Manual The Cambridge History of the Bible: Volume 3, The West from the Reformation to the Present Day

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S85 D53 c. D54 Dictionary of the Middle Ages. E53 v. E53 Great lives from history. M43 Medieval France : an encyclopedia. M44 Medieval Scandinavia : an encyclopedia. M43 c. Bibles in Central and Eastern European vernaculars to c. Processing the Bible: Commentary, Catechesis, Liturgy: Authority G. Evans; Theories of interpretation: the Quadriga and its successors Deeana Copeland Klepper; The importance of the Bible for early Lutheran theology Kenneth G.

Appold; The Bible in Reformed thought, — Bruce Gordon; Orthodox Biblical exegesis in the early modern world — Athanasios Despotis; The Bible in the pulpit, — Hughes Oliphant Old; The Bible in catechesis, c. The Bible in liturgy and worship c. Spinks; Part IV. The Bible in the Broader Culture: The Bible in political thought and political debates, c.

The problem of 'spiritual discipline': apocryphal books among sixteenth-century leaders of the Lutheran churches Susan C. Karant-Nunn; The Bible and the emerging 'scientific' world-view Peter Harrison; Between humanism and Enlightenment: morality, reason and history as factors in biblical interpretation Henning Graf Reventlow; The Bible and the early modern sense of history Euan Cameron; The Bible and the visual arts in early modern Europe David H.

Price; Beyond Europe: The Bible in European colonial thought c. Those who entertained this view of the corporeal inevitably spiritualized everything in the Scriptures which did not comport with their position. Conversely Luther, who esteemed and insisted on all three, found ways to circum vent the command against images. The Erasmian view of the spiritual is closely akin to the rational, which was mentioned above as the second type in the meaning ascribed to spirit by the reformers.

In Neoplatonism the realm of the spiritual is the realm of the nous, reason, mind, intelligence. The process of 1 R. For the Christian the end can never be identification with the cosmic intelli gence, but only with the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yet God can be conceived in terms of intelligence and the way to him involves the overcoming not only of the corporeal but also of the erroneous. Yet this view did not lead on the part of Erasmus nor later of the writers of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment to the elaboration of an intricate and closely knit theological system like that of Aquinas or Calvin.

The enlightenment consisted in the rejection not only of superstition but also of sophisticated speculation about that which cannot be known. Wisdom consists in the recognition of the limits of reason. Al l the powers with which man has been endowed are to be used within the sphere assigned to him. Therefore the scholar must bring to bear philological tools and historical criticism to the elucidation of holy Scripture, but there is no use prying into the inscrutable.

Nor is there any need, because God has given us all that we need to know in order to be saved. The Scriptures indeed contain conundrums but in all essentials they are plain. The majesty and the mercy of God, the sanctity and the compassion of Christthese require no demon stration. At this point Erasmus was profoundly affected by the Brethren of the Common Life whose patron saint was the penitent thief because he was saved with so little theology. But this view carried with it also the possibilityand here the rationalism entersthat even outside of the Scriptures the light that lighteth every man may communicate sufficient knowledge for salvation.

By this token the pious heathen may be saved. But in that case the great historic drama of redemption, the revelation once and for all in time, is undercut because God discloses to all men in all times all that they really need to know. In that case Christianity ceases to be essentially a religion of history. With regard to the salvation of the heathen, Luther and Calvin denied them any hope, but Zwingli would admit them to paradise; not for the same reason, however, as Erasmus.

In Zwingli' s case the doctrine of election cut athwart the drama of redemption. If God from before the foundation of the world had determined that some should be saved and others damned, what real need was there for the drama of redemp tion? The doctrine of predestination thus tends from another angle to destroy Christianity as a religion of history, though we must recall that those who espoused it did not permit it to go to such lengths. Cambridge Histories Online Cambridge University Press, From the Reformation to the Present Day 32 One observes that the rationalism of Erasmus was in a sense ir- rationalism because it looked upon many areas of Christian theology as not amenable to rational understanding.

And one is not to speak of Erasmus as a rationalist and Luther as an irrationalist without discrimi nation. Both were irrationalists with regard to some at least of the doctrines because both were Occamists, and Occam had split apart theology and philosophy so that many of the dogmas, notably that of the Trinity, had simply to be believed.

