Daniel Bombergs 1525 edition of the Rabbinic Bible is a typographical
masterpiece. It combines the text of the Hebrew Bible with Aramaic Targumim,
medieval Jewish commentaries and the Masoretic textual apparatus. As testified
by the numerous copies in the libraries of Jewish and Christian readers, this
was a popular edition that remained in demand long after its publication. This
article examines why and how readers studied the 1525 Rabbinic Bible by
analysing the annotated copy now in the John Rylands Library (shelfmark:
R16222). This particular copy furnishes detailed information about the reading
habits of past owners, including early-modern Ashkenazi Jews and
nineteenth-century English Hebraists. Studying how it has been used sheds light
on why readers selected this edition and how they studied the apparatus and
exegetical resources that Daniel Bomberg placed alongside the biblical text.
This article presents a forgotten manuscript of a personal account of one of the
first Jewish settlers who departed from Romania to Palestine in 1882 and helped
found the colony of Samarin, which was later taken over by Baron de Rothschild
and renamed Zichron Yaakov. Friedrich Horn, a schoolmaster with Austrian
nationality who had settled in Romania fifteen years before his departure to
Palestine, gave the manuscript of his unfinished work Nationaltraum der Juden to
Moses Gaster. Gaster kept it among his collection of manuscripts. He considered
it a diary rather than as Horn obviously had in mind, a contribution to
historiography intended to be published. The text provides significant evidence
concerning the underappreciated role of Jews from Romania in the historiography
Necromancy, the practice of conjuring and controlling evil spirits, was a popular
pursuit in the courts and cloisters of late medieval and early modern Europe.
Books that gave details on how to conduct magical experiments circulated widely.
Written pseudonymously under the name of the astrologer and translator Michael
Scot (d. 1236), Latin MS 105 from the John Rylands Library, Manchester, is
notable for the inclusion, at the beginning of the manuscript, of a corrupted,
unreadable text that purports to be the Arabic original. Other recensions of the
handbook, which generally travelled under the pseudo-Arabic title of Almuchabola
Absegalim Alkakib Albaon, also stressed the experiments non-Western origins.
Using Latin MS 105 as the main case study, this article aims to investigate the
extent to which a magic books paratextual data conveyed a sense of authority to
its contemporary audience.
The Venerable Bede has often been held as creator of a single collective identity
for the Germanic inhabitants of Britain: the English (gens Anglorum). This
article examines how Bede crafted his notion of Englishness, reviewing his use
of terms for nation, race and peoples to exclude those of whom he did not
approve. It included the Northumbrians and the people of Kent whom Bede regarded
as the progenitors of the English Church. It excluded the Mercians who were
rivals and sometime enemies of Bede‘s own people, the Northumbrians. By the time
Bede finished his account (731) the term gens Anglorum had begun to lose its
usefulness in binding together the Northumbrians and Kentishmen as custodians of
a unitary Church. After Bede terminology remained unstable, writers such as
Boniface or Alcuin being as likely to call the people of England Saxons as
Angles/English. Bedes role as the father of Englishness is thus here nuanced and
seen to be historically contingent.
This article investigates how Chaucer‘s Knight‘s and Squire‘s tales critically
engage with the Orientalist strategies buttressing contemporary Italian humanist
discussions of visual art. Framed by references to crusading, the two tales
enter into a dialogue focusing, in particular, on the relations between the
classical, the scientific and the Oriental in trecento Italian discourses on
painting and optics, discourses that are alluded to in the description of
Theseus Theatre and the events that happen there. The Squire‘s Tale exhibits
what one might call a strategic Orientalism designed to draw attention to the
Orientalism implicit in his fathers narrative, a narrative that, for all its
painstaking classicism, displays both remarkably Italianate and Orientalist
features. Read in tandem, the two tales present a shrewd commentary on the
exclusionary strategies inherent in the construction of new cultural identities,
arguably making Chaucer the first postcolonial critic of the Renaissance.
The first 100 years of printing in Europe was a vibrant period full of innovation
and adaptation. Continental printers controlled the production of Latin books,
many of which were imported into England. English printers worked hard to create
an audience for their editions and achieved,this by adopting specific design
features from the Latin editions. Yet despite this connection, English printing
is often studied in separation from European printing. This article studies the
Golden Legend, a hagiographic text popular throughout England and Europe, and
shows that the two traditions were interrelated, especially in book design. On
the continent, printers found themselves in a crowded marketplace and some
adopted established designs to target a particular audience. In contrast,
English printers were inspired by the design of continental books. Design was
governed by the intended audience but not restricted to national demarcations.
Not only was English printing integrated with European printing, it sustained a
distinctive character while remaining part of the European tradition.