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9 - Three Unnoticed Scottish Editions of Pieter Burman's Antiquitatum Romanarum brevis descriptio

from SIGNIFICANCE OF DUTCH HUMANISM

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 October 2017

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Summary

SCOTLAND AND THE NETHERLANDS

The Scottish student in the universities of the northern Netherlands is a well-documented phenomenon of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. If many individuals undertook general liberal studies in the humanities and sciences, the great focus of attention was on the professional subjects of law, medicine and theology. It should always be remembered, however, that these disciplines were construed broadly in an essentially Humanist framework. Such study in the Netherlands promoted and reinforced the tendency of Scottish scholars to operate within the Dutch cultural and intellectual world. The influence of this world on Scottish intellectual life, however, despite some important research, has more often been noticed than explored in any kind of detail.

This short paper will examine the scholarly connections between Scotland and the Northern Netherlands through discussion of the publication of a Dutch textbook in Edinburgh to serve the needs of students at the university. The publication is scarcely a major episode in Scottish intellectual history. It is this that makes it particularly telling, for it demonstrates how much the Scots of the period operated in the scholarly world of the Netherlands and then propagated its values, not only in publications, but also in the classrooms of the Scottish universities. The impact of important individual works by noted scholars and intellectuals cannot and ought not to be denied; the day-to-day influence of lesser works, however, was at least as important in propagating ideals, values and accepted knowledge. We should look to these sources, more minor in terms of the accepted historical canon, to gain a more rounded understanding of this cultural phenomenon. The textbook discussed here may not in itself be important, but its publication and use suggest significant new lines of inquiry in studying the Scottish Enlightenment.

ANTIQUITATES AND THE CURRICULUM

From the foundation of the University of Leiden in 1575 the Dutch universities had developed a particularly strong tradition of classical studies supported by a relatively uncontrolled and active publishing industry. Obvious early names are those of Justus Lipsius and J J Scaliger. In the later period when Scottish study in the Netherlands was at its peak, there were a number of distinguished classicists and historians of the ancient world such as Jacob Gronovius (1645–1716), Jacob Perizonius (1651–1715) and Pieter Burman (1668–1741) active in the Dutch universities.

Type
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Law, Lawyers, and Humanism
Selected Essays on the History of Scots Law, Volume 1
, pp. 242 - 252
Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
Print publication year: 2015

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