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278 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 



LAZARUS DE VITERBO'S EPISTLE TO CARDINAL 
SIRLETO CONCERNING THE INTEGRITY OF 
THE TEXT OF THE HEBREW BIBLE. 

The history of the "humanistic" movement among the 
Jews of Italy has yet to be written. Though the know- 
ledge of Latin possessed by Jews in other countries was 
not as low as is generally considered to be the case, we 
have still to note that it was owing to the culture of Italy, 
and specially to the influence of the humanists, that the 
knowledge of Latin literature first spread among the Jews. 
We have evidence of this not alone in the translation of 
several pieces of ancient classical literature into Hebrew, 
but also in the employment of Latin for purposes of 
scientific expression. 

But with the language were introduced into the tents of 
Jacob also the scientific spirit, the comparative study and 
appreciation of the national literature, aesthetics and 
criticism. It is by no accident that the founder of 
modern Jewish science, Azarya di Rossi, came from Italy. 

The following small contribution to the history of 
Jewish helles-lettres in Italy I now submit as an instance 
on the philological side of a Latin treatise by a Jew, the 
subject-matter serving as an example from the Jewish 
point of view of a modern scientific diatribe. I am 
indebted to the kindness of Prof. Dr. Walter Friedensburg 
and the Royal Prussian Historical Institute in Rome for 
having given me the opportunity of rescuing it from con- 
cealment among the archives of the Vatican and bringing 
it to the light of day. 

Lazarus de Viterbo acts as the defender of his co- 
religionists before his patron, the learned Cardinal 



Lazarus De Viterbo's Epistle to Cardinal Sirleto. 279 

Gulielmo Sirleto, inasmuch as he repels the absurd 
reproach, that the Jews had falsified those portions of 
the text of Holy Writ which seemed to contain proofs 
of the truth of Christianity. 

The charge was not a new one; it was ever raised 
against the Jews afresh without intermission, in spite 
of hundredfold refutations, by both Mohammedans and 
Christians alike. In Rome, the accusation that the Jews 
had, out of hatred of the Christians, tampered with the 
text of their sacred records, was first again levelled at the 
Jews in 1555 with terrible fury by the fanatic Franciscus 
Torensis, in his work : Be sola lectione legis et prophetarum 
Judmis cum Mosaico ritu, et cultu permittenda. 

It did not suffice him that the towns of Italy were 
smoking with the stakes upon which the Talmud was 
burnt at the bidding of the Pope and his Inquisitors ; he 
would fain have sacrificed at the same time the entire 
Jewish writings, the commentators of Holy Writ who 
had escaped death by fire. The Inquisition had already 
arrogated to itself the right to watch the printing of 
Jewish books ; the text of Jewish books had to a cert,ain 
extent to receive its impress from Rome; all that was 
wanting to complete the matter was that it be prescribed 
to the Jews how the text of Holy Writ had to be read — 
that text which they had saved out of the storms of ages, 
the purity of which they had guarded as never any other 
work had been guarded. 

It was not by accident that Cardinal Sirleto was the 
man before whom the question as to the integrity of the 
Hebrew text was to be heard. 

Not only his study of the Hebrew language, evidenced 
by his Adnotationes in Psalmos in the Antwerp Polyglot 
of 15G9, but also his official position, rendered this question 
one of deep interest to him. Cardinal from the 12th 
March, 1565, Protector and Judge of all Catechumens and 
Neophytes from the end of 1567, the Oracle of the Tri- 
dentine Council, which he advised from Rome with the 



280 The Jewish Quarterly Heview. 

fulness of his world-wide scholarship — it was Sirleto's task 
to occupy himself uninterruptedly with Jewish questions 
social and literary, so much so that according to Dejob's 
investigations^ his papers remain even for the present 
time a valuable source of information, and an unearthed 
treasure for modern Jewish history. Filled rather with 
the spirit of Marcello Cervini, afterwards Pope Marcello II., 
whose memory is blessed in Jewish history''' in spite of the 
short duration of his office as Pope — filled rather with his 
spirit than with that of the dark intolerance of Pope Paul 
IV"., Sirleto possessed the kindness and forbearance to 
lend an ear to reasonable arguments, though they came 
from the Jewish side. It was his special knowledge of the 
subject that made Hebrew as dear to him as the classical 
languages. 

Lazarus de Viterbo is on this account confident at the 
outset of finding in this influential Cardinal an advocate of 
his righteous cause. He proceeds from the view that the 
Holy language, the instrument of the world's creation and 
of Revelation, also produced the crown of all literatures, 
namely the Bible. With liberal and cultured mind and 
critical eye, Lazarus praises the fervour of the Psalms, the 
flights of Isaiah and the inimitable sweetness and tender- 
ness of the Song of Songs. 

How could the Jews, the depositaries of these treasures, 
have dared to lay hands upon such sacred possessions, 
seeing that their entire history is a proof that they believed 
with all confidence that they possessed in these writings 
God's own word. For what else, he adds with clever irony, 
than this conviction could have kept them steadfast in 
their faith, unless it was the fortune and peace, the pro- 
tection and security of which they could boast in the 
profession of that faith ? 

Nay, a glance at the condition of these documents 
as now extant proves with how great a fidelity and 

• Revue des Etudes Jvives, IX., 77, sq. ' Kaufmann, ih., IV., 88, sq. 



Lazarus De Viterbo's Epistle to Cardinal Sirleto. 281 

devotion they guarded the integrity of their texts. For 
unless it had been so, how would it have been possible 
that, despite their dispersion over the earth and all the 
vicissitudes of their career, such a uniformity could have 
existed in the text of the Sacred Scriptures, that the Bible 
of an Italian Jew differs in no wise from one found in the 
other countries of the inhabited globe ! 

