Petrus Serrarius (1600–1669; born in London) was a Dutch millenarian theologian. He was a merchant by profession. He has been called "the 'dean' of the dissident Millenarian theologians in Amsterdam". He was a close associate and protector of Baruch Spinoza. Popkin describes him as Spinoza's contact with the outside world.
He was a Collegiant, and is said by Richard Popkin to be of Scottish extraction; his name at birth was Serrurier, his family was Walloon. He studied at Christ Church, Oxford from 1617 to 1619, and then also at the Walloon College in Leiden in 1620.
He associated also with Adam Boreel, John Dury, and Menasseh ben Israel. He was a correspondent of Samuel Hartlib. His involvement with Judaism led him to gematria, and a belief in Sabbatai Zevi, which may not have extended to his messianic claims.
Views and contacts
As well as being a philosemite, interested greatly in the issue of the Lost Tribes, he was on good terms with the Amsterdam Quakers, and had been in contact with William Ames. He corresponded with the Baptist Henry Jessey.
Initially an orthodox Calvinist, he had left his church before coming to Amsterdam around 1630. He attacked the views of Moses Amyraut, who had in Du règne de mille ans ou de la Prospérité de l'Église (1654) taken up a position against the millenarians of the time. Serrarius replied with Assertion du règne de mille ans (1657). He in turn was attacked by Samuel Maresius, a pupil of Franciscus Gomarus. Maresius attempted to undermine the appeal to the work of Joseph Mede made by Serrarius.
He was also one of the critics of Lodewijk Meyer.
- van den Berg, Johannes, "Quaker and Chiliast: The Contrary Thoughts of William Ames and Petrus Serrarius," in R. Buick Knox (ed.), Reformation, Conformity and Dissent: Essays in Honour of Geoffrey Nuttall, London, Epworth Press, 1977, pp. 180-198.
- van der Wall, Ernestine G. E., De mystieke chiliast Petrus Serrarius (1600-1669) en zijn wereld, (Leiden 1987).
- van der Wall, Ernestine G. E., "The Amsterdam Millenarian Petrus Serrarius (1600-1669) and the Anglo-Dutch Circle of Philo-Judaists", in J.van den Berg and E.G.E. van den der Wall, eds., Jewish-Christian Relations in the Seventeenth Century (Leiden: Kluwer, 1988) pp. 73–94. Online PDF
- Pieter, Peter, Petrus Serarius.
- Richard Popkin, "Some New Light on the Roots of Spinoza's Science of Bible Study," in Spinoza and the Sciences, Marjorie Grene and Debra Nails (eds.), Dordrecht, D. Reidel, 1986, pp. 171-188; the quote is from p. 177.
- Ibid., p. 177. Here Popkin wrote specifically that Serrarius "seems to have been Spinoza's patron."; cf. also Popkin, Spinoza, p. 40.
- Ernestine G. E. van der Wall, "The Amsterdam Millenarian Petrus Serrarius (1600-1669) and the Anglo-Dutch Circle of Philo-Judaists", in J.van den Berg and E.G.E. van den der Wall, eds., Jewish-Christian Relations in the Seventeenth Century (Leiden: Kluwer, 1988), p. 74.
- Ernestine G. E. van der Wall, 1988, pp. 79-81.
- Popkin, p. and p. 48.
- Ernestine G. E. van der Wall, 1988, p. 74.
- The Light Upon The Candlestick
- Johannes van den Berg (Jan de Bruijn, Pieter Holtrop editors), Religious Currents and Cross-Currents: Essays on Early Modern Protestantism and the Protestant Enlightenment (1999), Chapter 8. Book extract.
- Ernestine G. E. van der Wall, 1988, p.81, and note 32.
- Jeffrey K. Jue, Heaven Upon Earth: Joseph Mede (1586-1638) And the Legacy of Millenarianism (2006), p. 233.