Judaica in Leiden
An exhibition in Leiden University Library at the occasion of the Congress
of European Association of Jewish Studies, Amsterdam 21-25 juli 2002.
Manuscript on parchment, 12th century, England.
Or. 4725, ff. 27v-28r.
¶ The Hebrew Psalter partly accompanied by exegetical remarks taken from
the Glossa Ordinaria in Latin. As research has pointed out, this
early Anglo-Hebrew manuscript was written by a non-Jew. The Hebrew script
makes a slightly awkward impression. The vocalisation is highly inconsistent,
unusual and lacks the accents. Most probably the scribe tried tocapture
the sounds of Hebrew as he heard them from a Jewish informant. Contrary
to Jewish scribal practice, the scribe introduced illuminated initials.
Manuscript on parchment, 12th century, Northern Europe.
BPG 49a, ff. 1b-2a.
¶ The Psalms in Hebrew, Latin (‘iuxta Hebreaos’), Greek and Latin
(Psalterium Gallicanum). The Hebrew is vocalised according
to a peculiar simplified system and lacks the accents. The text follows
the divisions of the Greek and Latin translations.
Shem Tov ben Isaac ibn Shaprut (14th century). Manuscript
on paper, 1584. Semi-cursive Sefardi script.
Or. 4766, p. 413.
¶ Ibn Shaprut’s anti-Christian polemic Even Bohan (1385). Ibn Shaprut’s
summation of Jewish apologetics circulated in several versions. The present
version in sixteen books is proven to be a revision of the original. This
version includes a discussion on the articles of Christian belief. The
thirteenth book, exhibited here, (incorrectly called the twelfth book)
is a translation and a critique on the Gospels, starting with Matthew.
Stricturae ad Origines
Albert Schultens (1686-1750). Manuscript on paper, vol. 1 of
4, mid 18th century, Leiden.
Or. 1459a, ff. 7b-8a.
¶ Albert Schultens’ unedited Hebrew Lexicon. The study of Oriental languages
started early in the history of Leiden University and at first focussed
on Hebrew, which was considered an indispensable tool for the study of
the Bible and for theology. It relied heavily on Rabbinic sources. Later,
under the influence of Albert Schultens (1686-1750), the focus shifted
Arabic as the key for understanding the difficulties of
Biblical Hebrew and the use of Jewish sourcesdeclined sharply. In 1729,Albert
Schultens became the first curator of a separate department of Oriental
manuscripts and printed books at Leiden University. His son Jan Jacob
Schultens (1716-1778) leaned more towards theology,but also intended to
produce an Arabic lexicon, which as in his father’s case, never appeared.
The last in the line was Hendrik Albert Schultens (1749-1793) who devoted
himself to Oriental philology.
Hebrew Psalms in
Egbertus Joannes Greve (1754-1811). Manuscript on paper, late
18th century, Netherlands.
Or. 3148a, f. 15r.
¶ E. J. Greve’s work on the metrical system of the Psalms. Greve devoted
his life to the discovery of the metrical system of Biblical poetry. This
manuscript deals with part of the Psalter. Greve gives a Latin translation
and forces the Hebrew text into a straightjacket of dactyls and spondees.
His work met with little acclaim, although similar works on the Prophets
Assistance and advice: dr. Hannah Neudecker
Texts: Prof. Albert van der Heide & Gerrit-Jan Bouwman
Editing and language correction: Ms. Liesbeth Kanis
Digital photography: Gerrit-Jan Bouwman
Editor web version: Prof. Jan Just Witkam
Web technician: Hans Tisseur
Completed: July 10, 2002