Trilingual Learning: The Study of Greek and Hebrew in a Latin World (1000-1700)

Raf Van Rooy, Pierre Van Hecke, Toon Van Hal (eds), 2023. Trilingual Learning: The Study of Greek and Hebrew in a Latin World (1000-1700). Turnhout : Brepols. 426 p. ISBN : 978-2-503-60106-9

In 1517, the Brabant city of Louvain witnessed the foundation of the Collegium Trilingue (Three Language College). Funded by means of the legacy of the humanist and diplomat Jerome of Busleyden (d. 1517) and steered by guiding spirit Erasmus of Rotterdam, this institute offered courses in the three so-called sacred languages Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, which students could attend for free. However, this kind of initiative was not unique to Louvain in the early 16th century. In a time span of barely twenty years, Greek and Hebrew were also offered in Alcalá de Henares (near Madrid), Wittenberg, and Paris, among other places. It would not take long before these ‘sacred’ languages were also on the educational agenda at universities throughout the whole of Europe.

The present volume examines the general context in which such polyglot institutes emerged and thrived, as well as the learning and teaching practices observed in these institutes and universities. Devoting special attention to the study of the continuity, or rather the discontinuity, between the 16th-century establishment of language chairs and the late medieval interest in these languages, it brings together fifteen selected papers exploring various aspects of these multilingual undertakings, focusing on their pedagogical and scholarly dimensions. Most of the contributions were presented at the 2017 LECTIO conference The Impact of Learning Greek, Hebrew, and ‘Oriental’ Languages on Scholarship, Science, and Society in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, which was organized at the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the foundation of the Louvain Collegium Trilingue.

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