Erasmus held that philosophic ally speaking the doctrine of the Trinity involves tritheism. Luther on this subject said, ' When now I hear that Christ is of one substance with the Father and yet there is only one God, how can I make that out? It sounds preposterous and is not compatible with reason, nor should it be.

When I hear the Word of God speak from above, I believe, though I cannot understand, and do not see how I can get it through my head. I can understand that two and five make seven and no one can prove the contrary. But if God from above says that they make eight, then I must believe against my reason and feeling. Yet he would reject nothing in Scripture on rational grounds.

With regard to the story of the bears which came out of the wood and ate up the little boys who mocked Elisha's bald head, his comment was that this account would 'certainly appear utterly absurd if it occurred anywhere else and were not supported by the authority of Scripture'.

Erasmus also would not have rejected the passage on rational grounds, although almost certainly he would have allegorized the meaning rather than attribute such cruelty to God. One wonders indeed whether even Erasmus would have endorsed the views of a Copernicus any more than Luther who insisted that Joshua com manded the sun to stand still and not the earth.

It was moral even more than intellectual, because man is not good enough to understand what God has done. Consider all that is involved in the word of redemption, that God the Creator and Sustainer of the heavens and the earth gave to man paradise to enjoy with lordship over the 1 W, 37, T R, no. Cambridge Histories Online Cambridge University Press, The Bible in the Reformation 33 beasts of the field, the fish of the sea, and the birds of the air, and then man in utter ingratitude disobeyed his Creator and Benefactor. What then should be done? Luther knew what he would have done.

He would have wiped out the human race with brimstone, but God instead sent his only beloved Son that he should lie in the feed-box of a donkey and die upon a cross, that those that believe in him should not perish but have everlasting life. What man would have done so much for his fellow? One can put oneself into the place of Abraham, but how can one put oneself into the place of God and conceive of acting as he has done?

Before the condescension and compassion of God we can only stand stupefied, and the trouble with Erasmus, thought Luther, was that he lacked wonder.

There was also another form of irrationalism for Luther, namely to believe that God has done all this for us when experience indicates the contrary. How do events belie his love when man is afflicted, sawn asunder, drowned or burned for the faith? How then shall one believe in the promises of God? Reason and feeling indicate God' s rejection. Then one can be saved only by faith. This entire point of view is of immense importance for the under standing of Scripture. Erasmus could rely upon universal reason, the light that lighteth every man, because for him the darkness was not so intense.

For Luther, the light that lighteth every man would at times leave him in utter blackness. Only in Scripture could he find a light to lighten the Gentiles. If Luther was thought to rely too much upon the Spirit by the Catholics and notably by Erasmus, he was accused of too little reliance by those within his own camp who may be called spiritualists.

This term needs to be saved from those who have pre-empted it to signify communication with departed spirits. The word is needed to describe those whose religion centres on the conversion experience, the new birth in the Spirit, the Pentecostal visitation descending like a tongue of fire. Of such was Thomas Mntzer.

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Mntzer recorded that Scripture as a book would never convince an unbeliever, who can be overpowered only by the living Word of God. Luther, said he, was a scribe, learned in the sacred writing, Cambridge Histories Online Cambridge University Press, From the Reformation to the Present Day 34 addicted to the dead letter, a robber of the Bible, stealing its words without their spirit, ' a Bible gobbler'.

We are rooted in Scripture. We will not believe a new revelation. Woul d they have believed them or would they have put them to death? The way is a way of ascents. First must come the mortification of the flesh and all desires. The way of salvation is the way of the cross. Suffering must even be sought. Luther retorted that there is no need to go in search of the cross. It will overtake one soon enough. Mntzer railed at him as ' Dr Comfortable' , a stranger to the way of mortification. The dying to self rather than the enlightenment of the mind is the path which issues in Vergottung, being made God.

Thus far Mntzer spoke the language of the mystics. But then came a leap. Mysticism tends to become less and less concrete as the images fade and God becomes all in all. But for Mntzer the Holy Ghost came as a tongue of fire, disclosing revelations even in dreams and visions, making men prophets as of old. Thus in another way the uniqueness of the ancient revelation, given once and for all, was diminished through the universalism of the Spirit. Spiritualism in Mntzer's case was combined with predestinarianism because the Spirit is not actually given to all but only to those whom God has chosen, his elect.

