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A PBINCESS AS HEBRAIST 509 



A PRINCESS AS HEBRAIST. 

It is a peculiar circumstance that, at the time of the revival 
of letters in Germany, a comparatively large number of women, 
especially such as belonged to royal houses, occupied themselves 
with the study of Hebrew. Thus we find that Maria Dorothea, the 
consort of the Duke of Saxe-Weimar, had advanced so far, that she, 
was not only able to refer to the Hebrew Bible, but was also able to 
read and understand it\ Elizabeth, daughter of the unfortunate 
Frederic of the Palatinate, understood Hebrew; as also did Maria 
Eleanora, the wife of Charles Ludovic of the Palatinate, the same 
who offered Spinoza the chair of philosophy at the University of 
Heidelberg. Johann Cocceius wrote his Hebrew dictionary for Maria 
Eleanora. One of the most prominent of these royal Hebraists, who 
were one and all contemporaries of that bright " Star of the Century," 
Anna Maria Schurman, was the Princess Antonia, daughter of Duke 
Eberhard of Wurtemberg, who was blessed with a numerous offspring. 
Although it may be an exaggeration when it is averred that she read 
the most difficult Rabbinical books, and, what is more, that she 
understood the mystic Cabbala so well that she even surpassed many 
Rabbis, and indeed could shame a number of them^ one thing 
is certain, that she had obtained a good knowledge of the Hebrew 
language and its grammar. M. Esenwein, who was Dean in Uraeh, 
and afterwards professor in Tubingen, wrote as early as July, 1649, 
to his master Johann Buxtorf, in Basle, that Antonia, "who had 
already been well grounded in the Hebrew language, and the reading 
of the Bible, was burning with desire to learn also the art of reading 
the Hebrew text without vowels '," and, three years after, he wrote to 

^ A brief account of female Hebraists was given by M. Steinschneider, 
Hebr. BibUographie, XX, 66 sqq. 

* Hebr. BiUiographie, XX, 67. 

' "Antonia, fundamentis in Ebraea Lingua et lectione bibUorum hebrai- 
corum baud perfunctorie factis, artem sine punetis legend! addiscere 
ardet." The letters of Esenwein and others, who are named here, are 
found in the collection of Buxtorf (father and son), in the town library 
of Basle (6. i. sqq.). 

L 1 a 



5IO THE JEWISH QUAETERLY REVIEW 

Buxtorf that " the Princess was aglow with incredible love of the holy 
tongue, and had already made such progress with it that she had, 
with her own hands, put vowels to a Hebrew Bible written in rather 
large letters by some copyist, and had, besides, acquired a considerable 
knowledge of Hebrew grammar^." 

The fact that Antonia, who never had a Jewish teacher'^, took a great 
delight in the study of Hebrew, is also attested by Philipp Jacob 
Spencer, who had also been a pupil of Buxtorf 's, and who, profound 
scholar though he was, inclined rather to overwrought pietism. 
During his temporary stay at Heidelberg he was on familiar terms 
with Princess Antonia, and together they studied Cabbala, as he 
mentions himself in a letter to Buxtorf of July i6, 1662, adding 
that she really deserved the affection of scholars'. Antonia had 
a great regard for Buxtorf, who, on his part, did not fail to send her 
his works through his pupil, Professor Esenwein of Tubingen, as 
tokens of respect and admiration. After she had received the Cusari, 
Esenwein wrote to Buxtorf, on February 21, 1661: "Our Antonia 
wishes ardently to compare youi- Cusari with the most beautifully 
written copy, left by Weinmann, who was famous as preacher at our 
University and as a Hebrew scholar*." This was probably the same 
copy which Reuchlin had bought at Eome for his own use, and which 
was afterwards presented by Antonia to her brother Henry ^ 

We have already mentioned that Antonia occupied herself with 
the study of the Cabbala ; and evidence thereof is even now preserved 
in the Royal Library at Stuttgart. At that place there is an 
Unterschiedlicher Biss zu SepMroth ("Diagrams to the Sephiroth"), 
containing Cabbalistic diagrams, some few of which are interpreted 
in Hebrew and German, as mentioned by the Librarian in the 
MS. catalogue. These diagrams were drawn by the Princess Antonia 
of Wurtemberg, who delighted in Cabbalistic and Rabbinical lore. 

