Le Cercle is dedicated to content creation, enhancement and dissemination of recovered works by editing and translating manuscripts and facsimiles through paleography, transcription, scientific research and bibliography.¹ The edited copies are then sent to public libraries, to collaborating scholars and bookstores.
Le Cercle has carried out numerous activities in the fields of bibliography, translation, publication, and the promotion of ancient texts, through paleography and the digitization of approximately one million words of clandestine manuscripts and facsimiles in Judeo-Spanish, Romance Spanish, Old French, Latin, and Hebrew from the 16th to 18th centuries.This volunteer work has resulted in the editing and publication of thousands of pages with introductions, bibliographies, annotations, and revised citations. These works have been grouped together in the book collection entitled Veritas è Terra Orietur, founded in 1625 by Menasseh Ben Israel, born in France, in La Rochelle (Charente-Maritime) in 1604.²
The motto of the collection means in Latin “Truth shall come out of the Earth” (Psalm 85:12). It alludes to the tradition of burying sacred texts that can no longer be used (because they are eroded) to prevent them from being profaned. Through this collection, Le Cercle revives these forgotten authors from the past, who have been left behind by society, in the digital age.
Le Cercle has been cooperating since 2018 with the non-profit corporation Shehakol Inc.³ and the digital library Sefaria.org, of which a book by Menasseh Ben Israel on the Resurrection of the Dead was translated and placed under an open Creative Commons license in 2020.⁴
The Association’s work has also enabled the paleography and translation of the manuscripts of Isaac Orobio de Castro (1617-1687), the royal physician of Louis XIV, who influenced Leibniz’s metaphysics and the refutation of the materialist paradigm in his “Philosophical Case in Defense of Divine and Natural Truth.”
This publication was introduced by Seymour Feldman, an award-winning author and translator, emeritus professor of philosophy at Rutgers University (New Jersey, USA).⁵
In 2023, Le Cercle published and released its first book in French, the complete collection of Leibniz’s Latin notes on Maimonides.⁶ The book is prefaced by the renowned paleographer and translator of Leibniz, Lloyd Strickland, a Professor at the University of Manchester.⁷
As a result, the organization was recognized as a public benefit entity in the preservation of public goods (classical books) when the market failed to do so.
Although the sale of books is a small source of revenue, the main aim of the organization is to promote the intangible cultural and educational heritage, not for profit. Therefore, the prices have been set at an affordable level, thus allowing the diffusion of translations that have already interested hundreds of young readers. They can be found in public libraries such as the National Library of France, the Library of Congress in Washington,⁸ the National Library of Israel,⁹ and the Library of Harvard University,¹⁰ among others.
At the end of the year 2023, the Circle edited and published both in French and English the first modern-language translation of “De Creatione Problemata XXX” (1635) by Menasseh Ben Israel, titled Thirty Problems Concerning Creation. The second Latin work in this collection was translated into French by the professor of Classical Literature, Yannik Pisanne, and into English by Walter Hilliger. Once again, Seymour Feldman contributed as a highly qualified introducer.¹¹
The association Le Cercle will continue to promote the universal literary and philosophical heritage by offering quality transcriptions and translations and by contributing to the revalorization of authors of the French national archive.
²(Bethencourt, 1904 ; Levy, 1924 ; et p. 136, Solomon, 1983; p. 65, Meinsma, 2006).
⁶ Maïmonide, Moïse ; Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm ; Strickland, Lloyd & Hilliger, Walter (2022) Anthologie du guide de Maïmonide par Leibniz, 2023, ISBN : 978-2-494509-00-9
Le Cercle Hilliger | France Association loi 1901 | SIREN 893 382 523 | APE 5811Z