"The Bodleian Library July display features one of the prominent scholars of the 17th century, John Selden (1584-1654). Inspired by his motto 'Freedom above all things' which he started using in 1619 after being attacked by the church establishment, the display celebrates the 400th anniversary of Selden's first publications. Educated in Oxford and at the Inner Temple in London, he was hailed by his contemporaries as the greatest English scholar of his day. John Selden was the greatest historian of English law before the nineteenth century. But he was also a polymath with an insatiable appetite for knowledge of non-Western cultures. One of the greatest of all Christian Hebraists he also promoted the study of Arabic in England and was the friend and patron of the most important seventeenth-century Arabist, the first Oxford Professor of Arabic, Edward Pococke. Selden's correspondence network grew to encompass scholars from across Europe, and extended eastward to Aleppo in Syria. The books displayed here show some of the breadth of his explorations in diverse cultures and languages"