Henri van Praag

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Henri van Praag
Born Naphthali ben Levi (Henri) van Praag
12 September 1916
Amsterdam, Netherlands
Died 3 November 1988
Nationality Dutch
Occupation Educator, Philosopher, Theologian
Henri van Praag

Naphthali ben Levi (Henri) van Praag (September 12, 1916 in Amsterdam - November 3, 1988 in Hilversum) was a Jewish-Dutch educator, philosopher and theologian (or religious historian) who also became known as a (ortho) educational therapist and writer and as a publicist at the psychological and parapsychological field. The last field he was in 1978, succeeding Prof. WHC Tenhaeff, Professor behalf of the Students for Psychical Research (SPR). He described the scope of this assignment as anthropological parapsychology, in contrast with the experimental parapsychology, by his fellow professor, the Swede Martin Johnson, at the same University of Utrecht was taught.


Van Praag (co-) author of several hundred books and articles, and thousands of speeches and lectures, some of which are laid down on tape. He graduated in various disciplines during his life and has taught at several universities. He was (co-) founder of the "experimental" University of Lugano.

Van Praag was the son of Esther Van Praag and diamond cutter Louis (Levi) van Praag. The family was Jewish but not religious. In twenty years the family moved to Antwerp. Van Praag followed to elementary and high school. He often truant Gypsies to find, many of whom he would have learned.

In 1931 the family Van Praag was again registered in Amsterdam. After high school, Van Praag opted for education. He attended the five-year course at the municipal training college (diploma 1936), where he met Leny van Huystee, whom he married in 1947. In 1938 he received his certificate of competency as headmaster in 1939 the certificate of proficiency for home and school education in the principles of the French language. He meditated and mysticism was constructed, the novels "Das grüne Gesicht," "Walpurgis Night", by Gustav Meyrink Others appealed to him. Between his 18th and 25th years he had - as he called it - "four teachers, which he always mentioned with gratitude, the Chinese sage Li, a Jewish mystic whose name he never mentioned, the theologian J. Eykman (1892-1945) and the philosopher-physicist-educator Dr Philip Kohnstamm (1875-1951). He had in 1939 directed the HBS courses for state examinations, gymnasium and high school teachers because of the combination MO Cotabo. He also had a practice as a psychologist and psychotherapist.

The Second World War brought by Van Praag and hiding in Amsterdam and other places. Many of his relatives were deported to concentration camps, where more than seventy relatives were murdered. Leny maintained contact with him during this period.

In a world of peace and harmony[edit]

Towards a world of peace and war harmonieNa stood down his life goal: he wanted to work for a world of peace and harmony. Van Praag was in all respects, a bridge-builder and "turned [...] at people across all boundaries of religion, or national cultures. He exchanged as any other information from Judaism to Buddhism, of Taoism to gnosticism, from theology to science. [...] The impetuously seeking connections between seemingly always separated from each other areas is not always understood. "(Avraham Soetendorp," Henry van Praag: a great counselor and seer ', Het Parool 11.04.1988).

After obtaining the deed Dutch Language and Literature for secondary education (1946), he began an astonishing eagerness to several university studies: general philosophy of science, physics and pedagogy (Kohnstamm), logic (Evert Willem Beth), mathematics (Brouwer ), biology (Heimans), sociology (Mennicken), economics (Mermans), general linguistics (Cohen), history (Presser), Judaica (Soloweitschik), psychology (Selz) and phenomenology of religion and cultural anthropology (Van der Leeuw). Meanwhile, he was heavily involved with the Jews returning from the camps, especially in children. He conducted research for the Institute for the Tropics. His first, not in book form, study number, time and space, (1949) deals with the psychological foundations of mathematics and physics. His first book, The Meaning of Education (1950), was devoted to education and ends with a passionate creed. He did bachelor's degree in 1950, Master's degree in 1951. Under the pseudonym Bernard Raimond, he published a novel in the style of mystical Meyrink, is waiting for you (1953), a document that attests to his deep interest in and knowledge of China, the Jewish mysticism and reincarnation.

Shortly after the war in 1946 Van Praag was director of teaching HBS (Aid Study). Hammelburg related to the pedagogic Social Work community, working at the Dutch Institute for Psychological Research in Hilversum. In 1949 he took part in the tenth congress of philosophy in Paris. In 1951, Van Praag pedagogical consultant at the Institute of his teacher Kohnstamm, the General Social Consulting.

Through his vast erudition, people skills and experience he was the person to the dialogue between Jews and Christians encouraging. Before the Second World War, this dialogue was not really, although there is the existence of mutual interest. In the thirties of the 20th century promoted KH Miskotte a dissertation on the essence of the Jew Scheeren religion. The theologian Dr J. Eykman invited to Bible readings are also Jews, and among his pupils was Henri Van Praag. During the war Eykman to Buchenwald and banished Van Praag to abscond. Seriously ill and he was released in secret late 1944, the two together for the last meeting. Eykman works until his death and prepares the Institute for Church and World. After W.O. II Van Praag continues the dialogue which was initiated Eykman forth, looking for Jewish, Christian and Muslim counterparts. The environment for this dialogue was better after the war because the enemy had persecuted Christians and Jews and so solidarity cultured because thinking about the recent suffering a parallel between Calvary and Auschwitz, through the creation of Israel (1948) and generally by the world with the new means of transport and communication had become smaller. "

At an international conference in 1952 the World Organization for Mutual Understanding and Co-operation (WOMUC) set up and Henri became chairman. Van Praag included Otto Frank, Anne Frank's father, Zvi Werblowsky and Karl Thieme. One of the initiatives that emerged from the conference was the plan for a three-part series Das Lebendige Gottes Wort, an anthology with commentary from Jewish and Christian writings on revelation, prayer and promise. Many scholars, including Martin Buber, had agreed to cooperate, Thieme and Van Praag would lead. The plan was not implemented in this form by the sudden death of Thieme and the departure of Van Praag to Montevideo.

Intermezzo Uruguay (1953-1954)[edit]

Intermezzo Uruguay (1953-1954) in early 1950, the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin to anti-Semitism. Van Praag in 1953 went to Uruguay to investigate whether this country a new home for Jewish children could be. He was visiting Montevideo in psychology, pedagogy and philosophy, while he also had a practice as a psychologist-therapist. All his life he would also like therapist (counselor) for fellows remain available, people who were on something or had a question, could always go to him for an interview or an opinion. He then listened to the other, conducted an interview and ended with this advice.

He also studied Chinese language and culture in Montevideo with Professor Li Yu-Ying (Li Shizeng), former Rector of the Imperial University of Peking. With Stalin's death and the arrival of Nikita Khrushchev in 1953 compared the situation for Jews in Russia to improve, so the mission had formed the reason for the trip to South America was halted.

In the center of society (1954-1973)[edit]

In the center of society (1954-1973) founded in 1954 with his brother Henry I. (Dorus) of Prague and I.J. Sloos pedagogy at the Center for Psychological. In addition, Henri van Praag after returning to the Netherlands immediately continued the dialogue between Jews and Christians with renewed vigor. In 1954 he took Jacob Soetendorp to work with him and not long after they began working on the series Phoenix Bible Paperbacks. Soetendorp translated large parts of the Old Testament again from Hebrew into Dutch, inspired by the new German translation of Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig. Van Praag had to finalize the 18 parts of Hebrew Bible, J. Goudoever of the final editing of the 12 parts of the New Testament. Van Praag also wrote the entire series of some forty articles and introductory and linking between texts and other items were the result of numerous conversations between Protestant and Catholic Christians, Jews and - to a lesser extent - Muslims.

If the dialogue centers throughout the Netherlands were houses of study (Soete Village translation of Beth-ha-midrash) established the International Foundation united in the house of study, of which Van Praag was president. Until the end of his life he was closely involved in these houses of study, took part in the discussions and gave numerous lectures. The first house of study was located in the Amsterdam Anne Frank House. The statutes of the Anne Frank House are such things as the extent of understanding for the suffering inflicted the Jews, promoting tolerance and combating discrimination, not promote dialogue between Jews, Christians and Muslims. Nevertheless, the foundation contributed to this, not least by the stamp of Henry Van Praag 's bustle.

