Eduard Theodori Westerneyn

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Eduard Theodori
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Eduard Theodori Westerneyn (fl.1653–70) was a Reformed minister in Waverveen (1653), Leiden and Voorburg (1666). He owned a house and land in Leiden. Westerneyn’s private library was sold on 25 April 1674. Jacob van Leeuwen worked as a secretary of the village of Voorburg from 1654 to 1676.

The Delft Vroedschap decided (12 June 1666) to appoint the orthodox favourite Westerneyn to the post of preacher. Apparently, the local Voorburg brawl over the appointment was a fierce and hefty. Daniel Harmensz Tydeman, who also participated in the debate, in a note added to the petition by the orthodox faction, is straightforwardly defamed and portrayed as someone who cannot be trusted. Especially, since he rented out rooms to an apostate Jew and impudent atheist named Spinoza. Moreover, in the petition it is also stressed that members of the council who signed the request in favour of Van de Wiele claim that the document was authored by the same Spinoza:

Nota. That in the rented house of the aforesaid Daniel Tydeman lodges an A … [someone from Amsterdam] Spinoza, born from Jewish parents, who is now (so they say) an atheist who ridicules all religions. [Spinoza is] indeed a harmful instrument in this republic, as many learned men and ministers, like pastor Lantman and [all] those who know him, will testify. [It is Spinoza] who has composed the request that was presented to the lords Burgomasters (that is what is claimed by those in the Church Council).

Van Vloten, 1871, , p. 260, Annex 1.

If indeed Spinoza took sides in this stingy affair and whether he authored the request to appoint the liberal pastor Van de Wiele is not corroborated by historical evidence. Moreover, the original document is now lost. Hence, the note to the petition slanderously labels Spinoza as an infamous radical spirit who embraced an attitude of immorality. This was in any case the image that Reformed clerics like ‘Lantman’ were spreading in and around Voorburg, Delft, and The Hague of the Dutch philosopher.