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The Late Medieval Hebrew Book in the Western Mediterranean

tudes sur le judasme mdival

Founding Editor

Georges Vajda

Editor-in-Chief

Paul Fenton

Editors

Phillip Ackerman-Lieberman, Benjamin Hary, and Katja Vehlow

VOLUME 65

The titles published in this series are listed at brill.com/ejm


The Late Medieval Hebrew Book
in the Western Mediterranean
Hebrew Manuscripts and Incunabula in Context

Edited by

Javier del Barco

LEIDEN | BOSTON

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

The late medieval Hebrew book in the Western Mediterranean : Hebrew manuscripts and incunabula in
context / edited by Javier del Barco.

pages cm. (tudes sur le Judasme Mdival; Volume 65)


Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-90-04-25006-2 (hardback : alk. paper) ISBN 978-90-04-30610-3 (e-book : alk. paper)
1.Manuscripts, HebrewSpainHistory.2.Manuscripts, HebrewPortugalHistory.
3.Manuscripts, HebrewItalyHistory.4.Western MediterraneanEthnic relations.I.Barco, Javier
del, editor.II.Beit-Ari, Malachi. Commissioned and owner-produced manuscripts in the Sephardi zone
and Italy in the Thirteenth-Fifteenth centuries. Container of (work):

Z115.4.L38 2015
091.089924dc23
2015029109

issn 0169-815X
isbn 978-90-04-25006-2 (hardback)
isbn 978-90-04-30610-3 (e-book)

Copyright 2015 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.


Koninklijke Brill NV incorporates the imprints Brill, Brill Hes & De Graaf, Brill Nijhoff, Brill Rodopi and
Hotei Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system,
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This book is printed on acid-free paper


Contents

Acknowledgmentsvii
A Note on Transliteration and the Use of Foreign Languagesviii

Introduction1
Javier del Barco

Section 1
Producing and Circulating Manuscripts

1 Commissioned and Owner-Produced Manuscripts in the Sephardi Zone


and Italy in the ThirteenthFifteenth Centuries15
Malachi Beit-Ari

2 Immigrant Scribes Handwriting in Northern Italy from the Late


Thirteenth to the Mid-Sixteenth Century: Sephardi and Ashkenazi
Attitudes toward the Italian Script28
Edna Engel

3 Studia of Philosophy as Scribal Centers in Fifteenth-Century Iberia46


Colette Sirat

4 Jewish Book Owners and Their Libraries in the Iberian Peninsula,


FourteenthFifteenth Centuries70
Joseph R. Hacker

Section 2
Conceptualizing the Hebrew Book

5 Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan107


Eva Frojmovic

6 The Scholarly Interests of a Scribe and Mapmaker in Fourteenth-


Century Majorca: Elisha ben Abraham Bevenisti Cresquess
Bookcase148
Katrin Kogman-Appel
vi contents

7 Leazim in David Kimhis Sefer ha-shorashim: Scribes and Printers


through Space and Time182
Judith Kogel

Section 3
Crossing Linguistic and Religious Boundaries

8 Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations from Hebrew


Literature203
Sonia Fellous

9 The Artist of the Barcelona Haggadah249


Evelyn M. Cohen

10 Quotations, Translations, and Uses of Jewish Texts in Ramon Marts


Pugio fidei266
Philippe Bobichon

Section 4
Printing in Hebrew on the Eve of the Iberian Expulsion

11 Unknown Sephardi Incunabula297


Shimon M. Iakerson

12 What Do We Know about Hebrew Printing in Guadalajara, Hjar, and


Zamora?313
Adri K. Offenberg

13 Techne and Culture: Printers and Readers in Fifteenth-Century


Hispano-Jewish Communities338
Eleazar Gutwirth

General Index369
Index of Manuscripts and Incunabula379
Acknowledgments

As editor, I would like to acknowledge the direct and indirect assistance of


many people and institutions. I am especially grateful to Esperanza Alfonso
for her support and trust. Her research project INTELEG: Intellectual and
Material Legacies of Late Medieval Judaism: An Interdisciplinary Approach,
funded by the European Research Council for 200912, has made possible this
and other books, as well as conferences and other related activities. I am also
thankful to the rest of the members of this research project for their continu-
ous inspiration and helpJonathan Decter, Arturo Prats, and Ryan Szpiech.
Deirdre Casey has enormously contributed to this volume as copyeditor, and
Brills anonymous peer reviewers provided useful criticism and suggestions.
Finally, I am deeply grateful to the authors of the chapters in this volume, who
have been generous enough as to patiently collaborate and respond to my
numerous questions and concerns.
A Note on Transliteration and the Use
of Foreign Languages

Hebrew names have been Anglicized when an English version of the name
exists. Other names have been transcribed using the forms that appear in the
Encyclopedia Judaica, without diacritics, whenever this has been possible.
However, modern authors with Hebrew names are cited using the Latinized
forms of their names appearing in their publications.
Common Hebrew terms such as Talmud, Mishnah, midrash, and
halakhah, and their related forms have been treated, concerning spelling
and capitalization, according to the rules given in The SBL Handbook of Style
(Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1999). Place names are
given in English when a conventional form existssuch as Saragossa and
Aragon in lieu of Zaragoza and Aragn, respectivelyexcept when the local
form is used in the name of an institution or a publisher, such as Diputacin
de Zaragoza or Archivo de la Corona de Aragn.
Hebrew titles are given either in English, when such a title is provided in the
publication, or in transliterated Hebrew following sentence-style capitaliza-
tion and using a simplified transliteration, in which each letter is represented
by its Latin counterpart, with the following specifications: alef = represented
only in the middle of a word; fricative bet and vav = v; he and het = h; tet and
tav = t; fricative kaf = kh; samekh and sin = s; ayin = ; fricative pe = f; tsadi = ts;
qof = q; and shin = sh. Matres lectionis are not represented, except for the final
he when indicating the sound /a/. Dagesh forte is represented by doubling the
consonant where it appears, except when it is a result of assimilation. The arti-
cle, conjunctions, and prepositions attached to the word in Hebrew are sepa-
rated in transliteration by a hyphen, as in ha-hinnukh. Titles in languages other
than English and Hebrew are given using sentence-style capitalization, except
for German, where its own systemcapitalizing nouns onlyhas been used.
Introduction
Javier del Barco
Instituto de Lenguas y Culturas del Mediterrneo, CSIC, Madrid

The history of Hebrew manuscripts is a part of a wider history, that


of Arabic, Byzantine and Latin manuscripts, and it can only fully be
approached in the context of the general and comparative study of contem-
porary manuscripts.1

Few historical artifacts tell us as much about a civilization as the books it pro-
duces. This is especially true in the case of medieval Jewish civilization, for
two reasons: one, the fact that books are among the few artifacts produced
by Jews and converts that have come down to us from the Middle Ages; and
two, the high level of literacy in medieval Jewish communities compared with
neighboring non-Jewish communities, and consequently the broad social
spectrum from which copyists and readers could be drawn. Due to its mul-
tifaceted nature, the book can be studied both from the perspective of its
materiality, its production, use, and history up to the present, as well as from
the perspective of the history of texts and intellectual history by focusing on
the transmission, dissemination, and impact of the works that books serve as
vehicles for. The history of the Hebrew book therefore comprises not only the
history of its production and distribution as a hand-made and art objecta
product of technique and aestheticsbut also the history of ideas and their
circulationa product of an intellectual endeavorthroughout Europe and
the Mediterranean, understood in the widest sense to encompass all the politi-
cal entities and cultural areas that arose with the fall of Rome and developed
around the Mediterranean during the Middle Ages.
The diasporas of the Jewish people that took place beginning in Antiquity
created in the Middle Ages a web of Jewish communities dispersed among var-
ious political entities and in contact with different cultural traditions. In reli-
gious terms, these cultural areas were characterized on different sides of the
Mediterranean by the preponderance of either Christianity or Islam. Jewish
communities were part of complex social frameworks that were established
to the east, west, north, and south of the Mediterraneanfrom pre-Islamic
Yemen to the Persian, Byzantine, Umayyad, Abbasid and Ottoman empires,

1 Colette Sirat, Hebrew Manuscripts of the Middle Ages, ed. and trans. Nicholas de Lange
(Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2002), 1617.

koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 5|doi .63/9789004306103_002


2 Introduction

and Fatimid Egypt in the eastern Mediterranean, to the new political entities
that arose in the West, such as Carolingian France, Norman England, the Holy
Roman Empire, the different Italian states, Muslim and Christian Iberia, and
the Almohad and Almoravid empires. The cultural production of these Jewish
communitiesof which the book is an essential partcannot therefore be
understood without an adequate examination of the historical and especially
social, economic, and cultural contexts in which these communities developed.
This is precisely the case when studying the production of the manuscript
book. The codex was adopted and developed in all medieval Mediterranean and
European societies and became the dominant medium for the transmission
of knowledge in all fields and cultures. Medieval Jewish communities are no
exception, and while the scroll format was alwaysthough not exclusively
maintained in the liturgical context for the reading of the Bible in synagogues,
the production of codices was adopted on a massive scale. The characteristics
of the material production of these Hebrew codices, the aesthetic consider-
ations in the arrangement of page layout, the iconographic program, and the
different paleographic types and modes of script that were used are all strongly
influenced by the cultural milieu in which the manuscripts were copied.
Malachi Beit-Ari has coined the term geo-cultural entity to refer to areas
that have their own peculiarities as regards the material production of the
codex and especially as regards paleographic types.2 His classification scheme
includes five geo-cultural areas where medieval Jewish communities produced
manuscript books with certain identifying codicological and paleographical
features. Beit-Ari has named these areas Orient (with sub-areas in Persia and
Yemen), Byzantium, Italy, Ashkenaz and Sepharad. Manuscript production in
Hebrew in each of these areas cannot be understood without reference to the
dominant manuscript culture in the corresponding area. The most obvious
example of this is the paleographic types associated with each area. The devel-
opment of distinctive paleographic characteristics in the script of each area has
much to do not only with the writing implements that were used, the method
of copying, and the posture of the copyist, but also with aesthetic trends in the
visual layout of the page in codices copied in the dominant scripts, whether

2 For the first time in Hebrew Codicology: Tentative Typology of Technical Practices Employed
in Hebrew Dated Medieval Manuscripts (Paris: Institut de recherche et dhistoire des textes,
CNRS, 1977), 1319; most recently in Hebrew Codicology: Historical and Comparative Typology
of Hebrew Medieval Codices Based on the Documentation of the Extant Dated Manuscripts in
Quantitative Approach (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities Press, forth-
coming. Prepublication Internet version 0.4 [Hebrew], 2014: http://web.nli.org.il/sites/NLI/
English/collections/manuscripts/hebrewcodicology/Pages/default.aspx.), 5964.
Introduction 3

Latin, Greek, or Arabic.3 In this way, medieval Hebrew scripts are not only
affected by contact with the surrounding culture, they are also part of writing
systems that incorporate the use of different alphabets,4 and they exemplify
better than other elements how the general modes of production and copying,
as well as prevailing aesthetic trends, have a profound effect on the creation of
Hebrew books.
Therefore, if we want to contextualize the material production, paleo-
graphic analysis, page layout, organization of the text, or iconographic pro-
gram of a codex written in Hebrew, it is necessary to know about these same
elements of manuscript production in the surrounding culture, since the
techniques, material, writing habits, aesthetic canons, and other fundamental
aspects of book production are shared within each region or area regardless
of the language the codex is written in or the religion of the community in
which the manuscript is produced. Comparative analysis is, therefore, an obvi-
ous and indispensable requirement.5 This is not to say that there are not cer-
tain contexts, such as liturgy, where different religious communities transmit
and reproduce ritual aspects of copying that are unconnected to those of other
religions. However, that does not preclude us from recognizing the effects of
contact with surrounding cultures in the different levels of book production,
even in the production of Hebrew Bibles in codex format. For this reason,
research on comparative codicology and paleography in recent decades has
been especially fruitful in the field of Hebrew codicology and the production
of Hebrew manuscripts. To define the terms of comparison, then, becomes
methodologically relevant, and that definition must take into account the geo-
cultural area that produced the manuscript or group of manuscripts.
Many European and North American libraries with medieval and early-
modern manuscript holdings tend to divide their collections into western and
eastern manuscripts, and likewise, in general, their catalogues. This division,

3 
See Malachi Beit-Ari, Hebrew Manuscripts of East and West: Towards a Comparative
Codicology; The Panizzi Lectures, 1992 (London: The British Library, 1993), esp. 2578.
4 See Colette Sirat, Writing as Handwork: A History of Handwriting in Mediterranean and
Western Culture, Bibliologia 24 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2006), 310: An individuals writing system
is nested in another system, which includes other persons writing at the same time in the
same culture [...] This period-cultural system is in turn nested in another system, that of the
particular species of writing [...] It is also part of a larger style that encompasses different
writing systems, such as the Gothic style common to Latin and Hebrew.
5 See Malachi Beit-Ari, Why Comparative Codicology?, Gazette du livre mdival 23 (1993), 3:
The necessity for a comparative approach in the study of Hebrew codices whose methods of
production were interwoven with other, major and minor, traditions of book production, is
self-evident.
4 Introduction

which is highly problematic in many regards, continues to be used probably


because it facilitates an initial categorization of medieval manuscript produc-
tion into two blocks. However, the underlying reason for this division stems
from a generic classification of the language in which a manuscript is writ-
ten, and not of the place or socio-cultural milieu in which it was produced.
Although this method of categorization might work in some cases, especially
when manuscript production in a particular language is limited to a single,
well-defined geographical area over time, Hebrew manuscripts fit poorly into
this rubric. The reasons were outlined above: the centers of Hebrew manu-
script production are as geographically dispersed as were the medieval Jewish
communities themselves; and in any of the defined geo-cultural areas around
the Mediterranean, the copying of manuscripts in Hebrew is part of a regional
system of book production in which the acquisition of techniques, writing
styles, and aesthetic norms are mostly shared regardless of the religious iden-
tity of the copyist. A Hebrew manuscript copied in the north of the Iberian
Peninsula in the fifteenth century will therefore have more in commonin
terms of material production, paleographic characterization, textual organiza-
tion, iconographic program, and even in some cases, the selection of texts
with a Latin, Castilian or Provenal manuscript from the fifteenth century
than with another Hebrew manuscript copied, for example, in Damascus in
the twelfth century.
Nonetheless, it is not uncommon to interpret a codex in a manner that is
unconnected to its immediate context. For example, the use of decorative ele-
ments that are typical of Islamic art, such as carpet pages, and the iconoclastic
nature of Iberian Hebrew Bibles compared with, say, Passover haggadot, have
led some authors to point out a striking adherence to Oriental aesthetic mod-
els in a large portion of the Hebrew Bibles produced in the Iberian Peninsula
between the thirteenth and the fifteenth centuries.6 These models would have
been exported from the eastern Mediterranean via North Africa to the Iberian
Peninsula, following the same route as the spread of Islam to Al-Andalus and
would have remained in the memory and tradition of Jewish copyists of the
Hebrew Bible in the Iberian Christian kingdoms. The explanation for the use of
certain aesthetic and conceptual models is linear in this case and independent

