Christian Hebraic Scholarship

Ludwig Rosenberer Bookplate

Christian study of Hebrew scripture and language began as part of an attempt to trace the roots of Christianity in Judaism. From the outset, however, these studies-relying on a knowledge of Hebrew-yielded far more. Saint Jerome's mastery of the language led not only to his Latin translation of the Old Testament (the Vulgate), but also to his Quaestiones Hebraicae which contains transcriptions of Hebrew words indicative of Hebrew pronunciation in the fourth century. The remarkable contribution of Christian scholars to Hebraic scholarship continued through the Renaissance. The Rosenberger Library's rich collection of Christian Hebraic scholarship forms the basis of this exhibition which focuses on the sometimes accidental, sometimes deliberate contributions of Christian scholars to the preservation of Hebrew usage, and Jewish legal commentaries and ceremonial practices from the thirteenth through the seventeenth centuries.