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Article

Sarit Shalev-Eyni

Thirteenth-century Ashkenazi illuminated Bible (Milan, Ambrosiana, MSS. B.30–32 INF). One of the earliest illuminated Hebrew manuscripts originating in Germany, it is a giant manuscript in three volumes, containing the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible. As attested by a colophon at the end of the first volume, the Bible was commissioned by Joseph ben Moses from Ulmana, possibly referring to Ulm in Swabia or to Nieder-Olm in the Rhineland. The Bible was copied by Jacob ben Samuel and was massorated and vocalized by Joseph ben Kalonymus in collaboration with another masorete. The first part was completed between ...

Article

Bible  

Don Denny, Karen Gould, M. Heinlen, Gerhard Schmidt, Nigel J. Morgan and Thérèse Metzger

Term meaning ‘the books’, derived via Latin from Greek, used to refer to the sacred writings of Judaism and Christianity. The Bible is composed of two parts: the Hebrew scriptures or Old Testament, written originally in Hebrew (with some parts in Aramaic), which consists of the writings of the Jewish people; and the New Testament, composed in Greek, which records the story of Jesus and the beginnings of Christianity. The stories, moral teachings, and theological doctrines in the Judeo-Christian Bible have provided subjects for an immense body of visual art. Although predominantly a Christian art form (...

Article

Katrin Kogman-Appel

Hebrew Bible (Jerusalem, National.. Library of Israel., MS. Heb 4°790, and a single page in Toledo, El Transito Synagogue and Sephardic Museum), copied c. 1260, perhaps in Toledo by Menachem ben Abraham ibn Malikh for Isaac bar Abraham Hadad, both members of known and documented Toledan families. At some later stage further decorations were added, apparently in Burgos. The Damascus ...

Article

Thérèse Metzger

Spanish scribe and illuminator of Jewish origin. He worked at Tudela, Navarre, and at Soria, Castile. His colophons allow his hand to be securely identified in five manuscript Bibles. In one case (1306; Oxford, Bodleian Lib., MS. Kenn. 2), he used a conventional colophon; elsewhere, he concealed clues either in the painted illuminations (...

Article

Katrin Kogman-Appel

Richly illuminated manuscript of the Passover liturgy together with a series of liturgical poems to be read during the Passover week (London, BL, Add. MS. 27210), possibly made in Barcelona, c. 1320. This text was to be recited during the seder ceremony at the eve of the Passover holiday. Like most medieval Haggadot (...

Article

Spanish illuminator of Jewish origin. His signature, a full-page colophon in zoomorphic and anthropomorphic characters, is found in only one manuscript, the Cervera Bible (1299–1300; Lisbon, Bib. N., MS. Il.72; see also Jewish art, §V, 1). However, another Bible (1312; Zurich, Floersheim Col., previously MS. Sassoon 82) could also be his work. Since the text of the Cervera Bible was copied in Cervera, Lleida, it has been generally supposed that Joseph trained in an illuminator’s workshop in that city. However, the connection with Cervera might be accidental (Metzger, ...

Article

Gabrielle Sed-Rajna

Hebrew text recited during the Passover celebrations. The Haggadah (pl. Haggadot) consists of a compendium of blessings, prayers, biblical passages, homiletic commentaries, and psalms, and is read during the Seder ceremony on the first night (in the Diaspora, first and second night) of Passover. The actions performed during the ...

Article

Thérèse Metzger

Spanish illuminator of Jewish origin. He is one of the few illuminators whose names have been recorded. He signed only one manuscript, known as the Kennicott Bible (Oxford, Bodleian Lib., MS. Kenn. 1); no other manuscripts can be identified as his work. The date (...

Article

Evelyn M. Cohen

?Portuguese writer of Jewish origin. A treatise on the preparation of colours and gold for use in manuscript illumination (Parma, Bib. Palatina, MS. De Rossi 945) has been attributed to him (for a contrary opinion see Metzger); it is the only extant book of this kind apparently written by a Jew. The Portuguese text is written in Hebrew characters. An ornate signature of Abraham ibn Hayyim appears on fol. 20...