The discovery of the Dead Sea Rolls have shown how the New Testament in the Jewish tradition was, Jewish and Christian scholars worked this issue scientifically and published their findings from the International Foundation Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum, of which Van Praag was president.

Van Praag was also active in many areas. He was appointed in 1957 as a teacher at the local training college in 4 hours per week in pedagogy and in the same year was appointed professor at the LOI (Pelman Institute). In 1958 he became director of the Center for pedagogic Psychology in Amsterdam, in 1964 he was consultant and from 1966 senior lecturer of Teleac (a relationship that until 1977 would last), (main) editor for various publishers and magazines including Studium Generale, Effective Business Management and Intermediate. He was a valued partner of leading people in the scientific, religious, political and philosophical territory.

Professor (1973-1988)[edit]

From 1973 to 1978 he was professor of sociology (religious schools) at the Wageningen Agricultural University. In 1974 we started with the establishment of the International Academy of Manternach (Luxembourg), with the first academic year of 1976. This academy was on March 15, 1979 as International University Lugano (Switzerland) continued and Van Praag was Chancellor and taught, among other methods, psychology and parapsychology. He was also rector of the Academy of Religion Vergleichende Geschichte in Duisburg (Germany), where he also taught religious studies.

In 1975 he founded the magazine Prana (magazine for spirituality and the periphery of science, publishing Ankh-Hermes) on. Prof. Van Praag had a good relationship with the publisher Paul Kluwer and was a consultant to the publisher.

In 1978 he succeeded Professor W.H.C. Tenhaeff as professor of parapsychology at the University of Utrecht, a position he held until 1986 would continue to play. Van Praag highlights in this field, that psychology should be seen as a border area of what is called parapsychology, as Einstein defined as a straight line curve with a degree of curvature = 0.

His wife Leny van Praag - Van Huystee deceased in 1981.