That which was accomplished by straining all the powers 
of industry and memory till the time of Ezra, in whom, 
in spite of Elias Levita, our author with rash faith 
sees the founder of the system of Hebrew vocalisation 
and accentuation, this marvellous coincidence in the 
tradition and reading of the sacred texts, this was the 
work, after Ezra, of the Massora. On the alert for 
every characteristic of the text, it established out of 
affectionate consideration, by counting every striking gram- 
matical and orthographical peculiarity, a fence round about 
the Sacred Scriptures which guarded them against the 
intrusion of errors and corruptions. Looking at the 
Massora alone, which has been able to accomplish the most 
marvellous results by means of the labours, incomparable 
as they are in point of devotion and self-sacrifice, of those 
responsible for the counting and classification of verses, 
words, and even letters, one would have thought that the 
mere idea would have been silenced and not suffered to be 
expressed, that a people which had demonstrated to the 
world such marvellous industry and self-denial could have 
wilfully and wickedly tampered with the text of these 
records. But the very examples which are brought 
forward to substantiate the charge, show on closer investi- 
gation that they are without foundation, for internal 
evidence as well as the older translations bear testimony to 
the truth of Jewish tradition. And though the audacious 
charge was proclaimed even from the pulpits of Rome, 
possibly by Jewish converts of the type of Andrea de 
Monti,^ and appeared before the tribunal of the judge on 

' Revue, IX.. 87, sq. 



282 The Jeicish Quarterly Review. 

scientific and learned questions — a position which in the 
opinion of Lazarus de Viterbo Cardinal Sirleto held at the 
time — yet the accusation that the Jews had altered the 
text of the Old Testament had to fall to the ground. 

Lazarus de Viterbo is not unknown in the history of 
Jewish literature. He is the one who as Eliezer Mazliach 
b. Abraham Cohen, published about the year 1585 at 
Venice, through Juan di Gara, his Italian translation of 
Moses Riete's ethical poems D^ibHIton liva^ under the title : 
I iempio di oratori. It is in the familiar reflective style of 
the Hebrew ; names of places which occur frequently are 
reproduced in Hebrew or Aramaic equivalents, as e.g., Posen 
is rendered nW2 tQ, Cracow ND13, and he gives Viterbo the 
origin of the family name, as W2"in ''^, to remind one of 
the Talmudic rr\r\ "^3 {Joma, 77 a ; Baba K, 23 b). 

There is no necessity for us to conjecture that Isaac b. 
Abraham Cohen de Viterbo, whose acquaintance we make 
as Eabbi of Siena in 1673, was his brother, for David de 
Pomis clearly tells us so in the Introduction to his Lexicon 
Zemach David. He mentions the fact with pride that 
through his wife, whom he lost early in life, he became 
the brother-in-law of these excellent brothers, Eliezer, the 
learned and pre-eminent physician, and Isaac, a renowned 
authority, both as Talmudist and philosopher.^ 

When Joseph of Foligno was about to marry, in 1573, 
at Pesaro, Julia, the widow of his brother David who had 
died without issue, and who at the same time was the 
sister of his deceased wife, Sulpicia — when, in other 
words, he wished to avail himself of the right of marrying 
his deceased brother's wife, and he obtained the sanction of 
all the important Rabbis of Italy, we find that R. Isaac b. 
Abraham Cohen de Viterbo of ISiena was among those who 

' Cf. Dukes in Orient, IV., 486, n. 30. 

= niiB'KT Don»n njiDNi non ■'E'jn H'& nins nn^ne' nij?3 ntrs 
nnnoai pnaiD ndtii tan s)v^h^ rnnoD niunni njjin nir-Voa 
D^sna na^DD nVnan 'SJ'xn ur\'<:s&> Siijn PiiDi^'sni pxan vns pns' 



Lazarus De Viterbo's Epistle to Cardinal Sirleto. 283 

were foremost in giving their opinion in favour of the 
permission.^ If I rightly understand the words in which 
Isaac cites a similar case which occurred in his youth, it 
would seem that Rome was the native place of these two 
brothers, and that in that city permission was given by the 
Rabbinate to a man named Ephraim, who was equally 
anxious to avail himself of the law of the Levirate. 

Besides being renowned for their Rabbinic scholarship, 
these two brothers were famous in the medical profession. 
Isaac, whom his brother-in-law David de Pomis (himself 
distinguished as physician and lexicographer) does not 
style as such, is yet called in his decision upon the question 
regarding the Levirate, not only Gaon, but also President of 
the Physicians, while Eliezer is singled out by David him- 
self as a renowned physician. It is not unlikely that, on 
this account, he stood in the relation of physician in 
ordinary to Cardinal Sirleto, and that it was this close 
relationship to the Prince of the Church that impelled him 
to write his Epistle concerning the integrity of the text 
of the Hebrew Bible. 

David Kaufmann. 



LAZARUS OP VITERBO'S LETTER TO CARDINAL 

SIRLETO. 

(Eome : Vat. Arch. Var. Pol. 47, fol. lOlb.) 

Ill""> et R™ D"" 8. R. E. Cardinali Sirleto domino meo 

osservandissimo. 

Inter eximias prEeclarasque animi tui dotes R'"'= ac 111""' Presul 

ac virtutes prope divinas, quibus cseteris oraaibus tuse setatis 

hominibus antecelles, veritatis, amor, maxime in te relucet, cum 

apertam unam dumtaxat aurem dicenti inclines, alteram vero clausam 

contradiceati apertam serves, adeo quod inclinatio tua ad utramque 

partem semper equalis permanet, cum ergo multi arbitrantur hebreos 

ipsoa ut Christianorum intentiones aufugerent sacras scripturas 

piuribus in locis depravasse proptereaqne ajunt, illis correctione 

• pnif TriQ, III. 24o. Carmoly, Tlistvire des medeeins Juifs, p. 153, and 
Mortara, K"'^KD''K iDDH niDtO, p. 69. 



284 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

opus esse, cum hoc semper aegre passus sim an hoc sit verum nee 
ne, eoitar paucis. D. T. Ill""*" demonstrare, que tanquam judex non 
iniquus, aequa lancia vel eosdem nefando crimine accusabis, vel sacria 
canonibas favebis eosdemque a calumniatoribus defendes, reliquum 
est at D[eum] 0[ptimum] M[aximum] deprecer ut Te tanquam 
ornamtintum atque aetatis nostrse decus, incolumem et superstitem 
conservet et ad vota exaltet. 

