This essay on the history of how the Hebrew Bible was considered during the Reformation period takes the reader into areas largely unexplored. In addition to the Bible, the Kabala is brought into the discussion. Box traces the development up to the advent of the critical study of the Bible which continued to be controversial when his study was published.
6 x 9
An astute essay concerning both Judaism and church history during the Reformation period, Box’s treatment of the state of Hebrew studies has long been overlooked. Insightful understanding of the larger outlines of history informs Box’s analysis of the topic. Beginning with Erasmus as an embodiment of the humanistic spirit of the age, Box draws up a roster of notable figures of the period who studied Hebrew materials. Pico della Mirandola and Johann Reuchlin are given substantial treatment. The place of the Kabala in Christian thought in the 16th and 17th centuries and its influence on Christianity through the work of Pico and Reuchlin are considered. The impact of scientific study and humanism on Hebrew lead up to the Reformation proper, at which point the Buxtorfs, and French and English Hebraists of the 17th century, enter the picture. Box concludes by tracing the rise of modern biblical criticism, an issue of some contention through the 19th century. This study on the development of Old Testament research will be of interest to historians and biblical scholars alike.
George Herbert Box (1869-1933) was Canon of St. Albans in England. He also held the post of Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament Exegesis at King’s College, London.