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First Beginnings: Egidio Da Viterbo And The Kabbalistic Context Of Syriac Studies At The Time Of The Fifth Lateran Council

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Chapter Summary

This chapter provides the setting of Egidio da Viterbo's interest in Syriac and helps the reader to understand the nature of his influence upon the scholars of the next generation who produced the printed editions of the Syriac New Testament. It discusses three letters of Egidio to Christian kabbalist Reuchlin that appeared in the second 1519 edition of Illustrorum virorum epistolae and gives some indication of Egidio's feelings towards Reuchlin. Egidio would have known of the Dominican Agostino Giustiniani and of the Franciscan Pietro Galatinus who cooperated mutually on the apparatus of their respective works, the Octapla Psalter and the De Arcanis Catholicae Veritatis. Syriac studies from their very beginning had their place within a prophetic schema and a mystical hermeneutic that would remain the context within which they would be pursued by the Western Catholic Syriac scholars responsible for the printed editions of the sixteenth century.

Keywords: Agostino Giustiniani; Egidio da Viterbo; Fifth Lateran Council; Pietro Galatinus; Reuchlin; Syriac New Testament; Syriac studies



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