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Presidential Address Vol 7 1

Dr. S. A. Hirsch

<plain_text><page sequence="1">the JEWISH HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF ENGLAND. presidential address. Delivered before the Jewish Historical Society of England, December 19, 1909, by S. A. Hirsch, Ph.D. Anglo-Jewish historiography is a branch of the tree of knowledge which has come to a certain stage of maturity within the memory of the present generation. There can be no doubt that a considerable amount of its vigour is due to the fostering care of the Society which has honoured me by appointing me its president for the current session. When I say that the Jewish Historical Society of England has made considerable efforts in the furtherance of such knowledge I do not, of course, mean to imply that all the members of the Society have contri? buted an equal share towards the progress of Anglo-Jewish history. The majority of its members have done no more than assist in the work by their sympathy and by the payment of their subscriptions. But even providing the straw, which enters into the composition of the bricks that have to be utilised in the erection of the edifice, is no mean assistance and must be highly appreciated. The edifice itself can only be completed after a considerable lapse of time?if it ever can be said to be completed. It requires the most persevering energy of the small number of those who throw themselves strenuously into the work, who explore documents of remote and recent dates, who interpret relics which bear upon the subject. I am sensible that I cannot rank myself vol. vii. a</page><page sequence="2">2 PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS. with the Patres Conscripii in that field of study. The little I have done moves within circumscribed limits, and adds only a straw or two to the mass of building material that is required. Much has been done, but much more will have to be done, to bring to light the early history of the Jews in England, and as much again before a clear insight can be gained into the conditions in which they lived in this country. The inquiry will branch off into two directions. There is, in the first place, the question about the earliest time to which the presence of Jews in these countries can be traced, their status among the surrounding population, the rights which they enjoyed, or rather the wrongs which they had to suffer, and the extent to which their thoughts and habits were influenced by their surroundings. Secondly, there is the question about the influence exercised by them upon the material and mental conditions of the people among whom they dwelt. It is this last item which particularly appeals to me. I consider it a question of paramount interest to investigate the part which the JewTs bore in the religious and mental development of the very people wTho held them in abject submission, and considered them as a variety of humanity inferior to themselves. Such an inquiry constitutes a chapter, but only a small chapter, of the vast theme of the moral, mental, and religious status of the civilised world during the last two thousand years. What are the Jewish elements that have contributed towards the shaping of the rules of life and thought by which the races of the wrorld have been guided during that period ? Confining ourselves to the subject of Anglo-Jewry, wre should have to eliminate from our inquiry all those Jewish elements, which the first Christianisers of the inhabitants of these countries brought with them from abroad. These alien immigrants introduced their foreign com? modity into these regions to the displacement and total extinction of all previous beliefs and rites; but it was the Jews at large, and not the Anglo-Jews, who had so largely contributed to the character of the new importation. To give an example. Professor Liebermann, of Berlin, favoured our Society last year with a learned lecture on " King Alfred and the Mosaic Law." You know that King Alfred prefaced his own code of laws with the translation of the Ten Commandments and two chapters from Exodus. And yet when we come to the laws themselves we find</page><page sequence="3">PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS. 3 momentous discrepancies between Alfred's enactments and those which seem to be offered by the letter of the Mosaic law. Professor Liebermann adheres to the usual method, according to which only that is considered to be due to Jewish influence which can be traced back to the letter of the Hebrew Scriptures, while the manner in which the contents of the Hebrew Bible had assumed life among the Jewish people, the indissoluble bond between letter and practice which characterises Jewish life, is entirely overlooked. The consequence is that features which owe their existence primarily to Jewish influences are explained as having arisen from quite different motives. Thus Professor Liebermann says that "it was far from Alfred's intention to introduce Mosaical law among his Anglo-Saxons, that he was careful to sever the Mosaic injunctions from his own English code to which alone practical force was to be given. To this end he gives an historical passage about c the abrogation of the Old Testament precepts by the Christian Apostles/ " etc. If Professor Lieber? mann had added to his valuable investigations a consideration of the wray in which some of these Mosaic precepts were interpreted by the Rabbis, some of these apparent discrepancies would disappear. Thus, for instance, on