Johannes Narssius

Johannes Narssius[1] (9 November 1580, Dordrecht – 1637, Batavia, Dutch East Indies)[2] was a Dutch physician and Neo-Latin poet, initially a Remonstrant minister.


He was born Johan van Naars(s)en in Dordrecht on 9 November 1580,[3] and studied philosophy and theology at the University of Leiden.[4] He may have lived in the house of Gerardus Vossius in 1602.[5] A disciple of Jacobus Arminius, his theological beliefs came into question in 1605.[6] In one of the early Leiden debates involving Arminius, he responded to Johannes Kuchlinus.[7]

Narssius was a subscriber to the Confessio orthodoxa of Conrad Vorstius, successor to Arminius at Leiden, and was strongly reprimanded for that by the Synod of Harderwijk.[4] He was pastor at Grave and then Zaltbommel, but lost his posts because of his combative Remonstrant approach.[5] He reportedly travelled to England to present Arminian documents to Archbishop George Abbot, meeting a very hostile reception.[8] After the general exile of Remonstrants from the Netherland he was at the Arminian colony of Friedrichstadt in Holstein.[9]

He spent time in Poland, and Sweden, where he was court poet.[10] In Riga he knew Rütger Hemsing (1604–1643), another physician-poet, and an associate of Galileo.[11] He corresponded with Ole Worm on archaeology.[12] Under the name Hans van der Ast he took letters from Frederick V, Elector Palatine in Germany to his wife Elizabeth of Bohemia, who was in The Hague.[13]

Returning to the Netherlands, he took a position with the Dutch East India Company. He travelled to the Indies, where he died.[4]

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