They are able to recognize each other because the experience of the new birth is definite and distinguishable. To this little company, God has given his kingdom and they are to usher it in with the sword of Gideon. Here Mntzer the spiritualist turned to the carnal weapon. This was one reason why Luther claimed that the radicals turned spirit and flesh, inward and outward, upside down. One may well wonder how Mntzer could end with such concreteness, creatureliness and literalism as he did with regard to eschatology and the coming of the Lord.

Similarly, Rothman of the Mnsterites protested against any spiritualization of the last day. Curiously perhaps, spiritualism was combined also with legalism. Carlstadt insisted not that a minister might marry but that he must, and Zwingli introduced prohibitions with regard to images and music The suggestion has been made that spiritualism must issue in legalism as a psychological necessity because the spirit is too rarefied and some return to the world of sense imposes itself.

But one may question the validity of this explanation since Denck and Franck do not fit the formula. Several suggestions by way of explanation may be offered. For those with the Neoplatonist disparagement of the flesh, there must almost of necessity be some rules of touch not, taste not. For those who believe in the possibility of a holy commonwealth, there must be some rules for governance. This would apply particularly to Mntzer, Zwingli, and Calvin. And where should those rules more appropriately be found than in the sacred writings which the reformers were endeavouring to rehabilitate?

The idea of the restoration of primi tive Christianity inspired all of the reformers, but with Luther the restoration applied more particularly to the theology of Paul. For the Reformed churches, however, and especially the Anabaptists, the restitution applied to the way of life in the New Testament. The Sermon on the Mount became a norm for them particularly because they rejected all connection between the Church and the State. Those who accepted this alliance found in the Old Testament a more fitting pattern for their society. Thus it was for the Calvinists.

Again, if, as for Mntzer, the preparation for receiving the Holy Ghost is the way of mortification, then there must be a strict discipline and this readily codifies itself into rules. For Luther mortification was a fruit of the spirit and bound to no prescribed forms. For him the externals were a matter of indifference. They belonged to the adiaphora. The doctrine of the Gospel for him was alone essential. Moreover, his definition of inward and outward was quite different.

For him the outward was not the physical, nor the inward the spiritual, because the spiritual might be outward. God is outward in the sense of being beyond man. When the spirit of God enters the heart, it becomes inward. When again it bears fruit in good works, it is then outward. These are never separated. God himself is in flesh. The incarnation 1 H. Krger , pp. God is present in all physical reality, and Christ as God is ubiquitous and does not need to be made present in the elements of the Lord' s Supper by any miracle.

The minister serves not to put Christ into the bread and wine but only to disclose his presence. Both of them together constitute in him a whole, and this is why the physical may be employed as a means of communication with the divine. Music, images and the elements in the sacraments all have their place. Especially, the Word of God does not dispense with the external, nor communicate itself directly, but only through the Scriptures and the sacraments. One is not to listen to those who pretend to revelations and talk of familiar colloquies with the Most High.

One does not chat with the Most High. God is a consuming flame. Miintzer's pretension to prophetic powers was not confined to him self alone. Among the Miinsterites there came to be a crop of Elijahs and Elishas making conflicting claims so that the movement recoiled and found itself driven back to the outward Word as a test.

The Protestant Reformation

When David Joris appeared among the Anabaptists of Strassburg, demanding abject submission to his imperious pronouncements as the third David and the mouthpiece of the Lord, he was told that his word could not be received unless confirmed by Scripture. Hans Denck in his closing years, and especially Sebastian Franck, belong in this category.

Curiously, Franck ascribed the most eccentric behaviour of the spiritualists to their reliance on the letter because, of course, they always did find some passage in Scripture by way of justification. His method of dealing with them was to confront them with a contra dictory passage of Scripture, just as Christ, when the Devil quoted to him the ninety-first Psalm, did not allegorize but adduced against him other passages from the Bible. Contradictions in the Bible, said Franck, are not hard to find because it is a book of paradoxes, a ' book sealed with seven seals which no man can open unless he has the key of David which is the illumination of the Spirit through the way of the cross'.

