Profile

Dr Jeroen M.M. van de Ven (1962) is a specialist in late medieval history and codicology, the history of the book, the history of the London Royal Society and the history of 17th-century Dutch Enlightenment thought, more particularly of the intellectual networks of René Descartes and Benedictus de Spinoza. Together with Theo Verbeek and Erik-Jan Bos, he edited The Correspondence of Descartes 1643 (Utrecht, 2003), a pilot study for a new critical edition of Descartes’s learned exchanges. In 2011, Van de Ven coedited The Continuum Companion to Spinoza (London/New York: Continuum) with Wiep van Bunge, Henri Krop and Piet Steenbakkers. That key publication was reissued in 2014 as: The Bloomsbury Companion to Spinoza.

Van de Ven is a postdoc in the NWO-funded research project of Prof dr Piet Steenbakkers, called 'Spinoza's Web'.

He is currently writing an intellectual biography in English of Spinoza’s life and works (scheduled 2016 or later): 

The Historical Spinoza. A Chronological Companion to His Life and Times.

Another objective is the composition of a descriptive bibliography ('ideal copy') of Spinoza's printed writings and translations of his work from 1663 up to 1796.

His latest paper is: ‘“Crastinâ die loquar cum Celsissimo principe de Spinosa”. New Perspectives on Spinoza’s Trip to the French Army Headquarters in Utrecht in Late July 1673’, Intellectual History Review, no. 25 (2015), pp. 14765. Free copy:

www.tandfonline.com/eprint/KYgedgZ5wYUgCVpII6Ar/full

Another focus concerns two forthcoming articles: 'Spinoza’s Voorburg Trials into the Dynamics of Fluid Flows: The Case of Letter 41 to Jarig Jelles'; 'How to Properly Issue a Philosopher’s Legacy. The Vicissitudes of the Editing and Printing Process of Spinoza’s Opera posthuma and De nagelate schriften (1677)'. 2015 or 2016.

 

Scientific expertise
paleography
intellectual networks
history of ideas
Descartes
biography
early modern Enlightenment
history of the book
Leibniz
The Royal Society of London
History of early modern philosophy

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Key publications

van de Ven, Jeroen, van Bunge, Wiep, Krop, Henri & Steenbakkers, Piet (2014). The Bloomsbury Companion to Spinoza. (380 p.). London: Bloomsbury.

van Bunge, W., Krop, H., Steenbakkers, P.M.L. & van de Ven, J.M.M. (2011). The Continuum Companion to Spinoza. (395 p.). London, New York: Continuum.

Steenbakkers, P.M.L., Touber, J.J. & van de Ven, J.M.M. (2011). "A Clandestine Notebook (1678–1679) on Spinoza, Beverland, Politics, the Bible and Sex: Utrecht, UL, ms. 1284.". Lias, 38 (2).

van de Ven, Jeroen & Bos, J.J.F.M. (2004). ‘Se nihil daturum – Descartes’s Unpublished Judgement of Comenius’s Pansophiae prodromus’. British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 12, (pp. 369-368).

Verbeek, T.H.M., Bos, J.J.F.M. & van de Ven, J.M.M. (2003). The Correspondence of René Descartes, 1643. (326 p.). Utrecht: Utrecht University, Contributions by Henk Bos, Carla Rita Palmerino, Corinna Vermeulen.

