Johannes van Vloten
- Category : Humanities+Social-Sciences-Philosopher
- Type : GP
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (27,32)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Laws 4
Dutch scholar of languages, literature, history, theology and philosophy . He revived Spinoza's work as a freethinker and became one of the founders of modern Dutch humanism.
Johannes "Jan" van Vloten was born in the Hanseatic church city Kampen, as the eldest child of the Liberal Protestant Ph. D. Theologian Willem van Vloten (8 Augustus 1780, Utrecht - 4 November 1829, Kampen) and Marta Johanna Sprée (31 October 1785, Harlingen - 10 November 1854, Hilversum). They married 12 January 1817 in Kampen and got three children: Johannes (18 Jan 1818 - 21 Sep 1883), Cornelia Anna (22 Apr 1819 - 10 Apr 1902) and Hendrik (8 Jun 1822 - 10 Apr 1823), who died early in Kampen.
He followed the elementary and secondary school in Kampen. In 1835 his mother, sister and an aunt moved to Leiden. Here he studied with cum laude results, two years Western, Classical and Eastern Languages, including Hebrew. He then studied theology, but unlike his father and grandfather, who became respected Protestant theologians, he became under the influence of David Friedrich Strauss, Friedrich Schleiermacher and Baruch de Spinoza, step by step a Zealous atheist.
He dissertated on 20 June 1843 2PM in Leiden on the philology a letter of Paul, the apostle. He accentuated life practice above dogmatism and made some subtle remarks about the views of Spinoza in his thesis, but he had to be cautious, as Spinoza's thoughts were taboo in the Christian Netherlands. As the radical thinker Spinoza argued that there are no God-given laws and that revealed religion is a work of mankind. Spinoza placed human intellect above faith and appealed to the human capacity for love and justice. With the mentioned German Left Hegelian philosophers, Van Vlooten believed that metaphysics and theology could be historically interpreted and that one did not need to be a believer to write about religion or to be spiritual.
With the free thinking physiologist Jacob Moleschott, who translated work of Strauss in Dutch, Van Vloten, got lot of resistance in the small-minded Netherlands. Moleschott found no publisher for it, because of an boycott of the Christian book sellers. Van Vloten lost his job as a regular contributor of the influential cultural magazine De Gids (The Guide), after articles in favour of "Das Leben Jesu" (1835) of Strauss in 1843 (Dbnl).
In 1842 Van Vloten became a teacher French and History at the Erasmus Gymnasium in Rotterdam. In 1846 he lost his job, for failing to maintain the order in the class. He then studied Philosophy at Leiden University (1946), and engaged with Johanna Elisabeth Hendrika Christina van Gennep (7 April 1824, Rotterdam - 17 March 1906, Noordwijk), a daughter of a rich and noted family.
In 1854 he became professor in the Dutch Language and literature at the Atheneum Illustre in Deventer. The school was founded by Jacobus Revius and existed from 1630 to 1878. Having now a well accepted job, he could marry Elisabeth van Gennep on 25 October 1854 in Rotterdam. They got four sons and three daughters who grew up in a stimulating environment.
As a prolific writer he published in book publishers city Deventer and elsewhere some 1500 books and articles on Dutch literature, cultural history, law, politics, philosophy and morality. Unlike his daughters, he was not a poet himself, but he collected and published "folk poetry for children" since 1873. He published a lot of progressive articles in the by him started Humanistic Magazines "De Levensbode" (1865-1881) and "De Humanist" (1882-1883). With Multatuli, once a friend, later an literary enemy (Onkruid onder Tarwe, 1875), he belonged to the most influential writers of the 19th century.
Between 1853 and 1883 he wrote some 60 works on Spinoza. The free thinker Spinoza, he felt, was just like him his time far ahead. In 1862 he finished the book "Baruch d’Espinoza, zijn leven en schriften in verband met zijnen en onzen tijd", reprinted in 1817. On 14 September 1880 he held the speech "De blijde boodschapper der mondige menschheid" (1880) when the statue of Spinoza in Den Haag was unveiled. Together with the philosopher Jan Pieter Nicolaas Land he published Spinoza's Collected works (1882-1883).
In 1861 he became rector magnificus of the Atheneum Illustre. In 1867 he was fired because of arguments with board. That same year the family became rich after the death of Mr. Ph Dr Arnoldus van Gennep (21 Nov 1790, Den Haag - 12 Aug 1876, Rotterdam), the father of his wife Elisabeth van Gennep. In 1868 the family moved to the sea place Bloemendaal. It was near the first (1867) Dutch High School for girls (Middelbare meisjesschool)in Haarlem, where his three daughters finished their secondary education. They later settled in a large house, full of literary guests in Haarlem and travelled twice to Scandinavia in 1878 and 1881.
He died 21 September 1883, age 65 in Haarlem.
Van Vloten was not only a prolific writer on history and social issues himself, but via his well educated daughters, known as the "Van Vloten sisters”, he was personally connected with the historical "Tachtigers movement":
Willem van Vloten (1855-1925) became a chemist, mine engineer and rich man in in Germany.
Martha van Vloten (1857-1943) married the writer and psychiatrist Frederik van Eeden. She translated fairy-tails like "De waterkindertjes".
Frank van Vloten (1858-1930) was an engineer and landowner involved in "Het Ronde Huis van Wodan".
Udo van Vloten (1860-1931)
Elisabeth "Betsy" van Vloten (1862-1946), a poet, married the painter and publisher Willem Witsen and Johann Sebastian Brandts Buys.
Gerlof van Vloten (1866-1903) studied Semitic languages and was editor of an Arabic encyclopedia.
Katharina "Kitty" van Vloten (1867-1945) married the poet and Noble Prize candidate Albert Verwey. On 9 July 1928 their daughter Mea Mees-Verwey graduated 4:00 PM at the University of Leiden in Letters and Philosophy with the thesis: De betekenis van Johannes van Vloten. Een bibliografie met inleiding.