Tile Keizersgracht 384: Meijer

Under the title of philosophy, we understand not opinions and conjectures of others, but true and indubitably certain knowledge concerning the nature of things, which reason, free from any veiling prejudice draws forth. (1666)

Lodewijk Meijer is seen as the precursor of the Enlightenment, because he advocated using reason when trying to understand the stories from the Bible. He placed the findings of reason above that what the pastor tells. The book where the quote is from, is called ‘Philosophy as the Interpreter of Holy Scripture’.

For a long time, the book was attributed to Spinoza and immediately prohibited. Meijer foresaw this prohibition and therefore published it anonymously. Besides being a doctor, playwright, and philosopher, he was also a managing director of the first theater on the Keizersgracht. His idealism is expressed in this as well: he encouraged people that could not or did not want to read, to also think for themselves: through theater.