D. T. 111°"'^ atque R"""= 

Humillimus servus 
Lazarus hebreus Viterbiensis. 
fol. 102"— 108\ 
Non sine optima ratione 111™"° et R'""" D"'"', linguam hebream ab 
omnibus dici linguam sanctitatis, cum ille gloriosus Deus sanctiasimus, 
non dedignatus est, cum homiaibus se ipsum commuaicare, et hac 
lingua alloqui, cum qua etiam ipzum universum creavit, ut ostendunt, 
ac demonsfcrant derivationes nominum nostrorum primorum parentum, 
et omnium qui ante linguarum conf usionera vixerunt, cum Adam ab 
Adama, hoc est a terra, derivetur, ut afiirmat textus dum dicit.' Et 
formavit Deus hominem e pulvere terrse ; et paulo inferius ■? et misit 
eum Dominus Deus de horto delitii ad colendam terram ex qua 
sumptus fuerat. Ipse etiam Adam, dixit in primo intuitu mulieris ' 
Iscia ab Isc, hoc est mulier, a viro, dicendo huic vocabitur 
mulier quia ex viro sumpta est, eamque proprio nomine hava, 
a Cai, idest a vivente, dicit enim textus,* et vooavit Adam nomen 
nxoris sui ava quia ipsa f uit mater omnis viventis, ipsa etiam dixit ' 
Cain, a verbo acquiro, et Seed,* a verbo pono. Lemec etiam vati- 
cinando derivavit Noac a verbo consolor, dum dixit,' et vocavit 
nomen eius Noac dicendo iste consolabitur nos ab opere nosti-o et 
a dolore manuum nostrarum et Heber (a quo died sunt hebrei) 
vaticinando etiam ipse dixit." Peleg a verbo divido, quia in diebus 
eius divisa est terra. Lecus etiam confusionis linguarum dictus fuit 
Babel,' a verbo conf undo, quia ibi confundit Deus labium omnis terra. 
Que derivationes omnes in alia quacunque lingua, (hebrea exoepta) 
minima derivari sive deduci possunt. Quamquidem linguam cum 
nomen duxit ab Heber Noe pronepote. Liquide probatur remansisse 
in linea, et successione sanctorum patriarcharum unde pater ipse 
Abraam, ex illis primus. Licet patrie esset Caldeua, Caldaicoque 

' Gen. ii. 7. ^ jb. iii. 23, 

' lb. ii. 23. Comp. Mendelssohn's Introduction to his Translation of the 
Pentateuch. 

♦ lb. iii. 20. 5 lb. iy. 1. 6 lb. iv. 25. ' lb. v. 29. 

8 lb. X. 25. » lb. xi. 9. 



Lazarus Be Viterbo's Epistle to Cardinal Sirleto. 285 

idiomate (quod non maltum ab hebreo distat) pro vernacula, et materna 
lingua usus f uerat, hebream tamen pro sibi propriam retinuit. Unde 
Abram Hebreus ■ sed non Caldeua a patria sua dictus f uit. Unde 
liquide coUigi potest hoc sanctissimum Idioma, omnibus suis 
successoribus tanquam hereditarium relictum fuisse, ut etiam 
derivationes nominum filiorum nepotum ac omnium tribuum de- 
monstrant ut inspicienti apparere potest. 

Additur etiam ad hoc, quod qnando ille summns Legislator, sibi 
ipsi complacuit ut populo sno dilecto de sua sanctissima lege gra- 
tificaretur, noQ ^giptiaco, non Greco, sive alio quovis idiomate, 
illam legem interpretatus est, sed solum musaica lingua, qua tot, 
tantaque sanctissima prophetica verba, tot tantique sanctissimi 
Davidis psalmi, ac denique universa sacra historia, exposita sunt, 
cui certe tanqaaoi omnium perfectissime nee copia, nee ornamentum 
unquam defecit. Licet hodie anxietate popnli sui diminnta repe- 
riatur, f uit tamen alias plena et integerrima, ut ostendit tractatus 
ille tabernaculi divi Moysi, ac templi Regis Salomonis quibus nee 
instrumentorum, nee materierum, nee lapidum nee preciosarum 
gemmarum nomina de quibus opus f uerat def eceruat, sicut in aliis 
occasionibus animalium, volucrum plantarumque nomina, ut aliarum 
rerum de quibus non fuit occasio indigebant,' sic tunc temporis 
minime desiderabaatur, nam qnando poma ilia colloquintide in ollam 
Elisei fuerunt apposita statim nomea illorum pomorum inventum 
fuit. Ait enim et invenit vitem agrestem et coUegit ex ea Pac- 
cuhod,^ boc est eoloquintidos. 

Quod autem attinet ad eius ornamentum, eerte boc mirabile ac 
stupendum existit. Sed ne quid dicam de eiusdem lingue subtilita- 
tibns, dicam tantum quod minime satis exploratum est mihi, que 
oratio gravior, nee quod eroicum poema, secum deferat altius orna- 
mentum, sive suaviorem dulcedinem quam Sacrosancti Davidis psalmi, 
unde merito a sancto spititu dictus fuit,* dulcis carminibus Israel. 
Hec qualis copia maior nee doctior eloquentia, sive maiestate ac 
varietate gravior, que vel superet, vel quidem pari passu ambulet 
cum oratione divinissimi vatis lesaie. Unde ipse furore solito pro- 
fetico gloriando aiebat.' Dominus Deus dedit mihi linguam eru- 
ditorum ut sciam dieere tempore suo sitibundo verbum. In aliis 
enim oratoribus maior dicendi facundia minime invenitur, nee 

' Gen. xiv. 13. 

' The author used here certainly Jehuda Halewi's arguments for the 
wealth of the holy language in his Cusari, ii. 68 ; see Oassel's remarks 
in his second edition of this work, p. 169, n. 3, and Kanfmann, Jehuda 
Halewi, p. 28, n. 3. 

' 2 Reg. iv. 39. ♦ 2 Sam. xxiii. I . ' Jes.l. 4. 

VOL.. VU. U 



286 The Jewish Quarterly Renew. 

alius quidem fuit acrior vel acerbior in reprehensione, nee dulcior 
akque suavior in consolatione nee efficacior in proferendo, ommitto 
magnum pelagum ornamenti et copie aliorum ne tedio sim legenti. 

Si sic est ergo quod sanctissimo sanctorum placuit hoc idiomate 
alloqui, si hao orbem ipsum creavit, si hoc Sanctis patribus in con- 
fusioae linguarum, et snccessire tanquam hereditarium populo 
dilecto remansit, hac exposita ac tractata sunt omnia sancta, lex 
sancta, sancta vaticinia omnia, ac sancti Davidis psalmi ac universa 
sancta historia, iure quidem optimo linguam sauctitatis dici ac ab 
omnibus sic (discrepante nemine) reoipi necesse est. 

