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Conceptions of Judaism as a Religion in the Seventeenth-Century Dutch Republic

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 March 2016

Peter van Rooden*
Free University, Amsterdam


Once upon a time, probably in the first half of the seventeenth century, David Curiel, a prominent member of the Amsterdam Sephardi community, was attacked by a German robber. Although seriously wounded, Curiel managed to overcome his attacker with the help of his Christian neighbours. The robber was tried and sentenced. After his execution, the States of Holland sent Curiel a letter expressing their regret at the incident and inviting him to witness the medical lesson on the corpse of the robber in the anatomical theatre of Leiden University. This legend has been handed down in at least five different manuscripts, preserved in Jewish libraries. It was probably read at the feast of Purim, which, of course, commemorates an earlier attack on the Jews and the spectacular destruction of their enemy.

Research Article
Copyright © Ecclesiastical History Society 1992

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