Beverly Louise Brown

Marcantonio Raimondis Il Sogno and Albrecht Dürers Sea Monster share a number of compositional similarities as well as a fascination with the bizarre. The association of monstrous forms as an omen of grave misfortune, including pestilence and war, was particularly common at the beginning of the sixteenth century. In Marcantonios engraving the chimeric monsters, billowing inferno and shooting star can be perceived as a graphic warning that by 1509 Venices world was in deep peril.

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
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Maria Cioată

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 of Zionism.

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
Alan Thacker

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.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Stefan C. Reif
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Andrew James Johnston

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.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Julianne Simpson, Stephen J. Milner and Caroline Checkley-Scott
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library