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MÜNSTER, SEBASTIAN:

German Hebraist and cosmographer; born 1489 at Ingelheim; died at Basel May 23, 1552. He was educated at Heidelberg and Tübingen, and became a Protestant and teacher of Hebrew at the University of Basel in 1529. Münster studied under Elijah Levita, whose grammatical works he edited and translated (1525 et seq.). He also reedited Reuchlin's "Rudimenta Hebraica." After publishing several sections, he issued a complete Hebrew Bible in 1536, with German translation. This was the first complete edition of the Hebrew text by a Christian. He published also a Chaldaic (1527) and a rabbinical (1542) grammar—the materials for the former derived from the "'Aruk," the latter of elementary character; a Jewish calendar (1527); an edition and translation of "Yosippon" (1529-41); and a list of the 613 commandments from the "SeMaG" (1533). He was the first to translate any part of the New Testament into Hebrew, publishing the Gospel of St. Matthew in that language in 1537. All of these works were printed at Basel in a very clear type.

Bibliography:
  • L. Geiger, Gesch. des Studiums der Hebräischen Sprache in Deutschland, etc., pp. 74-88, Breslau, 1870;
  • Perles, Beiträge zur Gesch. der Hebräischen und Aramäischen Studien, pp. 20-44, Munich, 1884;
  • Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. cols. 2012-2016.
T. J.
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