the subject of the pcena talionis Alfred clings to the biblical "eye for eye, tooth for tooth," "while in the English code he offers a long list of money fines for wounding any limb of the human body, as far down as the finger nails." But according to the Rabbinical law, this " eye for eye, tooth for tooth " meant nothing else but com? pensation in money. This was the ancient Jewish conception. It had come down to the Churchmen of Alfred's time along with other Jewish tenets from the earliest times of Christianity. Rooted though it was in Jewish usage it was considered by them as an innovation by the Apostles. Alfred, once having conceived the idea that the so-called lex-talionis of the Bible was to be interpreted as the infliction of monetary compensation equivalent to the injury, acted as legislator and fixed the amounts. Here we have unmistakable Jewish influences on the laws of the English people at a comparatively early period, but they are not of Anglo-Je wish origin. It is possible that not a single Jew lived in England at the time of Alfred. We cannot be sure. It is possible that, as most people assume, the documents which point at a very early settlement of Jews in these countries are unworthy of credence, and that</page><page sequence="4">4 PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS. the controversial remarks against Jewish influences were directed not against persons, but against doctrine. For all that, although such early arrival of Jews has not been proved, no more has it been disproved. The latter would be the case if we could say that all possible data which could throw light on the matter were in our hands. But is this the case % I am convinced that in this direction there are still unknown fields of research which have to be discovered and explored ; that further investigations will enable us to arrive at a greater certainty on that question than we have as yet obtained. A steady and progressive scrutiny of the treasures contained in the libraries of Europe will result in more evidence, direct or collateral, on this point. I do not consider it an indication in that direction that Alcuin, who was born in 735, says that the library of York contained relics of ancient Hebrew wisdom. This has been justly explained to mean no more than the source from which this wisdom was derived. He occasionally quotes in his works a Hebrew term in illustration of some text, none of which, however, points to an independent knowledge of that language. In fact, it was the right thing that he should know no more in order to be fitted for the task which he undertook. He was the authority on which Charlemagne relied for the correction of the text of the Bible. The term Bible meant in those days, and still means, to many people, the Latin translation called the Vulgate ; and consists, as regards the Hebrew Scriptures, of the Latin translation of the Septuagint translation of the Psalms, and of Jerome's Latin translation of all the other books. The Vulgate is even at the present day recognised by the Roman Catholics as the sole " sacred text" of the Bible. Thus Abbot Gasquet, the President of the English Benedictines, entitled an article which he contributed to the Dublin Review in 1898, and which deals with the attempts made in the thirteenth century to purify the text of the Vulgate?" English Biblical Criticism in the Thirteenth Century." Alcuin wras called to France for the purpose of establishing a correct text of the Vulgate, an undertaking which was periodically attempted ever since, and at which eminent scholars are at work at the present moment, with the above-named Abbot Gasquet as their head. It so happened that in those early days the route along which the Vulgate had to travel from Rome to Paris lay via England. The English, who have become the world's carriers in modern times, wrere</page><page sequence="5">PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS. 5 the people who carried tolerably correct texts of the Vulgate from Rome into France. The Spanish texts, and those which already existed in France, were hopelessly bad. Two abbots of Jar row, in Northumber? land, Benoit Biscop and Ceolfrid, who died in 716, brought with them, whenever they returned from Rome, good manuscripts of the text. It is from that place, and from York, that the good manuscripts hailed, on which the French text was based. We must beware of the inference that Alcuin, recognised as he was as the most competent man to correct the translation of the Bible, must have possessed a considerable knowledge of Hebrew. The opposite is the case. The less Hebrew he knew, the better he was qualified for the task. For it was not a correct translation that was required, but a correct edition of Jerome's text. A knowledge of Hebrew was the stumbling block in the way of many subsequent correctors of the Vulgate. A faithful edition of the Vulgate means a restoration of Jerome's text with all the mistakes wThich he had consciously and unconsciously made. He sometimes adapted himself to the previous versions, now to that of Aquila, now to that of Symmachus, although he wTas convinced that their translation was wrong. He was not proof against the general outcry that he was a falsifier and corrupter of Scripture, in as far as he dared to deviate from the authority of the Septuagint. Apart from this, Jerome himself admitted that he erred frequently on account of undue haste. Besides, he often erred unwittingly. Even one of his greatest admirers, Johann Reuchlin, already recognised