^ "ut maiorem Bibliorum Ebraicorum partem a manuductore quodam 
Uteris Ebraeis maiusculis sine punctis scriptam punctis suis propria 
manu eleganter vestiverit, adeoque Grammatices sacrae cognitionem haud 
perfunctorie hauserit." 

* " Praeceptorem ludaeum nunquam ipsa habuit," also is written in 
a letter of Spencer to Buxtorf. 

' "Antonia . . . virorum doctorum mereri amorem." 

* "Antonia nostra summo desiderio flagrabat cum ei exenxplar Ebrai- 
cum elegantissime scriptum a cl. Weinmanno, concionatore quondam 
aulae nostrae et Philologo Ebraeo satis claro, relictum ad manus sit, quod 
cum impresso gestit conferre." 

" Spencer saw this copy in the private library of Duke Frederic of 
Wurtemberg. 



A PEINCESS AS HEBRAIST 51I 

This conjecture gains certainty from a letter appended to the MS., 
which bears the heading : 

na ■<h:i iy "rnuy 

" Illustrious, Exalted Princess, Gracious Lady ! " 
and which concludes thus : 

"Zaltz(?), July 19, 1653. 

Pastoe M. Wilhelm Koch ^" 

The praises of the learned Princess, who, by her example, had 
given such a stimulus to the study of Hebrew, were not unfrequently 
sung in Hebrew poems by the clergy of Suavia, and by Hebraists 
of high standing. The following poem in honour of " the celebrated 
Princess Antonia," with the acrostic naDytaiyilD DIDOH ■T'^IOJN, 
translated from Hebrew into Latin by Johann Martin Rebstock, 
Pastor in Laufen, was sent as a curiosity to Johann Buxtorf, and 
is still preserved in manuscript among his collection : 

Laics illustrissimae Principis Antoniae. 

Fama in aulis Magnatum celebratur, D^iyK'n yiM DDJ}' fl^^ 

Bonitas et dementia illustratur, D^")??' '1DN31 lDn3 

Nomen in aetemum laudatur. * D''in "in? nDC b'W 

Corona Dei in ipsius capite fulget, HB'NT bv U^rb^ "lO 

Laus, honor, fides et charitas resplendet, Hda? niONI IDH "nni ^^^ 
Et in omnia saecula nitet. • i^B^ n33^ N^ thw^ 

Puritas instar favorum mel stillan- HBUI EOID pinoi miHtt 
tium CBIV 

Decus Wirtembergiae principum, D''B1?N po "'1?n T\1 

Miserorum asylum et refugium. * DU"l *T D''p''TnDn 

Gloria illius magnificatur, nmSSn ?nj1 

Dominatio exaltatur, nn?B'DD DDIinni 

Principatus ut sol illustratur. • nmi3J3 tyDtyn nt<X3 

' Communicated by Dr. StSssel, Rabbi in Stuttgart. 



;i2 



THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 



In forma speciosa, 
fii sermone graciosa, 
In omnibus nationibus gloriosa. 

Faciei puritas illuminat, 
Instar lucis coruscat, 
Ut ipsum caelum fulgurat. 

Castitas electa, 
Ut luna pulchra, 
Ut sol pura. 

Suavis fortitudinis currus, 
Aspectus ut flamma splendidus 
Benedictus ipsi Dominus. 

Ut ignis absque fumo lucet, 
Ut rosa inter flores fulget, 
Ut vapor gloria surget. 

Odor sicut cassia et cinnamon, 
Fecundus ut granatum, 
Suavis ut ros in Hermon. 

Vestis textilia 
Sicut Saronis lilia, 
Sic et sermonis consilia. 

