Puritan and conformist divines both sought to “own the Hebrew doctors” just as they had appealed to patristic sources in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The puritan Walter Travers drew upon the rabbinic commentary of Abraham Ibn Ezra to argue for the refashioning of the church in the 1570s. Elizabethan ecclesiastical controversy in turn helped “invent” central features of avant-garde conformity by prompting Richard Hooker's use of Jewish precedent to stabilize the church from the 1580s onward. Mutual claims to the Hebrew doctors exposed disagreement over how to proportion the New Testament church in relation to layered Jewish tradition. Yet, by the early seventeenth century, the separatist Henry Ainsworth began to make more extensive, even promiscuous, use of Maimonides. This signaled movement away from simply attempting to “own the Hebrew doctors” to conscripting Jewish authorities as more active, and less mediated, participants in early modern debate.

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