The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age

Schama, Simon

Knopf, 1987

op. 20

In 17th century Amsterdam, residents of the city’s Tugthuis (jail) were given lessons in wisdom literature. In fact a special edition of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Ecclesiasticus was published just for prison use. It was thought that since the jail was meant to cure, among others, spongers, idlers, and beggars the anti-sloth passages of Scripture seemed apt for tutoring.