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Edward H. Wouk

The Morbetto, or Plague in Crete, designed by Raphael and engraved by Marcantonio Raimondi, juxtaposes the pestilence described in Virgils Aeneid with the ruinous state of Romes ancient remains in the Renaissance. This article examines this exceptional collaboration between the artist and engraver in light of early modern medical knowledge of contagion and an emerging discourse on the preservation of Roman ruins. It argues that the tonal properties of engraving and reproducible nature of print are integral to the meaning of the Morbetto, an image in which new artistic creation arises from a cultural landscape dominated by the fragmentary heritage of the past.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Andrew Holmes

This article examines Presbyterian interpretations in Scotland and Ireland of the Scottish Reformations of 1560 and 1638–43. It begins with a discussion of the work of two important Presbyterian historians of the early nineteenth century, the Scotsman, Thomas McCrie, and the Irishman, James Seaton Reid. In their various publications, both laid the template for the nineteenth-century Presbyterian understanding of the Scottish Reformations by emphasizing the historical links between the Scottish and Irish churches in the early-modern period and their common theology and commitment to civil and religious liberty against the ecclesiastical and political tyranny of the Stuarts. The article also examines the commemorations of the National Covenant in 1838, the Solemn League and Covenant in 1843, and the Scottish Reformation in 1860. By doing so, it uncovers important religious and ideological linkages across the North Channel, including Presbyterian evangelicalism, missionary activity, church–state relationships, religious reform and revival, and anti-Catholicism.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Jane Maxwell

The poor survival rate of primary sources for the history of Irish women in the early modern period is mitigated by the sophistication with which extant sources are now being analysed. When re-examined without reference to the demands of the traditional historical grand narrative, when each text itself is permitted to guide its own interrogation, previously undervalued texts are revealed to be insightful of individual existential experience. The memoir of eighteenth-century Dorothea Herbert, hitherto much ignored due to the authors mental illness, is becoming increasingly respected not just for its historic evidential value but for the revelations it contains of a distressed individuals use of literature to manage her circumstances. The interpretive tools deployed on such a text by different research specialisms necessarily lead to divergent conclusions; this in turn may lead to creative re-imagining of history although they cannot all equally reflect what was likely to have been the lived reality of the original author.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Benjamin Williams

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.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Stephen Gordon

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.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
David Morris

Edgar Wood and Middleton are closely entwined. Until his fifties, Wood engaged in the life of his native town, while his architecture gradually enriched its heritage. The paper begins with Woods character and gives an insight into his wider modus operandi with regard to fellow practitioners. A stylistic appraisal of his surviving Middleton area buildings draws attention to his individual development of Arts and Crafts architecture, a pinnacle of which was Long Street Methodist Church and Schools. The impact of J. Henry Sellers is examined, and the emergence of their subsequent modernism is traced through a number of pioneering designs. Stylistic connections with Charles Rennie Mackintosh of Glasgow and the Viennese architect Josef Hoffmann imply that Woods experiments were sometimes part of a wider stylistic development. Finally, a small cluster of Middleton houses summarizes Woods architectural journey, illustrating his incremental transition from Arts and Crafts to early Modern Movement architecture.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Anja-Silvia Goeing

Conrad Gessner (1516–65) was town physician and lecturer at the Zwinglian reformed lectorium in Zurich. His approach towards the world and mankind was centred on his preoccupation with the human soul, an object of study that had challenged classical writers such as Aristotle and Galen, and which remained as important in post-Reformation debate. Writing commentaries on Aristotles De Anima (On the Soul) was part of early-modern natural philosophy education at university and formed the preparatory step for studying medicine. This article uses the case study of Gessners commentary on De Anima (1563) to explore how Gessners readers prioritised De Animas information. Gessners intention was to provide the students of philosophy and medicine with the most current and comprehensive thinking. His readers responses raise questions about evolving discussions in natural philosophy and medicine that concerned the foundations of preventive healthcare on the one hand, and of anatomically specified pathological medicine on the other, and Gessners part in helping these develop.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Artists’ Printed Portraits and Manuscript Biographies in Rylands English MS 60
Edward Wouk

Rylands English MS 60, compiled for the Spencer family in the eighteenth century, contains 130 printed portraits of early modern artists gathered from diverse sources and mounted in two albums: 76 portraits in the first volume, which is devoted to northern European artists, and 54 in the second volume, containing Italian and French painters. Both albums of this ‘Collection of Engravings of Portraits of Painters’ were initially planned to include a written biography of each artist copied from the few sources available in English at the time, but that part of the project was abandoned. This article relates English MS 60 to shifting practices of picturing art history. It examines the rise of printed artists’ portraits, tracing the divergent histories of the genre south and north of the Alps, and explores how biographical approaches to the history of art were being replaced, in the eighteenth century, by the development of illustrated texts about art.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Simon Mayers

The prevailing historiographies of Jewish life in England suggest that religious representations of the Jews in the early modern period were confined to the margins and fringes of society by the desacralization of English life. Such representations are mostly neglected in the scholarly literature for the latter half of the long eighteenth century, and English Methodist texts in particular have received little attention. This article addresses these lacunae by examining the discourse of Adam Clarke (1760/2–1832), an erudite Bible scholar, theologian, preacher and author and a prominent, respected, Methodist scholar. Significantly, the more overt demonological representations were either absent from Clarke‘s discourse, or only appeared on a few occasions, and were vague as to who or what was signified. However, Clarke portrayed biblical Jews as perfidious, cruel, murderous, an accursed seed, of an accursed breed and radically and totally evil. He also commented on contemporary Jews (and Catholics), maintaining that they were foolish, proud, uncharitable, intolerant and blasphemous. He argued that in their eternal, wretched, dispersed condition, the Jews demonstrated the veracity of biblical prophecy, and served an essential purpose as living monuments to the truth of Christianity.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Toleration, Supersessionism and Judaeo-Centric Eschatology
Lawrence Rabone

This article on an early modern pamphlet which can be found in the John Rylands Library Special Collections asserts the importance of John Goodwin’s analysis of Zechariah 13:3 in A Post-Script or Appendix to […] Hagiomastix (1647). I argue that this pamphlet’s significance is not only its emphasis on toleration, but also that it is a striking example of Judaeo-centric millenarian thought in which Zechariah 12–14 is understood as prophesying a future time in which the Jews will be restored to the Land of Israel. I also analyse the pamphlet’s relationship to supersessionism and compare Goodwin’s interpretation with those of Samuel Rutherford, William Prynne, John Owen and, in particular, Jean Calvin. I explain that Goodwin’s use of the analogy of Scripture hermeneutic helps to explain his belief in Judaeo-centric eschatology. I then show how one of Goodwin’s followers, Daniel Taylor, used Judaeo-centric biblical exegesis to petition Oliver Cromwell for Jewish readmission to England.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library