This alone matters. Bainton, ' Davi d Jons' , p. And this is not confined to Christians. There is a spark of the divine in all men and to all, even to those beyond the Christian fold, sufficient divine illumination is given to bring them into the way. The Christian drama of redemption is universalized; the incarnation, the atonement, the crucifixion are not isolated events in history, but continually recurring experiences.

Christ is born in me and dies in me. I have my brothers among the Turks, Papists, Jews, and all peoples. Not that they are Turks, Jews, Papists, and Sectaries or will remain so; in the evening they will be called into the vineyard and given the same wage as we.

From the East and from the West children of Abraham will be raised up out of the stones and will sit down with him at God' s table. But this certainly was not the conclusion of the Reformation. The main line was that described first above which kept the spirit and the letter in association, which looked upon the Scriptures as the container of the Word of God, uniquely given at a definite point in the past, to be recovered and appropriated in every generation through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Not in dreams and visions, not in direct communications, but in a warming of the heart enabling the hearer or the reader to see, feel, participate, and believe in that which God once spoke by the mouth of Moses, the prophets, the evangelists, and the apostles. Paradoxa , nos. Das verbiithschiert. Here is confident enthusiasm for the potent renewal, spiritual and intellectual, to be found in a clearer understanding of Latin, Greek and Hebrew.

This is something new and fundamental to the cultural world of the early sixteenth century: it cannot be set down as merely a further stage in the development of humanist studies which had begun in the fourteenth century or earlier. There was a preparatio evangelica in the first quarter of the sixteenth century, for it was then, and not before, that there appeared in combination the achievements of the humanist scholar-printers; the fruits of intensive study in the grammar and syntax of the three languages; and the energy provided by the economic development and regional patriotism of the cities where bonae litterae flourishedBasle, Wittenberg, Zurich, Paris, Strassburg, Geneva.

Further, it was in this period that was felt the full force of the demandan insistent demand which was not merely captious or irresponsiblefor a well-grounded knowledge of the Bible. It is significant too that this demand was coming not only from a scholarly priest like Lefevre, but also from the educated laity: from a prince like Frederick, Elector of Saxony, from a great lady like Margaret of 38 Cambridge Histories Online Cambridge University Press, Biblical Scholarship: Editions and Commentaries 39 Angoulme, and from a member of the city bourgeoisie like the Strassburg diplomatist, Jacob Sturm, representative of so many of similar zeal among the citizens of Augsburg, Basle and elsewhere.

An attempt to meet this increasing demand can be seen in the large number of vernacular translations from the Vulgate in Germany and France in the later fifteenth and earlier sixteenth centuries. Lefvre was not alone when he appealed to ' the sovereign pontiff, kings, princes and noble men, the peoples of every race, to attach themselves only to Christ and the vivifying Word of God, his holy Gospel '.

The best minds among those who sought to answer this need, whether Catholics or those who were to become Protestants, were not content to submit scriptural interpretation to the old dialectical machinery of the Schools, and sought instead to benefit from the improved resources derived from the return by humanist scholars adfontes, that is, to the original languages of Scripture.

The reliability of the current text of the Vulgate began to be doubted by scholars as long ago as Roger Bacon, and this doubt increased until Erasmus, whose reputation was authoritative, said plainly, 'Jerome emended, but what he emended is now again corrupted'.

When scholars demanded an authentic text revised by the study of the original languages, and when devout laymen demanded the means for an intelligent under standing of it, three needs required satisfaction. First, the effort to make available the original texts, and the desire that these might be translated into Latin anew; secondly, the production of a standard text here the scholar-printers were important, for their skills and learning made standardizing possible ; thirdly, the work of commentary, from simple marginal note to extensive theological interpretation. It is the purpose of this chapter to show briefly the ways in which these require ments were met.

The first step was for scholars to master the discipline of grammar in the three languages. Bad style and inferior vocabulary had come to imply not merely dullness but moral obloquy.