6 For example, Bezalel Narkiss, et al., Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts in the British Isles:
A Catalogue Raisonn, 2 vols (Jerusalem: Oxford Univ. Press for the Israel Academy of
Sciences and Humanities and the British Academy, 1982), 1:1315. More recently, David Stern,
The Hebrew Bible in Europe in the Middle Ages: A Preliminary Typology, Jewish Studies, an
Internet Journal 11 (2012), 1012.
Introduction 5

of the context, since it refers to an internal process of transmission and evolu-


tion within the Jewish tradition of copying the Bible.7
Without denying the distinctiveness of the tradition of copying the Hebrew
Biblesubject as it is to a greater number of determinants due to its status as
sacred and ritual text and the generally conservative and iconoclastic nature
of its production both in the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe and the
Mediterraneana different working hypothesis in a contextual vein that is
more in line methodologically with what was outlined above would provide, in
my opinion, other possible interpretive options. For example, it would be inter-
esting to see a comparative study of how the writing is executed, the arrange-
ment of texts on the page, the management of the line, the transparency of
the text, and the extent to which decorative elements other than iconographic
programs are used in the production of Latin, Romance, and Hebrew Bibles
in the Iberian Peninsula between the thirteenth and the fifteenth centuries,
within the cultural context and the prevailing aesthetic canons of that region
during those centuries. Of course, one would also need to keep in mind the
specific determinants that affect the production of manuscripts in general and
Bibles in particular, such as religious injunctions, faithfulness to the model, the
intended use of the manuscript and the care with which it was produced, the
demands of the sponsor or the degree of autonomy permitted to the copyist.
It would also be very useful to know the features of Hebrew biblical codices in
Al-Andalus, to confirm that there was indeed a connection between Andalusi
production8 and that of the Iberian Christian kingdoms. However, the destruc-
tion or loss of all Andalusi Hebrew Bibles and the complete absence of Iberian
codices written in Hebrew before the twelfth century make such a comparison
impossible.

7 Other authors have expressed reservations about this kind of linear approach indepen-
dent from context. For example, Katrin Kogman-Appel, Jewish Book Art Between Islam and
Christianity: The Decoration of Hebrew Bibles in Medieval Spain, The Medieval and Early
Modern Iberian World 19 (Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2004), 5: The roots of thirteenth-century
Sephardic Bible decoration have been sought in manuscripts from the Middle East dating
from the tenth century onward, based on the assumption that this tradition had a direct con-
tinuation in Islamic Spain. Since no traces of illustrated books from the Islamic period have
survived, this theory of continuity remains within the realm of conjecture [...] Moreover, this
line of research has not yielded any conclusions about the place of the Sephardic Bibles
or any other Hebrew illuminated manuscriptswithin a broader context of visual culture,
book history, and manuscript production.
8 By Andalusi I mean from Al-Andalus, i.e., from the Islamic state(s) that existed in medieval
Iberia, in contrast with Andalusian, meaning from present-day Andalusia in Spain.
6 Introduction

The objective of the current volume is precisely to explore the production


and circulation of Hebrew books within specific geographical and cultural con-
texts. The title, The Late Medieval Hebrew Book in the Western Mediterranean,
reflects not only a choice to limit the chronological and geographical scope of
the contributions that make up the volume; it is also and more importantly a
methodological choice that deems essential the comparative and contextual
study of the production and circulation of Hebrew books within the manu-
script culture of the region to which they belong. Naturally, medieval Jewish
communities, being centers of production and copying, were also focal points
that generated or adopted technical and aesthetic innovations that did not
always coincide with prevailing practices in the surrounding communities.
In effect, manuscript Hebrew book production was predominantly private
and personal in nature, in contrast to the systems of production of Latin and
Romance books, which in many cases were tied to ecclesiastical institutions
or lay copying and illumination workshops. Nonetheless, as Colette Sirat and
Denis Muzerelle have shown, Jewish communities did not possess their own
codicological tradition, but made their books according to the techniques and
models of the region where they lived.9
Western Mediterranean refers here principally to the geo-cultural areas
that Beit-Ari calls Sepharad and Italy. Sepharad is taken in its widest sense to
include not only the Iberian Peninsula but also Provence in southern France
and North Africa, areas that were in continuous contact and communication
with different Iberian Jewish communities throughout the Late Middle Ages.
As for Italy, from the thirteenth century onward, constant political, economic
and social contact with the Iberian Peninsulasomething that was not excep-
tional for the Iberian Jewish communitiespromoted the development of an
especially fruitful cultural space in the Western Mediterranean, which was fur-
ther aided by geographic proximity. During this same period, Italy was also a
place of refuge for several emigrant communities from the Iberian Peninsula,
as is made evident by the active circulation of manuscripts, and therefore of

9 See Colette Sirat, Pour quelle raison trouve-t-on au Moyen ge des quinions et des quaterni-
ons?, Recherches de codicologie compare: La composition du codex au Moyen ge, en Orient
et en Occident, ed. Philippe Hoffmann (Paris: Presses de lcole Normale Suprieure, 1998),
132: Le livre en caractres hbreux ne fait que se conformer la tradition de fabrication du
livre en vogue dans la zone culturelle en question: livres arabes en zone musulmane, latins en
Italie, en Ashkenaze ou en Espagne; and Denis Muzerelle, Evolution et tendances actuelles
de la recherche codicologique, Historia, Instituciones, Documentos 18, (1991), 362: le monde
juif ne possde pas de tradition codicologique propre, lexception des prescriptions ritu-
elles concernant le Livre saint. Pour le reste, les communauts juives ont labors leurs livres
sur le modle de ceux du milieu environnant.
Introduction 7

ideas, between the two regions. The contributions in this bookorganized


into four sectionsfocus on this space and on issues related to the copying,
use, exchange, and circulation of techniques and ideas used in the production
of Hebrew manuscripts and incunables. The sections constitute four thematic
clusters that focus on different interconnected questions about the production
of the Hebrew book in the Western Mediterranean.10
The first section, Producing and Circulating Manuscripts, deals in a gen-
eral way with questions about the modes of production of manuscripts, on
the one hand, and the modes of reading and accessing the books, on the other.
Both Malachi Beit-Ari (Commissioned and Owner-Produced Manuscripts
in the Sephardi Zone and Italy in the ThirteenthFifteenth Centuries) and
Edna Engel (Immigrant Scribes Handwriting in Northern Italy from the Late
Thirteenth to the Mid-Sixteenth Century: Sephardi and Ashkenazi Attitudes
toward the Italian Script) address issues related to the copyist and the recipi-
ent of the copy. Beit-Ari, who differentiates between owner-produced copy
and commissioned copy, analyzes how each type of production affects the
choice of physical and textual characteristics in the copy of a manuscript,
such as material (paper vs. parchment), mode of writing (square, semi-
cursive or cursive), and text selection, in different periods in Italy and Sepharad.
Engel focuses on the use of different types of handwriting in Italy in the Late
Middle Ages, particularly on the choice of scriptsand the reasons for such
choicesamong immigrant scribes originally from other geo-cultural areas,
such as Sepharad or Ashkenaz.
If Beit-Aris point of departure is the characterization of book production
as private and personal, in contrast to the systems of production for books
in Latin and Romance, Colette Sirat (Studia of Philosophy as Scribal Centers in
Fifteenth-Century Iberia) and Joseph Hacker (Jewish Book Owners and Their
Libraries in the Iberian Peninsula, FourteenthFifteenth Centuries) attempt
to qualify this distinction.
Sirat looks at various Hebrew philosophy manuscripts copied in the Iberian
Peninsula in the fifteenth century in order to analyze the philosophy education
systems in Iberian Jewish communities. After distinguishing between various

10 This book consists of studies based on papers presented at the conference The Hebrew
Book in the Western Mediterranean. 13th to 16th Centuries, which took place in Madrid
at the Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales, CSIC, and the Biblioteca Nacional de
Espaa on 56 March 2012. This conference was organized as part of the research proj-
ect inteleg: Intellectual and Material Legacies of Late Medieval Sephardic Judaism:
An Interdisciplinary Approach, leaded by Esperanza Alfonso (CSIC) and funded by the
European Research Council for 200912.
8 Introduction

hands belonging to teachers and students in some of the manuscripts, she


proposes the existence of schools of philosophy and science ( yeshivot hokhmot
hitsoniyot), in which groups of students copied the basic texts they were study-
ing. For his part, Hacker brings to light evidence for the existence of semi-public
librariessponsored by influential members of the communities and housed
in buildings or rooms annexed to their own homesin which manuscripts
were consulted, read, and even copied. Hacker thus suggests the possible exis-
tence of meeting places in which different copyists, masorators, rubricators,
and illuminators may have come together to collaborate on copying various
works. He also analyzes medieval lists of Hebrew books that were confiscated
or inventoried in the Crown of Aragon with a view to determining both the size
and the composition of such libraries compared to the private libraries of the
Castilian and Aragonese nobility and aristocracy.
In Conceptualizing the Hebrew Book, the second section, three case stud-
ies are presented, each one containing different complexities. Two of them
focus on the conception and production of biblical manuscripts, while the
third deals not with material production but with the transmission of a par-
ticular text, David Kimhis Sefer ha-shorashim.
Eva Frojmovic (Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan)
and Katrin Kogman-Appel (The Scholarly Interests of a Scribe and Mapmaker
in Fourteenth-Century Majorca: Elisha ben Abraham Bevenisti Cresquess
Bookcase) attempt to analyze both the socio-cultural context in which two
biblical manuscripts were produced and the motivations that fueled the pro-
duction of these sumptuous copies of the Bible. Whereas Frojmovic delves
into the religious-pietistic universe of the patron and co-scribe of an illu-
minated Bible produced in Perpignan at the end of the thirteenth century,
Kogman-Appel analyzes the distinctive features of another illuminated Bible
known as the Farhi Codex in order to reconstruct the intellectual milieu, in the
widest sense, of the copyist and cartographer Elisha ben Abraham Bevenisti
Cresques (d. 1387). For her part, Judith Kogel (Leazim in David Kimhis Sefer
ha-shorashim: Scribes and Printers through Space and Time) focuses on the
history of a particular text, that of the famous Hebrew dictionary of roots, Sefer
ha-shorashim, by David Kimhi (1160?1235?), and specifically one of the least
stable elements in the textual transmission of this work, the leazim (vernacu-
lar glosses of Hebrew words and expressions), in order to explore the various
witnesses, manuscripts, and print editions and establish their chronology and
filiation. Far from merely tracing a stemma codicum in the manner of tradi-
tional philology, Kogel probes such fundamental issues as the impact of con-
Introduction 9

text on textual production and transmission and the role of the first presses in
selecting from among, and sometimes replacing, divergent readings.
Contact between Jewish and Christian copyists and workshops, as well as
the role of converts both in the copying of Hebrew and non-Hebrew books
and in the dissemination of Hebrew sources for polemical and apologetic pur-
poses, are the main topics addressed in the section Crossing Linguistic and
Religious Boundaries.
Material and intellectual collaboration between Jewish and Christian scribes
and illuminators is the focus of the chapters by Sonia Fellous (Fifteenth-
Century Castilian Translations from Hebrew Literature) and Evelyn Cohen
(The Artist of the Barcelona Haggadah). Basing her analysis on the docu-
mented cases of Hebrew manuscripts that were illuminated in the Christian
workshop of the Catalonian artist Ferrer Bassa (ca. 12851348), Cohen exam-
ines the artistic similarities between the so-called Barcelona Haggadah and a
recently vanished manuscript with the French text of Roman de la Rose. Her
rigorous analysis of the illuminations in both manuscripts suggests that both
were produced in the same workshop by the same artists. Fellous analyzes a
group of Castilian manuscripts from the fifteenth century that contain either
translations prepared by Jews or converts of works in Hebrew, or works written
originally in Castilian by Jewish authors. The complexity of the processes of
composition, translation, transmission, and patronage of these manuscripts
reflecting a tense but at the same time fruitful dialogue between Jews and
Christians in the first half of the fifteenth centuryis analyzed by Fellous in
terms of the integration of Jewish culture into the nascent cultural identity
of modern Castile. According to Fellous, this process was backed by explicit
support from a political agenda that was interrupted when Isabel I of Castile
ascended the throne (1474).
The use of Hebrew sources in non-Hebrew manuscripts is also analyzed
by Philippe Bobichon (Quotations, Translations, and Uses of Jewish Texts in
Ramon Marts Pugio fidei), although in this case in a very different context:
the composition of a work of religious polemic. Bobichon presents a study
of the Hebrew sources used by Ramon Mart (d. after 1284) in his polemical
work Pugio fidei with the objective of reconstructing a catalogue of the pos-
sible librarywhether material or mentalused by the Catalan Dominican
and establishing what kind of manuscripts Mart may have had at his disposal.
The last section, Printing in Hebrew on the Eve of the Iberian Expulsion,
deals with the change from a manuscript culture to one in which the inven-
tion of movable types revolutionized both the modes of production and access
to and circulation of books, at a time of profound political and social change
10 Introduction

that altered forever the distribution of the Jewish communities in the Western
Mediterranean.
Shimon Iakerson (Unknown Sephardi Incunabula) and Adri K. Offenberg
(What Do We Know about Hebrew Printing in Guadalajara, Hjar, and
Zamora?) explore different issues concerning our present knowledge
and understanding of what Hebrew printing in Sepharad was like before the
expulsion. Whereas Iakerson focuses on possible new witnesses of Hebrew
incunabula produced in the Iberian Peninsula, Offenberg revisits some schol-
arly works on incunabula in order to establish a solid framework for what we
actually know about Hebrew incunabula and about printing presses in Iberia.
Eleazar Gutwirth (Techne and Culture: Printers and Readers in Fifteenth-
Century Hispano-Jewish Communities) focuses not so much on the study of
incunable exemplars that have come down to us, but on the role played by the
different actors involved with the first printing presses, whether they be print-
ers, editors, type cutters, or paper purveyors. The people who took up these
new trades, Gutwirth argues, came from both the world of manuscript produc-
tion and the world of metalworking, two interrelated spheres that converge in
the new technology. It is not possible, therefore, to understand the new print
production without analyzing the social context of those who are involved in
the new trades and without understanding their former connections to the
book and art markets, their patrons, and their intellectual interests.
This final section brings us to the inception of the new industry of produc-
ing books by use of the printing press, which would gradually replace manu-
script production. In the sixteenth century, however, the two cultures continue
to exist side by side, and the questions addressed in the articles of this last
section attempt to shed light on this coexistence. Manuscript culture does not
end on the day that the first book was printed. And the people who take up the
new trades related to printing are not unconnected to the manuscript produc-
tion of books, nor to the worlds of art and metalworking, as Gutwirth suggests.
However, the printing press entails not only a radical change in the conception
of book production, but also a drastic shift in the ways books are circulated,
received, and read.
The Jewish communities in the Western Mediterranean actively partici-
pated in this change, both in Italy and the Iberian Peninsula, where the new
practice was embraced and immediately implemented. Nevertheless, the
social, economic, and cultural changes occasioned by the Iberian expulsions
interrupted the activity of Hebrew printing presses in Sepharad, at the same
time that they opened a new chapter in the cultural history of the Jewish com-
munities both in the Western and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Introduction 11