All publications
  2015 - Scholarly publications
  2014 - Scholarly publications
van de Ven, Jeroen (2014). Spinoza’s Life and Time - An Annotated Chronology Based upon Historical Documents. In Wiep van Bunge, Henri Krop, Piet Steenbakkers & Jeroen van de Ven (Eds.), The Bloomsbury Companion to Spinoza (pp. 1-57) (57 p.). London: Bloomsbury.
Steenbakkers, Piet, van Bunge, Wiep, Krop, Henri & van de Ven, Jeroen (2014). The Bloomsbury Companion to Spinoza. (400 p.). London: Bloomsbury.
van de Ven, Jeroen, van Bunge, Wiep, Krop, Henri & Steenbakkers, Piet (2014). The Bloomsbury Companion to Spinoza. (380 p.). London: Bloomsbury.
  2011 - Scholarly publications
Steenbakkers, P.M.L., Touber, J.J. & van de Ven, J.M.M. (2011). "A Clandestine Notebook (1678–1679) on Spinoza, Beverland, Politics, the Bible and Sex: Utrecht, UL, ms. 1284.". Lias, 38 (2).
  2011 - Professional publications
van Bunge, W., Krop, H., Steenbakkers, P.M.L. & van de Ven, J.M.M. (2011). The Continuum Companion to Spinoza. (395 p.). London, New York: Continuum.
  2004 - Scholarly publications
van de Ven, Jeroen (2004). ‘Quelques données nouvelles sur Helena Jans’. Bulletin cartésien, 32, (pp. 163-166).
van de Ven, Jeroen & Bos, J.J.F.M. (2004). ‘Se nihil daturum – Descartes’s Unpublished Judgement of Comenius’s Pansophiae prodromus’. British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 12, (pp. 369-368).
  2003 - Scholarly publications
Verbeek, T.H.M., Bos, J.J.F.M. & van de Ven, J.M.M. (2003). The Correspondence of René Descartes, 1643. (326 p.). Utrecht: Utrecht University, Contributions by Henk Bos, Carla Rita Palmerino, Corinna Vermeulen.
  2001 - Professional publications
van de Ven, Jeroen (2001). ‘Vijfbladig rozet, vijfpuntige ster, lelie, maansikkel met wafel, kroon en een spar-telend visje. Notities over een onbekende laatmiddeleeuwse Groenendaalse stempelband in de bibliotheek van de Theologische Faculteit Tilburg’. Boeken als bron. Opstellen aangeboden aan Dr. Marcel Gielis ter gelegenheid van zijn vijfentwintigjarig dienstjubileum aan de Theologische Faculteit Tilburg (pp. 43–55). Theologische Faculteit Tilburg.
  1998 - Professional publications
van de Ven, Jeroen (1998). ‘Het boekbedrijf van de Broeders van het Gemene Leven te ’s-Hertogenbosch in de zestiende eeuw’. Cultuur in het laat-middel-eeuwse Noord-Brabant. Literatuur–boekproductie–historiografie (pp. 55-63). Stichting Brabantse Regionale Geschiedbeoefening.
  1997 - Scholarly publications
van de Ven, Jeroen (1997). Codices additi. Aanwinsten in de handschriftenverzameling van de Tilburgse Universiteitsbibliotheek 1990–1996. Tilburg: Tilburg University Press.
  1994 - Scholarly publications
van de Ven, Jeroen (1994). Over Brabant geschreven. Handschriften en archivalische bronnen in de Tilburgse Universiteitsbibliotheek. Peeters Publishing.
  1991 - Professional publications
van de Ven, Jeroen (1991). 'De "Megense Fragmenten" herontdekt'. Noordbrabants historisch jaarboek, 12, (pp. 41-81).
  1990 - Scholarly publications
van de Ven, Jeroen (1990). Handschriften en handschriftfragmenten in het bezit van de Theologische Faculteit Tilburg. Tilburg: Tilburg University Press.
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Project:
Spinoza’s Web
01.03.2014 to 15.07.2017
General project description 

The Spinoza’s Web-project examines the life and work of the Dutch philosopher Benedict de Spinoza (1632-1677), as well as the networks in which he participated. In the reception and assessment of his thought, scholars have always seen an indissoluble connection between his writings, character and reputation, and the course of  his life. Every era thus forms its own impression of Spinoza, and this image plays an important role—more than it does with other philosophers—in the way his thought is understood. This project seeks to develop tools for documenting Spinoza’s life, writings, and work as completely as possible, and will trace out the impact of his philosophy by mapping out the context in which his thought evolved. The project revolves around four research axes, each of which will produce its own output.


Sub-project 1: The Spinoza Web


The first sub-project seeks to assemble all the available documents and data pertaining to Spinoza and to make them available via an open-access website. The Spinoza Web will accommodate all the sources pertaining to Spinoza’s life, works, letters, correspondents, and networks. Much material has already been uncovered, but new, thorough and directed research will also be undertaken in various libraries and archives. Spinoza scholarship must confront several obstacles particular to it that result from the mystery in which much of his life is shrouded. Yet since both followers and opponents collected whatever writings they could get their hands on, new discoveries are from time to time unearthed in unexpected places. A prime example is the early manuscript of the Ethica recently discovered in the Vatican Library by Leen Spruit.


Sub-project 2: A Bibliography of Spinoza’s Works from 1663 to 1796


Spinoza’s works circulated in manuscript as well as printed form, and were both applauded and despised. They were also outlawed, and even before this formal censure was pronounced his ideas were already considered dangerous and therefore circulated clandestinely. The publication of his works was a risky business, and this had impact on their circulation: most appeared anonymously, with false titles and misleading publisher information. In order to document this aspect of the reception history, a second sub-project will produce an exhaustive description of all of Spinoza’s published works (including translations) that appeared in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The result will be A Bibliography of Spinoza’s Works from 1663 to 1796.


