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By Lszl P'Ter, Stephen G. Burnett, Mikls Lojk

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7 While Augustine was content to commend the study of Greek and Hebrew to those who had “the leisure and the ability” to do so,8 Origen and Jerome set an example for later scholars by actually learning Hebrew themselves. ”9 A small number of medieval Christian theologians pursued Hebrew studies, focusing their efforts on correcting the received text of the Vulgate, biblical exegesis, and composing missionary treatises of various kinds. ) Jew to compare the Latin text with the Hebrew. , 6. Jerome’s Iuxta Hebraeos translation had a similar purpose.

Reuchlin’s kabbalistic study alone would also not have evoked such a spirited response to the attacks of Pfefferkorn and his Dominican sponsors. 30 Biblical humanism was the single most important factor that contributed to the growth of widespread Hebrew learning among Christians before the Reformation. Erasmus was not the first Renaissance scholar to heed the church father Jerome’s call for a return to the sources by reading the New Testament in its original Greek and the Old Testament in Hebrew, but he was a singularly effective spokesman for Jerome’s ideal.

Erasmus was the driving force behind the foundation of this new college, but its benefactor was Jerome de Busleyden, a wealthy Burgundian churchman. 75 While Adrianus’ tenure there was not particularly successful, he was the first of a number of capable Hebraists who taught there during the sixteenth century, including Jan van den Campen, Nicholas Clenardus and Andreas Balenus [Gennep]. The most important foundation of a separate trilingual college from the perspective of Hebrew studies, however, was King Francis I’s foundation at the University of Paris in 1530.

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