Bibliography

Beit-Ari, Malachi. Hebrew Codicology: Historical and Comparative Typology of Hebrew


Medieval Codices Based on the Documentation of the Extant Dated Manuscripts in
Quantitative Approach (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Press, forthcoming. Prepublication Internet version 0.4 [Hebrew], 2014: http://web
.nli.org.il/sites/NLI/English/collections/manuscripts/hebrewcodicology/Pages/
default.aspx.
. Hebrew Codicology: Tentative Typology of Technical Practices Employed in
Hebrew Dated Medieval Manuscripts. Paris: Institut de recherche et dhistoire des
textes, CNRS, 1977.
. Hebrew Manuscripts of East and West: Towards a Comparative Codicology; The
Panizzi Lectures, 1992. London: The British Library, 1993.
. Why Comparative Codicology? Gazette du livre mdival 23 (1993): 15.
Kogman-Appel, Katrin. Jewish Book Art Between Islam and Christianity: The Decoration
of Hebrew Bibles in Medieval Spain. The Medieval and Early Modern Iberian World
19. Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2004.
Muzerelle, Denis. Evolution et tendances actuelles de la recherche codicologique.
Historia, Instituciones, Documentos 18 (1991): 347374.
Narkiss, Bezalel, Aliza Cohen-Mushlin, and Anat Tcherikover. Hebrew Illuminated
Manuscripts in the British Isles: A Catalogue Raisonn. 2 vols. Jerusalem: Oxford
Univ. Press for the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the British
Academy, 1982.
Sirat, Colette. Hebrew Manuscripts of the Middle Ages. Edited and translated by Nicholas
de Lange. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2002.
. Pour quelle raison trouve-t-on au Moyen ge des quinions et des quaterni-
ons? In Recherches de codicologie compare: La composition du codex au Moyen ge,
en Orient et en Occident, edited by Philippe Hoffmann, 131136. Paris: Presses de
lcole Normale Suprieure, 1998.
. Writing as Handwork: A History of Handwriting in Mediterranean and Western
Culture. Bibliologia 24. Turnhout: Brepols, 2006.
Stern, David. The Hebrew Bible in Europe in the Middle Ages: A Preliminary Typology.
Jewish Studies, an Internet Journal 11 (2012): 188.
Section 1
Producing and Circulating Manuscripts


CHAPTER 1

Commissioned and Owner-Produced Manuscripts


in the Sephardi Zone and Italy in the Thirteenth
Fifteenth Centuries
Malachi Beit-Ari
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

I have discussed elsewhere the advantage of mapping and analyzing colo-


phons while examining the colophoned manuscripts produced in all the geo-
cultural Jewish zones, since they are the most reliable authentic documents
for understanding the conditions of production and consumption of medieval
Hebrew books.1 This corpus comprises some four thousand colophons, most
of them explicitly dated and about half of them bearing indication of the pro-
duction locality as well. I have also dealt with how colophons can shed light
on the proportion between books produced by commissioned, professional or
semi-professional scribes, on the one hand, and owner-produced books, on the
other, among extant medieval Hebrew codices spanning six hundred years. In
this article, I shall discuss this scribal and social issue in two of the main geo-
cultural areas of the Hebrew book: the Iberian Peninsula, Provence and Bas
Languedoc, the Maghreb, and Sicilywhich form the Sephardi geo-cultural
zoneand the Italian Peninsula, leaving aside for the moment some regional
variations that are manifested beyond the Iberian Peninsula, as for instance in
Provence and North Africa. I shall briefly relate the consequences of the two
sorts of production on textual transmission and present and analyze the data
chronologically in each geo-cultural entity. The data will also be examined in
terms of the writing material used and the genres of the reproduced texts in
order to reveal whether production by commission and self-production dic-
tated the choice of writing material and whether the two different kinds of
production were bound to particular genres of texts.

1 See lately Malachi Beit-Ari, Hebrew Codicology: Historical and Comparative Typology of
Hebrew Medieval Codices Based on the Documentation of the Extant Dated Manuscripts in
Quantitative Approach. (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities Press, forth-
coming). Prepublication Internet version 0.4 [Hebrew], 2014, 7189. http://web.nli.org.il/
sites/NLI/English/collections/manuscripts/hebrewcodicology/Pages/default.aspx.

koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 5|doi .63/9789004306103_003


16 Beit-Ari

The thousands of surviving colophons clearly demonstrate that the making


of Hebrew books was the result of private initiative, motivated by personal
needs and aimed at private use. In contrast to the meager indirect information
in literary (mainly responsa in Europe) and documentary (mainly listings of
books in the Middle East and Italy) sources on production practices, purchase,
consumption and keeping of books, their social function and economic value,
the colophons provide evidence not only of the individual nature of book pro-
duction but also of the private consumption and keeping of Hebrew manu-
scripts themselves.2
Scholars, intellectuals and ordinary literate people who wished to obtain a
copy of a text had three options. First, they could acquire the desired book by
locating an existing copy in their area and trying to purchase it from its owner.
The lack or scarcity of evidence for the existence of book trading in Europe
and North Africa, and the records of ownership transfers inscribed in many
manuscripts, particularly Italian ones, suggest that used books were usually
bought directly from their owners or their representatives and not through
book dealers. Naturally such acquisitions were confined to books known to
be available in the purchasers region, and the chances of finding a specific,
sought-after textunless it was a common onewere limited. One may sup-
pose that many of those books were acquired arbitrarily simply because they
were obtainable.
The two other options open to those who wished to get hold of a book,
from the time of the earliest dated codices (the beginning of the tenth cen-
tury), did not involve recycling but tailor-made production. One was hiring a
professional or casual scribe, and the other was self-production: namely, copy-
ing the required text themselves. Both ways of producing new books depended
of course on obtaining a model for copying.
Indeed, almost all the literary and documentary sources refer to books
in private possession, produced by private initiative, and to scribes hired by
individuals to prepare copies of certain texts for their personal use. All the
European and part of the Oriental book lists are in fact catalogues of private
collections or listings of inherited books. The other kind of book lists found
in the Cairo Genizah is deemed to have been book dealers catalogues and
inventories. To be sure, European literary sources and dedication documents
clearly indicate that books were kept in synagogues, but these apparently small
collections were amassed over the years through donations from individuals,

2 See the chapter by Joseph Hacker in this volume, entitled Jewish Book Owners and Their
Libraries in the Iberian Peninsula, Fourteenth-Fifteenth Centuries for a different opinion
and approach.
Commissioned And Owner-produced Manuscripts 17

who commissioned books or bequeathed books they had owned (mostly bib-
lical ones), and not through planned communal or institutional enterprise.
Halakhists encouragement of book owners to lend them out not only attests
to the shortage of books but reflects the private nature of book ownership.
Books in communal possession were those which had been bequeathed. The
Karaite custom of donating biblical manuscripts to synagogue foundations is
well documented by many inscriptions in Oriental codices in the Firkovitch
collection at the National Library of Russia in St. Petersburg. But the practice
of assembling biblical manuscripts in synagogue foundations was not limited
to Karaites in the Middle East and Crimea.
Perhaps the only extant evidence of an attempt to initiate public financing
and coordination of reproductions of a text and its distribution comes from
the introduction of Rabbi Isaac ben Joseph of Corbeil to his Sefer mitsvot qatan,
composed in France in 127677. In an assertive manner, the author outlines a
detailed and practical program for the dissemination of his text. Every com-
munity, he insists, should finance a copy of his halakhic code and keep it so
that those who wish to copy or study it will be able to borrow it on a daily basis.
He further states that if a representative of a community has to stay in another
town in order to copy the book, he should be reimbursed for his expenses from
the public fund, and even prescribes the rates. Apart from this unique program
(which was likely never completely implemented) for rapidly distributing a
halakhic code while ensuring its standardization, and apart from private dona-
tions to synagogue foundations, books were private property, as book listings
and inventories from the East and the West reflect. Their production was the
result of private enterprise.
I shall mention just one extraordinary example that demonstrates the indi-
vidual nature of Hebrew bookmaking by drawing attention to the monumental
thirteenth-century illuminated colophoned German prayer books, such as the
Worms Mahzor of 1272,3 which could hardly have been produced for personal
use, yet were commissioned by private patrons. Having been ordered privately,
these large decorated and illustrated codices must have been intended for the
use of the communitys cantor, as is stated in the Worms Mahzor, which was
kept by its owner and taken regularly to the synagogue services.4

3 Jerusalem, National Library of Israel, MS 4 781/1. See Malachi Beit-Ari (ed.), Worms Mahzor:
Introductory Volume to the Facsimile (Jerusalem: Jewish National and University Library,
1985).
4 
See Malachi Beit-Ari, The Worms Mahzor: Its History and Its Palaeographic and
Codicological Characteristics, in Worms Mahzor: Introductory Volume, 1335; and Beit-Ari,
The Makings of the Medieval Hebrew Book (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1993), 15356.
18 Beit-Ari

The individual nature of manuscript production is confirmed by the propor-


tion of commissioned and owner-produced manuscripts. To be sure, only 29%
of the studied dated colophons (up to 1540) in all the geo-cultural zones state
or clearly imply that the manuscript had been made for self-use, while 38% of
the colophons state that they had been written by hired scribes. The rest of the
colophons, some 33%, do not contain any indication of their intended user
(see Tables 1.1 and 1.2).5

TABLE 1.1 Distribution of copying destinations for manuscripts dated up to 1540

Owner-produced Commissioned Destination


MSS MSS unspecified

Geo-cultural zone # % # % # %

Sepharad 203 34 191 32 201 34


Ashkenaz 77 21 157 43 126 35
Italy 289 29 439 44 261 26
Byzantium 100 36 90 33 87 32
Orient 108 27 86 22 201 51
Yemen 13 10 93 72 23 18
Uncertain 6 23 9 35 11 42

Total 796 29 1065 38 910 33

(# number of manuscripts; % percentage of the geo-cultural corpus)

5 The following statistical tables relating to the copying destinations of the dated manuscripts
are drawn from SfarDatathe codicological database of the Hebrew Palaeography Project
sponsored by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Jerusalem: http://sfardata
.nli.org.il/sfardatanew/home.aspx. The destination data of a few manuscripts were omitted
in the database or were not clear enough and were classified in two categories. Consequently
the accumulated percentages in some geo-cultural zones or chronological distributions
exceed 100% by 1% or falling short of it by 1%. Likewise, the total number of the documented
manuscripts in a few geo-cultural zones or periods, whether they are displayed in the tables
or can be calculated are slightly smaller or larger than the accumulated number of the clas-
sified manuscripts.
Commissioned And Owner-produced Manuscripts 19

TABLE 1.2 Chronological distribution of copying destinations for manuscripts dated up to


1540

Owner-produced Commissioned Destination Total MSS in


MSS MSS unspecified the corpus

Period # % # % # %

894/95? 0 0 1 100 0 0 1
9011000 1 9 7 64 3 27 11
10011100 6 15 13 33 21 53 40
11011200 10 15 15 22 43 63 68
12011300 49 20 112 46 83 34 243
13011400 187 31 230 38 180 30 600
14011500 414 29 570 41 418 30 1406
15011540 129 32 117 29 162 40 408

Total 796 29 1065 38 910 33 2777

(# number of manuscripts; % percentage of the geo-cultural corpus)

However, the great majority of the colophoned manuscripts with no indication


for whom they were copied must have been user-produced, since it is incon-
ceivable that a hired scribe would refrain from mentioning in his colophon
the person who commissioned the book and hired him, while it is only natural
that someone copying for himself would not necessarily bother to state it. If
our assumption is justified, about 60% of the colophons were self-produced.
This said, a highly professional scribe may have prepared advance cop-
ies of popular and much-in-demand books, without being commissioned,
for chance buyers or even book dealers, and add no colophon. Considering
the deficient evidence for commercial production and book trade, this may
have been the case for only a small proportion of the colophoned manu-
scripts. Indeed, indisputable evidence for such a practice is preserved in the
colophon of a fifteenth-century Provenal manuscript. The scribe explic-
itly states that he wrote the book for anyone who would like to purchase
it: .6
Likewise, one might assume that if a renowned and prestigious artist-scribe

6 Rome, Biblioteca Casanatense, MS 3104, fol. 96v.


20 Beit-Ari

like Joel ben Simeon copied and illustrated a Passover haggadah (and other
texts) without inscribing a colophon at the end, it could not have been com-
missioned by a specific patron, but by a book dealer. Moreover, it is possible to
interpret two dozen colophons as implying they had been copied for chance
buyers, by the indication of unnamed patrons, by the empty space left for
inserting their names later, or by the addition of a deed of sale by a scribe of an
uncommissioned manuscript, written shortly after the colophons date.
Following Nurit Pasternaks study of Italian scribes, in analyzing the nature
of book production in fifteenth-century Italy one has to take into consider-
ation the blurring of the distinction between producers and consumers of
books and between paid scribes and learned persons who copied texts for their
own use, since it was not rare for persons who had been hired in their youth to
copy books to later hire scribes to copy for them.7 It is also worth mentioning
that some scholars and authors were also highly qualified hired scribes, like
the notable example of Jehiel ben Jekuthiel ha-Rofe, the scribe of the famous
manuscript of the Jerusalem Talmud from 1289 (Leiden, University Library, MS
Or. 4720), who was commissioned to copy three other manuscripts and who
has been identified with the author of the famous and popular Maalot ha-
middot, Tanya, and Hilkhot shehitah.8
Even if a part of the colophoned manuscripts with no indication for whom
they were copied were not user-produced copies, the fact remains of a high
rate of self-production in Jewish societies. Beginning in the tenth century,
about half of medieval Jewish books were self-produced, a proportion
unmatched in other civilizations of the codex, in particular Christian societies.
Moreover, if our supposition is reasonable, the self-produced books might
have been even more common. It is not improbable that the many intact man-
uscripts without colophons and no missing leaves at the end of their textual
units were user-written manuscripts. The unusual ratio between professional
production and self-production of books reflects the rate of Jewish literacy.
The practice of self-copying encouraged free interference by learned copyists

7 See Nurit Pasternak, The Judeo-Italian Translation of the Song of Songs and Yaaqov
da Corinaldo, Materia giudaica 10 (2005), 275; Pasternak, Together and Apart: Hebrew
Manuscripts as Testimonies to Encounters of Jews and Christians in Fifteenth-Century
FlorenceThe Makings, the Clients, Censorship (PhD Diss., Hebrew University, 2009),
8994, http://shemer.mslib.huji.ac.il/dissertations/W/JMS/001494402.pdf.
8 On the identification of these works see Israel Zvi Feintuch, Masorot u-mehqarim ba-talmud
(Ramat Gan: Bar Ilan Univ. Press, 1985), 6585 and Israel M. Ta-Shma, Sefer halakhot italqi
qadmon, Qovets al yad, New Series 15 (2008), 180, note 58.
Commissioned And Owner-produced Manuscripts 21

in the transmission of texts (as is explicitly attested by various colophons),


prompted uncontrolled critical copying, and occasioned grave consequences
in the versions of the reproduced texts in user-produced copies. I consider the
revelation of the extraordinarily high rate of self-production to be the most
important information yielded by the codicological study of colophoned man-
uscripts, since it fundamentally affects the transmission and textual criticism
of Hebrew literature.9
Whereas the institutional and centralized character of Latin book produc-
tion and text disseminationwhether carried out in or initiated by mon-
asteries, cathedral schools, universities, or commercial outletsenabled
supervision and control over the propagation of texts and the standardization
of versions, no authoritative guidance or monitoring could have been involved
in the private transmission of texts in Hebrew characters. This is a reflection
of the lack of centralized authority in Jewish societies in general, which is
manifested in communal autonomy, particularly in Europe, where the yeshi-
vot were private institutions initiated and owned by their rabbis. Under such
circumstances, books were produced by personal initiative and texts were
disseminated through private channels. In this respect, the social framework
of Hebrew book production seems closer to that of the Islamic world than to
that of Christendom, despite evidence of the institutional initiative of copying
books and the large-scale commercialization of book production in the Arab
world.
Let us compare the proportion of commissioned production to self-produc-
tion in the Western Mediterranean areas with the parallel figures pertaining
to all production areas. In this context, one should also compare the Sephardi
zone and the Italian one. The data from the Sephardi zone are inevitably pre-
sented only until 1492, as the bulk of the manuscripts of this geo-cultural entity
was produced in the Iberian Peninsula. This corpus comprises 535 dated man-
uscripts; the comparative Italian corpus contains 763 manuscripts.

9 See Malachi Beit-Ari, Publication and Reproduction of Literary Texts in Jewish Medieval
Civilization: Jewish Scribality and Its Impact on the Texts Transmitted, in Transmitting
Jewish Traditions: Orality, Textuality, and Cultural Diffusion, eds. Yaakov Elman and Israel
Gershoni (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 2000), 22547.
22 Beit-Ari

TABLE 1.3 Distribution of copying destinations of dated Sephardi and Italian manuscripts
until 1492

Zone #1 %1 #2 %2 #3 %3 Total MSS in the corpus

Sepharad 181 34 177 33 176 33 535


Italy 372 49 221 29 172 23 763

Total 1298

(# number of manuscripts; % percentage of the geo-cultural corpus; [1] commissioned copies;


[2] owner-produced copies; [3] unspecified)

Table 1.3, which presents the proportions up until 1492, shows that Sephardi
commissioned manuscripts amount to one third of the corpus, very much the
same as that of the general figure for all zones. The Italian ratio of commis-
sioned copies up until 1540 is the highest one, almost half (44%).10 Up to 1492
the ratio of commissioned copies in the Italian dated manuscripts is indeed
half of the corpus (49%). Thus we can see a considerable difference between
the nature of book production in Sepharad, mainly the Iberian Peninsula, and
Italy: about half of the copies in Italy were produced by hired scribes, while
only one third of the copies in Sepharad were produced by them, and the
majority of the dated manuscripts were self-produced. The ratio of the Italian
commissioned copies may be ascribed to the better economic conditions of
the educated stratum of Italian Jewry.
Chronological classification by nature of production of Sephardi and Italian
dated manuscripts is meaningless before the thirteenth century because of
the scant number of earlier extant manuscripts, as can be seen in Table 1.4.
In the thirteenth century almost half of the Sephardi manuscripts were com-
missioned copies, but in both of the following two centuries the ratio of the
commissioned copies dropped to a third of the extant manuscripts. The dis-
tribution of the Italian manuscripts in the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries
shows that the ratio of self-production to commissioned production remained
more or less even and stable over time, with each sort of production constitut-
ing half of all the dated manuscripts.

10 Disregarding the ratio in Yementhe smallest geo-cultural codicological entitywhich


amounts to 72%.
Commissioned And Owner-produced Manuscripts 23

TABLE 1.4 Chronological distribution of copying destinations of dated Sephardi and Italian
manuscripts until 1492

Zone #1 %1 #2 %2 #3 %3 Total mss

Sepharad-10011100 2 100 0 0 0 0 2
Sepharad-11011200 2 33 1 17 3 50 6
Sepharad-12011300 28 49 12 21 17 30 57
Sepharad-13011400 50 33 54 36 47 31 152
Sepharad-14011500 99 31 110 35 109 34 318
Italy-10011100 0 0 0 0 2 100 2
Italy-11011200 1 50 1 50 0 0 2
Italy-12011300 24 51 12 26 12 26 47
Italy-13011400 70 50 39 28 30 22 139
Italy-14011500 277 48 169 29 128 22 573
Total 1298

(# number of manuscripts; % percentage of the geo-cultural corpus; [1] commissioned copies;


[2] owner-produced copies; [3] unspecified)

Naturally we should ask whether the nature of production affected the choice
of writing materialdurable, prestigious, and costly parchment vs. cheaper
paperin the periods and areas in which paper was already common for
Hebrew manuscripts. Tables 1.5a and 1.5b show the proportions of parchment
and paper according to the nature of manuscript production. If we compare
these ratios to those of the general figures in all areas, disregarding the kind
of writing material, in Table 1.1, we can see a greater incidence of the use of
parchment in commissioned books in both regions, noticeably in Sepharad
(more than half compared to only one third) and 61% compared to one half in
Italy. Naturally, there is lower incidence of the use of paper in commissioned
books, a fifth compared to a third in Sepharad and 27% compared to one half
in Italy. Symmetrically, there is a greater incidence of the use of paper in the
owner-produced books, 42% compared to 33% in Sepharad and 39% com-
pared to 29% in Italy. Having said this, the use of paper was not limited to self-
production but was preferred by educated persons who copied for themselves,
and parchment was not restricted to commissioned books but was preferred,
clearly in Italy, in them.
24 Beit-Ari

TABLE 1.5a Distribution of copying destinations of dated Sephardi and Italian parchment
manuscripts until 1492

Zone #1 %1 #2 %2 #3 %3 Total MSS in the corpus

Sepharad 103 53 39 20 52 27 194


Italy 284 61 107 23 79 17 469

Total 663

(# number of manuscripts; % percentage of the geo-cultural corpus; [1] commissioned copies;


[2] owner-produced copies; [3] unspecified)

TABLE 1.5b Distribution of copying destinations of dated Sephardi and Italian paper
manuscripts until 1492, including manuscripts of mixed quires (paper quires
combined with outer and frequently also central bifolia of parchment)

Zone #1 %1 #2 %2 #3 %3 Total

Sepharad 59 20 120 42 108 38 288


Italy 66 27 97 39 86 35 249

Total 537

(# number of manuscripts; % percentage of the geo-cultural corpus; [1] commissioned copies;


[2] owner-produced copies; [3] unspecified)

My last observation and analysis of the two kinds of copying destinations


relate to the distribution of the major genres of the copied texts. The percent-
ages included in Tables 1.6a, 1.6b and 1.6c are somewhat distorted due to the
fact that many manuscripts contain more than one genre. For the purposes of
this paper, our concern is not the interesting differences in the distribution of
genres between Sepharad and Italy: for example, the five-fold figure for prayer
books in Italy compared to Sepharad, or the Sephardi biblical copies, which
amount to almost twice the number of Italian Bibles. We are interested in the
affinity between the genres and the copying destination and the possibility
that at least some genres dictated the preference for either commissioning or
self-production.
Commissioned And Owner-produced Manuscripts 25

The percentages displayed in tables 1.6b and 1.6c relate to the ratio of the
genre to the total number of either commissioned or owner-produced manu-
scripts; therefore I added a second row in which the ratio of the genre was
calculated in relation to the total number of the manuscripts of the same
genre regardless of the type of production and is presented in italics. We can
see that most of the biblical manuscripts were commissioned, noticeably in
the Iberian Peninsula. Sephardi Bibles were copied with the Masorah, which
required professional competence, whereas all the Italian biblical books but
one, dated 1305, were merely vocalized and accentuated, often accompanied
by the Targum and commentaries and mostly confined to the Pentateuch with
haftarot and the Five Scrolls or to the poetic books. Both in Sepharad and Italy
the ratio of owner-produced copies of philosophical and kabbalistic texts is
much higher than that of commissioned copies of the same genre of books.
However, in Sepharad the number of user-produced copies is four times that
of commissioned copies, while the corresponding ratio is only two to one in
Italy. Prayer books, so common in Italy, were mostly commissioned. Like bibli-
cal texts their copying required some expertise and vocalization. On the other
hand, scientific books were mostly copied by scholars for their own use (79%
in Sepharad, 71% in Italy). In general, most genres were more often commis-
sioned in Italy than in Sepharad, which must have resulted in less critical copy-
ing and editorial interference by scholars in the former.

TABLE 1.6a Distribution of genres in Sephardi and Italian dated manuscripts until 1492 general
distribution

Zone # % # % # % # % # % # % # % # % # % Total in
1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 corpus

Sepharad 102 19 74 14 119 22 16 3 128 24 32 6 77 14 8 1 9 2 535


Italy 62 8 153 20 143 19 114 15 172 22 42 6 87 11 13 2 28 4 763

Total 1298

([1] Biblical texts; [2] biblical commentary; [3] halakhah and midrash; [4] liturgy;
[5] philosophy and Kabbalah; [6] grammar and lexicons; [7] sciences; [8] belles lettres and
poetry; [9] miscellaneous or compilation)
26 Beit-Ari

TABLE 1.6b Distribution of commissioned manuscripts11

Zone # % # % # % # % # % # % # % # % # % Total in
1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 corpus

Sepharad 63 35 20 11 41 23 7 4 25 14 18 10 15 8 1 1 2 1 181
% within 62 27 34 43 20 56 19
genre
Italy 33 9 85 23 83 22 74 20 58 16 21 6 25 7 4 1 6 2 372
% within 53 56 58 65 34 50 29
genre

Total 553

TABLE 1.6c Distribution of owner-produced books, including unspecified copies

Zone # % # % # % # % # % # % # % # % # % Total in
1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7 8 8 9 9 corpus

Sepharad 39 11 54 15 78 22 9 3 103 29 14 4 61 17 7 2 7 2 353


% within 38 73 66 56 80 44 79
genre
Italy 29 7 68 17 60 15 40 10 114 29 21 5 62 16 9 2 23 6 392
% within 47 44 42 35 66 50 71
genre

Total 745

11 The percentages indicate the ratio within the total number of commissioned manuscripts.
Commissioned And Owner-produced Manuscripts 27

Bibliography

Manuscripts
Jerusalem, National Library of Israel, MS Heb. 4 781/1.
Leiden, University Library, MS Or. 4720.
Rome, Biblioteca Casanatense, MS 3104.

Secondary literature
Beit-Ari, Malachi. Hebrew Codicology: Historical and Comparative Typology of Hebrew
Medieval Codices Based on the Documentation of the Extant Dated Manuscripts in
Quantitative Approach. Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Press, forthcoming. Prepublication Internet version 0.4 [Hebrew], 2014: http://web
.nli.org.il/sites/NLI/English/collections/manuscripts/hebrewcodicology/Pages/
default.aspx.
. The Makings of the Medieval Hebrew Book: Studies in Paleography and
Codicology. Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1993.
. Publication and Reproduction of Literary Texts in Jewish Medieval
Civilization: Jewish Scribality and Its Impact on the Texts Transmitted. In
Transmitting Jewish Traditions: Orality, Textuality, and Cultural Diffusion, edited by
Yaakov Elman and Israel Gershoni, 22547. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 2000.
, ed.Worms Mahzor: Jewish National and University Library MS Heb. 4 781/1;
Introductory Volume to the Facsimile. Vaduz: Cyelar; Jerusalem: Jewish National and
University Library, 1985.
Feintuch, Israel Zvi. Masorot u-mehqarim ba-talmud. Ramat Gan: Bar Ilan Univ. Press,
1985.
Pasternak, Nurit. The Judeo-Italian Translation of the Song of Songs and Yaaqov da
Corinaldo. Materia giudaica 10, no. 2 (2005): 26782.
. Together and Apart: Hebrew Manuscripts as Testimonies to Encounters of
Jews and Christians in Fifteenth-Century FlorenceThe Makings, the Clients,
Censorship. PhD Diss., Hebrew University, 2009. http://shemer.mslib.huji.ac.il/
dissertations/W/JMS/001494402.pdf.
SfarData, The Codicological Data-Base of the Hebrew Palaeography Project: http://
sfardata.nli.org.il/sfardatanew/home.aspx.
Ta-Shma, Israel M. Sefer halakhot italqi qadmon. Qovets al yad, n.s., 15 (2008):
143206.
CHAPTER 2

Immigrant Scribes Handwriting in Northern Italy


from the Late Thirteenth to the Mid-Sixteenth
Century: Sephardi and Ashkenazi Attitudes toward
the Italian Script

Edna Engel
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Northern Italian Jewish society in the late-medieval and Renaissance periods


was made up of three main groups: native Italian Jews, the Ashkenazim (immi-
grants mainly from Germany and France), and the Sephardim (mainly from
Spain, Portugal, and Provence). The immigrants came to Italy in several waves:
German Jews came in a slow stream starting at the end of the thirteenth cen-
tury; Jews from France arrived in the late fourteenth century; and there was an
influx of Sephardi refugees towards the end of the fifteenth century.
Among the Ashkenazi and Sephardi immigrants were many scribes who,
along with the Italian scribes, determined the features of the Hebrew script
used in Italy during this period.1 According to Malachi Beit-Aris widely
accepted paleographical theory, an immigrant scribe normally retains the
handwriting acquired in his homeland.2 At the same time, immigrant scribes
distinctive hands show evidence of the gradual influence of the local script,
through its use either sporadically or, less frequently, throughout an entire
manuscript.
In addressing the script of immigrant scribesboth Ashkenazi and
Sephardiin northern Italy, I focus on two aspects: (1) the gradual adjustment
of the scribes to their new environment, as a group and as individuals; and
(2) mutual influence between immigrant scripts and the local Italian one.

