Leydecker, Melchior a Calvinistic theologian, was born at Middelburg in 1642. He became pastor in the province of Zealand in 1662, was appointed professor at Utrecht in 1678, and died in 1721. He was an ardent exponent of the doctrines of the Reformed Church, and violently opposed the systems of Cocceius and Descartes, the works of Drusius, Spencer's book De Legibus Hebraeorum, and the Lutheran tendencies of Witsius. Very learned in theological, rabbinical, and ecclesiastical literature, he distinguished himself by wielding a strong pen in favor of the Reformed theological system. Among his apologetical works are De veritate Jidei Reformatae ejusdemque sanctitate, s. Comnmentarius ad Catech. Palatin. (Ultrajecti. 1694, 4to): — De oeconomia trium personarum in negotio salutis hum. libri iv, quibus universa Reformata fides certis principiis congruo nexu
explicatur (Traj. ad Rhen. 1682,12mo): — Veritas evangelica troiumphans de erroribus quorumvis seculorum — opus, quo principia fidei Reformatae demonstrantur (Traj. 1688, 4to): — also, Historia ecclesice Africanae illustrata pro ecclesiae Reformate veritate et libertate (Ultraj. 1690,4to). His controversial works against Cocceius met with great success, because they discussed the question with great clearness. Among them we notice his Synopsis controversiarum de foedere et testamento Dei, quae hodie in Belgio moventur (Traj. 1690, 8vo): — Vis veritatis s. disquisitionum ad nonnullas controversias, quae hodie in Belgio moventur de oeconomia foederum Dei, libri v (Traj. 1679, 4to): — Fax veritatis (Leidoe, 1677, 4to). When yet a youthful student at the university Leydecker had paid special attention to Biblical studies, and, guided by a learned rabbi, made rapid strides in the exploration of Biblical lore. In after life, when, tired of polemical and clerical pursuits, he looked about for a field on which he might profitably venture, this department of theological study allured him anew. Attempting to fit the works of Godwin (Moses and Aaron) and Cunseus (De Republica Hebreor.) to his academical purposes, he soon discovered their insufficiency, and set about to prepare himself a more copious treatise, which is everywhere marked by a vigorous and independent judgment. While he conceals not his aversion to the "futilities" of the Talmud, he quotes the great rabbins with respect. He, moreover, keeps a sharp eye on the extravagancies of Christian writers, and his work censures with evenhanded justice the well-known rabbinism of the Buxtorfs and the Egyptism of Spencer (De Legibus Hebr.). It is only characteristic of this unsparing criticism of the orthodox author that he adds an appendix of severe animadversion against the cosmogony of Thomas Burnet, to whose Theoria telluris he prefixes the predicate profana. The six dissertations of this appendix, whatever may be thought of the author's views, are valuable for their learning, and interesting as closely bearing on the questions now raised on the Mosaic cosmogony. Especial mention among his Biblical works is due to his archaeological treatise entitled De Republica Hebraeoarum (Amst. 1704, thick fol. vol.), which is one of the largest repertories ever written on the wide subject of Hebrew antiquities, and exhibits in an eminent degree vast stores of scriptural, rabbinical, and historical learning. Added to the interest of the subject are dissertations on the Hebrew laws and customs, both political and religious, interwoven in a historical narrative, in which the sacred history is developed, by epochs, from the earliest period to the latest. The author, in his progress, learnedly investigates the history, pari
passu, of the leading Gentile nations, very much after the manner of Shuckford and Russell in their Connections. This valuable work, on which Leydecker's fame deserves mainly to depend, is singularly enough ignored in Schweizer's sketch of the author in Herzog (see below). A complete list of his works is to be found in the Unpartheiische Kirchen-Hist. A. u. N. Test., etc., 2:625. — Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 8:360; Gass, Dozmengeschichte, volumes 1-3; Kitto, Cyclop. Bibl. Lit. volume 2, s.v.