Orandum est, ut sit mens sana in corpore
Non ego sum veterum, non assecla, amice, novorum.
Seu vetus est, verum diligo, sive novum.
Hisce Nobilissimo et doctrina ac virtute
Praestantissimo Albi hujus Possessori, Clarissimi
ejus aemulo, memoriam sui commendare,
testari, et fausta quaeque adprecari voluit
Hermannus Alexander Röell,
SS. theologiae Professor.
Trajecti ad Rhenum
a. d. 26. octobr. 1714.
* The source of this quotation is
Saturae 10.356. A paraphrase of this quotation is also
used by Count Pál Teleki in p. 83.
The Greek expression gnêsiô teknô is used by St. Paul
in the introduction of two letters (1Tim 1:2, Tit
1:4), meaning “to [a/my] true son”. In the KJV it is
translated as “unto my own son in the faith” and “to mine own
son after the common faith”.
The Hebrew Ro'i 'el is probably a free quotation of Gen 16:13;
in the original one reads 'El ro'i, with an inverse
word order. This expression is one of the names of God, its
exact meaning is uncertain. Most versions render it as “God of
Seeing” or “a God who sees” while the KJV translates it as “Thou God seest
The two words of the motto were probably deliberately
inverted, as a pun with the name of the professor: (Röell
<-> Roi el)! This is also confirmed by the fact that the
Hebrew motto stands in the same line of his signature, like an
We have to pray that we might have a healthy soul in a healthy
I am no follower, my friend, neither of the
old, nor of the new, / I rather follow what is true, let it be old
With this I want to recommend myself into the
memory of the very noble, learned and virtuous possessor of this
book, real son and heir of the virtues of his renowned and
celebrated father, as a token of my friendship, by wishing him all
Hermann Alexander Röell
professor of divinity
Motto: “Ro’i ’el”. *
In Utrecht, on October 26, 1714.
111. Utrecht, October 26, 1714
Röell, Herman Alexander
(1653-1718), German Reformed
Herman Alexander Röell was born in 1653 in his
father's estate in Dölberg, Mark county, a son of the
Brandenburgian General of Cavalry Johann Röell, of Alsacian
origin, and of Elisabeth
Bruggemans. At an early age he lost both of his parents: his
mother died in 1655, and his father was killed in war in 1657. He
studied in the nearby towns of Unna and Hamm, then from 1670
theology in Utrecht and Groningen, and after that, driven by the
adversities of war, in Bremen, Marburg, Heidelberg, Zurich – where
he was a student of Johann Heinrich Heidegger (1633-1698) and Johann Kaspar Suicer
(1620-1684) – and finally Hamm and Leiden. In 1677 he was offered
a ministry in Cologne, but he could not accept it because of
illness. In 1679 he went to Herford to become court pastor of
Abbess Elisabeth, daughter of Frederick King of Bohemia (1619-20, “the
Winter King”). She stood in close
connection both with René Descartes and with Johannes Cocceius
(1603-1669). Here he remained until her death. In 1680 he studied six months in Bremen, then became
court pastor of Princess Albertine of Orange, widow of Prince
William of Nassau, Lieutenant of Frisia. In 1682 he became pastor
of Deventer, and also taught theology in the local high school.
Here he discussed the De foedere et Testamentis Dei by
Cocceius. In 1685 he was invited to Franeker as professor of
philosophy and theology. In the meantime he obtained doctoral
degree of philosophy and theology. His inaugural address delivered
in Franeker, published both in Latin and in Dutch, won for him
both great appreciation and many attacks. In 1704 he was invited
into the more orthodox Utrecht as professor of theology, but
not even this gesture could lessen the attacks against him either at
the university, or outside of it. He kept his position in Utrecht
until his death. He died in Amsterdam on July 12, 1718. His three
sons all became professors, the first of philosophy and theology,
the second of law, and the third of medicine. The first of them,
Dionysius Andreas (1689-1733), later Mayor of Deventer, made great
effort to defend his already deceased father.
Röell was one of the most outstanding and freely
thinking scholar of his age. In philosophy he was Cartesian, and
in theology Cocceian, while he tried to prove the compatibility of
the two standpoints, by accepting the truth of revelation, while
defending the competence of reasoning. He changed many
controversial writings with his colleague in Franeker, the elder
Campegius Vitringa. His teachings were regarded erroneous,
heretical, and so dangerous, that they were condemned by some
twenty synods as well as in a treatise: Judicium ecclesiasticum,
quo opiniones quaedam Cl. Herm. Alex. Roelli synodice damnatae
sunt, laudatum a professoribus theologiae in Acad. Lugd.
Batava: Johannes à Marck, Franciscus Fabricius, Johannes
Wesselius, Taco van den Honert. Leiden, 1723. – He was a friendly
and peaceful man, but did not give up his principles. His motto is
also a reply to the accusations against him: Non ego sum veterum, non assecla, amice, novorum: seu
vetus est, verum diligo, sive novum. (I am no follower, my friend,
neither of the old, nor of the new: I rather follow what is true,
let it be old or new.) He also had many Hungarian relations. He
published the Prophetia sancti prophetae Zachariae explicata
by Sámuel Szatmárnémethi. Some of his works: Dissertatio theologica de generatione
Filii, et morte fidelium temporali. Diss. theol. altera de
generatione … Franeker, 1689, 1690. – Kort en eenvoudig
berigt van het verschil over de geboorte des Soons en tydelicke
dood der geloovige. Amsterdam, 1691. Utrecht, 1691. – Orat.
inauguralis Franequerae habita de religione naturali seu rationali.
– Dissertatio theologica de Regno
Dei. Franeker, 1699. – Oratio inauguralis Ultrajecti habita de theologia et
theologiae supernaturalis prae naturali praestantia. Utrecht,
1704. – Explicatio catecheseos Heidelbergensis. Opus
postumum. Utrecht, 1728.
Röell wrote his own motto in the Album. Sámuel Szatmárnémethi
had made his note in the Album still in Kolozsvár (Cluj), before
the departure of Pápai Páriz (p. 89).
• ADB •
Boeles II 309 • Jöcher • NNBW X 821 • Sluis-Postma