Veltwyck, Gerard

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VELTWYCK, GERARD (d. 1555), German Hebraist and apostate. Little is known of Veltwyck's origins or early life. He was for a time the envoy of Emperor Charles V in Constantinople, and the Marrano physician Amatus *Lusitanus, in his book In Dioscoridis… de medics materia… enarrationes (Strasbourg, 1554), mentions that Veltwyck supplied him with medicinal herbs from Turkey.

Veltwyck is mainly remembered for his violently anti-Jewish Hebrew polemical work entitled Shevelei TohuItinera deserti, de Judaicis disciplinis et earum vanitate (Venice, 1539), printed by Daniel *Bomberg. The text, translated into Latin by Conrad *Pellicanus in 1545, forms part of the manuscript (now in Zurich, Zentralbibliothek Ms. Car. 1102) containing Pellicanus' copy of Guillaume *Postel's kabbalistic treatise Or Nerot ha-Menorah (Candelabri typici… interpretatio), which appeared in Venice in 1548. In his Shevilei Tohu – a mixture of verse and prose – Veltwyck revealed his hostility toward the Kabbalah, which he declared to be both devoid of authority and riddled with lies and fancies.


Steinschneider, Cat Bod, 2701; M.G. Rosenberg, Gerard Veltwyck, Orientalist, Theolog und Staatsmann (1935); F. Secret, Les kabbalistes chrétiens de la Renaissance (1964), 249; idem, in Bibliothèque d'Humanisme et Renaissance, 26 (1964), 164; Baron, Social2, 13 (1969), 180.

[Godfrey Edmond Silverman]