Sed si hec sauctitatis dicta est, quia sanctas scriptaras omnes 
exposuit tanto magis ille sanctiasioae repatari debent, dicitur enim 
propter quod unum quodque et illud magis nam si pr^oeptorem 
amamus propter discipulum, discipulum ergo magis amamus. 

Quale ergo delictum aut faoiaus gravius vel atrocius excogitari 
sive imaginari poterimns, quod acerbiori paena sive supplicio 
feriori, dignius reputaretur quam illius qui mala mente excogitaret, 
vol in malo animo conaretur maculare sive corrumpere (animae suae 
pernitiae, totiusque orbis detrimento) minimum quidam de illis 
sacroaanctis canonibus, opus surami Dei gloriosi, quod toti universo 
pro sua universali perpetuaque salute, gratiflcatus est, nescio 
quidem excogitare quod sacrilegium magis impium quod Deo 
maximo magis displicere posset ? 

Immo facile credo, quod Deus ipse gloriosus, pro sua maxima 
charitate et summa pietate, suum opus versus, nunquam permitteret 
tale soelus suum consequi flaem sicut etiam flrmiter teneo, quod 
mirifice actum sit (habita ratione tantarum aerumnarum et 
calamitatum per tot discrimina rerum que musaicus populus 
passus est), illos sanotissimos canones in suo candore et perfeotione 
permansisse. 

Sed quoniam nunquam defecerunt ut nunc non deficiunt ; qui 
hebreos antiques vel modernos aperte oppuguando calumniantur asse- 
rentes ipsos hebreos depravasse et lacerasse scripturas sacras, ideo 
dicunt et affirmant dictis sacris Uteris opus esse correctione cum 
semper hoc egre tuli cum mea quidem sententia, sit alienum, et minimo 
ration! consentaneum, omni conatu [...] evitare vivis rationibus de- 
monstrare. Tuae lU^^o ac R'"''^ Dominationi (cui semper Veritas 
fuit arnica) quod hoc sit impossibile sed potins manifestissima ca- 
lumnia pace ac venia aliter credentium. 

Et primo dicimus presupponendum esse qnod ipsi hebrei vel 
credunt (prout flrmiter certe tenent) eorum leges et canones esse 
divinum opus, eis a Deo optimo miximo pro eorum seterna salute 
gratificatum, vel aliter credunt et tenent, quod siut tantum opus ab 



Lazarus Be Viterbo's Epistle to Cardinal Sirleto. 287 

hominibus excogitatum et f abricatum. Si tenent illos divinos esse, 
secum eorum salutem deferentes, quorsum ego maxima suarum 
animarum iactura proprias leges corrumpere volaerunt ? hoc esset 
potius diabolicum non humanum opus. 

Sed si aliter tenent et credunt, quorsum sic pertinaciter per tot 
secula in errore sibi notissimo permansissent ? f orsan ne propter 
quamplurimas felicitates, plurimasque divitias, magnosque honorea, 
regna et status, quibus sub hoc coelo maxime gaudent ? que cum 
deserere et derelinquere non patiantur perseverant in hao vita 
mundana adeo felici quod propter ipsam altera perennis minime ipsis 
cordi est ? 

An hoc verum sit nee ne, tanquam manifestissimum aliorum iudicio 
relinquo. Secundo dico quod licet Hebrei hoc facere voluissent 
numquam f uisset sibi integrum, propter eorum dissipationem, dispersa- 
tionemque, nam et si universus hebreorum csstus simnl unico loco 
convenisseat adhuc longe eis dificillimum umaniter [i. unanimiter] 
convenisse ut proprias leges corrupissent saepissime enim magna 
copia discrepat in sententia. 

Sed si hebrei per universum orbecn dispersi sunt, nee quidem histo- 
riavetustavel nova legitur, quod ipsi hebrei ab annis 1540 aliqnando 
Gonvenissent quomodo ergo itali iudei, galli, hispani, alemani, greci, 
afrioani, et tandem qui trans Eufratem habitant. Indian! etiam et 
Etiopes poterant in unicam sententiam convenire, ut unum vel duo, 
vel tria vel centum loca sacrse paginse alterarent, sen mutarent ? Ego 
firmiter teneo minime unquam integrum esse cnivis maximo Impera- 
tori etiam totius mundi Monarche eum consensum suum sortiri 
effectum, tanto minus hoc possunt ipsi hebrei qui eorum delicto vel 
infortunio, ubique locorum opprimiintur, nee unquam aliquis inter 
ipsos defuisset, qui toti coelo hoc notum fecisset, tamen textus scrip- 
turarum Italorum maxime conveniunt (sine aliqua minima discrepan- 
tia) cum aliis cuiusvis regionis etiam remotissim© sive quantumvis 
occultsD.' 

Hee autem (mea quidem sententia) adeo efficax apparet, ut sola sit 
sufiiciens veritatem huius facti luce clariorem demonstrare. 

Sed ut omnino calumniantium omnium os claudatur, ex dicendis 

' It is the same argument derived from the harmony and unani- 
mity of all the manuscripts of the sacred rolls in the Jewish com- 
munities from the frontiers of India to the border of Spain, which we 
find already in the Spanish-Arabic literature against the assertions 
of Islam, that the Jews have changed and falsified the texts of their 
holy books. Comp. Abraham Ibn Daud Emuna rama, ed. Weil, p. 80, 
and Maimftni's letter to Yemen in D'ODin nUIK'n l^aip, II. 36, and in 
Holub's edition of Ibn Tibbon'n translation of this Letter, p. 28. 

U 2 



288 The Jewish Quarterly/ Review. 

toti ccelo manifestissime demonstrabitur. An hebreorum intentio 
fuit unquam tueri, defendereque sacras soripturas vel easdem 
corrumpere vel devastare. 