  • Number, time and space, Mathematisch Centrum, 1949
  • The Meaning of Education, De Erven F. Bohn, 1950
  • Abraham Philip Kohnstamm, a man of God, Ten Have, 1952
  • Montessori for adults, World Window, 1952
  • The Amsterdam Conversation on Israel, The Voice of Israel, 1952
  • The message of Israel, World Window, 1952
  • Conversation between East and West, World Window, 1952
  • It is waiting for you, Van Stockum, 1953
  • Pro Justitia, The Cycle, 1954
  • Introduction to social sciences, Van Stockum, 1957
  • Commemorative Book for Prof.. Dr. Ph. A. Kohnstamm, Wolters, 1957
  • Psychology in theory and practice, De Haan Ph. 7, 1958
  • The world of animal unlocked De Haan Ph. 28, 1959
  • Mirror of Chinese civilization, Ph. De Haan. 26, 1960
  • Pedagogy in theory and practice, De Haan Ph. 29, 1960
  • In search of the unknown, Ph. De Haan. 33, 1960
  • Mau-mau - Cats in art and literature, Ph. De Haan. 51, 1961
  • À la découverte de l'algèbre, Marabout, Gerard, 1962
  • Wisdom and beauty of India, Ph. De Haan. 1975, 1962
  • Ethnographic encyclopedia, De Haan, 1962
  • The art of parenting, Ph. De Haan. 29, 1963
  • Compendium of psychology, Noordhoff, 1963 (re: Self-knowledge, mastic Press, 2005)
  • Psychological encyclopedia, De Haan, 1964
  • Textbook of psychology, Noordhoff, 1964
  • The vocation of the youth in becoming a Europe, NJG, 1964
  • The Jewish origins of Christianity, Moussault, 1964
  • The phenomenon of Israel, Moussault, 1965
  • Henrietta Szold, Noordhoff, 1965
  • Logic, Teleac, 1966
  • Sagesse de la Chine, Marabout, Gerard, 1966
  • Israel and the Arabs - Open letter A.P., 1967
  • The miracle of Persia, De Haan, 1967
  • Psychology in theory and practice, De Haan, 1967 (= 5 ° pressure release from 1958)
  • The art of parenting, De Haan, 1967
  • Psychological encyclopedia, De Haan, 1967
  • Humor, the secret weapon of democracy, AP, 1967
  • Formal education in middle school, Wolters-Noordhoff, 1968
  • Measuring and comparing Teleac / De Haan, 1968
  • Agreement in the Middle East?, A.P., 1968
  • The argument Solimon, V.T.B.V.D.B.D.B., 1968
  • Living philosophy Teleac / Slaterus University Press, 1969
  • Semitism, Zionism, De Haan, 1969
  • Introduction to Psychology, Wolters-Noordhoff, 1970
  • Dialogue of generations, De Haan, 1970
  • Information and energy, De Haan, 1970
  • Appeal to women, Ankh-Hermes, 1971
  • The eight gates of salvation, Bantam, 1972
  • Everything flows - Panta Rhei Teleac, 1972
  • Key to the philosophy, Agon Elsevier, 1972
  • Key to the philosophy (questions and assignments), Agon Elsevier, 1972
  • Acupuncture, Ankh-Hermes, 1972
  • Reincarnation, Remote Book, 1972
  • Whether printed ... Van Gorcum, 1972
  • Key words of the Bible - Our Father, Book Center, 1972
  • Diary of Moses Flinker, (1942-1943) Bantam, 1973
  • Inventaire de la parapsychology, France-Empire, 1973
  • From chair to chair, Samsom, 1973
  • Key to the I-Ching, Ankh-Hermes, 1974
  • Anything goes, Tele Book, 1974
  • Wisdom from East and West, Ankh-Hermes, 1974
  • Para Psychological library (10 parts):
    • 1. Introduction to parapsychology Bantam, 1975
    • 2. Telepathy and telekinesis Bantam, 1975
    • 3. Psychic awareness Meulenhoff, 1975
    • 4. Paranormal physicality Bantam, 1975
    • 5. Paranormal identity Bantam, 1975
    • 6. Paranormal events Bantam, 1975
    • 7. Parapsychology and occultism Bantam, 1975
    • 8. Parapsychology and religion Bantam, 1975
    • 9. Parapsychology and evolution Bantam, 1975
    • 10. Parapsychology and transformation Bantam, 1975
  • Everything else (4 parts):
    • 1. A new heaven and a new earth Bantam, 1976
    • 2. A world of one thousand artists Bantam, 1976
    • 3. Thinking like playing Bantam, 1977
    • 4. Magic in the service of mysticism Bantam, 1978
  • Dialogue of generations, Tele Book, 1976
  • Blueprint for a New World Book Center, 1976
  • Karl Marx, a prophet of our time, Ankh-Hermes, 1976
  • The four faces of Jerusalem, Bantam, 1976
  • Signs of humanity, Ankh-Hermes, 1976
