From Rabbis and Millenarians to High Church Orthodoxy: Edward Bernard (1638-1697) Reads the 1646 Amsterdam Vocalized Mishnah

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The vocalized edition of the Mishnah (the ancient compilation of Jewish oral teachings) published in Amsterdam in 1646 has long been an object of fascination to scholars. The story of its creation at the confluence of Jewish publishing and Christian millenarian enthusiasm is well-known. However, it was long believed that seventeenth-century Christian readers ignored the book, a view that has only recently begun to be challenged. This article joins that challenge and introduces a vital new source: a copy in the Bodleian Library that has been heavily annotated by a Christian reader, who the article demonstrates was Edward Bernard (1638-1697), Savilian professor of Astronomy in Oxford, and passionate student of languages. Discussion of the astonishingly rich annotations reveals that this copy -- and therefore this edition more broadly -- was a crucial linchpin in the whole history of Christian study of the Mishnah in the seventeenth century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149–178
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2023

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