Sed imprimis sciendum esse censeo, quod secundum opinionem 
doctiorum hebreorum doctorum, ante aetatem Esrae hebrei in scrip- 
turis minime unquam usi fuere, nee accentibus nee punctis, quibus 
hodie pro vocalibus utuntur [,] sed loco vocalium tribus Uteris uteban- 
tur scilicet literis '1^ que literarum matres a nostris grammaticis 
dicuntur : nam Alef pro A ; Vau pro o vel u ; led vero pro I vel 
E officio fungebantur. Sed non ubicunque fuerat opus ipsius a, pone- 
bant N alef, nee ubi erak opus v, vel o, ponebant 1 vau, quemadmo- 
dum loco i vel e, scribebatur [''] lod [,] sed tantum opponebantar ubi 
maior urgebat necessitas, alia vero loca omittebant Juditio peritieque 
legentis qui usu et experientia a sue unusquisque preceptore doctus 
sine errore absque litteris vocalibus soripturas legebat, adeo quod 
principalissimus Moyses profetarum omnium, legis lator, interpres- 
que divini oraculi, docuit modum recte legendi (ut isti aiunt) totam 
hebreorum turbam et imprimis Jesuen eius successorem ac univer- 
sum eiusdem gimnasium, istique successive alios profetas et Uli 
alios usquam ad babilonicam transmigrationem, adeo quod professi 
perseverantibus usquam ad hoc tempus, sacra pagina inculpabilti 
incorruptaque semper permansit. 

Sed in universali babillonica hebreorum pernicie atque ruina, 
deficientibus Sanctis hominibus facile pati potera(n)t, sacra scriptura 
iacturam non minimam, nisi etiam profete ipsi, eorumque successio 
perseverassent usque ad secundi templi sediBcationem, ut fuerunt 
Zaccarias, Ageus at alii, inter quos fait Esra diligentissimus scriba 
sacrae legis ut plenam fidem de ipso reddit textus dum ait,' ipse 
Esra ascendit e Babel et erat scriba velox in lege Moysi quam dedit 
Dominus Deus Israel. 

Cum autem cognovisset ipse Esra quanta iactura in plebe iam 
facta ac quanta poterat fieri in dies etiam in viris patritiis, voluit 
viam et modum invenire ut unicuique liceret, sacram paginam sine 
errore perlegere, atque incorrupta omnino conservaretur.^ TJnde ultra 
quamplurima volumina que propria manu scripta reliquit, de qui- 
bus aliqua hodie etiam vivunt ipse Esra cum sua magna academia, 
in qua aderant imprimis : Necamias, Zaccarias, Ageus, Malachias, 
Zerubabel, Jesues maximus sacerdos et alii probi viri usque ad nume- 
rum 120, adinvenit puncta pro vocalibus, et accentus non sine 

' Esra vii. 6. 

" For the history of that opinion see G. Schnedermann, Die Gmtr averse 
des Zudovicus Capdlus mit den Buxtorfen ilher das Alter der hebrdkchen 
Punctation, Leipzig, 1878, p. 25. 



Lazarus Be Viterbo's Epistle to Cardinal 8irleto. 289 

maxima consideratione et altis misteriis, ut facile eligitur ex illo 
textu dum ait,' et legerant in libro in Lege Dei expositi, et posi- 
tus est intellectus et intellexerunt scripturam, unde veteres nostri 
expositores^ intelligunt ex dictis verbis, inventionetn punctorum, 
vocalium et acoentuum ac pausas sententiarum, ac alia altiora, et 
aliqui ex dictis intellexerunt' etiam "TJloa hoc est librum tra- 
dictionis de quo inferius, fuerunt etiam qui dicentes huiusmodi 
puncta, et accentus traditos fuisse a divino oraculo ipsi Moysi, ut 
reliquam scripturam non tamen in scriptis, sed tamen oretenus,* 
ut etiam oretenus aiunt expositio legis universe tradita fuit ab 
Esra delude et sua magna academia fuerunt omnia sic disposita 
ut hodie ordinata sunt. Sed quia base opinio aliqua instantia patitur 
aliqui sibi assentiri noluerunt, sed cum linga hebrea et sacra scrip tura 
tot minutiis, tot punctis, totque aocentibus, repleta sit cognovit ilia 
magna accademia ac Esra' eiusdem primus, quam facile evenire 
posset propter mundana accidentia ut in aliqua particula deprava- 
retur, excogitarunt modum invenire ut quavis oceasione integerrima 
conservaretur, vel si hoc accident, facile ad pristinam integritatem 
et claritatem reduci valeret, et sic inceperunt illi boni viri componera 
monumentum quoddam, quod ex eo quia ab uno ad alterum tradendum 
erat "TIDD e hoc est tradictionem vocabant in quo scripta reliquerunt 
omnia signa, omnesque regulas, quibus sacra pagina in sua sinceritate 
et candore cnstodireturJ At quoniam error cadere poterat in illis 

' Neh. viii. 8. ^ Nedarim f . 37^, 

3 lb., nniDDH 1^^5 rh inOSI. Comp. Jehuda Halewi, Ousari, iii. 31: 
nniDDS p nns?1. My manuscript of Jehuda Ibn Tibbon's translation 
of the Cusari reads : miDD3 p IPINI, but see for our reading : JiniDDD 
Steinsohneider, Catalog der Berliner heirdischen Handschriften, p. 77. 

* For this opinion comp. Jehuda Halewi Cusari, iii. 31, and the ex- 
positions of Buxtorf (the son) in his Traatattis de punetorwm origine, p. 
312 et seq. (Schnedermann, I. c, p. 22 n. 7). 

' Comp. Proflat Duran Efodi in his grammar HDN ntJ'yD, and Schne- 
dermann, p. 25. 

8 For the form miDO see Bacher in the Jewish Qitabteblt 
Kbvibw, III. 785, and Edward Konig, Einleitung in das Alte Testament, 
(Bonn, 1893) pp. 38, 39. The pronunciation of TVjD'Q^ which we find 
there in our text, is also mentioned by Buxtorf. 

