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Christian Hebraists

Christian Hebraists

Christian Hebraists were scholars of Hebrew literature in medieval and early modern times. Hebraists approached Jewish texts with both academic and polemical motivations: some wanted to study Jesus in his time while others sought a way to convert Jews to Christianity. Their focus was on Biblical scholarship, religious philosophy, and the aggadah. Christian Hebraism offers a fascinating perspective into the history of printing, linguistics, and European culture in the Middle Ages as well as comparative religion and Jewish-Christian relations. By impacting theology, literature, science, and philosophy, Hebrew literature played a vital role in the development of Western culture.

The Rare Books Collection of the Asher Library at Spertus Institute
for Jewish Learning and Leadership
contains a number of
publications relating to Christain Hebraists.
Access links to digitized copies of these books >

Learn more about Christian Hebraists by exploring these recommended resources:

Books available in the Asher Library:

  • Burnett, Stephen G. From Christian Hebraism to Jewish Studies: Johannes Buxtorf (1564-1629) and Hebrew Learning in the Seventeenth Century. Leiden; New York: Brill, 1996.
  • Christian Hebraism: The Study of Jewish Culture by Christian Scholars in Medieval and Early Modern Times. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Library, 1988.
  • Cohen, Jeremy. The Friars and the Jews: The Evolution of Medieval Anti-Judaism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1982.
  • Friedman, Jerome. The Most Ancient Testimony: Sixteenth-Century Christian-Hebraica in the Age of Renaissance Nostalgia. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press, 1983.
  • Hailperin, Herman. Rashi and the Christian Scholars. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. 1963.
  • Smalley, Beryl. The Study of the Bible in the Middle Ages. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1978.
  • Studies in Maimonides and St. Thomas Aquinas. New York: Ktav Pub. House, 1975.

Articles available through the Asher Library:

  • Hallo, Rudolf. "Christian Hebraists". Modern Judaism. 3, 1 (1983) 95-116.
  • Ziskind, Jonathan R. "Cornelius Bertram and Carlo Sigonio: Christian Hebraism's First Political Scientists". Journal of Ecumenical Studies. 37,3-4 (2000) 381-400.

Online resources: