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The Jewish-Christian Dialogue in Twelfth-Century Western Europe: the Hebrew and Latin Sources of Herbert of Bosham's Commentary on the Psalms

De Visscher, Eva Sarah (2003) The Jewish-Christian Dialogue in Twelfth-Century Western Europe: the Hebrew and Latin Sources of Herbert of Bosham's Commentary on the Psalms. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.


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In this thesis I examine the content of and the sources underlying an unedited Latin commentary on the Psalms, composed c.1190 in Northern France by the AngloNorman Hebraist Herbert of Bosham (c.1120-94). In this commentary Herbert takes Jerome's translation of the Psalms from the Masoretic Bible (the Hebraica) as ground text for his exegesis, revising this version and expounding it according to the literal sense of scripture. My first chapter presents an overview of Herbert's life, works and intellectual background, and sets out his influence from three interconnected traditions: that of Christian Hebraism founded by Jerome, that of textual criticism of the Bible and that of literal exegesis developed by Rashi and by the Parisian School of Saint Victor. In the second chapter I analyse the extent of Herbert's proficiency in Hebrew grammar and lexicology, and his use of learning tools. I demonstrate that his linguistic skills surpass those of any other known Christian Hebraist, and that he relies on at least one Hebrew-Latin Psalter, on Rashi's la'azim and on one or more Hebrew-French glossaries. In the third chapter I establish that Herbert frequently cites Rashi verbally and that he accesses a wide range of rabbinic literature, partly covered by the term Gamaliel, with the help of a contemporary teacher, referred to as litterator meus. In the fourth chapter I investigate Herbert's debt to Jerome's methodology and text-critical skills and his reliance on Paul for theological criteria for the incorporation of readings from the Hebrew text. My final section, building upon the results of the previous chapters, discusses Herbert's evaluation of Jewish sources and of Jews in general. It also explores how he defines and applies the difference between littera and spiritus in his commentary. I have found in this chapter that his definition of the literal sense of scripture is strongly influenced by Hugh of Saint Victor and by Rashi's exposition of the peshat, and includes to some extent figures of speech and prophecy. I also suggest that his relationship to Paul as religious authority is inherently linked with his use of Jewish sources in general and of Gamaliel in particular.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts (Leeds) > School of Humanities (Leeds) > School of Theology & Religious Studies (Leeds)
Depositing User: Ethos Import
Date Deposited: 16 May 2011 14:07
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2014 11:23
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/1496

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