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It was felt that a purified and supple latinity must be the introduction to Hebrew and Greek 1 Lefevre's words to Farel are referred to in A. Herminjard, Correspondance des Rformateurs , i, 1 5. The other quotations from Lefvre are taken from his address to the Christian reader in his Commentarii Initiatorii in Quatuor Evangelio. This emphasis is made plain in the inaugural lecture given by Melanchthon on his appointment, at the age of twenty-one, as professor of Greek at Wittenberg in , where his enthusiasm startled and delighted his audience as he spoke of the vivifying study of Hebrew, Greek and Latin.

Both his directness and his aspiration can be seen in these words, ' Now away with so many frigid petty glosses, these harmonizings and "disharmonies" and other hindrances to intelligence, and when we shall have redirected our minds to the sources, we shall begin to taste Christ. His command will become clear to us, and we shall become suffused with that blessed nectar of divine wisdom. Powerful patronage met this need in founding the trilingual colleges. In Spain, Cardinal Ximenes established the new university at Alcal, which soon concentrated its attention on trilingual studies.

In Germany, Frederick of Saxony endowed the University of Wittenberg with chairs in the three languages. After considerable opposition a trilingual college was established at Louvain. England lagged some way behind these other centres whose important contributions to biblical studies will be shown later. It was one thing to found a trilingual college but another thing to obtain competent teachers; this was England's chief problem in the field at the time.

At the end of the fifteenth century very few humanist scholars had a sound knowledge of Greek. Erasmus gained his mastery of it only by expense of time and money, and by travelling far to find teachers to aid him. Latin was important because some held it to be essential to have a 1 Melanchthon, Corpus Reformatorum, Melanchthonis Opera, eds. Bretschneider and Bindseil 60 , xi , 2 3 : 'Facessent iam tot frigidae glossulae, concordantiae, discor- dantiae, et si quae sunt aliae ingenii remorae.

Atque cum nimos ad fontes contulerimus, Christum sapere incipiemus, mandatum eius lucidum nobis fiet et nectare ilio beato divinae sapientiae perfundemur. For others, good latinity was held to be needed to assist the effective emendation of the corruptions which had come into the Vulgate text. Moreover, many a devout scholar believed that purification of Latin style would bring purification and renewal in theology.

This renewal of good Latin was effective in Italy as early as when Valla showed in the very title of his frequently printed book one aspect of what was required, Elegantiae Latini Sermonis. A useful grammar, however, did not appear before when Aldus Manutius, the first of those humanist printers whose aid in trilingual studies was to prove so effective, issued his Institutiones Grammaticae. The effort to establish good Latin was now moved northwards, first to England where Linacre prepared his dull but sound work on grammar this was later translated into Latin by the Scottish humanist Buchanan and became popular abroad , and followed it up with his difficult work on syntax which endured long enough at our universities for Milton to complain of it.

Two other Englishmen, Lily and Colet, also urged the virtues of studying syntax. Erasmus praised this English work and then did even better, for, after re-editing the combined English studies, he published in a book on the right pronunciation of Latin and Greek which showed the concern to avoid treating these as merely dead languages. Men of conservative mind, and less committed to the ' new learning', were disturbed by this; for example, Bishop Gardiner threatened expulsion to any undergraduate at Cambridge who used the new system.

Melanchthon in pro duced both a Latin grammar and a syntax which show him well on the way to deserving his future fame as the ' Preceptor of Germany'. The next important development was in France where Dolet published his Commentariorum Linguae Latinae Tomus primus , et Tomus Secundus ; and Cordier, who gave the young Calvin his taste for humanist studies, condemned bad latinity in his De corruptelis sermonis apud Gallos et loquendi Latine ratione libellus The pressure of these and other works made eager minds desire a mastery of style capable of expressing delicate shades of meaning, and a linguistic skill which could replace, for these new studies, the technical Latin idiom of scholastic philosophy and theology which, though valid for precision in its own field, was too unyielding and limited for the work of biblical translation and commentary.

Greek was regarded as the language of the eastern heretics and schismatics; there fore, good work in Greek had to struggle against this traditional dis approval. However, sound foundations for the improved knowledge of Greek owed much to these Latin studies which in turn stimulated the quest for the mastery of Greek style and the extensive grammatical work this required. Here it was unfortunate that western scholars borrowed too readily from the Alexandrian theorists of grammar; for Apollonius Moschopoulos and the rest led many sixteenth-century humanists wandering in a prolific undergrowth of rhetorical figures.