  • The language of dreams - exploration and explanation, Bantam, 1977
  • Mirror of our times, Tele Book, 1978
  • Order and organization, Pandata, 1985
  • It is waiting for you (Second edition), Ankh-Hermes, 1986
  • Damit who blueht Erde - Das Phaenomen Israel, Scriba, 1986
  • The eight paths of mysticism (2 º pressure of the eight gates of salvation from 1972), Bantam, 1986
  • The language of dreams (reprint of 1977), Ankh-Hermes, 1986
  • Change, Pandata, 1986
  • Mystical wisdom and universal knowledge, Ankh-Hermes, 1986
  • Tao Te Ching, Ankh-Hermes, 1986
  • Artificial intelligence, Pandata, 1988
  • Translations, introductions, contributions
  • East and West seek God, The Cycle, 1955 (translation of C. Mayhew, Men Seeking God 1955)
  • The Middle East, Ph. De Haan. 18, 1959
  • In search of the unknown, Ph. De Haan. 33, 1960
  • Africa Alive, Ph. De Haan. 41, 1960
  • Encyclopedia of the Universe, De Haan, 1960
  • Everything you need to know, De Haan, 1961
  • À la découverte de l'algèbre, Marabout, Gerard, 1962
  • Ethnographic encyclopedia, De Haan, 1962
  • Le dossier Afrique, Marabout, Gerard, 1962
  • Phoenix Bible Pockets, (parts 1-30) De Haan, 1962-1965
  • Man and company tomorrow, Samsom, 1963
  • Man in society, technology and culture, Ph. De Haan. 27, 1964
  • How do we conquer the future?, Contact, 1964
  • Chronicle of St. Jansoog, Moussault, 1964
  • The Jewish origins of Christianity, Moussault, 1964
  • Henrietta Szold, Noordhoff, 1965
  • Encyclopedia for Young People (parts 1-10), De Haan, 1965-1967
  • From Buddha to Sartre (the Netherlands edited and introduced by Van Praag), Moussault, 1965
  • Social psychology, Wolters-Noordhoff, 1967
  • The world of tomorrow (with Whitlau WAC), Worker Press, 1968
  • Jewish press in the Netherlands and Germany, St. A. Frank, 1969
  • Studies on the Jewish background of the OT, Van Gorcum, 1969
  • Resonance of Anne Frank, Contact, 1970
  • A tribute to Anne Frank, Doubleday, 1970
  • Im Department für Schule, Kirche und State, Quelle & Meyer, 1970
  • In-service training, VUGA, 1970
  • Handbook for Managers (parts 1 and 2), Kluwer, 1970-1978
  • Gay dialogicus, Samsom, 1971
  • Views on ... Luitingh, 1972
  • Future Research (parts 1-3), Kluwer, 1972-1975
  • Whether printed ... Van Gorcum, 1972
  • Printing and communications, N.D.B., 1974
  • Perspektief '74, Intermediate, 1974
  • Liber amicorum - Arend Hauer, NCA, 1974
  • Bibeb - Interviews 1973 / 1977, Van Gennep, 1977
  • Hypnosis in practice, Ankh-Hermes, 1977
  • The bank in the world of tomorrow, NMB, 1978
  • Animal testing in modern society, Ankh-Hermes, 1978
  • My Judaism (Houwaart Dick (ed.) with contributions from Van Praag), Voorhoeve, 1980
  • A tribute to Anne Frank, Shogakukan, 1981
  • In 2000, Prisma, 1982
  • Experiments on humans, Ankh-Hermes, 1982
  • Shalom (Kruijf the TC and H. van der Sandt (eds.)), St. B. Folkertsma, 1983
  • Closer to Anne, Leopold, 1985
  • Man without Borders, BRT 1986
  • About the Unseen - presented to Henry van Praag, Ankh-Hermes, 1986
  • Psychic healing, Ankh-Hermes, 1988


  • "I was King Solomon. Lo and behold, the next day a delegation from Ethiopia." Interview with Bibeb in the Netherlands Fri 12/01/1973
  • "Parapsychology and religion." Interview with Rex Brico in Elsevier Magazine 13/05/1978
  • "Prof.. Drs Henri van Praag:" I am an optimist culture, the last and only "" Interview with P. van der Eijk in the weekly Time 05/26/1978
  • "Drs. H. van Praag: an extraordinary man", obituary by Harm van den Berg, In: NRC Handelsblad 03.11.1988
  • "Henri van Praag: a major advisor and visionary," by Avraham Soetendorp obituary, in: Het Parool 04.11.1988
  • "Professor Henry (Abba) van Praag: Take it easy, do not hurry, you have the infinity for you." Surya memories of green, in: Prana No. 56, Summer 1989, pp. 63–73 Ankh-Hermes, Deventer
  • "Henri van Praag: the man behind Prana" by Hein van Dongen, in: Prana No. 100, April 1997, pp. 87–91 Ankh-Hermes, Deventer

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