this, and is not shy of making use of such expressions as: nescio quid blacterat, or nescio quid nostra translatio somniavit. Those who restore the text of the Vulgate are in duty bound to restore such errors also. Roger Bacon was con? vinced that, in reference to the Bible, Hebrew must in all cases be consulted. In spite of this he vehemently inveighs against a certain Andrew who had been so audacious as to translate some verses according to the Hebrew. " Howr dares Andrew," complains Bacon, " make his translation, which is not nostra translatio, appear as if it were ours, the authorised Latin text? His was neither a commentary, nor any translation ; it was nothing but a literal construction of the Hebrew text." The text of the Vulgate as established by Alcuin suffered injury</page><page sequence="6">6 PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS. from various causes. As such, Roger Bacon mentions that incompetent persons set to work in correcting the text, who wTere not only illiterate, but who were married men. Being married was in those days a serious disability for people to meddle with theology. Even twTo centuries and a half later, Roger Bacon's more successful follower in pioneering the study of Hebrew, Johann Reuchlin, also declares that he, a man w7ho had been married twice, was disqualified from setting himself up as a theolo? gian. And then, as already mentioned, some correctors knew too much Hebrew*. Before dwelling further upon the activity of these Hebraist correctors, I must briefly allude to another point bearing upon their domicile or nativity. At a superficial glance it might appear that some of them, who w7ere in reality Englishmen, were French. We find inter? mixed in some of their Latin writings, examples or illustrations in the French language. This might lead to the conclusion that the authors must have been Frenchmen. But it must be borne in mind that in those days French w7as as much the vernacular of English as of French scholars. How great an error it would be to conclude that Roger Bacon must have been a Frenchman because we find in numerous places his illustrations and examples couched in the French language ! It was no more than a manner those scholars had, so as to make their rules understood by learned men on both sides of the channel. We have seen that it is impossible to attribute any useful amount of knowledge of Hebrew to the English theologians of so early a period as the age of Alcuin. Also, that such treatises as w7ere written for the purpose of controverting the Jewish beliefs are explained to have been directed, not so much against the Jews for the purpose of converting them to Christianity, as to contravene theoretically the Jewish doctrines. Otherwise, we should be obliged to assume the presence of the Jews in England at very early times indeed. But the question is wdiether the assumption would be so very hazardous. The spirit of gaining adepts to Christianity was alive at that early period. Thus, at the time when Alcuin wrote, or a little later, a Jew, or, rather, a baptized Jew, wrote de Questionibus hebraieis in libris Begum et Paralipemenon, which was long considered to have been the wrork of Jerome. Its author displays not only much learning in Hebrew and the Bible, but also a thorough acquaintance with Rabbinical and Talmudical writings.</page><page sequence="7">PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS. 7 We cannot connect this writer in any way with England. Let us then acquiesce in the opinion that no immigration of considerable numbers of Jews into England took place before the age of William the Conqueror. But, then, we marvel at the short time it required for them to make their influence felt in the field of letters. Two factors were instrumental in inducing the Christians to turn to the study of the Hebrew. There was, first, the corrupt state of the text of the Vulgate. The writers of Correctoria were impressed with the notion that it was impossible to gain an improved text of that work without a knowledge of Hebrew and Greek. But it was no easy matter for European clerics to obtain instruction in Greek. There were neither teachers nor books. I have, in my intreduction to the Greek grammar of Roger Bacon, given a sketch of the state of Greek scholar? ship in England in those days. When about the commencement of the thirteenth century Daniel de Morlay stayed for a while in Paris, he was disgusted to see there certain "animals"?bestiales, he calls them?teaching in the schools with great authority. He passed on to Toledo to make himself acquainted with the teachings of the Arabian masters. It required a good deal of persuasion to induce him to return to England. He had heard that there was no learning in these parts, that even Plato and Aristotle were unknown in the Western world. He was afraid to appear " the only Greek among the Romans." He yielded at last, and returned to England laden " with a precious number of books." Besides John de Basingstoke, Adam Marsh, Thomas Wallensis, Michael Scot, it was, above all, Robert Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, who sent to foreign parts for books and Greek teachers. We see that Greeks could only be consulted by such scholars as travelled to distant lands, or by means of the few Greeks who could be induced to settle in Western Europe. The consequence wras, as Samuel Berger says, that the correction of the Vulgate translation of the Hebrew Bible was undertaken at early times, but that a critical edition of the New Testament had