Karaism and Christian Hebraism: A new document

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In September 1641 Joannes Stephanus Rittangel sent a Hebrew letter to John Selden, the prominent English jurist and Christian Hebraist, soliciting Selden's assistance in publishing Karaite manuscripts. The letter's publication here contributes both to our knowledge of the activities of Rittangel - expert in Karaism and Professor Extraordinary of Semitic languages at the University of Koenigsberg - and to the picture we have of Christian Hebraism in England. From this letter and from references to Rittangel in contemporary literature, we can reconstruct some of his activities from the time he was recorded to have been in Lithuania at the end of 1640 to his appearance in Amsterdam in late 1641. We can also appreciate how knowledge of Karaism was spread among English Christians such as John Selden and Ralph Cudworth, and also how that information contributed to the millenarianism of Samuel Hartlib and John Dury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1089-1116
Number of pages28
JournalRenaissance Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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