Orientalism, Aramaic and Kabbalah in the Catholic Reformation

The First Printing of the Syriac New Testament


Focusing upon the extraordinary circumstances of the production of the editio princeps of the Syriac New Testament in 1555 and establishing a reliable history of that edition, this book offers an new account of the origin of Syriac studies in Europe and a fresh evaluation of Catholic Orientalism in the sixteenth century. The reception of Syriac into the West is shown to have been characterised, under the influence of Egidio da Viterbo and Postel, by a Christian Kabbalistic world-view which also determined the reception of other Oriental languages.
The companion volume The Kabbalistic Scholars of the Antwerp Polyglot Bible exhibits the continuing influence of Christian Kabbalism on later editions.

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Bibliografische Angaben

Robert J. Wilkinson, Ph.D. (2004) in History, University of the West of England, read Oriental Studies at Cambridge. He is Research Fellow at Wesley College, Bristol, U.K. His Kabbalistic Scholars of the Antwerp Polyglot Bible (Brill) is appearing as a companion volume.


"Well crafted and readable". [...] "The story provides new and insightful narrative layers that interlink major phenomena and personalities". Joseph P. Byrne, Belmont University. In: Church History: Studies in Christianity and Culture, vol. 78, no. 1 (March 2009), pp. 193-195.


List of Plates


1. First Beginnings: Teseo Ambrogio and the Maronite Delegation to the Fifth Lateran Council
2. First Beginnings: Egidio da Viterbo and the Kabbalistic Content of Syriac Studies at the time of the Fifth Lateran Council
3. The Scholars of the Editio Princeps: Moses and Masius
4. The Scholars of the Editio Princeps: Postel
5. The Scholars of the Editio Princeps: Widmanstetter
6. The Editio Princeps




Those interested in Renaissance intellectual history, religious studies, biblical reception, the churches of the East, orientalism, Christian kabbalah, textual studies and oriental philology, historians of the book, theologians and Syriacists.

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