Two Hebrew grammars and the Enlightenment

This paper concerns the significance, in terms of the place of Anglo-Jewry in the culture of the time, of two Hebrew grammar books, one by Richard Grey1 and the other by Haim Vita Bolaffey,2 found together in the library of the architect Sir John Soane (1753-1837) in his Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London.

The labyrinthine architectural background of the Museum is a fit setting for a subject that focuses on the working of the Enlightenment as it stimu? lated Anglo-Jewish culture in Hanoverian and Regency London. Soane, the son of a brick-maker grown to the height of fame as a professional architect, was an ‘incomer’ to a similar extent to those Jewish acquaintances he encountered through the broadening of intellect and cultural opportunity over the period 1753 to 1858. The books in Soane’s library are a mute testa? ment to the more public workings of the acculturation of the

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