Inhabitans caelorum culmina 
lungat gaudiorum iubila 
Et avertat malorum nubila. 



Erigens coUapsos, 
Colligens contritos 
Super rivales plantatos. 



Laudem permultam audiet, 
Aquam vitae hauriet, 
Quae iusta sunt perficiet. 

Columna est firmissima, 
Oratio iucundissima, 



' nnnxsn yiw D''Djjn ba 

• -\n)ch d''DB'n ovya 

m'i03i YP "b^ 
• n-i2 nonai njab ns< 

name hn dhni m nn 

te'y ^b nju nisa") 
friB' ma f x pvn p 

• pxin 1113^3 rhvn n^nrae' 

pojpi n:pD 
J1DD1BN3 nnn 
• ponn ^031 

piB''' nj33 nni3D 
piK'n n^sn33 

♦ piJI D^nSK' 3»33 
ni'VD 'DK'3 |3it?n1 

• n^no i»3D mDB»i 

D^^iSn trnp ns3 

* D'-^inc d''o 'jija b D''3ii'N3 

D^moD noE' bb)nf2 
Q^ioj; nnN3D o^n q»d nhn 

• d'pim tDBBTD ncnj; 

dnioyn ^11 
dnoro nnoN 



Prae auro et argento electissima. * dnmm nia''3»T 3nn flD3D 



A PRINCESS AS HEBRAIST 



513 



Mane, meridie et vespero 
Manus aperta misero 
Tenia, contrito ac oppresso. 

Spiritus sapientiae, 
Monilia prudentiae 
Hie habent arcem residentiae. 



dementia ipsius Thronus, 
In fide vera bonus, 
Quem celebrabit colonus. 

Scientia hie subtilior, 
Melle longe suavior 
Et manna caeli gratior. 

Sermo ex ore prolatus, 
Dulcedine roboratus, 
Balsamo non minus odoratus. 

Cantici iucunditas 
Qualis myrti amoenitas 
Tristibus est hilaritas. 



cnnvi -\py\ y\V 

nrai noDn nil 
nJB pN3 piE' noy 
• nana nTiDi'N Nena 

ffohy ND3 P331 31:2 
d-nmsi lom 

r\xm\ nyn n»y 
noycs pinoi 3ic3 

nptnoi n3iy n''iDN n''fen n^nae' tijO 
• npm n innty sitan foE'3 piny 



nnm n^oo -nn jt; ns 



Heroinae fuere multae praeter 
banc, 
Sed existit nulla supra banc, 
Omnes gratia infra banc. 






Laudes eius quis enunciet? 

Laudibus illam quis superet? 

Magna praeda gratiam non vincet. NViM n^ni">DN bv '33N W 



bbr:i' ^d nni^nni nn^JinJ 



We may not be too hard on the poet for his arbitrary use of 
uncommon words. Who was he ? An Italian Count, who lived for 
several years in Wurtemberg, Charles Filibert, Count of Candel, from 
whom some letters to Sybil, daughter of Duke Johann Friedrich of 
Wurtemberg, are still extant in MS., but who is otherwise unknown. 
We only know that his mother had been born a Jewess. 

Antonia studied Cabbala till a few years before her death. When 
she "held in 1673 the so-called Turrim Antoniam, or dedicatory 
address on occasion of the erection in the church of Deinach (Teinach) 



514 THE JEWISH QUAETEBLY REVIEW 

of the Tablet of Instruction voted by Her Grace, and sprung from the 
Cabbalistic tree of mysteries," Johann Christian Rumetsch, Rector of 
the High School of Spiers, honoured her with a long laudatory poem, 
to which he added numerous learned notes '. 

M. Kat^sebling. 

' Speyer, Math. Metzger, 1673. Dr. StOssel writes to me that the royal 
library at Stuttgart possesses also a book from Kaith, entitled Turris 
Anionia, oder Einweihungsrede bei AvfrvMwng der von Antonia in der Kirche in 
Seynach gesii/teten Lehr-Ta/el (fol.)