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Jewish Manuscript Cultures

New Perspectives

Ed. by Wandrey, Irina

Series:Studies in Manuscript Cultures 13

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Publication Date:
December 2017
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The Preservation of Hebrew Books by Christians in the Pre-Reformation German Milieu

Steimann, Ilona


The main aim of this article is to provide an overview of how German humanists and Hebraists formed their Hebraica collections around 1500, ranging from less than a dozen Hebrew codices to several hundred volumes in mid-16thcentury humanist libraries. The period in question is actually one of the earliest encounters that Christians had with a great number of Jewish books, and reflects earlier Christian conceptions of Jewish literature as well as predetermining those to come. First, the article analyses the modes and channels for the acquisition of Hebraica by Christians and the difficulties involved in such a task, which had serious implications for the scope and character of Christian Hebraica collections. It then traces the dissemination of Jewish texts among Christians according to the texts’ genres and discusses their Christian uses. Christian additions to and modifications of Hebrew texts reflected polemics, appreciation and appropriation, and as a whole effected the transition of the Hebrew book from a Jewish to a Christian object.

Citation Information

Ilona Steimann (2017). The Preservation of Hebrew Books by Christians in the Pre-Reformation German Milieu. In Irina Wandrey (Editor), Jewish Manuscript Cultures: New Perspectives (pp. 203–226). Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110546422-008

Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110546422

Online ISBN: 9783110546422

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/BostonGet Permission

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