4. Discovery of Hebrew

David H. Price

in Johannes Reuchlin and the Campaign to Destroy Jewish Books

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780195394214
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894734 | DOI:
4. Discovery of Hebrew

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This chapter traces the history of early Christian Hebrew studies, specifically Johannes Reuchlin's Hebrew grammar and dictionary (1506) and his foundational studies of Kabbalah. Over the course of his career, Reuchlin portrayed Jews, Judaism, and the potential contributions of Jewish theology and scholarship to Christianity in increasingly empathetic ways. His representation evolved from being rooted in the goal of appropriating Jewish Kabbalah and even Christianizing the Hebrew language to a willingness to acknowledge the Jewish tradition on its own terms. While the question of Reuchlin's representation of Judaism and Jews has always been raised in studies of his legal repudiation of the book pogrom, the larger historical question is how the Christian scholarly study of Judaism impacted representation. In Reuchlin's case, immersion in Jewish studies fostered open admiration of Jewish biblical exegesis and, over time, respectful portrayals of Jewish mysticism, piety, and theology.

Keywords: biblical exegesis; Jews; Kabbalah; mysticism; Johannes Reuchlin; Hebrew language; Judaism; Jewish theology; piety

Chapter.  15669 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Christianity

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