Learning Hebrew in Medieval England: Christian Scholars and the Longleat House Grammar
Studies and Texts 230; Judaism in the Medieval and Early Modern World 2 • x, 194 pp. plus 24 colour plates • ISBN 978-0-88844-230-7 • Cloth • $95
The fountainhead of theology, a “doorway to wisdom,” or a philological riddle: there were many reasons to learn Hebrew for inquisitive Christian minds in the Middle Ages. Although preoccupation with the meanings of the names of the Hebrew letters and their presumed inherent virtues can be traced back to the early Church Fathers, the rediscovery of classical sources and Aristotelian philosophy and the engagement with Graeco-Arabic sciences that marked the renaissance of the twelfth century also brought about an acute awareness of the need for a philological understanding of the Hebrew language.