' Our author seems as if he had not yet any knowledge of the post- 
talmudical date which Blia Levita assigned to the Hebrew vowels and 
accents in the first and third introduction of his Massoreth Hammassoreth, 
though this book had already been issued many years before this memoir 
has been written, the editio princeps dating from 1538. Comp. Isidore 
Harris in the Jewish Quarterly Review, I. 228-230. But his silence 



290 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

dictionibus que nunc in unum, nunc in alinm modum scribi Solent, 
modo cum una ex dictis matribus modo sine ilia, modo cum uno ex dictis 
punctis sen vocalibus modo cum altero, incepit ilia magna academia 
in his rebus extrema diligentia uti, quequidem academia per multo^ 
annorum centinarios in his elaborando perduravit, adeo quod hseo 
diligentia eo usque pervenit, quod, ne in numero versuum eornm 
caperetur, numerum versuum totius saorae scriptures supputaverunt, 
at ne talis error cadere in dictionibus valeret, eius dictiones omnes 
numeraverunt, sed ne in litteris hie error acoidere posset, etiam 
literas, et characteres omaes per numeros coUegerunt, et tanto 
ulterius progressus est hie labor, quoad invenerunt versiculum ilium 
octavi Levitici qui dicit et posuit super eum pectorale, esse totius 
pentateuci versuum medietatem,' alium vero in decimo eiusdem 
qui dicit, querendo quesivit Moyses, esse eiusdem pentateuci diotio- 
num medietatem querendo ex uno, quesivit ex altero latere.^ In- 
venerunt etiam litteram Van illius dictionis pn3j hoc est omne 
ambulans super pectus ' esse medietatem literarum eiusdem.' 

Nee propria iUi viri[z] fuit satisfactum, nisi etiam numerassent 
versus, dictiones ac literas singulorum capitulorum, ne uni auffierretur 
et daretur alteri, ponendo pro signo inf allibili unius cuiusque numeri 
nomen alicuius viri ut gratia exempli primum capitulum genesis quod 
ab hebreis dicitur Berescid invenerunt habere versus 146 et pro signo 
istius numeri posuerunt HJVOX nomen illius regis, nam calculus 
literarum illius nominis ad numerum 146 ascendit. 

Nam sciendum est, omnes hebreorum litteras in tres ordines divisas 
esse et unamquamque ipsarum numerum aliquem significare. 

Primus ordo est unitatum ab alef prima litera que unum significat 
usque ad ted nonam literam, que novem resultat. 

2"' ordo est denariorum a litera lod que X. refert usque ad 
zadi que 90, importat. 

Tertius vero est centinariorum a cof que centum dicit usque ad 
zadi finalem, que noniagentenus numerus est. Alef vero que in 

cannot be an argument for the assertion that Lazarus of Viterbo did not 
yet know Blias's book ; he used it in other places, but he ignored his view 
on these points designedly. 

' Lev. viii. 7. Comp. Joel Miiller, Maseoheth Soferim, c. IX. Hal. 3 ; 
pp. 134, 135. 

' Lev. X. 16, according to the expression of the Massora BHT N3D ^Tl 
i<3Q. Miiller, ib., and Isidore Harris in the Jewish Quaeterlt 
Review, 1. 139, n. 5. 

' Lev. xi. 42. 

' Kid^sohin f . SO*. 



Lazarus Be Viterho's Epistle to Cardinal Sirleto. 291 

prime ordine, unitatem referebat, in ultimo tota ditio mille signi- 
ficat.' 

Atque ne additamentum vel defectus posset (ut dictum est) 
accidere in caratheribus vel litteris alterius capituli ad aliud nume- 
rarunt etiam literas siagulorum capitulorum adeo quod invenerunt 
literas dicti priml capitis esse 1915 et pro signo huius numeri pone- 
baat 10 fX que litere ad ilium numerum ascendunt, adeo quod 
dictum primum caput duo signa retinuit alterum versuum, alterum 
vero literarum. Secandi capituli dicti Noac, habentis 153, versus 
signum f uit ?K?V5 nomen Ulius boni viri, cuius literaa eundem nume- 
rum referunt, et sic de singulis factum fuit.^ 

Nee ardenti desiderio illorum satis f uit factum, quoniam numera- 
verunt etiam versus omnes singulorum librorum ipsius pentateuci, 
ne ab uno libro ad alterum error committeretur, inveneruntque 
numerum versuum primi libri quern dicuut Genesis esse 1634 
[1. 1534] talis numeri signum fuit ?T IN cuius medietas invenerunt 
esse versum ilium super gladio tuo vives ' at quia hie liber habuit 
12 magna capitula, signum fuit 3KnX nomen illius Regis eiusdem 
capitula minora fuerunt 43. Signum eorum fuit nnn^. nomen Regis 
Salomonis. Literse omnes ipsius G-enesis fuerunt 4395, et sic de sin- 
gulis. Versus omnes totius pentateuci fuerunt 6045 [1. 5845] omnes 
autem eius litersB fuerunt 60045. 

Nee etiam illi boni viri in hoc aoquieverunt, quoniam numerave- 
runt etiam singulas literas totius sacri voluminis, inveneruntque 
alef 42377. Bed 38218. Ghimel 29637 fl. 29537] et sic de singulis 
literis fuit calculatum, quarum numerum, ne tedio sim legenti, 
libenter omitto.* 

' Oomp. the third introduction to Blia Levita's Massoreth Ha-Mas- 
soreth : ItW f^hn PJO^I K ^ ! ° IHE^ip KIHI 'VNDn p'?n »B'»'?B'n P^HI 

[=tota dictio] HNi^Da fj^N p3ni3t xn'3 NEiVsn B>^?"l^ jnn. 

2 From a comparison between this digression and Blia Levita's words, 
I. c, it will be clear, that Lazarus of Viterbo used already his Massoreth 
Ha-Massoreth, and that he did not share his opinion about the date of 
accents and vowels when he pronounces a different view. 

2 Glen, xxvii. 40. 

* The poem from which these dates are derived, is assigned in some 
manuscripts and by Shemtob Ibn G-aon in his jnxn ''12 to Saadja Gaon 

(see Dukes, D^DHp ?m, p. 2), and has several times been edited. Different 
numbers are communicated by Shapira in the " Athenaeum " No. 2626 
(1878, Febr. 23). E. Jair Baoharach f . 272* doubts already the correctness 
of these numbers : E'^-HDO nnni HS'y^ HD ^3N " U n3T 'H nn 1^N3 



292 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

Nee hucusque videntes huius desiderii relaxati fuerunt donee 
altera exquisitissima diligentia uterentur, nam cum quamplurime 
dictiones hebree sint que aliquando scribantur cum aliqua ex tribus 
matribus literarum, quam dictionem tunc plenam vooant, aliquando 
vero eademmet dictio sine ilia litera scribatur, quam dictionem tune 
temporis mancam appellant, ut gratia exempli futura prime coniuga- 
tionis modo soribuntur cum vau in ultima ut ^1p?K, nip??, lipSHj YipS*, 
modo sine ipsa ut 1p9'., "Ip?^, "•???, et sic fere de infinitis aliia 
dictionibus dicendum est. 

