Zinspenning, Judith (17th century)
Judith Zinspenning, the daughter of the Mennonite tradesman Conrad Zinspenning and Catharina de Mol, was married in 1652 to the physician Jacob Willemsz Sewel. She showed such a deep religious inclination that her father said: "It is a pity that this girl is not a boy, who then in time might become an eminent instrument in the church." Judith found the Flemish Mennonite worship dry and lifeless; the Collegiants were little better. In 1657 missionary William Ames won her to Quakerism. Here she found the lively inner "Spirit." The Sewels left the Mennonites and became ardent "instruments" of Quakerism. The Sewel home became a place for Quaker meetings. She was the first woman to lead worship services.
In 1663 she traveled to England with William Ames' successor William Caton, where she developed further intimate contacts with the Quakers. She preached and wrote several books, including Een ernstige Berispinge (An Earnest Reproof, 1660). She became a victim of a plague epidemic on her return to The Netherlands. Years later her son Willem Sewel published her writings in Eenige schriften en zendbrieven. . . nu tot verderen dienst gemeen gemaakt (1684). He also included a warm tribute to her in his Historie.
Hull, W. I. William Sewel of Amsterdam 1653-1720, the first Quaker historian of Quakerism. Swarthmore, 1934: 3-19, 212-213.
Roldanus, C. W. Zeventiende-eeuwse geestesbloei, 2nd ed. Utrecht-Antwerpen, 1961: 111-113.
Kannegieter, J. Z. Geschiedenis van de vroegere Quakergemeenschap to Amsterdam, 1656 tot begin negentiende eeuw. Amsterdam-Haarlem: Scheltema and Holkema, 1971: 13-24.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, pp. 958-959. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
©1996-2013 by the Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. All rights reserved.
MLA style: Zilverberg, S. B. J. and Keith L. Sprunger. "Zinspenning, Judith (17th century)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1989. Web. 18 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/Z569.html.
APA style: Zilverberg, S. B. J. and Keith L. Sprunger. (1989). Zinspenning, Judith (17th century). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 18 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/Z569.html.