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Preadamites on Ambon in the 1680s

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  • UserJan Becker (European University Institute)
  • ClockMonday 06 February 2023, 13:00-14:00
  • HouseZoom.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Silvia M. Marchiori.

In 1686, Ambon was the site of a dispute over the origins of humankind. The Leiden-trained physician and governor of Ambon Robertus Padtbrugge (1637–1703) and the VOC employee and naturalist Georg Eberhard Rumphius (1627–1702) could not reconcile their respective exegeses. In particular, they disagreed on Isaac de la Peyrère’s book Prae Adamitae (1655), which challenged the notion of Adam being the first human to have lived and which was part of Rumphius’s library. In contrast to Padtbrugge, Rumphius strictly rejected the historicity of Preadamites. How did their readings of the Prae Adamitae relate to slavery, medicine, and natural history on the island? And how did the Chinese and Ambonese inhabitants of the island shape the book’s meaning? In this talk, Jan Becker will analyse how the Prae Adamitae was read on Ambon.

This talk is part of the Cabinet of Natural History series.

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