to wait for Erasmus. The difficulties experienced by the scholars in regard to Greek did not exist in regard to Hebrew. As Roger Bacon expressed it, " Jews are everywhere." Now, where there are Jews there are books. And although, as Bacon further points out, the majority of these Jews had only a practical and not a grammatical acquaintance with that language, they yet afforded the</page><page sequence="8">8 PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS. Christian clergy an opportunity of attaining a certain familiarity with Hebrew. The second motive which prompted Christian ecclesiastics to study Hebrew wras that they thought it the most effective means of converting the Jews to Christianity. The strenuous efforts that were made in that direction are well knowrn ; the measures that were adopted, first, to turn them into Christians, and, wrhen this was accomplished in some cases, to prevent them from veering back to their old faith. This latter motive, the desire of converting Jews, wras an infinitely more powerful lever than the wish to obtain a better understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures. The noble ambition of promoting, by the study of Hebrewr, the cause of learning existed only to a very small extent, if at all. In England the Dominican friars had ample opportunities of making themselves acquainted with Hebrew*. On their arrival at Oxford they settled themselves in the very centre of the Jewry of that town. Yet there are no proofs that their knowledge amounted to much. A new era commenced writh Robert Grosseteste and his energetic efforts in the cause of learning. He had himself become a good Greek scholar, and there can be no doubt that he had also applied himself to the study of Hebrew. His tendencies towards the Christianising of the Jews are notorious. This, coupled with his true scholarly instincts, which led him not only to study himself, but also to induce others to take up the cause of learning, is a warranty that Hebrew was one of the subjects, the study of which he must have tried to promote. It seems that the energy with which he tried to ransack near and distant countries for the purpose of procuring books must have been to some extent suc? cessful in respect to Hebrew. We know that he possessed a copy of the text of the Psalms in Hebrew with an interlinear translation. Yet, besides Roger Bacon's testimony, there are no traces to show that he himself had attained any proficiency in Hebrew. But the impetus he must have given in that direction to the young savants of his time must have been enormous. All that we know about the study in England of the Hebrew Bible in the original groups itself round the name of Roger Bacon. We know something of Roger Bacon's personal attainments from his recognised works. From the same source we gain the knowledge that others besides him applied themselves to that study. But we hardly know anything about these older and younger</page><page sequence="9">PAGE FROM ODO'S " ISAGOGE"</page><page sequence="10">PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS. 9 contemporaries of his, and the amount of work they achieved. Nor do we know everything about the proficiency Roger Bacon himself had attained. It is in regard to this that I express the hope that a considerable amount of information will yet be obtained by future discoveries in the libraries of Europe. That which has been brought to light in recent years is an earnest of much more to come. I wdll only mention three names of such diggers and delvers whose explorations have been benefi? cent in this direction. There is the late Heinrich Denifle in Germany, the late Samuel Berger in France, and in England Professor Montague R. James who still continues the arduous task of unearthing and describing forgotten manuscripts. We owe to the latter the acquaintance with one of Roger Bacon's English precursors in the study of Hebrew. It is an Englishman Odo, of whose personality we know nothing. The library of Trinity College, Cambridge, possesses, in an early thirteenth century manuscript, his "In? troduction to Theology" (Odonis Isagoge, Trinity College, Cambridge, B. 14, 33), dedicated to Gilbert Foliot, Bishop of London. It contains in Hebrew*, with Latin translation, such passages of Scripture as are interpreted by Christians as foreshadowing Christianity. It also gives the Ten Commandments in Hebrew with the Latin translation. A perusal of the manuscript convinced me that the author did not write for the purpose of Christianising the Jews, but that his object was solely to satisfy the apologetic and controversial tendencies of the Christian theologians themselves. There further existed a literal translation of the whole of the Hebrew Bible made directly from the original. This work was first brought to the notice of the learned by Samuel Berger. It is a work of the second half of the thirteenth century. Portions of it are extant in Corpus Christi and St. John's Colleges at Oxford, and the Psalter is preserved in Trinity College, Cambridge. The Yulgate translation is put by the side, and the literal Latin translation is placed between the lines; that is to say, each Hebrew word has its literal Latin translation on the top. The literal translation was the w*ork of a Jew, or, rather, of a baptized Jew, who worked either at the instance of, or in conjunction with, Christian scholars, or else the Vulgate translation would not have accompanied the text. I have perused the Psalter belonging to this work in Cambridge. There the text