1 Distribution of immigrants scripts among the local ones are statistically demonstrated
in Malachi Beit-Ari, Hebrew Codicology: Historical and Comparative Typology of Hebrew
Medieval Codices Based on the Documentation of the Extant Dated Manuscripts in Quantitative
Approach (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities Press, forthcoming),
tables 13, pp. 4748. Prepublication Internet version 0.4 [Hebrew], 2014: http://web.nli.org
.il/sites/NLI/English/collections/manuscripts/hebrewcodicology/Pages/default.aspx.
2 Ibid., 4648.

koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 5|doi .63/9789004306103_004


Immigrant Scribes Handwriting in Northern Italy 29

In the early thirteenth century, the migration of Italian Jews from south-
ern to northern Italy had the effect of making Rome an important Jewish
community. Most of the known Italian Hebrew manuscripts from the last third
of the thirteenth century, which manifest various script modes and styles, were
copied in Rome. Among them we find the earliest evidence of an Ashkenazi
immigrant scribe in Italy3a manuscript copied by Shemaria ben Jacob ha-
Kohen, dated to the mid-thirteenth century.
Shemarias handwriting (fig. 2.1)4 represents a phase of semi-cursive script
that reflects the Ashkenazi style of his homeland (shown in fig. 2.2). Both
examples are characteristic of the fully formed semi-cursive script that had
emerged during the first decades of the thirteenth century. Unlike the first
appearances of the semi-cursive, this script is more developed calligraphically
and shows the influence of Latin Gothic, with its shading and the droplet-like
shapes of the vertical lines.5

FIGURE 2.1 Ashkenazi semi-cursive script of an immigrant scribe: Shemaria ben Jacob
ha-Kohen. Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, MS hebr. 207, fol. 17v; Rome,
mid-thirteenth century.
Reproduced by permission of Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Mnchen.

3 As documented in SfarData, the database of the Hebrew Palaeography Project in Jerusalem:
http://sfardata.nli.org.il/sfardatanew/home.aspx.
4 All images in this chapter have been purchased by the Hebrew Palaeography Project.
5 On the development of the Ashkenazi script, see Edna Engel and Malachi Beit-Ari,
Specimens of Mediaeval Hebrew Scripts, vol. 3, Ashkenazic Script (Jerusalem: The Israel
Academy of Sciences and Humanities, forthcoming).
30 Engel

FIGURE 2.2 Ashkenazi semi-cursive script. Cambridge, St. Johns College, MS A 3, fol. 28v; France/
Germany, 1239.
Reproduced by permission of the Master and Fellows of St Johns College,
Cambridge.

Similar to the semi-cursive, the use of a square script by Ashkenazi immigrants


in Italy emerged during the thirteenth century. Those immigrants writing style
is similar to the script used during the same period in Germany and France,
which is characterized by the use of the quill (a well-known writing tool in
Western Europe).
It is safe to assume that Italian scribes adopted the use of the quill follow-
ing the example of the immigrants from Germany and France, and that this in
turn led to the adoption of the Ashkenazi square style in Italy. The shift to the
quill is evident in the writings of Abraham ben Yom Tov ha-Kohen (Mehoqeq),
a renowned late-thirteenth-century Italian scribe.
Six extant dated manuscripts that Abraham ben Yom Tov ha-Kohen cop-
ied between 1278 and 1289 were written with a calamus (fig. 2.3). However,
the colophon of his last manuscript, copied in 1289 or 1290, shows evidence of
the quill (fig. 2.4). Note, for example (fig. 2.5), the thin left leg of the alef and the
stings at the lower part of the alef, the lamed and of the vavs leg as compared
to the letters made with a calamus. From that time on, most manuscripts with
square script produced in Italy were written with a quill.
The Sephardi immigrants were the last of the groups to settle in northern
Italy. Nevertheless, dated manuscripts testify to the presence already in the
late fourteenth century of Sephardi scribes who used both the square and the
semi-cursive modes. There is an impressive affinity between the scripts used
by these immigrants and the Sephardi semi-cursive styles used in the Iberian
Peninsula and Provence. Indeed, most of these manuscripts use the indige-
nous Sephardi semi-cursive style. The likeness is demonstrated in figs. 2.6 and
Immigrant Scribes Handwriting in Northern Italy 31

FIGURE 2.3 A manuscript copied by Abraham ben Yom Tov ha-Kohen (Mehoqeq) using
a calamus. Parma, Biblioteca Palatina, Cod. Parm. 2460, fol. 31v; Rome, 1285.
SU CONCESSIONE DEL MINISTERO DEI BENI E DELLE ATTIVIT CULTURALI E
DEL TURISMO.

FIGURE 2.4 A colophon written with a quill by


Abraham ben Yom Tov ha-Kohen
(Mehoqeq). Oxford, Bodleian Library,
MS Mich. 533, fol. 34v; Rome, 1289 or 1290.
Reproduced by permission of The
Bodleian Libraries, University of
Oxford.
32 Engel

calamus

quill

FIGURE 2.5 Lower stings of lamed, vav and alef made using a quill.

FIGURE 2.6 An anonymous Sephardi immigrant scribe in Bologna. Munich, Bayerische


Staatsbibliothek, MS hebr. 77, fol. 20v; Bologna, 1397.
Reproduced by permission of Bayerische Staatsbibliothek Mnchen.

FIGURE 2.7 Sephardi script. London, British Library, MS Add. 17056, fol. 144v; Agramunt
(Catalonia), 1325.
The British Library Board.
Immigrant Scribes Handwriting in Northern Italy 33

2.7, in which an anonymous scribe who was active in Bologna between 1397
and 1403 is juxtaposed with a contemporary Sephardi scribe.
The handwriting of the Sephardi immigrant from Bologna, who has been
identified as the scribe of six extant manuscripts, perfectly matches the indig-
enous Sephardi semi-cursive script of his day. Written with plain schematic
lines, these semi-cursive letters lack the decorative elements of calligraphic
semi-cursive, such as heads or tags.
Thus far, there seems to be little evidence of the Italian script having influ-
enced the styles of either Sephardi or Ashkenazi immigrant scribes. Regardless
of genre (liturgical text or philosophical treatise) and irrespective of whether
the manuscript was produced for the scribe himself or commissioned by
another, these immigrant scribes faithfully reproduced the Sephardi or
Ashkenazi scripts of their day in both square and semi-cursive styles.
However, starting in the early fifteenth century, some changes in the script
used by immigrant scribes can be detected. These changes can be seen in the
works of both Ashkenazi and Sephardi scribes and reflect a greater concern on
the part of immigrants with the requirements of their Italian clients, who pre-
sumably wanted their books to be copied in a script that was familiar to them.
As the numbers of Ashkenazi immigrants in such cities as Mantua, Bologna,
Rimini, and Parma increased, so did the number of manuscripts they copied.
It is at this juncture that we begin to see immigrant scribes adopting some fea-
tures of the local Italian script. For example, when copying a prayer book, most
Ashkenazi scribes used the Italian script for the rubrics. Thus, in the prayer
book prepared for Nathan bon Vino ben Samuel Tsarfati, the scribe Meshullam
ben Jehiel of Volterra copied the prayers in his Ashkenazi square script but
penned the rubrics and the colophon in his Italian semi-cursive hand (fig. 2.8).
A similar change took place in the mid-fifteenth century among Sephardi
immigrant scribes, some of whom also ceased to employ their native mode as
the sole script in a manuscript.
The scribe Isaac ben Zerahia Zareq was active in Ferrara and Bologna from
1446 to 1458. Of his seven extant manuscripts, sixphilosophical and halakhic
worksare in his Sephardi handwriting. He used the Sephardi script even in
works copied for Italian customers, including his last manuscript, which he
copied in his old age for Yoav ben Jehiel of Modena (fig. 2.9).
Nevertheless, a mahzor that he copied for his son was produced in an Italian
book style. For the text, he used Sephardi square script, whereas the additions
for the Sabbath are written in his Italian semi-cursive. The texts copied by
Zareq also show signs of a new Sephardi semi-cursive style emerging among
these immigrants.
34 Engel

FIGURE 2.8 A mahzor copied by Meshullam ben Jehiel. Paris, Bibliothque nationale de France,
Hbreu 612, fol. 107v; Mantua, 1417.
Reproduced by permission of the Bibliothque nationale de France.

FIGURE 2.9 Isaac ben Zerahia Zareq for Yoav ben Jehiel of Modena. Paris, Bibliothque nationale
de France, Hbreu 1245, fol. 164v; Ferrara, 1458.
Reproduced by permission of the Bibliothque nationale de France.
Immigrant Scribes Handwriting in Northern Italy 35

This style abandoned the uneven quality of the original Sephardi script
(fig. 2.7), seen in the hands of the previous generation (fig. 2.6), and took on
traces of Italian calligraphy in the shaping of the letters. Whereas most of the
letters in the sample of Zareqs writing are distinct (fig. 2.9), emphasizing each
letters inner part, the flowing style of the original Sephardi script links several
letters and contains many linking strokes that emphasize the oblong (see, for
example, the difference in how the head of the final nun is connected).
Up to now I have focused on the immigrants as groups. Beginning with
the last third of the fifteenth century, the focus of my discussion shifts from
group to individual scribe. Around the middle of the fifteenth century, profes-
sional immigrant scribes from the two groups began to play an important role
in Jewish socio-cultural life in northern Italy. The personal journey of these
scribes, their transformation from newcomers to well-established members of
local society, is also reflected in their new attitudes toward the local Italian
script.
The scribe who best represents this shift in attitudeand the correspond-
ing shift in the degree of integrationis Abraham ben Mordecai Farissol,6 a
scholar, professional scribe and musician.7 Farissol was an active scribe for
almost sixty years, from 1469 to 1528. Born in Avignon, he migrated at an early
age, first to Mantua then settling permanently in Ferrara. Farissols activity as
a scribe in Italy can be divided into three periods, which reveal his gradual
integration into his Italian setting:

1.During his first years in Italy (14691478), the characteristics of his script
that mark him as an immigrant are most prominent (fig. 2.10). Focusing on
topics such as philosophy, literature, and grammar, most of his works in this
period are simply written in his Sephardi handwriting.

2.For the following forty yearsfrom 1478, nine years after his arrival in Italy,
until about 1515Farissol produced the bulk of his scribal works. His elegant
handwriting appears in these works at its best, in his use of the Sephardi square
and semi-cursive scripts together with his acquired Italian semi-cursive. The
most remarkable among these manuscripts are the liturgical ones. These
mahzorim and siddurim not only reflect the outstanding, unique character of
his scribal achievements, they also testify to his full acclimation to the local

6 See Edna Engel, Abraham Ben Mordecai Farissol: Sephardi Tradition of Book Making in
Northern Italy of the Renaissance Period, Jewish Art 18 (1992): 14967.
7 See David B. Ruderman, The World of a Renaissance Jew: The Life and Thought of Abraham ben
Mordecai Farissol (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1981).
36 Engel

FIGURE 2.10 Abraham ben Mordecai FarissolSephardi semi-cursive script. Oxford,


Bodleian Library, MS Opp. Add. 4 177, fol. 154v; Mantua, 1470.
Reproduced by permission of The Bodleian Libraries, University of
Oxford.

environment. We know of about fifteen liturgical books penned by him over


a thirty-seven-year period, most of which were commissioned by scholars and
rich Italian customers. Nevertheless, all his liturgical manuscripts were written
in his Sephardi square hand, and he used his Italian handwriting only for the
prayer rubrics (fig. 2.11).
There are only two manuscripts in which Farissol used only Italian script.
Both were penned in Ferrara between 1496 and 1501, which was his most fer-
tile period. Their distinctiveness lies in the fact that they are his only (known)
works to be produced in collaboration with an Italian scribe. One of them is a
siddur copied with Daniel ben Isaac of Ventura.
Farissols Italian semi-cursive hand matches the calligraphic script used
here by the Italian scribe (fig. 2.12).
However, as a teacher and publisher, Farissol retained the Sephardi script
that he learned in Provence, in keeping with his allegiance to his original
community. From his first years in Italy until his old age, Farissol surrounded
himself with students, teaching them his handwriting style and his scribal
practices. Not only are all the manuscripts written by him, or by his students,
in Sephardi script, but there is a strong affinity between his handwriting and
that of his students.
Immigrant Scribes Handwriting in Northern Italy 37

FIGURE 2.11 Abraham ben Mordecai Farissol. Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana,
Ms. Or. 475, fol. 164v; Ferrara, 1485.
SU CONCESSIONE DEL MIBACT. E VIETATA OGNI ULTERIORE RIPRODUZIONE CON
QUALSIASI MEZZO.

FIGURE 2.12 On the left, Daniel ben Isaac of Venturas script; on the right, Abraham ben
Mordecai Farissols script. London, British Library, MS Add. 27029, fol. 50v (left)
and fol. 163v (right); Ferrara, 1501.
The British Library Board.
38 Engel

FIGURE 2.13 A draft by Farissol and his assistants. Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana,
Ms. Plut. II.47, fol. 20v; <Ferrara, 1524?>
SU CONCESSIONE DEL MIBACT. E VIETATA OGNI ULTERIORE RIPRODUZIONE CON
QUALSIASI MEZZO.

3.The first decades of the 16th century saw a gradual decrease in Farissols
scribal career and the beginning of his career as an author, when his focus
shifted to composing literary works and overseeing their publication. When
collaborating with his students and apprentices, he always employed his
Sephardi handwriting. An example of such teamwork can be seen in a draft
of Farissols work Iggeret orhot olam (fig. 2.13). Written partly by Farissol and
partly by an Italian scribe, this manuscript manifests Farissols adherence to
the Sephardi script he learned as a young boy in his homeland. Furthermore,
the marginal comments, even in the part copied by the Italian scribe, are also
written in his Sephardi semi-cursive handwriting.
There were also outstanding professional scribes among the Ashkenazi
immigrants during this period. At about the same time that Farissol arrived
in Italy, Isaiah ben Jacob of Masseran immigrated to northern Italy from the
Duchy of Savoy, where he was trained in the Ashkenazi tradition.8
Three extant dated manuscripts were copied by him during his early years
(14681470) in Italy, spent alternately between Trino and Mantua. Like Farissol,
Masseran penned his first works in his native handwriting, the Ashkenazi
script (fig. 2.14).

