Dr. Marcello Cattaneo

Areas of specialization:

Renaissance philology; Early Modern Biblical scholarship; Satire and Polemics.

Areas of competence:

English and Comparative literature; History of Theology; Renaissance Humanism; Bibliography.


Personal website

I was trained as a literary scholar in the English Faculties of Oxford (BA, DPhil) and Cambridge (MPhil), where my interests gradually came to focus on early modern intellectual and religious cultures, and especially on the intersection of humanist philology, theological polemics, and satire. At the core of my work is a desire to study how disparate texts travel across linguistic, cultural, and temporal boundaries––how they are reinvented, serve different purposes, and form new knowledge. I believe my work to be ‘literary’ in this expanded sense.

My original research studied the use of satire in scholarly and theological polemics around the turn of the eighteenth century, especially through the prism of the early writings of Jonathan Swift. The monograph (in progress) stemming from this work will explore the multifaceted and polyglot world of learning with which literary texts of this period engaged.

My more recent research concerns biblical philology, and especially the place of Hebrew and Jewish sources in Christian scholarship and theology. The course of study that I plan to pursue at the Polonsky Academy will deal in particular with the use of Jewish mystical texts in Reformed and Lutheran learning between the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries.

Before coming to Jerusalem, I was a Junior Research Fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford. I have also held short visiting positions at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and Marsh’s Library, Dublin.


(forthcoming, 2023): “Like a Cypress among Pliant Shrubs: Kabbalah and Reformed Orthodoxy in the Philologia Sacra of Jacob Rhenferd (1654-1712)”, in Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes.

“Between Law and Antiquarianism: The Christian Study of Maimonides’s Mishneh Torah in Late Seventeenth-Century Europe”, in K. Macfarlane, P. van Boxel, and J. Weinberg (eds.), The Mishnaic Moment: Jewish Law among Jews and Christians in Early Modern Europe (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2022), pp. 237-254.

“Between Antiquarianism and Satire: Tertullian’s De Pallio in the Age of Confessions, c. 1590-1630”, in Erudition and the Republic of Letters 5/2 (2020), pp. 117-162.

“Traditions of Learning around the English Battle of the Books”, in The Seventeenth Century 33/1 (2018), pp. 87-112.

“On Similitudes: Montaigne in Matthew Prior’s Alma and the Late Dialogues of the Dead”, in Philological Quarterly 95/2 (2016), pp. 227-241.