Bodley, Sir Thomas°

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BODLEY, SIR THOMAS ° (1544/45–1613), English diplomat and bibliophile. Born in Exeter, England, his education began in the Geneva of Calvin and Beza (Bèze) as a Protestant refugee from the Marian persecution. There he learned Hebrew from Chevalier, later continuing his study under Drusius at Oxford. He acquired sufficient competence both to teach Hebrew and to decipher a medieval Anglo-Jewish shetar. Bodley traveled widely on the continent, largely on diplomatic missions, and was Elizabeth's permanent resident at The Hague from 1589 to 1596. His quite considerable Hebrew expertise is reflected in the elegy which he contributed to the memorial volume for Bishop John Jewell of Salisbury (Ioannis Iuelli… Episcopi Sarisbuniensis vita et mors (London, 1573)), in which there occur post-biblical Hebrew terms as applied in Italy and elsewhere to the Catholic hierarchy (afifyor, "pope"; ḥashmannim, "cardinals"; hegmon, "bishop"; etc.). Bodley's fame rests upon his munificent restoration of Oxford's public (i.e., university) library, thereafter called the *Bodleian.


G.W. Wheeler (ed.), Letters of Sir Thomas Bodley to Thomas James (1926); C. Roth, in: Bodleian Library Record 7, (1966), 242ff.; idem, in: Oxoniensia, 15 (1950), 64f.; Trecentale Bodleianum (1913), includes The Life of Sir Thomas Bodley Written by Himself (London, 1703). add. bibliography: odnb online.

[Raphael Loewe]