Jerome and the Hebraica Veritas: Or, How the Hebrew Bible became a Christian Book – Frans van Liere

21 January, 16:00, Faculty of Theology, Oude Boteringestraat 38, room 123

The idea of the Hebraica Veritas is the belief that the Hebrew Bible, as it was transmitted in rabbinical circles in the first centuries of the Common Era, was the “original” Old Testament text. As obvious as this may seem to modern biblical scholars, we have to appreciate how novel this idea was when the church father Jerome first introduced it in the church of Late Antiquity, when Greek versions and their Latin translations were regarded as the “common versions”. The idea meant that, to recover the original text, one needed to turn to the Jews, who were guardians both of the sacred text itself and of the language in which it was written. Medieval exegetes inherited this paradoxical idea, and adapted it to the specific circumstances of the Christian middle ages. It shaped Christian conceptions of textual authority, and influenced Christian attitudes towards the Jews of their own time. Through the steady growth of medieval Christian Hebraism, one could indeed say that by the end of the Middle Ages, not only had the idea of Hebraica Veritas triumphed, but, indeed, the Hebrew Bible had become a Christian book.

Prof. Frans van Liere is the director of medieval studies at Calvin College. His An Introduction to the Medieval Bible was published by Cambridge University Press in 2014.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Agricola Lectures

Comments are closed.