Again, when Melanchthon in the lecture already quoted said, 6 Homerum habemus in manibus, habemus et Pauli epistolam ad Ti t um' , he must have brought some struggling Wittenberg students near to despair when thus sharply introduced to the full range of diversity in Greek. This underlines too the tendency of that age to come to the study of Greek through the Classics and the Eastern Fathers, with the con sequent failure to allow sufficiently for the importance of the Semitic idiom which lay behind the Septuagint and the New Testament.

This was not satisfactorily studied until the next century and later. But the humanists' enthusiasm for Greek learning was intense. Nearly forty grammars were published in as many years. Among these appear familiar names. The third book to come from the press of Aldus Manutius was the Greek grammar of Lascaris, , and in his preface these significant words occur, ' There is a multitude of those who yearn to be well-instructed in Greek'.

In Erasmus issued his translation of the Greek grammar of Theodore of Gaza, and Melanchthon published in the year of his professorial inauguration, , an elementary Greek grammar. Later, Bude at Paris made France famous among humanists by his profound but difficult to use Commentarii Linguae Graecae of This was to draw from Calvin, who was never to lose the humanist's concern for integrity of scholarship, praise for this product of his fellow-countryman's linguistic studies, ' Today Budaeus appro priates for our France the palm of erudition'.

However, Erasmusin his work on the correct pronunciation of Greek and Latinhad to protest against a general tendency to maintain an old tradition in gram matical nomenclature. The force of his argument was not to be clearly seen until after Robert Estienne, ever practical as well as scholarly, Cambridge Histories Online Cambridge University Press, Biblical Scholarship: Editions and Commentaries 43 helped to meet this need for better nomenclature by publishing' Alpha bets ' of Greek which gave a clear analysis of the elementary rules of grammar.

But the production of dictionaries which took account of these new grammatical resources, and showed the various shades of meaning by quotation and precise definition, was less satisfactory. There was no dictionary of Latin save the pedestrian one of Calepinus to complete the humanist achievement until Robert Estienne produced his Thesaurus Linguae Latinae in the years It was left to his son Henri to produce the best Greek dictionary of the century, and this not until when he published at Geneva his Thesaurus Linguae Graecae. An exception must be made here for the Lexicon Graeco- latinum printed at Paris in , the long title of which refers to the inclusion of additions and interpretations from all the Greek lexicons of previous decades and from the writings of Bude, Erasmus, Valla, and others less well known.

It also contains a brief account by Melanchthon of the Greek names of the months and the calendar. While this dic tionary is like the older glossaries, it does contain useful explanations, taken from the authors named, of words like agape. Apart from these, scholars had to be content with the old glossaries which were more word books than dictionaries. Yet this very need made men work to find for themselves, through wide reading and meditation on the use of words, how to compare passage with passage and analyse the shade of meaning a word had in a given context.

This resulted in the confidence and intuitive skill, as well as the occasional errors, of the sixteenth- century biblical exegetes who worked without the lexical aids we know today. The peculiar problem of Hebrew studies was that suspicion of the motive for them was all too readily aroused. A monk of Freiburg where Reuchlin studied said plainly in , ' Those who speak this tongue are made Jews'. And Jews themselves discovered that they might suffer if they taught Christians Hebrew, for they could be accused of destroying the faith of their pupils.

Towards the end of the fifteenth century northern Italy was the home of Hebrew studies where Jews and Christians found mutual benefits like the partnership of the Christian printer Bomberg with the Jew Jacob b. Chayim at Venice. But the attraction of Christian humanists in Italy to rabbinical studies tended to draw them away from the biblical basis and lose them selves in esoteric study of the Cabala. For example, as we might expect, Spain, home of brilliant Jewish scholars like the Kimhis, father and son, and of treasured manuscripts of Hebrew learning, produced the converted Jew Zamora and the Christians Negri and, especially, Nebrija who helped so ably with the first great polyglot Bible, the Complutensian.

But the Spanish situation and temperament meant that this work could also have a polemic aim; for example, Negri' s scholarship and purpose were limited by his con sistently violent anti-Jewish writing. In fact Reuchlin could justify his own estimate of himself as the first important Christian Hebrew scholar of the West.