is accompanied by Jerome's two translations; but whilst</page><page sequence="11">10 PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS. the well-known section of the verse in Psalm xxii. 17, of which Christian theologians have made so much capital, has in Jerome's translations the Latin equivalent for " they have pierced my hands and feet," the inter? linear rendering over the wTord is quasi leo, " like a lion." There are more instances of the same nature. In all these translations a particle ar is placed before many words. Roger Bacon makes frequent use of this particle in his Greek grammar. It is the abbreviation of the word articulus. But in these manuscripts the syllable, besides indicating the definite article, stands also for the Hebrew particle eth (ntf), a word which, in Aquila's translation, is indi? cated by (tvv. Thus, for instance, "God created ar heaven and ar ar earth. And ar earth was empty and void," etc. (Creavit Deus ar celum et ar ar terrum. Et ar terra erat inanis et vacua). I cannot quite agree with Berger that this translation was merely an adaptation of Jerome's text to the Hebrew letter. Such instances as the one I gave from Psalm xxii. would militate against that assumption. There can, however, be no doubt, as Berger further observes, that the whole is the wrork of English scholars. For although the style displays that of a French? man, the author may yet have been an Englishman, for French was to the English scholars of those days like their vernacular. These codices are all preserved in English libraries, chiefly at Oxford. The writing is most similar to the English writing of those days. Oxford was one of the very few mediaeval seats of learning where Hebrew was taught; it was the only school where Roger Bacon's influence prevailed. We must there? fore conclude that this Bible owes its existence to Roger Bacon's followers. The whole of this Bible, or, at least, parts thereof, must have been in the possession of Robert Grosse teste, for the copy of a Psalter of his, which really contained three or four different copies of the Psalms con? jointly, was quoted by the Franciscan Henry of Costessy {Psalterium domini Lineolniensis ubi 3 vet 4 simul coniunctim psalteria continentur). Henry of Costessy wrote about 1336 an exposition of the Psalms (Expositio super Psalmos), the probably unique copy of which is preserved at Cambridge (Christ College, F. 1, 17).1 He quotes Rabbi Joseph, the Talmud, Jonathan ben TJziel, Rashi, Maimonides's More JVebuchim, 1 See a full description of that MS. in M. K. James's descriptive catalogue of the Western MSS. of that library.</page><page sequence="12">PAGE FROM HENRY OF COSTESSY'S "EXPOSITIO SUPER PSALMOS"</page><page sequence="13">PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS. 11 Rabbi Moyses Adarsan, Rabbi Berachya on the Lamentations, Nicholas de Lira, whose opinions he controverts several times. He has a note on Hebrew orthography, and explains the mnemonic words of the gram? marians, n^D and 3^3. We cannot tell with certainty whether he ob? tained his knowledge of these authors at first hand. His quotations from Rashi may have emanated from Nicholas de Lira, for we know how much this author was indebted to our famous commentator. So much so that already Johann Reuchlin remarked that only a fewT pages would remain of de Lira's work if we were to strike out all that which he had taken from Rashi. There is no reason why this Franciscan should not have had access to Hebrew books even after the expulsion of the Jews from England. For, when that event took place, Gregory of Huntingdon, a monk of Ramsey, bought from the Jews as many Hebrew books as he could procure, and presented them to his Abbey. The catalogue of these books mentions a Hebrew Psalter, a Hebrew grammar, and the inevitable exposition of Hebrew names.1 Professor James published this year the catalogue of the Augustinian friars at York in a work which wTas printed for private circulation, but which wTas made accessible to me by Mr. I. Abrahams.2 We find there the titles of several philosophical, exegetical, and cabbalistical books written by Jews. But of some of them we know that they could have been only Latin translations; of others it is at least doubtful whether they were in the original Hebrew. Only one book, of which the title is not given, is distinctly said to be in Hebrew. None of these books seem to have been acquired by the library before 1372. There is a notice that in 1281 Henry Baude translated a Hebrew book from Hebrew into Latin. Thus far I have not been able to trace any particulars about this. My attention was drawn to this notice by our venerable friend, Mr. Myer Davis. It is curious that the name of one of those contemporaries of Roger Bacon, who had made the study of Hebrew his particular object, should have been hardly known till the research of scholars of our own age 1 Chronicon Abbatice Ramesiensis a scec. X usque ad an. circiter 1200. Cura W. Dunn Macray, 1886. Rolls Series 83 (not Rolls Series 79, 1884-1893, as Professor M. R. James notes). 2 Fasciculus Joatmi Willis Clark dicatus, Cambridge, 1909.