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Scaliger, Joseph Justus°


SCALIGER, JOSEPH JUSTUS ° (1540–1609), French scholar and philologist. Scaliger was the tenth child of Julius Caesar Scaliger (Giulio Cesare Della Scala, 1484–1558), who was an outstanding humanist, well known for his controversies with Erasmus and Rabelais. He became a Protestant in 1562, and ten years later fled the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, but returned to France in 1574. From 1593 until his death he was a professor at the University of Leiden, where the prevailing liberal Calvinism was in harmony with his own views. Holding an unusually tolerant and enlightened attitude toward the Jews, he considered them the best teachers of Hebrew, particularly for students of rabbinic literature. Basing himself on the findings of Elijah *Levita, he maintained that the Hebrew vowel points were of masoretic origin and that the Zohar was post-talmudic, a stand that was later challenged by Johannes *Buxtorf (ii). Scaliger's library contained a manuscript translation of the Zohar by *Egidio da Viterbo.


L. Moréri, Grand Dictionnaire Historique, 9 (Paris, 1759), 224–5; J. Bernays, Joseph Justus Scaliger (Ger., 1855); L. Sainéan, La Langue de Rabelais, 2 (1923), 497ff.; F. Secret, Le Zôhar chez les kabbalistes chrétiens de la Renaissance (19642), 34ff., 100; idem, Les Kabbalistes chrétiens de la Renaissance (1964), 212, 334–5.

[Godfrey Edmond Silverman]

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