Referring to the dictionary contained in his De Rudi- mentis Linguae Hebraicae, published at Pforzheim in , he said, 'before me among the Latins no one appears to have done this'. This German layman, doctor of law, and professor of Greek and Hebrew, without false modesty set down in the preface of his De Rudimentis an account of his work for the world of scholarship in Latin and Greek studies, and complained about the money he had had to pay to learned Jews for instruction.

His book consists of a description of the alphabet, a dictionary in two parts, and a brief but adequate grammar of Hebrew. It is a handsome volume, printed so as to be read from the back page forwards, like a Hebrew Bible, in a temporary fashion characteristic of the pedantry of those humanists who published in like manner works on Hebrew grammar. It brought him what he wanted, undying fame as a scholar. The concluding words of his book show the curious combi nation of biblical piety and classical allusion common to the humanists: '. Yet there was still much to be done, as the disheartened Campensis of Lou vain showed when he wrote in a letter to Bomberg in , ' I think that to read Hebrew without points is not to read but to 1 '.

The evolving of grammatical theory for Hebrew raised the problem of nomenclature, and this led to the imposition of Latin grammatical forms on the distinctive genius of Hebrew. A problem that immediately arose was, How can the Hebrew article be described since Latin has no article? Even Reuchlin, usually astute and well-informed, included the conjunction 'tf' among the articles. Pellican, a Minorite from Alsace, tells us in his autobiography of his laborious struggle to learn Hebrew self-taught; he writes with the excitement and enthusiasm of a modern scholar trying to decipher Cretan Linear B.

Before Reuchlin he issued a small book at Strassburg De modo legendi et intelligendi Hebraeum in or , but compared with Reuchlin's work some two years later this can hardly be called a Hebrew grammar. There are other names to record, Clenard of Louvain and Pagnini of Lucca, men who unlike Pellican and Capito, who produced a small Hebrew grammar at Basle in , remained Catholics. Pagnini, whose Latin translation of the Hebrew Old Testament was to have a strong influence on the Latin and vernacular versions of the sixteenth century, had the good fortune five years after his death to have his Hebrew grammar of printed by Robert Estienne; this made it the best presented Hebrew grammar of the time.


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The preface of Pagnini contained words ominous for con servative minds, ' the translation of Jerome is not uncorrupted'. He had had Pellican for master, and dedicated a life time to Hebrew studies, producing over forty books which show a capacity for work as prodigious as the range of his subjects. In he produced the first Aramaic grammar written by a Christian. For further information on the grammatical work of the period see L.

See W. Schwarz, Principles and Problems of Biblical Translation 1 9 5 5 , p. By the beginning of the sixteenth century Judaism had reached a period of intellectual stagnation leading to one-sided study of the Talmud to the neglect of other learning; therefore Levita had emigrated from Germany to Italy to share in the grammatical study which flourished there, and published his Hebrew grammar at Rome in His Aramaic dictionary was published by the Christian Fagius at his own Hebrew press at Isny in Munster wrote explicitly, ' In the grammatical works written by Christians before Elias had begun his task the true foundation was missing.

Two more Protestant scholars should be mentioned. Fagius of Strassburg who in his early days as schoolmaster at Isny set up his own Hebrew press mentioned above, and then, after leaving Strassburg, became regius professor of Hebrew for a time at Cambridgetranslated into Latin the Perke Aboth and, later, the Targum of Onkelos.

He stated in the preface to this targum that Aramaic was the language of Palestine in the time of Christ and his Apostles, and made clear how useful the targum could be for understanding difficult passages in the Pentateuch. Another Hebraist, of less distinction than Fagius, was Forster of Wittenberg who issued a Hebrew dictionary in 15 This did not meet the need for a dictionary of Hebrew which could match the Latin and Greek dictionaries of the Estiennes, nor had the similar work of others who preceded him done so.

Zamora had provided in the volume of apparatus added to the Complutensian Polyglot a lexicon larger than Reuchlin's and easier to use because it had Latin catchwords in the margins showing the contents of the columns the Hebrew roots were also given in the margins , and a selection of passages from the Old Testament in Latin to illustrate the meaning of the Hebrew words.

