Philipp van Limborch

Philippus van Limborch

Philipp van Limborch (June 19, 1633 – April 30, 1712), Dutch Remonstrant theologian, was born at Amsterdam, where his father was a lawyer.

He received his education at Utrecht, at Leiden, in his native city, and finally at Utrecht University, which he entered in 1652. In 1657 he became a Remonstrant pastor at Gouda, and in 1667 he was transferred to Amsterdam, where, in the following year, the office of professor of theology in the Remonstrant seminary was added to his pastoral charge. He was a friend of John Locke, whose A Letter Concerning Toleration was likely addressed to, and first published by, Philipp van Limborch. He died at Amsterdam on April 30, 1712.


His most important work, Institutiones theologiae christianae, ad praxin pietatis et promotionem pacis, christianae unice directae (Amsterdam, 1686, 5th ed., 1735), is a full and clear exposition of the system of Simon Episcopius and Stephan Curcellaeus. The fourth edition (1715) included a posthumous Relatio historica de origine et progressu controversiarum in foederato Belgio de praedestinatione.

Limborch also wrote:

  • De veritate religionis Christianae amica collatio cum erudito Judaeo (Gouda, 1687) (the "erudite Jew" in question was Isaac Orobio de Castro)
  • Historia Inquisitionis (1692), in four books prefixed to the Liber Sententiarum Inquisitionis Tolosanae (1308–1323)
  • Commentarius in Acta Apostolorum et in Epistolas ad Romanos et ad Hebraeos (Rotterdam, 1711)

An English translation of the Theologia was published in 1702 by William Jones (A Complete System or Body of Divinity, both Speculative and Practical, founded on Scripture and Reason, London, 1702); and a translation of the Historia Inquisitionis, by Samuel Chandler, with a large introduction concerning the rise and progress of persecution and the real and pretended causes of it prefixed, appeared in 1731. See Herzog-Hauck, Realencyklopädie.

Editorial workEdit

In 1689 Limborch edited the compilation of Socinian Samuel Przypkowski's works in the last volume of the Bibliotheca antitrinitariorum or Bibliotheca Fratrum Polonorum of the Polish Brethren. Previous volumes had been edited after the death of Christopher Sandius by Benedykt Wiszowaty in 1684.

His editorial labors included the publication of various works of his predecessors, and of Epistolae ecclesiasticae praestantum ad eruditorum virorum (Amsterdam, 1684), chiefly, by Jacobus Arminius, Joannes Uytenbogardus, Konrad Vorstius (1569–1622), Gerhard Vossius (1577–1649), Hugo Grotius, Simon Episcopius (his grand-uncle) and Caspar Barlaeus; they are of great value for the history of Arminianism.

His edition of the Liber Sententiarum Inquisitionis Tolosanae is still considered important nowadays for its meticulous transcription of a manuscript by the Dominican inquisitor Bernard Gui long regarded as lost forever, but rediscovered in London (British Library, ms. Add. 4697). Recently a new edition has appeared (Le Livre des sentences de l'inquisiteur Bernard Gui (1308-1323) edited by Annette Palès-Gobillard (2 volumes, Paris 2003).


  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Limborch, Philipp van". Encyclopædia Britannica. 16 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 691.