Armesto, Felipe & Wilson, Derek, Reformatie – Christendom en de wereld 1500 – 2000, Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Anthos, 1997, p.122, 123

[14] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beeldenstorm

[15] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passover

[16] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transubstantiation

[17] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consubstantiation

[18] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consubstantiation

[19] Sources: Fernández – Armesto, Felipe & Wilson, Derek, Reformatie – Christendom en de wereld 1500 – 2000, Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Anthos, 1997, p. 131, Vries, Theun de, Ketters – Veertien eeuwen ketterij, volksbeweging en kettergericht. Amsterdam: Querido, 1987, p. 575 – 582 and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huldrych_Zwingli

[20] See banner with image of Maria. Source image: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huldrych_Zwingli

[21] Source: Noordzij, Huib, Handboek van de Reformatie – De Nederlandse kerkhervorming in de 16e en de 17e eeuw. Utrecht: Uitgeverij Kok, 2012, p. 414

[22] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beeldenstorm

[23] See also: http://www.regiocanons.nl/zeeland/vensters-op-zeeuws-erfgoed/tachtigjarige-oorlog

[24] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eighty_Years%27_War

Man Leben – Everyday life

Wie soll man leben – How to live

Now you continue with your contribution to society and your everyday life in Amsterdam:

“I have completed my general education at a Catholic primary school in South Limburg and a Christian grammar school in Rotterdam. In my grammar school time my aunt promoted the regular study of the Jewish scriptures. At that time these were complete different worlds. Looking back, I mainly see the similarities.

Open-minded I started my study Architecture in Delft without formal obligations. On my 21st birthday the disillusionment followed. My aunt explained to me how she had handled the legacy of my parents and family. She had done well, but the time was not well-disposed to her. Hereinafter I finished my studies in four years with a reasonable to good study in the field of utility-building.

Everyday life took me on. A short period I worked at an architectural firm on utility projects. Through this firm, I ended up in the trade of building materials. In the early sixties more money came in society and there was also more money available for building materials. I lifted on this tide.


Through my work on the architectural firm I met my wife and mother of our three children. In grammar school and the first two years of my study, I have been in love several times, but there was always a distance. Now I saw her and she appeared in a white glow; not as bad as when in primary school I fell in love for the first time. Then lightning struck me and everything was completely white, now it was gentler and only she stood in a white glow. Fortunately I could utter a few meaningful words. The second time I had the courage to ask her out. So it went on. We are quickly engaged and we married in 1959. A short time we have lived in an apartment and when the children came, we moved to a house near Amsterdam.

The trade in building materials was very successful. For me my “Jaguar year” started.


I will keep the description of these “Jaguar years” brief, because Lucy Irvine [3] in her book on the stay on a deserted island in the Pacific could not stand it when her companion “G” began about his “Jaguar days”. Our success increased and we moved to a detached house on the outskirts of Amsterdam; we went with vacations further and further. The children went to primary school and everything seemed quiet and fine.

With the increased wealth at the end of the 1960s, there was a underneath sense of uneasiness in society that also got a place in our family. Structures and ways of living changed, values and ways of behaviour changed and we felt a great increase of freedom [4]  and possibilities. The imagination seemed to come to power. The routine of a fixed family with fixed ways of living together changed in a free family with free manners. Our marriage changed in an open marriage with room for other relationships. The Jaguar was exchanged for a Renault 4 as family car – a delicious moving car, which flowed like everything else in that time –, because we felt we were still young and alternative; we enjoyed life.


The trade prospered and required another car – a Saab 99. Looking back the joy of this freedom and entering into other relationships was fleeting and shallow; the latent discontent remained.


The second-wave feminism rolled into our family. After our wedding my wife stopped working, she took care of everything in and around our house, and for the children; I took care of the income, for all official business and for the management of our possessions. We made plans for the future and considered together important decisions. Everything was nicely divided as usual in that area. We started with a normal marriage like everyone else in that time. The hippie time made everything loose and more jolly; clothing was alternative and the relationships as well. In the early 1970s my wife wished to develop and orient herself on her place in society.

My wife started to develop herself; she began a study languages at the University of Amsterdam. Her social life changed – her new friend came in our life and not much later they moved on with the children: she was my ex-wife and a visit arrangement with the children followed. My social life changed: there were several female friends in my life and my circle of friends changed because our separation also resulted in a separation in the family and friends – “partir est mourir un peux”. My inner discomfort and dissatisfaction remained.

With these changes also the view on other religions came in my life: Catholicism, Christian and Jewish faith had already found a place in my life – the last 25 years more or less dormant. With the alternative movement also Eastern religions like Buddhism and Hinduism came into view. Later these religions played an important role in my life.

At the end of the 70 ‘s I was – additional to my work in the trade – a few years part time teacher for modular construction elements at the Delft University of Technology. I had transferred part of my job to younger colleagues. In that time I followed the lectures in philosophy by professor W. Luijpen. His view on society had a major influence on me.

In 1980 my aunt died after a short period of illness. I have organized her funeral and the additional matters. At that time she was again my closest member in the family. I visited her grave annually in the Catholic fashion around 1 November. I still could not fulfil her wish to honour her with traditional remembrance of the dead [7] according to the Jewish tradition. I still was not ready for it.

In the spring of 1982 my godfather in South Limburg suddenly died. My life was ready for a change. I decided to help my godmother on the farm: I moved to South Limburg and I was temporarily farmer. Before I left, I handled my business in Amsterdam, sold our house and for the children I have – like my grandparents had done for my parents in 1923 – a small capital base in deposit. My family has not appreciated this change. When I look back, I shouldn’t have taken these steps so bold, but in that period of my life I felt that this change was on my way”, you say.

“I remember that confusing time. In Limburg these changes happened later, but at the end of my grammar school time everyone had long hair and colourful clothes. During my study in Delft I felt resistance against men because I had the opinion that women had an unjust place in society”, I say.

“When we married, the society was organised differently. The changes came later. On my return in South Limburg, I went back in time. In Limburg the relation between men and women were not so much changed”, you say.


The following post is about your return to Limburg and how you started to drift.


– “Who are you – Part 1″ ready for download –

– Please, see page: “Who are you – Part 1”

[1] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestand:Piping01.JPG

[2] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jaguar.3point4.750pix.jpg

[3] See: Irvine, Lucy, Castaway. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1984

[4] The verb root “Vraj” means in Sanskrit “go, walk”. Source: Egenes, Thomas, Introduction to Sanskrit – Part Two. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 2005 p. 395. According to the electronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta, “Vraj” also has the meaning “to go to (a woman)” and “have sexual intercourse with”.

[5] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Renault_4_R_1123_1968.jpg

[6]  Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Saab_99_EMS_1974_(UK_Spec).jpg

[7] See also: Zie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaddish

[8] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestand:Ford5000.jpg