Lectures and notes on the Psalms, 1725-1728

Emory University

Pitts Theology Library

1531 Dickey Drive, Suite 560

Atlanta, GA 30322


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Descriptive Summary

Creator: Schultens, Albert, 1686-1750.
Title: Lectures and notes on the Psalms, 1725-1728
Call Number:Manuscript Collection No. 432
Extent: .4 cubic feet (2 volumes)
Abstract:This collection contains two volumes of handwritten lectures and notes on the Psalms by philologist Albert Schultens.
Language:Materials in Latin and Hebrew.

Administrative Information

Restrictions on Access

Unrestricted access.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

All requests subject to limitations noted in departmental policies on reproduction.


[after identification of item(s)], Albert Schultens, Lectures and notes on the Psalms, MSS 432, Archives and Manuscript Dept., Pitts Theology Library, Emory University.


Processed by Jonathan Groce, May 2018.

Collection Description

Biographical Note

Albert Schultens (August 22 1686-Jan 26, 1750) is considered the founder of comparative Semitic philology. In his time, there was little to no precedent for the comparison of languages, but he found comparative philology to be a useful mode of inquiry. He is best known for using Arabic to make sense of biblical Hebrew. Throughout his life he was married four times; his first wife, Elizabeth Dozy (d. 1717) was the mother of his son Jan Jacob, who went on to become a well-known Arabist in his own right.

Schultens was a prodigious scholar from a very young age, having written Disputatio de Utilitate Linguae Arabicae in 1706 from his studies under Braunius at Groningen. In 1709 he obtained a Doctor of Theology at Groningen for a dissertation on Mark 13:32. He became a preacher at Wasenaar in 1711, but that did not last long. In 1713, he became a professor of Hebrew at Frankener in 1713, though he did resume some preaching responsibilities four years later. Throughout his career he taught Hebrew, Arabic, and Semitics at various institutions throughout the Netherlands: he was a professor at the Frisian high school until 1729, when he was appointed regent of the provincial council in Leiden. He was a professor of Oriental languages at Leiden from 1732 until his death in 1750. Throughout his career, he continued to propound the importance of comparative philology. While he at first considered Arabic a mother to Hebrew, he eventually considered the two sister languages, and eventually formulates a hypothesis that anticipates major developments in current typologies in language families. Toward the end of his career, Schultens published commentaries on Job and Proverbs (1737 and 1748 respectively), and the works were well-received. He also wrote a few polemical writings in his later years, as some theologians opposed the work of comparative linguistics.

Biographical Sources:

Molhuysen P.C., P. J. Blok, and K. H. Kossmann, eds. Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek. Leiden: A. W. Sijthoffs Uitgevers-Maatschappij, 1924.

Van der Aa, A.J., ed. Biographisch Woordenboek der Nederlanden.

Scope and Content Note

Praelectiones Franeq. Ad Psalmos

The work is a set of Schultens' lectures, dictated to a single scribe who self-identifies as D. Hackmann. The work is dated to 1725-1728. The beginning of the volumes treats Psalm 25-143 and the latter section treats Psalms 2-24. The treatments vary in depth; in some cases, he treats each and every Hebrew word, offering detailed information on the morphology, vocalization, and meaning of the word. In some cases, there are only a few remarks on an entire Psalm. The material focuses on the function of specific words and phrases, whether unpacking the details of their morphology or showing how the function in their contexts. The content appears exclusive neither to an academic nor a pastoral domain. Schultens' interest appears to be strictly linguistic or philological.

Praelectiones Leidensis in Psalmos (Leidensian lectures into the Psalms)

This volume contains notes on the entire Psalter. No specific date is given, though the similarities between the two volumes suggest that they may be contemporary with each other. The notes are written in apparently four different hands (one for 1:1-28:44; another for 28:44-42:12; a third for 42:12-110; and the forth for 111-150.). Although the title page does not say so (as it does in the other volume), the number of hands suggests that these lectures were dictated. The Most of the lectures are brief word study notes, detailing the plurality of meaning a Hebrew word or phrase can have. The attention given to each Psalm can vary depending apparently on the author's interest, with some Psalms receiving detailed exposition of every verse, and others receiving brief treatment on only a word or two in the Psalm. Generally, the beginning of the Psalter receives more detailed attention than the end. Lectures include lexical, philological, and possible text-critical observations.

Arrangement Note

Materials are arranged in their original order of two manuscript volumes.

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Container List

Box Folder Content
1 1 Praelectiones Franeq. Ad Psalmos, 1725-1728
1 2 Praelectiones Leidensis in Psalmos (Leidensian lectures into the Psalms), undated