… Horologium Hebræum, sive Consilium, quomodo sancta lingua spacio XXIV. horarum,.

London, typis Thomæ Paine: venit apud Philemonem Stephanum, & Christophorum Meredith, 1639.


8vo. pp. [xvii], 139, [ii], 14, [2ii. folded plate. A⁸(-A1+a⁴) B-K⁸ L⁴. First blank, “‘Rota Hebræa’ has separate dated title page and pagination; register is continuous. A reissue of the edition dated 1638, with title page cancelled by quire a⁴.” ESTC. Roman, Italic, and Hebrew letter, some Greek. Title within double rule border, small woodcut device of the Hebrew Clock, historiated and floriated initials, typographical headpieces and ornaments, some woodcut set music, “Johannis Sladerus” in a contemporary hand on front fly. repeated on rear fly “Johan Slad Coll. Regal”, “James Dowland” in a slightly later hand at head of errata and t-p. Light age yellowing, very rare margin mark or spot. A very good copy in contemporary sheep, covers bordered with a double blind rule, spine double blind ruled in compartments, a.e.r., small split in upper joint, covers scratched and rubbed, corners worn. 

Rare second edition published in England, a reissue of the first of 1638, of this most influential Hebrew Grammar, complete with the engraved plate, in fact an unmade volvelle intended to be used as an aid, with the right hand section placed over the left, as a grammatical instrument. Wilhelm Schickard was a German astronomer, mathematician and Professor of Hebrew at the University of Tübingen. As part of his teaching he sought simple methods for students to learn the language. One method he created was this Rota Hebræa, a volvelle showing conjugations. He also created the Horologium Hebræum, ‘the Hebrew clock’, a textbook in 24 sections, each of which could be learnt in an hour, allowing the learning of the language in a day. The work was incredibly popular, and went through many editions. Newton is known to have owned a copy as part of his study of Hebrew..

“Born in Herrenberg, Germany, on April 22, 1592, Wilhelm Schickard was a brilliant student. Little is known about his early life. In 1611 he obtained a master’s degree at the University of Tübingen and then studied theology. From 1613 he was vicar at several places in Württemberg until he was appointed deacon in Nürtingen in 1614. Johannes Kepler, who had come to Tübingen to defend his mother in a witch trial, met him there in 1617. For Kepler’s work Harmonice mundi he made several copper engravings and woodcuts. In 1619 he was appointed professor of Hebrew at the University of Tübingen. In his teaching activities, he looked for simple methods to make learning easier for his students. Thus he created the Rota Hebræa, a representation of the Hebrew conjugation in the form of two rotating discs which are placed on top of each other and allow the respective forms to appear in windows. To study the Hebrew language, he created the Horologium Hebræum, the Hebrew clock, a textbook of Hebrew in 24 chapters, each to be learned in one hour. This book was Schickard’s best-known and was reprinted repeatedly until 1731” .

Schickard was a gifted mechanic as well as a polymath. Before his death of the plague at 43 he developed a theory of the moon’s orbit, wrote in support of provincial mapping and probably built the first mechanised calculator, two decades before Pascal’s more successful effort. A very good copy of this rare English edition. 

ESTC S116778. STC 21816.5


Print This Item Print This Item