Star of the Messiah


This book, entitled Stern des Meschiah (Star of the Messiah) and published in 1477, is an expanded German version of the Latin Tractatus contra Iudaeos (Treatise against the Jews) published in 1475. In this polemic work written by the Dominican friar Petrus Nigri (circa 1434–83), the author, principally relying on the Old Testament, attempts to demonstrate the verity of Christianity and the falsity of Judaism and its doctrines based on the Talmud. While the main part of the text cites many passages from the Old Testament in Latin, German, and Hebrew—the latter using the Latin alphabet—the appendix contains a short introduction to the Hebrew alphabet and its pronunciation, illustrated with numerous examples of words written in Hebrew letters and corresponding transliterations into the Latin alphabet. Nigri’s explanatory notes generally are based on the pronunciation and orthography of the Hebrew language as it was used in Spain, which he had learned from a Jewish teacher while studying in Salamanca. However, in some instances he draws attention to the differences between the Spanish-Jewish and German-Jewish pronunciation and orthography of the language. Despite making some errors, Nigri is recognized as one of the best scholars of Hebrew among his Christian contemporaries. Until the publication of Johannes Reuchlin’s De rudimentis hebraicis (The rudiments of Hebrew) in 1506, Nigri’s introduction to Hebrew was widely read. This edition was published by Konrad Fyner, who was probably born in Strasbourg and first worked as a printer in Esslingen between 1473 and 1479 and later in Urach. The Tractatus contra Iudaeos and Stern des Meschiah are the first German printed books in which Hebrew typefaces were used.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Konrad Feyner, Esslingen am Neckar, Germany

Title in Original Language

Stern des Meschiah


Type of Item

Physical Description

322 folios : illustrated


  • BSB shelfmark: 4 Inc.c.a. 99 m
  • This description of the work was written by Paul G. Dannhauer of the Bavarian State Library.

Last updated: March 16, 2017