Sunday, July 06, 2008

Hebrew by the hand of a 17th century Christian Hebraist

I've always been interested in seeing Hebrew as written by non-Jews. More on that another time. Here's an interesting excerpt from a Hebrew letter by Joannes Stephanus Rittangel to fellow Christian Hebraist John Selden, sent in 1641:

Note the honorific Seldenus כמהר"ר on the 10th line!

An image of the entire letter, along with transcription and translation, was published by Daniel Lasker in Karaism and Christian Hebraism: A New Document, Renaissance Quarterly 59.4 (2006). The content of the letter concerns Rittangel's request for Selden's assistance in publishing Karaite manuscripts. The content is interesting, and you can download a copy here, but I think the beautiful appearance is what really makes it post-worthy. Note the hybrid Ashkenazi-Rashi character of the script itself.

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