The main subject of this book is the cultural influence of rabbinic and especially talmudic scholarship on some early modern British poets and intellectuals, as mediated principally by Selden, the most learned person in England in the 17th century. To borrow an image from Milton’s Areopagitica: Selden is England’s Osiris, whose scattered limbs can only be gathered up separately, that is, his erudition is too vast to be comprehended in its entirety by one scholar. This book treats only slightly Selden’s notable achievements as a historian of the laws and constitutional institutions of England, concentrating instead on the rabbinical works that constitute his most mature scholarship.
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