Even so this Hebrew dictionary was essentially no more than a glossary, for the effective explanation of various meanings was not provided. Pagnini and Munster had also published dictionariesMunster's was trilingual. These were more effective but they were not without faults and obscurities. Forster's dictionary showed a significant change of attitude which helps to mark the close of the humanist stage of biblical studies.

For in this work rabbinical aid and the imitation of Jewish 1 In the preface to his Hebrew grammar based on the work of Elias Levita, Opus Grammaticum consummatum ex varus Elianis libris concinnatum Basle, From now on wards Protestant dogmatic preoccupations increasingly controlled linguistic study; for this is part of the reaction from the intransigence of the decree on Scripture made by the Council of Trent. In the remaining half-century biblical studies will be too often subjected to Catholic and Protestant dogmatic concerns.

The eagerness and hope of men like Lefevre, who early in the century had looked for a world renewed by the humanist study of the three languages and biblically grounded faith in Christ, had declined into rival orthodoxies. Not until the seventeenth century could linguistic and biblical studies find a renewal of energy.

For the remarkable achievement of the Antwerp Polyglot of Plantin was a later flowering of the earlier sowing in the Complutensian of which it wasin some ways onlya careful revision. It would not be too great an exaggeration to say that the theological preoccupations and inhibitions among both Catholics and Protestants prevented much real advance in higher or lower criticism until the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The Renaissance Bible

What did all this linguistic work in the period reviewed achieve for biblical studies? The world of scholarship was international and yet compact. The respublica litterarum was a world of men eager and alert for what could be found at the great book fairs, who in their cor respondence with one another saw the Bible as a living force, and related it not merely to dogmatic concerns but also to moral and political behaviour in the changing society of that time.

Artists, in illustrating the Bible, adorned the figures of patriarchs, kings and prophets with a contemporary appearance in dress and background. Men found this biblical renewal to be a determinative discovery. Many who had felt themselves to be subject to the mortmain of old scholastic methods, of the run-down machinery of theological debate and adminis trative emptiness, sought here the means of renewing both Church and society. They found strength in the biblical humanists' conviction that by clarity of expression based upon the quickening spirit of the languages of the prophets and apostles, the Word of the living God would renew the world.

This conviction may seem somewhat naive to us, but in that age it was a potent attraction. The renewal of Hebrew learning had given an impetus to Old Testament study which brought God as the providential ruler of time and men into the forefront of life. Greek studies brought freshness and freedom; to be able to read the Cambridge Histories Online Cambridge University Press, From the Reformation to the Present Day 48 New Testament in its original form seemed to be like discovering the first freshness of a painting which had been overlaid by heavy varnish.

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A purified latinity provided the translation of Erasmus, the corrected Vulgate of Estienne, and the directness of the biblical commentators. There were weaknesses for example, the failure to use effectively the Septuagint , but in comparison with the state of biblical learning in the advances were decisive. Men felt themselves to be delivered from the despairing conclusion of Geiler of Kaisersberg, who at the end of the fifteenth century said that the Scripture was a ' nose of wax' to be turned in any way by the too frequent misuse of the allegorical method of interpretation.

The methods of the new scholarship were directed much more to the historical or literal sense. The results of these renewed studies for the various editions of the Hebrew, Greek and Latin Bibles of the sixteenth century will now be examined. But northern Italy had become a centre of Hebrew grammatical study in the late fifteenth century. It has already been shown that Levita came there for that reason, and since the Italian humanists acquired a deep though often ill-informed devotion to the study of Hebrew, including the mysteries of the Cabala, a sympathetic environment was possible for Jewish immigrants, many of whom came from Germany bringing their 1 C.

Hebrew printing began in Italy probably before ; certainly a consonantal Psalter with Kimhi' s commentary appeared at Bologna in , and in a Pentateuch with vowel points and accents accompanied by the Targum of Onkelos and Rashi's commentary. But it was in the small town of Soncino near Mantua that the first great achievements of Hebrew printing appeared through the efforts of Jews from south Germany. Here can be seen the beauty and technological accomplishment of this press which established a standard and a name which echoed again in our day.

An enthusiastic type-setter in the philosophic work Ikkarim, , turned a quotation in it of Isaiah ii.