Tsti vero ne error accidat in scribendo plenam pro manea, 
et mancam pro plena, numeraverunt ex ipsis, eas ditiones 
que in minori sunt numero, sin enim plene sunt in minori 
numero numerant plenas, si vero in maiori numero, numerant mancas, 
adeo quod que pauciores sunt, semper numerantur, assignando loca 
et signa ponendo ut K'Hi? idest sanctus scribitur cum Vau in ultima 
et dictio est plena, sed numerantur in toto sacro eanone 13 vicibus 
inveniri mancam sine dieta litera Vau in ultima ut EHp sic etiam 
jnx idest area dicunt tribus vieibus inveniri mancam, et sie de 
singulis assignando loca et capitula et signa ponendo.' 

Quod autem dictum est de Vau dieitur etiam de lod ut D^N^K^J, 
hoc est patriarchsB inveneruut dictionem banc quater in ultima 
tantum plenam,^ et quater plenissimam puta in ultima et penultima 
sic etiam numerando dieunt de hae dictione D*S'33 hoe est profete 
et sic de singulis. 

Eamdemmet considerationem habuerunt de alef nam inveniuntur 
quamplurime dictiones plene de alef et aliquando inveniuntur eadem 
sine dicta alef sic etiam de he que in ultimo dictionis venire solet 
dicendum est nam aliquando plene aliquando manche inveniuntur ut 
rcB'!, n^K'NV "^^^' ""^^^ et sic de singulis. 

Nee solum plenitudinem vel defectum dietionum numerantur sed 
etiam mutationes vooalium, nam cum hebrei habeant pro qualibet 
vocali duo puncta ut loco A. habent banc virgulam sub litera 
videlicet que padaeidieitur, et virgulam cum puncto videlicet — que 
dieitur camez quarum una longa altera vero brevis est. Si ergo 
dictiones ille que regulariter punctari deberent padac punetarentur 



DnSDOn ^ma. since Josef del Medigo, nDDH ni^313, ed. Basel, 1629, 
II. 196, the poem is assigned to Saadia b. Josef Bechor Schor, see Zanz, 
Zur Oesehichte, p. 75. 

' Comp. Blia Levita I. e., o. II. 

^ lb. c. 5 ; cf . The Massorah, eii. Ginsburg, II. 290. 

3 Cf. The Massorah, II. 272. 



Lazarus Be Viterbo's Epistle to Cardinal Sirleto. 293 

camez vel e contra, numeraut etiam et assignaot illas dictiones que 
irregulariter punctaatur, ut etiam namerant et assign ant dictionea 
qnarum accentus regulariter esse deberet in ultima et irregulariter 
erit in penultima vel contra. 

Sic etiam assignant et numerant subtilitates et minuties multo 
minores. 

Preterea usi sunt etiam alia extrema diligentia la nucneraado quas- 
dam sententias que sepe numero uno modo, et sepenumero in alio 
modo inveniuntur, ut causa exempli hec que dicit ^N"lB'' [*n7N] 'n 
hoc est Deus Deus Israel et aliquando dicit ^snB" ^n^N niS3S 'n> 
hoc est Deus exercituum Deus Israel sic etiam hec alia sententia que 
dicit 'n '^'yyy. l»oc ^st benedicat tibi Deus et aliquando dicit '^'^'y^\ 
TI*n'?N CriP hoc est benedicat tibi Deus Deus tuus quia hse seu- 
tentiae et similes in utroque modo sepe inveniuntur ne accidat error 
de una ad aliam numerant sententias ne mutarentur et assignant loca 
et capitnla. 

Namerant etiam omoes dictiones in qnibus loco lod ponitur Yau 
vel e contra nt nihil intactum relictum sit. 

Dantar etiam quedam particule replicate et triplicate et quadruplicate 
qaarum alique describuutur cum copula et alique sine ipsa ut nt^ DM 
DKI riK' et has etiam numerant et assignant ut distincte inotescat que 
cum copula et que sine ipsa scribi debent et sic de similibus ab illis 
observatum fuit. 

Si huiusmodi labores et observantie in aliis libris qnam in sacris 
f uissent observate puderet me certe tot minuties enamerasse, sed in 
sacris nunquam fuit tatis superque observatum quam magis non 
deberet observari. 

Nee censendnm est casu et fortuna huiuscemodi dictiones 
aliquando plenas aliquando maacas accidisse, nt fortasse multi 
arbitrari poterant cam propter earn superabundantiam vel 
defectum literarum sensus sive significatum dictiouis neqnaquam 
varietur, sacra enim scriptura cum pecfecta sit tanquam divi- 
num opus nee superflaa nee diminuta esse poterat sed neces- 
sario sic vel sic describi debent, sed ia his rebas fandantur pro- 
fundissima misteria ac sacra archana Theologise cum doctores 
ipsi unicuique minntie reddant rationem. 

Unde ex omnibus dictis nuUus unquam locus calumnise relia- 
quitur ac luce clarias poterit unnsquisque cognoscere, an antiqni 
hebrei habuerunt in animo depravare scripturas an easdem integer- 



> Cf. The Maasora, II. .567. » Cf. The Masxorah, I. 710. 

» Ochlah H"oe*ZtfA,e<l.S.Frensdorfif,N. 79, 230-1. 



294 The Jewish Quarterli/ JReview. 

rimas conservare etsi hodierni rel novi lioet volaissent si hoc 
facere potuissent. 

Unde meo quidetn iudicio ille divas Thomas de A](uino ration! 
oonseataneuca dixit, hebreos esse soripfcurarum saorarum armarium. 