8 The Duchy of Savoy was until 1536 an independent state under the sovereignty of the Holy
Roman Empire.
Immigrant Scribes Handwriting in Northern Italy 39

FIGURE 2.14 Isaiah ben Jacob of MasseranAshkenazi script. Formerly London,


Jews College, MS 266, fol. 5v; Trino, 14681470.

However, before arriving in Savoy, Masserans grandfather had lived in Gerona


(in present-day Spain). He was probably the one from whom Masseran learned
his second handwritingthe Sephardi script. A few years after his arrival in
Italy, Masseran started to use the Sephardi script as his favorite handwriting
in the works produced for his Italian customers, which probably indicates a
preference for this script among the locals. It is important to note, though, that
even in his most fertile years Masseran rarely used the Italian script as the sole
script of a manuscript.
Figure 2.15 shows a prayer book copied in 1481 illustrating Masserans
Sephardi handwriting, plus the incorporation of the Italian semi-cursive for
the interpolations on the Sabbath.
Nevertheless, in addition to these highly skilled scribes there were many
other immigrant scribes who did not acquire the Italian script at all and simply
continued to write in their native ones.
The encounter between the immigrants scripts and the Italian script
enhanced all three. While the calligraphic Italian semi-cursive letters enriched
the Sephardi and the Ashkenazi styles, the scripts used by the immigrants
contributed several new modes to the writing of Hebrew in Italy. Some hybrid
styles emergedItalian with Ashkenazi, as well as Italian with Sephardi.
The first (fig. 2.16) is a fusion of Italian and Ashkenazi square scripts that was
marked by the lack of any of the distinctively Gothic features of the original
40 Engel

FIGURE 2.15 Isaiah ben Jacob of MasseranSephardi and


Italian script. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Can.
Or. 27, fol. 224r; Mantua, 1481.
Reproduced by permission of The Bodleian
Libraries, University of Oxford.

Ashkenazi script (fig. 2.17: see for example the droplets of the vertical lines as
an indicator of the Gothic style).
Moreover, the immigrants Ashkenazi semi-cursive script enhanced the flu-
ency of the Italian semi-cursive, creating, toward the mid-sixteenth century, a
hybrid Italian-Ashkenazi cursive style (fig. 2.18).
A Sephardi hybrid style (fig. 2.19) also emerged in the form of a square script
characterized by a mixture of Sephardi features (like the shape of the alef and
the lack of tags for the horizontal lines) with Italian calligraphy (like shading
and thin connections between the verticals and horizontals). Nurit Pasternak
claims that this mode was Farissols rendering of a Provenal script and was
spread by his many students.9 At any rate, this style appears in manuscripts
penned by Sephardi immigrants as well as Italian scribes, which confirms the
existence of mutual influence between the two.

9 Nurit Pasternak, The Judeo-Italian Translation of the Song of Songs and Yaaqov da
Corinaldo, Materia giudaica 10, no. 2 (2005): 26782.
Immigrant Scribes Handwriting in Northern Italy 41

FIGURE 2.16 Ashkenazi script in FIGURE 2.17 Ashkenazi script. Hamburg,


northern Italy. Parma, Staats- und
Biblioteca Palatina, Cod. Universittsbibliothek, MS hebr.
Parm. 2818, fol. 337v; 16, fol. 35v; Germany, 1334 or 1335.
Northern Italy, 1411. Reproduced by permission of
SU CONCESSIONE DEL SUB Hamburg.
MINISTERO DEI BENI E
DELLE ATTIVIT
CULTURALI E DEL
TURISMO.

FIGURE 2.18 Italian-Ashkenazi semi-cursive script. Washington DC, Library of Congress, Hebr.
Ms. 158, fol. 41v; Governolo, 1512.
FROM THE COLLECTIONS OF THE HEBRAIC SECTION, AFRICAN AND
MIDDLE EASTERN DIVISION, LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, WASHINGTON, DC.

In conclusion, two main elements define a scribes handwriting: idiosyncratic


features and his professional scribal qualifications. The former make it pos-
sible for a scribes distinctive and characteristic style to stand out among more-
stereotypical ones. The latter encourage him to treat script as a work of art. This
seems to explain the process undergone by both groups of immigrant scribes
the Ashkenazi and the Sephardiin northern Italy. This process began with
the immigrant scribes using their native scripts according to the styles of their
42 Engel

FIGURE 2.19 Sephardi square script in Italy. New York, The Library of The Jewish Theological
Seminary, MS 4653, fol. 409v; Ferrara, 1492.
Courtesy of The Library of The Jewish Thelogical Seminary.

countries of origin. It is safe to assume that as newcomers, the scribes that


arrived with the first waves of immigration lacked the skills to adopt the Italian
script. Hence, as part of the personal aspect of their handwriting, immigrant
scribes largely adhered to their native scripts. Starting in the mid-fifteenth
century, the immigrants more-thorough assimilation in their new milieu, in
addition to the immigration of professional scribes, contributed to a partial
adoption of the Italian script. While employing the Italian script not as their
natural handwriting but rather as an art form, they also began to incorporate
aspects of the Italian script into their native hands. This eventually led to the
flourishing of individual scribes who partially adopted the Italian style.10

10 In keeping with the tendency of immigrant scribes to retain the handwriting acquired in
their homeland, most Jewish immigrants in Italyand even their childrenadhered to
their native scripts. However, there were also several professional scribes who arrived in
Italy in the fifteenth century and who were distinguished by their ability to use the Italian
script to facilitate textual transparency.
Immigrant Scribes Handwriting in Northern Italy 43

I further suggest that, overall, the immigrants had a larger impact on Hebrew
script in Italy than the Italian script did on their practices. Although the Italian
script influenced the Ashkenazi and the Sephardi scripts of the immigrants,
the influence in the opposite direction is more impressive.11 Contact between
Ashkenazi and Sephardi immigrants, on the one hand, and Italian scribes, on
the other, is evident from the hybrid styles that developed in both cases. These
hybrid scripts were prevalent in northern Italy especially in the sixteenth cen-
tury and eclipsed the use of pure Italian script even by the Italian Jews.
Despite the fact that, from about 1475 to the early sixteenth century, the
output of Sephardi immigrant scribes was nearly double than that of their
Ashkenazi counterparts, it seems that the latter had a greater impact on the
scripts used in northern Italy. The great impact of the Ashkenazim, is mainly
manifested in the adoption of the quill as a writing tool. It is safe to assume
that the use of the quillprobably introduced by the Ashkenazi immi-
grantsenhanced the Italian and the Ashkenazi square letters, and this led
to the gradual disappearance of the Italian square script. By incorporating the
Ashkenazi letters into their script, first for headings and initials, and later on
for the whole manuscript, the Italian scribes became familiar with and came to
prefer the calligraphic square Ashkenazi letters over the common Italian ones,
penned with a calamus. Apparently, alongside other factors, it was this aes-
thetic consideration that led to the gradual abandonment of the Italian square
mode in favor of the Ashkenazi and the Sephardi square scripts.
It is probably the historical situation of the Sephardi and the Ashkenazi com-
munities in northern Italy that first and foremost caused this different impact.
Since the Jews in the north were mainly of German origin, the Ashkenazim
were naturally the dominant group among the immigrants. The Sephardim
interacted differently with the local Jews and reached a less complete assimila-
tion with them. It seems reasonable that contacts between the native scribes
and the immigrants were fostered by the adjustment of the immigrants as a
group to their new environment. In this sense, the Sephardi immigrants as
a group remained a separate community during the entire period discussed
here, while for the Ashkenazi immigrants becoming an integral part of the
local Italian community was a natural process.12

11 It would be interesting to explore whether this impact of the Ashkenazi script on the
Italian one has a parallel in the realm of ideas. However, this question is beyond the scope
of this article.
12 Even more so, the Yiddish language used by the Ashkenazim in northern Italy during
most of the Renaissance period was merged with Italian words that became integral part
44 Engel

Bibliography

Manuscripts
Cambridge, St. Johns College, MS A 3.
Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, MS Or. 475.
, MS Plut. II.47.
Hamburg, Staats- und Universittsbibliothek, MS. Hebr. 16.
London, British Library, MS Add. 17056.
, MS Add. 27029.
London, Jews College, Former, MS 266.
Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, MS Heb. 77.
, MS Heb. 207.
New York, The Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary, MS 4653.
Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Can. Or. 27.
, MS Mich. 533.
, MS Opp. Add. 4 177.
Paris, Bibliothque nationale de France, Hbreu 612.
, Hbreu 1245.
Parma, Biblioteca Palatina, Cod. Parm. 2460.
, Cod. Parm. 2818.
Washington, Library of Congress, Hebr. MS 158

Secondary Literature
Beit-Ari, Malachi. Hebrew Codicology: Historical and Comparative Typology of Hebrew
Medieval Codices Based on the Documentation of the Extant Dated Manuscripts in
Quantitative Approach. Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Press, forthcoming. Prepublication Internet version 0.4 [Hebrew], 2014: http://web
.nli.org.il/sites/NLI/English/collections/manuscripts/hebrewcodicology/Pages/
default.aspx.
Bonfil, Robert. Jewish Life in Renaissance Italy. Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1994.
Engel, Edna. Abraham Ben Mordecai Farissol: Sephardi Tradition of Book Making in
Northern Italy of the Renaissance Period. Jewish Art 18 (1992): 14967.

of their language, whereas the Sephardim continued to use their homeland vernacular
also in Italy.
 Historic background in this article is based on the following works: Moses A. Shulvass,
The Jews in the World of the Renaissance (Leiden: Brill, 1973) and Robert Bonfil, Jewish Life
in Renaissance Italy (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1994).
Immigrant Scribes Handwriting in Northern Italy 45

Engel, Edna, and Malachi Beit-Ari. Specimens of Mediaeval Hebrew Scripts. Vol. 3,
Ashkenazic Script. Jerusalem: The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities,
forthcoming.
Pasternak, Nurit. The Judeo-Italian Translation of the Song of Songs and Yaaqov da
Corinaldo. Materia giudaica 10, no. 2 (2005): 26782.
Ruderman, David B. The World of a Renaissance Jew: The Life and Thought of Abraham
ben Mordecai Farissol. Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1981.
SfarData, The Codicological Data-Base of the Hebrew Palaeography Project: http://
sfardata.nli.org.il/sfardatanew/home.aspx.
Shulvass, Moses A. The Jews in the World of the Renaissance. Leiden: Brill, 1973.
CHAPTER 3

Studia of Philosophy as Scribal Centers


in Fifteenth-Century Iberia

Colette Sirat
cole Pratique des Hautes tudes, and Institut de Recherche et dHistoire des
Textes, CNRS, Paris

During the period extending from 14131414 (date of the Disputation of Tortosa)
to the expulsions of 1492 (Castile and Aragon) and 1498 (Navarre), the situa-
tion of the Jewish communities in the territories of what is present-day Spain
was unpredictable: in some places, the conditions of life were very difficult; in
others, there was a kind of renaissance.1 The communities had to fight on two
fronts. Internally, they were struggling against the proliferation of conversions
to Christianity and against what the talmudists called the Averroistss lack of
faith.2 Outside the community, Jews confronted the hatred of the Christians
and attacks by the Inquisition.
Baer dedicates only a few sentences to the more-favorable aspects of the
period: they describe the bonds of friendship between Jews and Christians in
the courts of the kings and princes and the high offices held by some Jews,3 for
example by the philosopher Joseph ibn Shem Tov.4
Indeed, very little explicit information prepares us for what we learn from
the Hebrew manuscripts read and written during this period in the Iberian
Peninsula: the intellectual and cultural life of Jews of all tendencies, whether

* My sincere thanks to the reviewers of this book for their valuable remarks.
1 The conclusions of the classic study by Yitzhak Baer, A History of the Jews in Christian Spain,
2 vols. (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1966), especially 2: 24483, are no longer
universally accepted. See, for example, Mark D. Meyerson, A Jewish Renaissance in Fifteenth-
Century Spain (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2004).
2 Contrary to the affirmations of Baer and other historians, when one compares the number
of philosophers who converted to Christianity to the number of those who did not, it is clear
that philosophers, whether Averroists or not, were no more likely to become apostates than
non-philosophers.
3 Baer, A History, 2: 24950.
4 Although the fact that his high standing aroused the hatred of the Christians and he was
murdered under circumstances of which very little is known does cast doubt upon the ben-
efits of enjoying the favor of the court. See Baer, A History, 1: 25051.

koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 5|doi .63/9789004306103_005


Studia Of Philosophy As Scribal Centers 47

talmudists, kabbalists, averroists, etc., was flourishing. Inventories show that


many books existed;5 we know of at least 26 private libraries containing
615 books, mostly on religious topics.6 Of these many books, only a few have
been preserved, many having perished during the expulsion. Added to this
tragic event, there are the various natural causes of book destruction: humid-
ity, worms, negligence, intense use, and recycling of the parchment or paper.
In addition to natural causes, the invention of printing also collaborated to
the oblivion of medieval manuscripts, as the sixteenth century saw the grow-
ing success of printed books (beginning between 1460 and 1480). Medieval
Hebrew manuscripts in general were almost forgotten by Jews in Italy and in
the Ottoman Empire, and they sold them in great quantity to Christian princes
and colleges. As a result, the wealth and diversity of Hebrew philosophical
manuscripts in particular was also forgotten until the nineteenth century and
the emergence of the Wissenschaft des Judenthums.7

1 Schools and Education

The first section of the communal statutes for Castile deals with the obligation
for the communities to collect taxes to pay for teachers of the Torah.8 Although
only the Torah is mentioned, this text is a noteworthy indication of the impor-
tance accorded by Jewish communities to teaching and the intellectual life in
general during the century preceding the expulsion.
In fifteenth-century Spain, primary education (reading and copying the
Bible and daily prayers, learning the commandments) was the same for all
Jewish children. Secondary education began when the child was about thir-
teen years old. For families that could afford further education, there were
two options: the traditional study of the Talmud, which was provided in the

5 See Danile Iancu-Agou, Les livres inventoris Grone aux lendemains de la dispute de
Tortosa (141415), Materia giudaica 6, no. 2 (2001): 16782.
6 Eleazar Gutwirth and Miguel ngel Motis Dolader, Twenty-Six Jewish Libraries from
Fifteenth-Century Spain, The Library, 6th ser., 18 (1996): 2753. Other libraries are men-
tioned in the chapter by Joseph Hacker in this volume, entitled Jewish Book Owners and
Their Libraries in the Iberian Peninsula, Fourteenth-Fifteenth Centuries.
7 The foundation of the Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts as well as the study of
dated manuscripts and the preparation of new catalogues testify to a renewed awareness of
the number, value, and greatness of Hebrew manuscripts.
8 Baer, A History, 26162; Nathan Morris, A History of Jewish Education [Hebrew], 3 vols.
(Jerusalem: Rubin Mass, 1977), 2:11750.
48 Sirat

yeshivot talmudiyot; and the yeshivot hokhmot hitsoniyot, or schools of philoso-


phy, where sciences and philosophy were taught.