</page><page sequence="14">12 PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS. rescued him from oblivion. More curious still, that Roger Bacon, who was full of admiration for his scholarship, should never have mentioned him by name. He alludes to the great proficiency of a certain homo sapientissimus, and there can be no doubt that he means William de la Mare. Denifle and Berger have put this beyond doubt. It is in con? nection with the correction of the text of the Vulgate that de la Mare's powers shone to the full. These Gorrectoria play a prominent part in the history of mediaeval learning. In this kind of work English divines were by no means behind-hand. Stephen Harding, a Cistercian abbot, an Englishman by birth, who spent the greater part of his life in France, had conceived the idea of calling in the aid of the Jews. He con? sulted the Rabbis, and in order to create for his society a correct text, he unmercifully removed all those passages which were not authenticated either by the best manuscripts or by the Hebrew original. But it is questionable whether Stephen Harding restored by these means a correct text. He rather seems to have created an ideal text. Another Correctorium, though not from an English hand, must be mentioned here. The Correctorium Parisiense wTas the work of Hugo de Sto Caro. He was formerly credited with the division of the Bible into chapters, as in use at the present day; but this seems after all to have been the wrork of the English prelate, Stephen Langton, apparently about 1230. Hugo de Sto Caro quotes Hebrew like a man who is familiar with the language, and his work shows all along a conscientious reference to the original. The Dominicans continued his work, and exhibited a good knowledge of Hebrew and a little knowledge of Greek. But in this respect, also, Roger Bacon complains that the correctors have made the text incurable; for it was not the question of applying Hebrew or Greek, but of the restoration of Jerome's text. It is in one of these Gorrectoria that the scientific instincts of an Englishman outshone all others. It is the Correctorium Vaticanum, whose author was far in advance of his age. He had compared the manuscripts; he had read the Tar gum \ he quotes the Perush, the " commentary," by which he either meant Rashi, or that commentary which existed before Rashi, and was known under the name of Perush. He knew the Mahberet of Menahem ben Saruk. He had consulted the Hebrew manuscripts of Spain. He distinguishes between " modern" Hebrew texts, " old"</page><page sequence="15">PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS. 13 Hebrew manuscripts of France, and "old" Hebrew7 manuscripts of Spain. He declares himself to be guided by Jerome's principle?that the Hebrew must be resorted to in all cases where the manuscripts disagree. "Nevertheless," he says, "one must not be unfaithful to the Latin text on the testimony of the Hebrew or the Greek." He therefore opposes those correctors, particularly Hugo de St0 Caro, who correct the Latin on the sole authority of the Hebrew without the support of manuscripts. ??Beware," he says, "of attaching yourselves too much to the Jews," a sentence w7hich discloses the fact that he also must have called in the aid of the Jews. He seems to have pleaded even for the retention of interpolations, for, he says, "tens of thousands of words, which have been put into the text by the commentators for the better understanding, w7ould have to be removed, if only that were to be taken as the text which is found in the Hebrew." His efforts in the correction of the New Testament are of much inferior significance, which shows that he knew much less Greek than Hebrew, and quite naturally so, because Jews were accessible; he wras, like all these early Hebraists, enabled to consult them. Denifle has shown that the author of that' Corredorium, winch was composed tw7o hundred and fifty years before Erasmus, w7as the work of one of Boger Bacon's disciples, his homo sapientissimus, William de la Mare. But the importance of the Hebrew studies, both of Roger Bacon and of William de la Mare, w7ent much further than can possibly be shown from their printed works. It is only by a further exploration of the libraries of Europe that new facts have been brought to light. A manuscript, w7hich has long lain buried in the library in Toulouse, can serve as an object lesson in that respect, and bears with particular force upon these two pioneers of mediaeval scholarship. The French Protestant scholar, Samuel Berger, who died only a few years ago, was the first to give information about its existence, and to supply most interesting extracts. He did so in a pamphlet written in Latin, which, I think, is very little known in England.1 It will thus not be inap? propriate to reproduce some of his information on the present occasion. Like his mediaeval predecessors, Berger consulted Jewish scholars, 1 Quam notitiam Unguce Hebraicce habuerint Christiani medii avi temporis in Gallia, Paris, 1893.</page><page sequence="16">14 PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS. especially in reference to matters Talmudic and Rabbinic. He deplores the death of Arsene Darmsteter. He had daily intercourse with Isidore Loeb, and he declares that he never wrote a line on matters Hebrew without consulting him. After Loeb's death he w7as assisted by Joseph Lehman and Israel Levi. He says that he, being a Christian, was too diffident to touch Rabbinical subjects without such assistants. The first part of the Toulouse manuscript described by Berger (Toulouse 402) is not of much importance. It contains the Hebrew Alphabet, a brief treatise on Hebrew and Greek letters, a brief Greek grammar, notes on the Bible wThich do not aim at the correction, but at the understanding of the text. The author was neither a Greek nor a Hebrew, for his Greek derivations are sometimes barbarous, and his Hebrew just as perfect as can be expected