Anna Pytlowany presented at the Vossius seminar on Monday. The seminar is a regular meeting organised by the UvA Vossius Center for History of Humanities and Sciences.
Her lecture was entitled “The last polymath? Adriaan Reland between science and scholarship”. The name of Adriaan Reland (1676-1718), the professor and rector of the Utrecht University, is usually associated with his major works on Hebrew Antiquities, Islam, Oriental languages and poetry. Although various sources attest his central role in the international knowledge exchange network, little is known of his [private] life; due to his premature death at the age of 41, only a few manuscripts in the collection of Utrecht University Library and a few scattered letters remain. The recently rediscovered veilingcatalogus of Adriaan’s only son Johannes Hubertus sheds new light on Reland’s heritage. The catalog not only offers a comprehensive list of Adriaan’s Oriental manuscripts, but also describes Reland’s impressive collection of scientific instruments and rarities. My presentation will bring together highlights of Reland’s published works on Islam, sacred geography, cartography and Oriental languages with the scientific interests running in the background as they can be deduced form the bundelbeschrijving of his late son, thus creating a fuller picture of a man who could be considered one of the last polymaths of Dutch Radical Enlightenment.