Classics and Religious Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



In: Hebraistik - Hermeneutik - Homiletik. Die 'Philologia Sacra' im frühneuzeitlichen Bibelstudium, 441-467. Ed. Christoph Bultmann and Lutz Danneberg. Historia Hermeneutica. Series Studia, 10. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2011


Copyright (c) 2011 De Gruyter. Used by permission.


Lutheran Hebrew scholarship in the era of Orthodoxy has suffered the same kind of scholarly neglect as theology from this period. A few Hebraists such as Wilhelm Schickard or Wolfgang Ratke have been the subjects of monographs or collections of articles, while others receive mention in university histories or books related to Jewish-Christian relations in early modern Germany. Only within the past decade have scholars addressed this facet of Reformation-era Christian Hebraism. Johann Anselm Steiger examined the use that Johann Gerhard and Solomon Glassius made of post-biblical Jewish literature, while Kenneth G. Appold has stressed the pivotal role that Hebrew and other Semitic languages would play in the development of theological discourse in Wittenberg beginning in the early 1630s. In my study of Lutheran Hebraism I will present a broader view of the phenomenon, based above all upon the Hebrew book trade within Lutheran Germany. Peter N. Miller identified centers of Hebrew scholarship as possessing a »critical mass of erudition« that consisted of four factors: scholars who were well-versed in oriental languages, library resources, specialized printing facilities, and well-disposed patrons to support such scholarship.s Lutheran Germany possessed all of these resources to some degree, and Lutheran Hebraists were active in publishing their work even during the darkest days of the Thirty Years War. To assess the extent of Lutheran Hebrew erudition I will consider first Lutheran universities and their role in Hebrew education, then the Hebrew book trade as measured both by the Leipzig book fair catalogues from 1601-1660 and by the Hebraica libraries of Lutheran scholars and institutions, and finally the Lutheran interest in Hebrew scholarship as attested by the Christian Hebrew books published by Lutheran authors in Glassius' time.