from one wTho learned it as a foreign language. But the second part of the manuscript is of much greater signifi? cance. It is a collection of letters. A questioner, or some questioners, ask for information on matters Hebrew, and are answered by the other correspondent. The questioners seem to have been concerned with the correction of the Latin text, but they were not correctors in the technical sense of the term. They seem to have been lecturers, who read to their pupils single books of the Bible. They did not know much Hebrew, some of them did not even know the Hebrew letters. But it was quite different with the respondent. He not only knew Hebrew, but also quotes the Rabbis, particularly Rashi. He hud lectured for a short time, either at Paris or elsewhere. He knew French perfectly. He was, therefore, either French or English. Berger does not venture to say that this scholar, w7ho was consulted as an oracle, was Roger Bacon, although we find many, almost verbatim, parallels in the latter's acknowledged writings. But if not Bacon himself, it was certainly some one wTho was closely connected with him, so much so that he could easily be taken for him. We are again led to think of that mysterious homo sapientissimus, that marvel of learning, who is alluded to by Roger Bacon with such fulsome praise, although never by name. Owing to the investigations of Denifle 1 and Berger we 1 Die Handschriften der Bibel-Correctorien des 13ten Jahrhunderts in the Archiv f?r die Literatur und Geschichte des Mittclaltcrs) vol. iv. 1888.</page><page sequence="17">PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS. 15 can say with some amount of certainty that it wras the English friar, William de la Mare. Bacon says that he was a thorough Greek and Hebrew scholar, who, for over thirty years, or, as Bacon says else wehere, for nearly forty years had brought his linguistic knowiedge to bear upon the correction of the text of the Bible. These figures, thirty or forty years, must not be taken too literally; and although such copies of the Greek and Hebrew Bible as existed in England were, according to Bacon, not accessible to him, he must have made acquaintance with such works abroad at some later date, if DeninVs and Berger's as? sumptions be correct that he was the author of the Correctorium Vaticanum and of the responses j^reserved in the Toulouse manuscript. At all events the latter w-as a product of Roger Bacon's school, whose corrections had possibly been collected by William de la Mare, and wiiose correspondence had been compiled into one body by his disciples. The importance of this correspondence cannot he overrated. It would throw a light on many questions connected with early Hebrew scholarship, and possibly with early Anglo-Jewish conditions, if the whole of it wrere printed, and wre should not merely have to satisfy ourselves with Berger's extracts. It would be particularly interesting if a complete reproduction w*ere to provide some information on the re? lations that subsisted between Jewish and Christian scholars of the time. It is true some of the questions are elementary enough, but wre have also inquiries about such subjects as the differences betwreen " laws," " testimonies," " judgments," and " precepts." To an inquiry about the Hebrew calendar and the lunations the answer is that this matter had much more fully been investigated by the Hebrews than by the Greeks or the Arabs. He, the respondent, had had some Hebrew book sent him from Germany by a learned Jew who knew him only by reputation, and with whom he carried on a regular correspondence in the Hebrew language. These books were composed by Abraham. They contain much minute information, and are provided with many tables. They are more useful on astronomical subjects than any wilich he had seen before. He had long desired to possess such Jewish books, and had written to a certain Jew in Toledo in Spain whom he knew to procure them for him, but in that city no complete copy could be found. Berger conjectures the book on the New Moon to have been</page><page sequence="18">16 PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS. the Kiddush Hahodesh of Maimonides. The Abraham mentioned here must have been Abraham bar Hija, the author of the Sepher 11a ibbur. I think that this passage is sufficient to connect our correspondent with the school of Roger Bacon. The latter, in his Opus Majus iv., deals elaborately with the questions of lunations, and expounds that the Jews use the Metonic cycle of 19 years or 235 lunations, and that the mean lunation is therefore 29 days, 12 hours, and ywwtt ?f an nour- The table which Roger Bacon had added is lost. He is full of praise for the Jewish way of fixing the calendar. Further, we find here the Aramaic verse in Jeremiah x. 11 transliterated, translated into Hebrew with interlinear Latin trans? lation as we find it in Roger Bacon's Opus Majus. The final letters in Hebrew are distinguished in the same wTay as in the Cambridge fragment of Roger Bacon's Hebrew Grammar, as men aperta, men clusa, nun obliqua, nun recta, sazi obliqua, sazi recta; a few other grammatical points are also the same in both writings. One of the questions asked is whether in the transliteration of Hebrew names the name of Micah had to be written as Micheas or Michea. The answer is that it was impossible to say, because there was hardly a single proper noun the Latin of which corresponded to the Hebrew, thus Mosse became Mouses, Jehossuay?Josua, and so forth, except Daniel, whose name was transliterated correctly, probably because he was a bachelor {forte quid virgo fuit). On expounding Proverbs xviii. 