Modernizing tendencies The characteristic of the 18th and 19th centuries is the endeavour, connected with the name of Moses Mendelssohn, to bring Judaism more into relation with external learning, and in using the Hebrew language to purify and develop it in accordance with the biblical standard. The result, while linguistically more uniform and pleasing, often […]
The introduction of printing (first dated Hebrew printed book, Rashi, Reggio, 1475) gave occasion for a number of scholarly compositors and proof-readers, some of whom were also authors, such as Jacob ben Ḥayyīm of Tunis (d. about 1530), proof-reader to Bomberg, chiefly known for his masoretic work in connexion with the Rabbinic Bible and his […]
Going into the 13th and14th centuries, Hebrew literature may be said to have reached the limit of its development.
Looking a.o. at the families Ibn Tibbōn, Kalonymos and Hillel and ibn Ezra of the Levant.
Today we come to one of the most important figures of Jewish literature of the medieval period, the Jewish philosopher, jurist, and physician Maimonides often better known as Rambam.
Looking at 12th and 13th centuries literature and Jewish travellers.
The French school of the 11th century was hardly less important. Gershom ben Judah, the “Light of the Exile” (d. in 1040 at Mainz), a famous Talmudist and commentator, his pupil Jacob ben Yaqar, and Moses of Narbonne, called ha-Darshan, the “Exegete,” were the forerunners of the greatest of all Jewish commentators, Solomon ben Isaac […]
The aim of the grammatical studies of the Spanish school was ultimately exegesis. This had already been cultivated in the East. In the 9th century Ḥīvī of Balkh wrote a rationalistic treatise [A fragment of such a work, probably emanating from the school of Ḥīvī was found by Schechter and published in J.Q.R., xiii. 345 […]
Medieval scholarship To return to the period of the Geōnīm. While the schools of Babylonia were flourishing as the religious head of Judaism, the West, and especially Spain under Moorish rule, was becoming the home of Jewish scholarship. On the breaking up of the schools many of the fugitives fled to the West and helped […]
A look at Karaite Judaism (“Followers of the Bible”) which had its base in the Crimea in the Middle Ages, and looking at the influence of its teachers and writings on Christianity and Islam.
The Geōnīm The order of the Amoraim, which ended with the close of the Talmud (C.E. 500), was succeeded by that of the Sabōrāīm, who merely continued and explained the work of their predecessors, and these again were followed by the Geōnīm, the heads of the schools of Sura and Pumbeditha in Babylonia. The office […]
When looking at Hebrew Liturgy we look at the religious phenomenon of the Jehudiem or Jews where their liturgy represents a communal response to and participation in the sacred through activities reflecting praise, thanksgiving, remembrance, supplication, or repentance, giving themselves to their Bore or Divine Creator, the Elohim Hashem יהוה (YHWH) Jehovah in the hope […]
In the previous chapter we said that traditional teaching was not confined to halakhah, or the ordinances regulating religious observances. We saw that it was the duty of the teachers to show the connexion of practical rules with the written Law. And as such Midrash, exposition, from darash arised to “investigate” a scriptural passage and […]
Last episode we ended by the 2nd century and spoke about a period which followed the later canonical books, not only was translation, and therefore exegesis, cultivated, by Elders and their pupils that form the starting-point of the next series, the Tannāīm, who occupy the first two centuries of this common era. Mishnah By this […]
Halakhah We must now return to the 2nd century. During the period which followed the later canonical books, not only was translation, and therefore exegesis, cultivated, but even more the amplification of the Law. According to Jewish teaching Halakhah. (e.g. Abhoth i. 1) Moses received on Mount Sinai not only the written Law as set […]
Apocryphal Hebrew literature It is not to be supposed that all the contents of the Old Testament were immediately accepted as sacred, or that they were ever all regarded as being on the same level. The Torah, the Law delivered to Moses, held among the Apocryphal literature.Jews of the 4th century B.C.E. as it holds […]
Hebrew Literature by Arthur Ernest Cowley Old Testament-Scriptures. Properly speaking, “Hebrew Literature” denotes all works written in the Hebrew language. In catalogues and bibliographies, however, the expression is now generally used, conveniently if incorrectly, as synonymous with Jewish literature, including all works written by Jews in Hebrew characters, whether the language be Aramaic, Arabic or […]
Looking at the Hebraists in the Greek and Latin Church up to the 19th cnetury.
Arthur Ernest Cowley looking at Hebrew speech and writing.