ANASTASIUS VELUANUS, Joannes [= Jan GERRITSZ. VERSTEGHE] (ca. 1520-1570). Een korte onderrichtinghe van alle de principale puncten des christen geloofs, met clare ghetuygenisse der heyligher Schriftueren, ende goede bekentenisse der ouder doctoren, met aenwijsinghe wanneer, ende door welcke persoonen de erreuren op ghestaen, ende vermeerdert zijn. Bereyt voor den simpelen ongheleerden christenen, ende is daeromme ghenaemt Der leecken wechwijser. Amsterdam, Jan Evertsz. Cloppenburgh, 1631. 8vo. 372 (4) pp. Expertly rebound in traditionally handmade overlapping deer vellum.


Extremely rare seventeenth-century edition of one of the earliest and most famous works of the Dutch Reformation. Jan Gerritsz. Versteghe was born in Stroe, a small village in the Dutch province of Gelderland. From 1544 he worked as pastor in Garderen, but he was imprisoned by the Inquisition for his evangelical preaching in 1550. During the interrogation, he was placed under so much pressure that he recanted his position, an event over which he suffered deep remorse for the remainder of his life. Through the intervention of Mary of Hungary (1505-1558), governor of the Netherlands, Versteghe was set free in 1553 on the condition that he would present himself at Louvain within a fortnight to study Catholic theology as a form of punishment. On his way to Louvain, however, Versteghe – who called himself Anastasius Veluanus (the resurrected Veluwenaar) after his imprisonment – decided to flee. He became minister in Steeg near Bacharach on the Rhine in 1554, was a member of the college of superintendents in the Palatinate from 1561, and died in Bacharach in 1570. Der leecken wechwijser (The layman’s guide) was first published in 1554 in the Gelders tongue, a dialect closely related to Dutch. It contains a short report on the principal points of the Christian belief for the unlearned Christian. Versteghe encouraged an undogmatic Christianity based on the Bible, combining a basically Reformed position with influences from various Protestant as well as humanistic sources. Originally he was attracted to Erasmus, but later he sided with Luther and subsequently with Zwingli and Calvin, which clearly came through in his view of the Lord’s Supper. Because it addressed almost all the topics of Christian doctrine, Der leecken wechwijser can be seen as the first Dutch Reformed dogmatics. The first edition was followed by a Dutch edition in 1555, which was frequently reprinted between 1591 and 1632. It was widely read and turned countless persons to the Reformation. – Extensive annotations on upper endpapers and lower outer corner of second half of the book slightly stained.

Morsink, Joannes Anastasius Veluanus (Jan Gerritsz. Versteghe, levensloop en ontwikkeling) (1986), p. 106.