2 Annotations

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Seventeenth-century political and juridical thinkers mined the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, and rabbinic literature for ideas, examples, and full-fledged political systems, with the idea of applying them to early modern Europe.

For over 100 years the Universities had Chairs funded by the wealthy for the study of Hebrew. The Duke of Suffolk made sure his daughter, Lady Jane Grey, studied Hebrew. At St. Paul’s School Pepys evidently learned the basics, and he owned a Hebrew Grammar book https://www.pepysdiary.com/encycl…

Men like John Maitland, Earl of Lauderdale spent his years in prison at Windsor Castle during the end of the Civil Wars studying Hebrew.

John Selden, James Harrington and his fellow English republicans, and John Locke were freed in their thinking by the execution of King Charles. The early modern Hebraists idealized their "Hebrew republic" with 3 clusters of ideas, reaped mainly from Hebraic sources, and interwoven into their political thought:
(1) The importance of the rule of law within fixed borders: a concept of international borders underpinning a novel, natural-law-based theory of the state, law, and rights;
(2) the idea of a federal republic, transformed from the tribal Israelite society to Dutch political thinking; and
(3) the moral economy of republican social justice.

This helps explains why Cromwell wanted Jews readmitted formally to England and they were made welcome in the many British Plantations – everyone hoped they and the REAL Bible had some answers to how to run a country.

For more information see (you may need a subscription, which I find very worthwhile):

Third Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

On January 25, 1660 there are several excellent annotations about the role of Hebrew in education and philosophy in the 17th century -- plus speculation that Pepys wrote a cypher in Hebrew for Downing. Downing didn't think much of his scholarship and told him to redo it.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.