Article

Katrin Kogman-Appel

Illuminated Hebrew Machzor (Leipzig, Ubib., MS. Voller 1002/I–II)—prayer book for holy days—made c. 1310–20. Its two volumes contain the optional liturgical poems commonly recited according to the Ashkenazi rites. The text reflects the specific prayer rite of Worms and, even though this assumption cannot be confirmed by a colophon, it must have served this particular community up to the early 17th century when it was transferred to Poland....

Article

Volume of a large selection of texts, from the Hebrew Bible to 13th-century Jewish writings, copied from c. 1280 to 1290, the first part of which was lavishly illuminated in the late 13th century; some miniatures were added to the end in the second decade of the 14th century (London, BL, MS. Add. 11639). Although of modest size (binding 170×130×85 mm), it contains an enormous variety of texts, 55 copied in the justification of the leaves and 29 copied in the margins, and a veritable treasury of images. The leaves, of very fine parchment, are numbered to 746, but there are in fact 749: 5–739 from the 13th century, 740–45 from the 14th century, and folios 739A and 744–6 added in the 15th....

Article

Machzor  

Gabrielle Sed-Rajna

Liturgical manuscript containing the prayers, liturgical hymns and Bible readings appropriate to each holy day of the Jewish yearly cycle. Such manuscripts first appeared in the 13th century in Jewish communities along the Rhine, becoming one of their most typical productions. These liturgical volumes were often large in format; the ...

Article

Gabrielle Sed-Rajna

Illuminated manuscript copies of the writings of the great Jewish philosopher Moses Maimonides (Moshe ben Maimon; 1138–1204). Of his many works, preserved in numerous manuscripts, the most widely disseminated was the Mishneh Torah, a codification of Jewish religious law. Several magnificent manuscripts, from different periods and locations, have survived. The oldest and most famous is the ...

Article

Gabrielle Sed-Rajna and Shalom Sabar

Parchment scroll containing the text of the Old Testament Book of Esther, which recounts the deliverance of the Jews from persecution in the Persian empire and which was probably written during the reign of the Hasmonean Jewish king John Hyrcanus (reg c. 135–105 bc...

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Collection of Jewish fables and tales completed in 1281. It was the greatest work of the poet, cabbalist and physician Isaac ben Solomon ibn Sahula (b 1244), who studied in Burgos and lived in Guadalajara (Castile). He wrote in Hebrew and drew his inspiration from Jewish culture, conceiving his work as a substitute for the Hebrew translations of ...

Article

Leila Avrin

Minute writing arranged in geometric shapes or drawn as outlines of objects, animals or humans. Hebrew micrography is one of the most characteristic of Jewish art forms.

The earliest Hebrew micrographic texts date possibly from the late 9th century ad and the 10th and were written in Tiberias in ...

Article

Shalom Sabar

In Jewish tradition a minhag (pl. minhagim) is defined as a well-established religious practice or usage, which, though unsupported by Written Law, assumes the force of a binding regulation. However, while the prescriptions of the Written Law are universally accepted by all Jews, a ...

Article

Herbert Kessler

Israeli art historian of Jewish art. Educated first at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, he moved to London and earned an MA in art history at the Courtauld Institute (1959) and a PhD at the Warburg Institute (1962). Returning to Jerusalem, Narkiss rose steadily through the ranks from ...

Article

Evelyn M. Cohen

The most profusely decorated Hebrew codex produced in Renaissance Italy. It is a compilation of approximately 70 works, including biblical, liturgical, historical, legal, philosophical, astrological, Cabbalistic and moralistic texts, many of them with a commentary written in the margins. The religious works include the books of Psalms, Proverbs and Job, a ...

Article

Katrin Kogman-Appel

Illuminated manuscript of the Passover liturgy to be recited during the seder ceremony at the eve of the Passover holiday, also containing a series of liturgical poems to be read during the Passover week (Sarajevo, N. Mus of Bosnia and Herzegovina.), possibly made in Aragon, ...