Page 71 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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RICHLER/HEBREW MANUSCRIPT COLLECTIONS
63
braists o f th e 15th an d 16th cen tu r ie s acqu ired substan tia l n um ­
bers o f H eb rew books which they b eq u e a th ed o r sold to these
libraries, laying th e fo u n d a t io n fo r some o f the most im p o r ta n t
H eb rew m an u sc r ip t collections in existence. Egidio d a V iterbo
(d. 1532) collected books on Kabbalah which a re now fo u n d
in the B ib lio theque N a tiona le in France , the S taa tsb ib lio thek
in M un ich and o th e r libraries. U lrich F ugg e r (d. 1584) owned
177 H eb rew MSS, many o f them pu rch a sed from the Jew ish
scho lar Elia Capsali o f C and ia . His collection was acqu ired by
the Pa la tine L ib rary o f H e ide lbe rg , which was rem oved to the
Vatican in 1622 a f te r the sack o f H e ide lbe rg . J o h a n n von
R euch lin ’s small b u t valuable collection o f anc ien t m anu sc r ip ts
a re now in the K a r ls ruh e State L ibrary . E igh teen MSS b e q u e a th ­
ed by the philo log ist Jo s e p h Scaliger (1540-1609) to the Leyden
Royal L ib rary fo rm s th e basis o f its H eb rew collection. W hen
the Royal L ib rary was fo u n d ed in Munich tow ards the m idd le
o f the 16th c en tu ry , it was en r ich ed with 125 H eb rew MSS be ­
long ing to the am bassado r to Rome, J .A . W idm an s te tte r , who
was en co u rag ed to buy H eb rew books by Reuch lin an d Egidio.
D u r ing th e seven teen th c en tu ry the main beneficiaries o f b e ­
quests o f H eb rew books were libraries in those coun tr ie s from
which the Jew s h ad been expe lled d u r in g the M iddle Ages and
to which they h ad only recen tly been re adm i t ted , nam ely E ng ­
lan d , F ra n c e a n d H o l lan d . T h e m a n u s c r ip ts o f T h om a s
A ru n d e l an d R obe rt H arley (1661-1724) en r ich ed the small col­
lection o f th e B ritish Museum . T h e Bod leian L ib rary in O x fo rd
greatly e x p an d ed its ho ld ings by acqu ir ing the libraries o f Rob­
e r t H u n t in g to n (200 MSS) an d Edw a rd Pococke, bo th Anglican
clergym en who served in A leppo w here they p u rch a sed H ebrew
books w r itten in th e O r ien t . At abou t the same time, the B od ­
leian received th e collections o f A rchb ishop L aud an d Jo h n Sel-
den . In France , meanwh ile , th e collection o f the B ib lio theque
Na tiona le was au gm en ted by the libraries o f C a rd ina l Richelieu,
M azarine an d J e a n Co lbert, an d in Ho lland the Leyden Royal
L ib rary acqu ired over 75 MSS from L. W a rn e r , the Du tch con ­
sul in C on s tan tinop le .