1.1 The Yeshivot talmudiyot


The yeshivot talmudiyot (academies specializing in the Talmud and related reli-
gious subjects) taught Torah, halakhah, and sometimes Kabbalah. Near the end
of the fifteenth century, they were more numerous than ever before. As a well-
known rabbi of the time remarked: From ancient times, Spain [Sepharad] was
never so abundant in yeshivot and pupils as it was at the time of the expulsion.
Some of them [the pupils] study with the great rabbis for six or seven years and
sharpen their intellect as a keen sword.9
The impetus for the proliferation of these centers of study seems to have
been provided by Rabbi Isaac ben Jacob Canpanton (13601463), whose
yeshiva was located in Zamora. His students went on to become well-known
heads of other yeshivot: Rabbi Isaac Aboab (14331493), in Buitrago de Lozoya
and afterwards in Guadalajara; Rabbi Isaac de Len (d. 1486 or 1490), in Toledo;
and Rabbi Samuel Valensi (14351487), who succeeded Canpanton in Zamora.10
Six manuscripts, dated and localized, were written in the Sephardi talmudic
yeshivot:

a. In 1454, Jacob ben Moses ibn Arama copied Nahmanidess Commentary


on the Torah for his brother, Rabbi Isaac Arama, in Canpantons yeshiva in
Zamora.11
b. In 1467, the same commentary was copied by three students in the
yeshiva of Aboab in Buitrago.12

9 From Joseph Jabez (d. 1507). Quoted in Michael Riegler, Were the Yeshivot in Spain
Centers for the Copying of Books? Sefarad 57 (1997), 38081.
10 See Abraham Gross, Centers of Study and Yeshivot in Spain, in Moreshet Sefarad: The
Sephardi Legacy, ed. Haim Beinart, 2 vols. (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1992), 1: 399410; and
Mordechai Breuer, Simha Assaf, and Adin Steinsaltz, Yeshivot, in Encyclopaedia Judaica,
ed. Fred Skolnik and Michael Berenbaum, 2nd ed. (Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA,
2007), 21: 31521. Most important for our purpose is Joseph R. Hacker, On the Intellectual
Character and Self-Perception of Spanish Jewry in the Late Fifteenth Century [Hebrew],
Sefunot 17 (1983): 2195.
11 Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica, MS Neofiti 7. See Binyamin Richler, ed., Hebrew Manuscripts
in the Vatican Library: Catalogue. Palaeographical and codicological descriptions by
Malachi Beit-Ari, with the collaboration of Nurit Pasternak (Vatican City: Biblioteca
Apostolica Vaticana, 2008), 532; and Riegler, Were the Yeshivot, 38788.
12 Parma, Biblioteca Palatina, Cod. Parm. 2372; See Binyamin Richler and Malachi Beit-Ari,
eds., Hebrew Manuscripts in the Biblioteca Palatina: Catalogue (Jerusalem: Jewish National
and University Library, 2001), 114 (no. 596); and Riegler, Were the Yeshivot, 38889.
Studia Of Philosophy As Scribal Centers 49

c. In 1476, a student wrote a collection of kabbalistic works in the yeshiva of


Rabbi Samuel Franco, in Frmista.13
d. In 1477, eight students copied the Commentary on Proverbs by Menahem
ha-Meiri in the yeshiva of Isaac de Len in Toledo.14
e. In 1491, a student made a copy of Nahmanidess novellae on the tractates
Sanhedrin and Makkot in the yeshiva of Aboab in Guadalajara.15
f. In the same year and in the same place, another student copied portions
of Asher ben Jehiels responsa.16

1.2 The Yeshivot hokhmot hitsoniyot


The yeshivot hokhmot hitsoniyot taught philosophy and the sciences tradition-
ally known as hokhmot hitsoniyot (the external sciences). The fact that these
yeshivot hokhmot hitsoniyot taught philosophy and were institutions utterly
different from the yeshivot talmudiyot is emphasized by Rav Joseph Garn, a
Castilian scholar of the late fifteenth century.17 Here, for the first time in Jewish
history, the teaching of sciences and philosophy was organized and ordered
like the teaching of the Talmud in the well-known institutions for traditional
studies: it was intended for groups of students, had a regular curriculum,18 and
was directed by the head of the yeshiva.19 Although the model and the name

13 Former Sassoon Collection, MS 693; See David S. Sassoon, Ohel Dawid: Descriptive
Catalogue of the Hebrew and Samaritan Manuscripts in the Sassoon Library (Oxford:
Oxford Univ. Press, 1932), 427; and Riegler, Were the Yeshivot, 39192.
14 Frankfurt, Universittsbibliothek, MS Hebr. 8 56. See Ernst Roth and Leo Prijs, Hebrische
Handschriften. Teil I. Verzeichnis der orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland 6.1,
3 vols. (Wiesbaden and Stuttgart: Franz Steiner, 1982, 1990, 1993), 1:88; and Riegler, Were
the Yeshivot, 39192.
15 The location of this manuscript is unknown. See Riegler, Were the Yeshivot, 39394.
16 New York, The Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), MS 1351; See Riegler,
Were the Yeshivot, 39495.
17 The term occurs several times in his homilies. See Hacker, On the Intellectual Character,
5256. Contrary to the opinion of Mauro Zonta, Hebrew Scholasticism in the Fifteenth
Century: A History and Sourcebook (Dordrecht: Springer, 2006), 15, note 61, the term is not
at all ambiguous, and Rav Garn gives a number of details which are confirmed by the
manuscripts.
18 See Colette Sirat and Marc Geoffroy, The Modena Manuscript and the Teaching of
Philosophy in Fourteenth and Fifteenth Century Spain, in Study and Knowledge in Jewish
Thought, ed. Howard Kreisel (Beer-Sheva: Ben-Gurion Univ. Press of the Negev, 2006),
185202. Hacker alluded to them in On the Intellectual Character, 5256.
19 As proposed by Harry Wolfson, Isaac Ibn Shem Tobs Unknown Commentaries on
the Physics and His Other Unknown Works, in Studies in the History of Philosophy and
Religion, ed. Isadore Twersky and George H. Williams, 2 vols. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard
50 Sirat

were Jewish, this development was clearly attributable to the influence of


Christian universities, an influence which was also felt in Islamic circles.20
The texts studied in the yeshivot of philosophy were not religious; of course,
all children had already learned the Bible, the daily prayers, and some tradi-
tional texts (Mishnah, Talmud, midrash), but there was a real gap between
the talmudists, who proscribed the study of philosophy, and the philosophers,
who prescribed it. Upon reaching adulthood, at thirteen or fourteen years old,
a student would learn religion or science, but not both. Thus, the texts copied
in the two kinds of yeshivot were utterly different.
Among Jews, the study of science and philosophy began in Muslim coun-
tries during the tenth century and relied on the Arabic language. Everyone
(Muslims, Christians, and Jews) discussed and read Arabic philosophy in
Arabic; Jews generally wrote Arabic in Hebrew letters.21 These disciplines were
read under a master, as we see in the dedicatory letter at the beginning of the
Guide for the Perplexed addressed by Maimonides to Rabbi Joseph at the end
of the twelfth century:

When you came to me having conceived the intention of journeying


from the country farthest away in order to read texts under my guidance
[...] When thereupon you read under my guidance texts dealing with
the science of astronomy and prior to that texts dealing with
mathematics...22

During the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, many philosophical texts were
translated from Arabic to Hebrew in order to make it possible for the Jews of
Christian Europe and Byzantium to read them. It seems that there were schools

Univ. Press, 1977), 2:47990. (The date given on p. 481 is to be corrected as well as note
408 by Steinschneider quoted by Wolfson. See also Stefan C. Reif, Hebrew Manuscripts
at Cambridge University Library: A Description and Introduction (Cambridge: Cambridge
Univ. Press, 1997), 37374.
20 Luis Girn-Negrn, Alfonso de la Torres Vision Deleytable: Philosophical Rationalism and
the Religious Imagination in 15th Century Spain (Leiden: Brill, 2001), 5069, esp. 6162 and
notes 17677.
21 Reading and writing were learned separately: reading was taught to everyone. The basics
of the Hebrew script were learned by almost all Jewish males very early in the synagogue
school (at five or six years old), and for those who wrote regularly, the motions of writing
were automatic, almost natural. Thus, the Arabic texts were frequently written in Hebrew
letters, as were all the other spoken languages: French, German, Spanish, etc. Children
of scholars and of aristocratic families were taught Arabic calligraphy when they were
destined for careers at the court.
22 Trans. Shlomo Pines (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1963), 3.
Studia Of Philosophy As Scribal Centers 51

of science and philosophy in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Italy as well as


in the Byzantine Empire. These schools had one master, no more than three
students, and no fixed curriculum. In contrast, Iberian yeshivot, both talmudic
and philosophical, were characterized by more than one master and one class,
more students per class, and a fixed curriculum extending over a number of
years. For centuries, this had been typical of talmudic yeshivot. However, it
was new in the study of philosophy. The increase in the number of masters
and students and the fact that the same texts were studied numerous times
resulted in new kinds of literary compositions. Commentaries and questions
were composed by the masters for their students.23
However, as far as we know, philosophical yeshivot appear in the Iberian
Peninsula only during the fifteenth century, and the 1492 expulsion apparently
put an end to them. I do not know of any text describing them. To learn more
about them, we have to study the codicological and paleographical features of
the manuscripts they produced. The study of these manuscripts has only just
begun, and thus what follows is a preliminary report on research that is still in
progress.

2 Manuscripts and Texts

2.1 Manuscripts Attesting to the Existence of Philosophical Yeshivot


The manuscript that opened the door to the study of the Iberian philosophical
yeshivot is preserved in Modena, Biblioteca Estense, J. 6. 23 (hereinafter the
Modena manuscript).24 It contains three of Averroess middle commentaries
on Aristotle, all of them in Arabic and written by the same hand:

23 The study of these commentaries is just beginning. However, it is already clear that
they follow the model of the Latin university commentaries, as described for instance
by Olga Weijers, La structure des commentaires philosophiques la Facult des arts:
quelques observations, in Il commento filosofico nelloccidente latino (secoli XIIIXV).
The Philosophical Commentary in the Latin West (13th15th Centuries), ed. Gianfranco
Fioravanti, Claudio Leonardi, and Stefano Perfetti (Turnhout: Brepols, 2002), 1741.
24 See Carlo Bernheimer, Catalogo dei manoscritti orientali della Biblioteca Estense (Rome:
n.p., 1960), 5657 (no. 41). The description by Lea Shalem may be found on SfarData
(http://sfardata.nli.org.il/sfardatanew/home.aspx ). The 79 folios (fols. 124 and 2680),
essentially six-sheet quires (sexternions), are paper; there is a lacuna between fol. 21 and
fol. 22 and another one between fol. 22 and fol. 23. The manuscript measures 280282
212215 (190193 126130) mm, with long lines. There are 27 lines of text, written on the
same number of rules. One folio, evidently blank, is missing at the start, and one or more
after fol. 24. Fol. 25 is not part of the manuscript and is another kind of paper. Another
two folios, also blank (there is no lacuna), are missing after fol. 62, as are two more blank
52 Sirat

1. The Middle Commentary on De generatione et corruptione (fols. 1r23v),


concluding with an authors colophon dated February 24, 1172, and a
scribal colophon:

[The book was written] for the personal use [of the scribe]; it is finished.
Thanks be to God, who assisted Ezra b. R. Solomonhis memory for a
blessingb. Gategno. Completed on Sunday, the ninth of Iyyar, 5116 of
the Creation of the World [1356] in Saragossamay God protect it!

2. The Middle Commentary on De anima (fols. 2662v), concluding with an


encomium.25
3. The Epitome of the Parva naturalia (fols. 63r79v), concluding with an
authors colophon dated Seville, 13 Rabi I (early January), 1170, and a
scribal colophon on folio 80r:

Here this book is completed, Thursday, the eve of the Giving of the
Torah [Shavuot] in the year 5116 of the Creation of the World [1356].
Ezra b. R. Solomonhis memory for a blessingb. Gategno wrote it
for his own use. It has been finished by one whom God has favored with
His grace, in Saragossamay God protect it!