Sub-project 3: Van Velthuysen and his Circle


Spinoza formed an important part of the intellectual landscape of the last decades of the Dutch Golden Age, in which philosophy played a bigger role than is commonly assumed. Here the new philosophy of Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, and the like found resonance. Spinoza’s philosophical ideas created a shockwave, also among those who gladly embraced the new philosophy. Even the Utrecht physician and philosopher Lambertus van Velthuysen, who was himself suspected of being a dangerous modernist, accused Spinoza of atheism. Van Velthuysen stood at the centre of a republican-Cartesian society called the ‘Collegie der Sçavanten’. This group included several university professors, and partly found its cohesion in the common enemy of the members, namely the formidable orthodox-Calvinist theologian Gisbertus Voetius. These Utrecht Cartesians were in touch with Spinoza, but also distanced themselves from him. Van Velthuysen played an important role in the development of the new philosophy in the Netherlands, and it is high time that his role, as well as the network in which he moved, are carefully documented. This is the goal of the third sub-project, entitled Van Velthuysen and his Circle.


Sub-project 4: Weaving the Web: The Development of Spinoza’s System


The fourth sub-project will seek to bring together the above lines of study in a synthetic overview of Spinoza’s philosophical development. Although his thought is highly systematic in nature, and although all the component parts bear a strong connection to each other, this coherence has proved to be difficult for later generations to grasp. As a result, his writings have at times been decried as either impenetrable or inconsistent, and it has been assumed that Spinoza continually tweaked his texts. On the basis of a careful study of the internal logic of Spinoza’s philosophical development, his interaction with his context, and the way in which his individual works were composed and transmitted, the sub-project Weaving the Web: The Development of Spinoza’s System will document the stages in the development of his thought, situated in its historical context.


A wider public


A remarkable aspect of Spinoza’s philosophy is the audience it has garnered for itself beyond philosophers alone. Scholars active in other disciplines have likewise found inspiration in his ideas, but also outside the academic setting there has been a remarkable amount of interest in Spinoza. This is evident, for example, in the sale of his works, the popular books and websites dedicated to Spinoza, and the societies devoted to the study of his thought. This is especially true in the Netherlands. The Spinoza’s Web-project will seek to offer research output of a high quality and with a thorough academic basis, but in more widely accessible forms. It is structured in such a way that the results will not only be of benefit to the academic community, but also reach the wider public with a general interest in Spinoza’s philosophy.


Implementation


The project is scheduled to be carried out between March 2014 and July 2018 at the University of Utrecht. It is supervised by Piet Steenbakkers, senior lecturer in modern philosophy at the University of Utrecht, and the holder of the endowed Spinoza Studies-chair (Spinozahuis-society) at the Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Role Researcher Funding
NWO grant: NWO, Humanities, Free competition
Project members UU

Spinoza’s Web

An Outline of the Research Project at its Launch, as from February 2014

 

Summary

The significance of Spinoza (1632–1677) for the history of philosophy does not stand in need of

documentation. He constructed his philosophy as a comprehensive, all-embracing system, weaving

an intricate theoretical web of his own. While he did so, networks sprang up in which his ideas were

hotly debated. Spinoza was part and parcel of the intellectual landscape of the Dutch Golden Age, in

which philosophy played a much more vital role than is commonly appreciated.

 

This project is based on the thesis that in the reception and interpretation of Spinoza’s thought

his works, reputed character and biography are inextricably linked. It wants to develop scholarly tools

for the study of his life, works and influence, and to clarify his philosophical impact by bringing out

the context in which he flourished. The lines of research will result in four products:

 

• The Spinoza Web, an online data repository of all sources relating Spinoza’s life, works, letters,

correspondents and networks;

 

• A Bibliography of Spinoza’s Works from 1663 to 1796, an exhaustive description of all early editions

and translations;

 

• Van Velthuysen and His Circle, a monograph on a pivotal intellectual and his network;

 

• Weaving the Web: The Development of Spinoza’s System, an integrated presentation of the stages of Spinoza’s thought, in connection with the historical context.

 

Spinoza’s thought has always exercised an attraction well beyond the groves of academe. The project

will meet the highest standard of scholarship, but it is designed to be of service to a much larger

audience, too.

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Additional functions and activities

Geen nevenfuncties.

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Full name
dr. J.M.M. van de Ven Contact details
Janskerkhof 13

Janskerkhof 13
Room -
3512 BL  UTRECHT
The Netherlands


Postal address
Janskerkhof 13-13a
3512 BL    UTRECHT
The Netherlands
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Last updated 27.11.2016