Christian Hebraism in the Reformation Era (1500-1660)

Authors, Books, and the Transmission of Jewish Learning


Christian Hebraism in early modern Europe has traditionally been interpreted as the pursuit of a few exceptional scholars, but in the sixteenth century it became an intellectual movement involving hundreds of authors and printers and thousands of readers. The Reformation transformed Christian Hebrew scholarship into an academic discipline, supported by both Catholics and Protestants. This book places Christian Hebraism in a larger context by discussing authors and their books as mediators of Jewish learning, printers and booksellers as its transmitters, and the impact of press controls in shaping the public discussion of Hebrew and Jewish texts. Both Jews and Jewish converts played an important role in creating this new and unprecedented form of Jewish learning.

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Stephen G. Burnett, Ph.D (1990), University of Wisconsin-Madison, is an associate professor of Religious Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has published extensively on Christian Hebraism and Jewish printing.
“a fascinating excursus on the evolution of a major cultural movement … learned and meticulously written.”
Abraham Melamed, University of Haifa. In: Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 65, No. 3 (fall 2012), pp. 951-953.

"Burnett’s immensely erudite book is a valuable addition to the historiography on the subject and is likely to become an essential tool for scholars."
Diego Lucci, American University in Bulgaria. In: Intellectual History Review, Vol. 23 (2013)

“Burnett’s Christian Hebraism in the Reformation Era … is the closest we have to a handbook of early modern Christian Hebraism and will be an essential reference for all scholars working on this area. … Burnett brings along the novice reader while framing the issues clearly and presenting a wealth of data for the more experienced scholar.”
Adam Shear, University of Pittsburgh. In: Journal of Jewish Studies, Vol. 65, No. 2 (Autumn 2014), pp. 448.

“Burnett’s book updates the scholarship on Christian Hebraism, successfully providing the evidence crucial to the study of book history. It also, and most importantly, provides the literary critic and intellectual historian with a firm basis for the development of his or her own disciplinary interests. What is more, Burnett’s summarizing conclusions about the theological and political aspects of the printing and dissemination of Christian Hebraic scholarship provoke much thought for scholars of the different disciplines, and will certainly make this book a key text in their own, modern libraries.”
Chanita Goodblatt, Ben Gurion University of the Negev. In: SHARP News, Vol. 21, No. 4 (autumn 2012), pp. 4-5.

“not only for solid historical backing but also for the development of further research into the techniques of sixteenth and seventeenth-century Christian Hebraism Burnett’s book offers an excellent introduction, and pleasant reading.”
Albert van der Heide. In: Quaerendo, Vol. 43, No. 1 (2013), pp. 90-93.

“Burnett’s book is an essential resource to scholars of the Reformation, of the Jewish book, and of early modern print.”
Debra Kaplan, Yeshiva University. In: Church History, Vol. 83, No. 1 (March 2014), pp. 194-196.





Chapter 1: Birth of a Christian Hebrew Reading Public

Chapter 2: Hebraist Authors and their Supporters: Centers, Peripheries,
and the Growth of an Academic Hebrew Culture

Chapter 3: Hebraist Authors and the Mediation of Jewish Scholarship

Chapter 4: Judaica Libraries: Imagined and Real

Chapter 5: The Christian Hebrew Book Market: Printers and

Chapter 6: Press Controls and the Hebraist Discourse in
Reformation Europe


Appendix 1: Christian Hebrew Authors, 1501-1660

Appendix 2: Christian Hebrew Printers and Publishers, 1501-1660

Appendix 3: Christian Hebrew Book Production: Typesetting and Type

All those interested in Reformation history, Jewish history, and the history of the book trade in early modern Europe.
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