His non obstaatibus malti arbitraatur ac etiam diebus paacis 
elapsis cum quidam bonus vir coneitatus est publice dixit hebreos 
ipsos depravasse versiculnm leremie dioeatis cap. 23/ et hoc est 
nomen suum quod vooabit eum Deus iustus noster dixit enim ille 
quod loco iS"}!?^ hoc est vocabit cum debet legi 1t<1P.* hoc est vocabunt 
inferendo quod hebrei ut aufugerent ne messias vocaretur Deus iustua 
noster corruperunt textum et loco 1Sli?l hoc est vocabunt adaptarunt 
ut legatur IX"]]?* hoc est vocabit eum quasi dicat quod Deus iustus 
noster vocabit eum messiam etc., sad cum in utraque lectura idem 
sensus habeatur quod hebreis attrlbuitur manifestissima est calumniaj 
nam legant Ohristiani vocibuut, legant hebrei vocabit eum, semper 
nomen ipsius messie, erit Deus Deus iustus noster. Nam secundum 
Christianorum lectaram que dicit vocabunt, sensus est quod Israel 
sive Jnda sive omnes gentes vocabunt messiam Deus iustus noster, 
secundum vero hebreorum lectaram que dicit vocabit eum, idem est 
sensus, nam dicit textus in diebus suis salvabitur Juda, et Israel 
habitabit confldenter, et hoc est nomen eias quod vocabit eum Deus 
iustus noster, quod ad Judam vel ad Israel vel ad totum universum 
refertur. Scilicet quod unusquisque eorum vocabit nomen messie 
Deus iustus noster, adeo quod in utraque leotura semper messias 
vocabitur iustus noster, aliter hebreorum lectura imperfecta esset, si 
vocabit eum referretur ad Deum iustum nostrum, qui vocaret nomen 
messie, cum nullum aliud nomen, quo Messias vocaretur referat tex- 
tus ille. 

Nee apud hebreos hoc est inconveniens, cum Idem Hieremias 
cap. 33, dicat in diebus illis salvabitur Juda et Hierusalem habitabit 
confldenter et hoc est quod vooabit eim Deus iustus noster adeo 
quod ex his verbis apparet quod etiam civitas ipsa Hierasalem voca- 
bitur Deus iustus noster et Ezachiel dixit ultimo capitulo et nomen 
civitatis ex hodie Deus ibidem.' 

Et Moyses dixit ad altare *B5 'n hoc est Deus elevatio mea' 
idem dixit Jacob ad altare Deus Deus Israel.'' 

Et parafrasis caldea, et ilU antiquissimi viri qui librum ilium 
tradictionis inceperunt, legunt vocabit eum, et non vocabunt, adeo 
quod nulla relinqaitur ratio nee authoritas hebreos hune locam 
depravasse. 

' .Ter. xxiii. 6. * Ezech. xlviii. S5. 

3 Exod. xvii. 1.'). ' Gen. xxxiii. 20, 



Lazarus Be Viterho's Epistle to Cardinal Sirleto. 295 

Dixit etiam ille bonus vir hebreos etiam covrupisse ilium ' textum 
psalmi 22, et loco -ni, hoc est foderont secundum Christianorum 
lectnram legunt ipsi hebrei *1>f3, hoc est siout leo.' 

Certum est quod paratn refert ad hebreos qualis sit haec lectura 
sed si ipsi hebrai soripturas corrumpere voluissent, ut aufngerent 
Christianorum intentiones, quid fuit in causa quod reliquerunt in- 
tactum capitulum 52 Isaie in quo Christiani fundant omnem inten- 
tionem ? quare etiam intaotum reliquerunt textum ilium Zaccariae 
in cap. 12, et aspicient ad me quem conflxerunt ? ^ quare etiam in libro 
illo dicto traditio' parva * reliquerunt 'JE'? »in3 '")N3, hoc est sicut 
leo bis inveniri in sacris in duo signiflcato 1 et quare reliquerunt, in 
libro dicto traditio magna ' t^nnS '11 p^fOp '3 "I nXD hoc est sicut 
leo quater, inveniri bis cucn caf punctata padac et bis cum caf punc- 
tata camez? ne Christianis relinqueretur anza fundandi suas iatea- 
tiones. 

Sed quod etiam hoc sit calumaia, liquide demon'jtrat antiquissima 
parafrasis Caldea nam cum vidisset secundum leoturam hebreorum 
sententiam diminutam sive imperfectam, adlidit verbura pn33 hoc 
est nacti(m)[n] quod mordentes sen f erientes sigaificat quasi dicat 
congregatio malignantium circumdavit me mordentes sicut leo manus 
meas et pedes meos adeo quod hoc mado etiam Christiani possunt 
habere suam intentionem, lega iquisque ut plaouerit. 

Unde ille E. P. D. Augustinus lustinianus Episcopus Nebiensis in 
scoliis sui psalterii quinque linguarum^ in hoc passu dixit sicut 
leo manus mesB et pedes mei, sive manus m^as et pedes meoa 
constructio defectiva subaudiendumque impii tanquam leo foderunt 
perforaverunt male habuorunt fixerunt aut male traotaveruat etc., 
nee assensio dicentibus hebreos hunc locum corrupisse quod ex 
nostris arbitrantur multi qui dicunt legendum esse apud hebreos 
carii deducta voce a verbo cara quod fodio sive figo sive vincio signi- 
iicat et verum quod hie verborum structus defectivus habeatur, 
liquide ex caldeo textu qui defectui ocourrens addidit verbum Nactin 
quod mordentes sive vulnerantes seu f erientes significit hec ille. 



' Cf . Franeiscus Torrensis, De sola lectione legis . . . Judaiis . . • 
permittenda, p. 27. 

' Cf. G-raetz, Kritisclier Commentar zu den Psalnien, I. p. 228. 

3 Zaoh. xii. 10. " H^top miDD. <> n^iia miDD. 

^ Augustinus G-iustimanua, bishop of Nebbio in Corsica, author of the 
Psalter ium Nehiense (&enua 1517) ; comp. Paries, die in einer Munchener 
Handschrift aufgefundene erste lateinisohe Uebersetzung des Maimo- 
nidischen " Fiihrers," p. .S tq. 



296 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

Uude apparat homines probos qui veritatem diliguut sine suo 
preiudicio vel detrimento iusto tantum acoommodatos esse. 

Hseo pauca, R'"^ et 111""* D. Dominationi tua8 volui dixisse ut si vera 
esse censeas reprimas, rf prehendasque audaces qui contra etiam saoros 
canones absque ulla ratione os aperiunt postergata ratione tante 
sanctitatis atque operis summi Dei gloriosi, qui charitate sua 
atque dementia conserret exaltetque ad vota Dominationem tuam 
Illmam gj j{,mam g^j humiliter gonuflexus me ipsum et omnia mea 
commendo.