10, 4* The name of God is a tower of strength," an opportunity is taken to explain the Semamplioras, tetragrammaton, which he said was held in such high reverence by the Jews that it is quite differently pronounced. All sorts of occult powers are ascribed to the name, and some books written by Jews are quoted in reference to this. Who would believe that a letter of an English Christian scholar of the thirteenth century could be made use of for the correction of the text of our great commentator Rashi1? Yet, it seems to be the case. In Isaiah lvii. 11, we read, " Depart, depart, go out from thence." Our manuscript says that the Hebrew gloss explains this "from there " to mean " from its midst," and " hence," by which he means from the midst of the kingdom of Edom, by which designation the</page><page sequence="19">PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS. 17 Hebrews ahvays understand the kingdom of Rome. But in our text of Rashi we find an addition tending to obviate the assumption that the Romans w7ere meant ? for w7e find there the remark that all these latter consolations refer to the last exile. It is evident that our author did not have this remark before him, and there can be no doubt that it was added in the texts of Rashi at a later time for fear of the censor. Having observed in reference to the thirty-second chapter of Isaiah that the Hebrew commentator, when using the term " people of Edom," always means the Christians, and by the term Edom the rule of the Christians, he remarks to verse 11 of the same chapter (" When it shall hail, coming down on the forest, and they shall be low in a low place ") that the Hebrew7 commentator refers this " to the metropolis of Christianity, namely, Rome, which would be destroyed by a tempest sent down from heaven." But in our text of Rashi we do not read " the metropolis of Edom," but " the metropolis of Persia." No doubt our author possessed the correct reading, and the censor has to answer for our text. But the passage is of great significance in another direction. There is a tradition that Roger Bacon w7as kept in prison from 1278 till 1292, because he was suspected of innovations (propter novitates susjoectas). We have, however, no information about the terms of the indictment. On another occasion I ventured to conjecture that his intercourse with Jews for the purpose of studying Hebrew, and the absence of bitterness when mentioning them in his works, might have formed one item of the indictment. He extols the higher claims of Judaism over any other religion?except, of course, his own. He deprecates any attempt to convert them ; he is content to relegate the ultimate conversion of the Jews to Christianity till after the conversion of all the rest of mankind, and quotes a passage of the New Testament in support of that view. He says that " there were at the time of the crucifixion many holy and good men among the Jews ; and, nevertheless, they all rejected the Lord, except his mother, and John, and the Marys; nay, it is even said that nobody really believed in him except his mother." I thought that such senti? ments of tolerance towards the Jewrs must have weighed heavily in the scales to bring about his condemnation. But, if the senti VOL. VII. 13</page><page sequence="20">18 PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS. ment enunciated in our manuscript was really uttered by Roger Bacon, we must be surprised, not that he was condemned and im? prisoned, but that he ever wras released. For, after having mentioned that the Hebrew glossator believed the prophecy of Isaiah to foretell the downfall of Christianity, he proceeds to say: "For myself, I do not believe that this will happen. Nevertheless, I do not know what the future may bring, and you must beware, and not say this in your lectures, These glosses contain here and elsewhere very many admirable things, which I should not dare to translate or even to utter, because they would be too harsh and too odious." If Roger Bacon's ecclesiastical superiors had become aware that such ' were his sentiments it is only natural that, from their standpoint, and in accordance with the usages of that age, they would condemn and im? prison him. To my mind this passage goes far to corroborate, first, that the tradition of Roger Bacon's imprisonment was based on fact; and, secondly, that the principal correspondent in the Toulouse letters belonged to Roger Bacon's school, if it was not the master himself. It is to be regretted that the whole work has not been printed, but the reproduction of these few extracts from the Toulouse manu? script, as given by Berger, prove how much material is still concealed in the libraries of Europe, from which we might gain a clearer insight into the conditions of mediseval learning, from which we might draw conclusions as to the part which English scholars have taken in the development of learning, and from which we might obtain collateral information, about the share borne by the Jews, about the status of the Jews in Europe, and, especially, about the relations subsisting between the Jews and the early English scholars. Continued research may bring many more similar treasures to light, and we must hope that generous promoters of learning may come forward with the funds indispensable for making such works accessible to the learned public.</page></plain_text>

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