The scribe was a philosopher whose major works, two supercommentar-


ies on Abraham ibn Ezras biblical commentary, remain almost entirely in
manuscript.26 What makes the Modena manuscript noteworthy for our

folios at the very end. The manuscript was bound carelessly: the correct order of the folios
would be 135, 37, 36, 3847, 49, 48, 51, 50, 5280.
25 It is one of the two manuscripts using the Hebrew alphabet in which this Arabic commen-
tary has been preserved. It was published by Alfred L. Ivry, using the Arabic alphabet and
with an English translation, notes, and introduction: Middle Commentary on Aristotles
De anima: A Critical Edition of the Arabic Text (Provo, Utah: Brigham Young Univ. Press,
2002).
26 On Ezra ben Solomon Gategno, see also Dov Schwartz, The Philosophy of a Fourtheenth-
Century Jewish Neoplatonic Circle [Hebrew] (Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 1996), esp. 5153.
In this work, Schwartz disputes the charge of Averroism leveled against the Spanish
Jewish philosophers and notes strong Neoplatonic leanings in their writings. One of these
commentaries, Sefer zikkaron (Book of Memories), is addressed to the general public.
The other, Sod adonai li-yreav (Gods Mystery Is for Those Who Fear Him), is intended
for philosophers (the title comes from Ps. 25:14). The commentary on Genesis which is
found at the beginning of the second of these commentaries has recently been published
by Schwartz in Amulets, Properties and Rationalism in Medieval Jewish Thought [Hebrew]
(Ramat Gan: Bar Ilan Univ. Press, 2004), 285316.
Studia Of Philosophy As Scribal Centers 53

purposes are the glosses, which are quite numerous in the margins of some
pages, especially those of De anima, Book III, which deals with the intellec-
tual faculty (fig. 3.1). This multitude of glosses, written in a very small Sephardi
script and full of abbreviations, are quotes from the Arabic Long Commentary
on De anima, which was presumed lost.27 A single quotation may have been
written successively by three students, each one picking up where the last one
left off.28 This shows that the same lesson was taught three times successively
and that the same texts were being explained a number of times. What we have
here is the dictation to the students of courses given in a philosophical yeshiva.
We know of five Jewish yeshivot of philosophy because nine dated manu-
scripts were copied in them.

a. The Yeshiva of Joseph ben Shem Tov (before 1437ca. 1460), in Segovia:
MS 1. In 1437, a student copied for himself the Maase nissim, by Nissim of
Marseilles.29
b. The Yeshiva of Isaac ben Shem Tov (ca. 1410ca. 1460), in Aguilar de
Campoo:
MS 2. In 1457, half of the Commentary on the Torah by Gersonides was
copied for Isaac ben Shem Tov in his yeshiva, in Aguilar de Campoo.30
MS 3. In 1471, a Commentary by Isaac ben Shem Tov was copied in the
same yeshiva by Abraham ben Joseph ibn Adret.31

27 In fact, it was preserved by Jewish philosophers and taught in their schools, in Arabic as
well as in Hebrew.
28 We can be sure of this because many of these quotations are parallel to the Latin transla-
tion by Michael Scot.
29 See Riegler, Were the Yeshivot, 384; and Sirat and Geoffroy, The Modena Manuscript,
197 and note 30. The scribes colophon applies only to the Maase nissim. This text is fol-
lowed by numerous additions, some of which are not philosophical texts at all. The manu-
script was catalogued by Shlomo Zucker many years ago, but at that time he was more
interested in texts than in watermarks and hands. Currently the manuscript is in private
hands, and thus this early copy (1437) and the only one from Josephs yeshiva cannot be
fully evaluated at present. However, I hope to have the opportunity to study it in the future.
30 Paris, Bibliothque nationale de France (BNF), Hbreu 244. See Colette Sirat and Malachi
Beit-Ari, Manuscrits mdivaux en caractres hbraques portant des indications de date
jusquen 1540, I, 2 vols. (Paris: CNRS; Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Press, 1972), no. 111. See also Moritz Steinschneider, Die hebrischen bersetzungen des
Mittelalters und die Juden als Dolmetscher (Berlin: H. Jtzkowski, 1893), 320, note 409; and
Riegler, Were the Yeshivot, 384; Sirat and Geoffroy, The Modena Manuscript, 199200.
31 Cambridge, University Library, MS Mm.6.31.2. See Stefan C. Reif, Hebrew Manuscripts at
Cambridge University Library: A Description and Introduction (Cambridge: Cambridge
Univ. Press, 1997), 37374; and Sirat and Geoffroy, The Modena Manuscript, 199200.
54 Sirat

c. The Yeshiva of Abraham ben Shem Tov Bibago (ca. 1420ca. 1490), in
Saragossa:
MS 4. In 1471, the Commentary of Moses of Narbonne on the Intentions of
the Philosophers by Abu Hamid al-Ghazali was produced in the yeshiva of
Abraham Bibago, in Saragossa.32
d. The Yeshiva of Shem Tov ben Joseph ibn Shem Tov (ca. 1430ca. 1492), in
Segovia:
MS 5. In 1482, the Ethica Nicomachea was copied in the yeshiva of Shem
Tov ben Joseph ibn Shem Tov in Segovia by an unknown student.33
MSS 6 and 7. In 1491, during the same month, in the Segovia yeshiva, a
student copied two of Averroess Middle Commentaries, on the De anima
with a colophon on folio 64r and on the De generatione et corruptione
with a colophon by Jacob ben Meir ha-Kohen on folio 114r.34
e. The Yeshiva of Haim Manyan:35
MS 8. In 1485, in this yeshiva (the location is not given), Judah ben Ben-
veniste copied for Isaac ben Eleazar, the physician, Moses of Narbonnes

32 Paris, BNF, Hbreu 908; Colette Sirat, Malachi Beit-Ari, and Mordechai Glatzer,
Manuscrits mdivaux en caractres hbraques portant des indications de date jusquen
1540, III, 3 vols. (Paris: CNRS; Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Press, 1986), no. 5; Riegler, Were the Yeshivot, 38990; Sirat and Geoffroy, The Modena
Manuscript, 19596.
33 San Francisco, Sutro Library, MS wpa 149; Riegler, Were the Yeshivot, 384; Sirat and
Geoffroy, The Modena Manuscript, 198 and note 32.
34 Freiburg, Universittsbibliothek Freiburg, MS 143. See Ernst Roth, Hans Striedl, and Lothar
Tetzner, Hebrischen Handschriften. Teil 2, Verzeichnis der orientalischen Handschriften
in Deutschland 6.2 (Berlin: F. Steiner, 1965), p. 68 (no. 413); Riegler, Were the Yeshivot,
386, with a reproduction of the colophon on fol. 64r on p. 385; Sirat and Geoffroy, The
Modena Manuscript, 19899 and note 33.
35 Contrary to the four other yeshivot masters, we do not know who Haim Manyan was. The
only information we have about him is the following, kindly sent to me by Javier Castao
(May 17, 2012): The family name was known in Castile from the end of the fourteenth
century and up until 1492. It seems to have originated around Palencia and Frmista.
However, members of the family are known to have been living in Burgos, Medina de
Pomar, and Briviesca already at the beginning of the fifteenth century. Although the
socio-economic rank of the members of this family was not the highest, some members
of this family were associated with rich and important Jews near the Court.... The only
reference about a Haim Manyan is a debt contracted in 1487 by a person of this name, and
his son, from the curate of a church in Burgos. Thus, the yeshiva of Haim Manyan may
have been located in Burgos.
Studia Of Philosophy As Scribal Centers 55

Commentary on the Guide for the Perplexed and a Commentary by Joseph


ben Kaspi.36
MS 9. In the same year, one month before the manuscript mentioned
above, the same person wrote for the same physician the Divine Visions
by Hanokh ben Solomon al-Kostantini,37 without mentioning the head
of the yeshiva, but it is a fair guess that this was the place he wrote it.

There may have been more yeshivot of this kind. Baruch ibn Yaish may have
been the director of a philosophical yeshiva: he certainly was a teacher of
philosophy.38

2.2 Texts Studied in the Yeshivot of Philosophy


A preliminary distinction has to be made between the texts studied in the two
kinds of yeshivot. Rabbinical literature, Talmud, halakhah, and Kabbalah were
copied in talmudic yeshivot. Philosophical textsAverroess commentaries on
Aristotles treatises, Maimonidess Guide for the Perplexed and its commentar-
ies, texts by Jewish philosophersand perhaps scientific books were copied
in the philosophical yeshivot. It would have been impossible for both kinds of
texts to be written in the same place and under the same masters, because the
talmudists hated the philosophers and the philosophers scorned the talmud-
ists. This mutual disdain had existed since the time of Maimonides (he died in
1204)39 and lasted until the sixteenth century.40
In identifying the books used or copied in the philosophical yeshivot, the
best criterion is the truthful word of a human being. However, manuscripts
dated (only some of them are localized) by a scribes colophon, as the ones we
saw above, are a small part of extant manuscripts: in general, their number is

36 Cambridge, Houghton Library, MS 37; See Mordechai Glatzer, Charles Berlin, and
Rodney Dennis, Hebrew Manuscripts in the Houghton Library (Cambridge, MA: Harvard
Univ. Press, 1975), 11; Riegler, Were the Yeshivot, 396; Sirat and Geoffroy, The Modena
Manuscript, 201.
37 Paris, BNF, Hbreu 853, fol. 1; Sirat, Beit-Ari, and Glatzer, Manuscrits mdivaux, III,
no. 32; Riegler, Were the Yeshivot, 396; Sirat and Geoffroy, The Modena Manuscript, 200.
38 See Zonta, Hebrew Scholasticism, 10963.
39 New information is presented in the edition of Maimonidess autographs. See Colette
Sirat and Silvia Di Donato, Mamonide et les brouillons autographes du Dallat al-irn
(Guide des gars) (Paris: Vrin, 2011).
40 The most-recent paper on this subject is by Gregg Stern, Philosophy in Southern France:
Controversy over Philosophic Study and the Influence of Averroes upon Jewish Thought,
in The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Jewish Philosophy, ed. Daniel H. Frank and
Oliver Leaman (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2003), 281303.
56 Sirat

estimated to be no more than ten percent of the total number of existing man-
uscripts.41 Thus, it is reasonable to assume that there are dozens of Hebrew
manuscripts that were used or copied in Iberian philosophical yeshivot during
the fifteenth century but are not dated or localized. How are we to recognize
them?
The fact that a copy includes a dedication is a good indication that it is a
yeshiva manuscript: when a student, putting down a commentary he heard
from the mouth of his master, wishes him a long life, we cannot doubt the fact
that the master is living and teaching in his yeshiva. Thus we learn an approxi-
mate date and a probable location.
In the Modena manuscript, the commentary on Averroess Middle
Commentary on the De anima of Aristotle was dictated in Arabic, and the stu-
dents copied it in Hebrew letters. We do not know who the master was who
taught it. It may have been Shem Tov ben Joseph ibn Shem Tov.
The supercommentaries on the Commentaries by Averroes on the De anima
were numerous in Hebrew. Those on the Middle Commentary used the Hebrew
translation of the text by Moses ibn Tibbon or Shem Tov ben Isaac de Tortosa.42
This text was taught in most or all of the philosophical yeshivot as we know by
the supercommentaries of the masters: Joseph ben Shem Tov, Isaac ben Shem
Tov, and Shem Tov ben Joseph ibn Shem Tov taught their own Commentaries.
However, only a few of them are preserved.
Let us look at the one taught by Shem Tov ibn Shem Tov to his students. It
was commented orally in Hebrew and preserved in dictations. Three of them
remain:

1. The first one occupies the center of folios 348r to 352r in New York, The
Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS), MS 2341.
2. The margins in the same manuscript give copious additions which, pre-
sumably, testify to a second lesson on the Middle Commentary of the De
anima. On the interior margin of folio 451v, facing line 25, the gloss says:
as our master explained... but the edge of the margin is cut.

41 Malachi Beit-Ari, Hebrew Codicology, Historical and Comparative Typology of Hebrew


Medieval Codices Based on the Documentation of the Extant Dated Manuscripts in
Quantitative Approach (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities Press,
forthcoming). Prepublication Internet version 0.4 [Hebrew], 2014: http://web.nli.org.il/
sites/NLI/English/collections/manuscripts/hebrewcodicology/Pages/default.aspx
42 See Giuliano Tamani, La tradizione ebraica del De anima di Aristotele, in Atti della VII
Settimana Sangue e anthropologia nella teologia medieval, Roma, 27 novembre2 diciem-
bre 1989 (Rome: Edizione Pia Unione Preziosissimo Sangue, 1991), 33962.
Studia Of Philosophy As Scribal Centers 57

3. The third dictation introduces the additions of the second lesson. It is


copied in MS Paris, Bibliothque nationale de France (BNF), Hbreu
967, folios 110r171r. On the first line of folio 170v, we read: [...] as our
master explained, followed by the abbreviation " ""the benediction in
Aramaic: May the Merciful protect him and bless him.

We have here three successive dictations made in Shem Tovs yeshiva. The
identification of the watermarks in the JTS manuscriptkindly provided by
Evelyn Cohen and Jay Rovner, manuscript bibliographer in the JTS Library
confirms the dating of the manuscript,43 and one of the watermarks identified
by Cristina Ciucu in MS Paris, BNF, Hbreu 96744 is the same as one of those
found in New York, JTS, MS 2341.
All the dictations end with the words:

Here is the end of the Commentary on the Book of the Soul, although the
commentary on the rational faculty is lacking. Our master and Rav prom-
ised it to us and we are waiting until he gives it to us, with the help of God,
and then the commentary will be complete. Finished, finished, glory to
God, Amen.

Indeed, the part of the commentary dealing with the rational faculty (the
beginning of Book III45) was written by Shem Tov ibn Shem Tov and finished

43 Here is their answer to my request (June 2012): We have checked the manuscript and
have been able to identify two watermarks. While they were not exact matches with
Briquets drawings, they are similar in terms of the shape of the hand. One includes a six-
petaled flower and the other a crown. They are found in paper used in Sicily, in the last
quarter of the fifteenth century:
 11154 (example: top of hand on fol. 378, bottom on fol. 365): hand with a cuff that has
edging formed by two horizontal lines at the top and the bottom of the cuff; with a line
extending from the middle finger that connects to flower with six pointed petals. (The
form is star like, but has a circle in its center.) The watermark is found on the paper of
documents written/copied in Palermo, 1479 and 1492, and Catania, 1480.
 11323 (example: top of hand on fol. 389, bottom of hand on fol. 380): hand with a cuff
that has edging formed by two horizontal lines at the top and the bottom of the cuff, with
a line extending from middle finger that connects to a crown with five cusps. The water-
mark is found on the paper used for documents copied/written in Palermo, 14791484,
and Savoy, 1479.
44 There are three watermarks. Only one is similar to Briquets drawings: a hand connected
to a flower. The bottom part is visible on fol. 112 and the upper part on fols. 117 and 146. It
is number 11154, also found in the preceding manuscript and used in Palermo (1479 and
1492) and Catania (1480).
45 Corresponding to pages 10615 in Ivrys edition.
58 Sirat

in Alqasam (probably Almazn, east of Saragossa) in 1478. We have two copies


of this composition:

1. The first was written during his lifetime, in his yeshiva. It is found in
New York, JTS, MS 2341, folios 365r371r. At the beginning, on folio 365r,
the name of the author is followed by the same abbreviation of the
Aramaic benediction """: May the Merciful protect him and bless him
(fig. 3.2).
2. The other copy is found in Paris, BNF, Hbreu 898, folios 107v147v; it was
copied in Adrianople for the physician Gedalia ibn Yahya,46 who was on
his way to Istanbul, by Joseph ben Abraham in the year 5307/1547.

The examples given above can be identified as having their origins in philo-
sophical yeshivot both by the textual evidence they contain and by certain
material characteristics. When we have only material evidence, the task of
identification is more problematic but not impossible. In these cases, it is nec-
essary to look at:

a) The kind of script that is used: manuscripts copied in an Iberian yeshiva


would have been written in a Sephardi script.47 However, the fact that a
manuscript is written in Sephardi script does not necessarily indicate
a date preceding the expulsion from the Hispanic Kingdoms, nor does it
localize the production of the manuscript to those kingdoms. The scribes
who left Castile and Aragon after the events of 1391 or the expulsion of
1492 went on using the kind of writing they learned at school and, from
the fifteenth century onwards, the Sephardi script may be found in man-
uscripts from all around the Mediterranean. This style of writing was
passed down from generation to generation, and the script was used by
scribes long after the expulsion of Jews from the Iberian Peninsula.48
b) The time and place of use of the paper-watermarks. The dating of the
writing medium is quite reliable when it is not parchment but paper. In
the West, paper was manufactured on an industrial scale, and the study

46 We do not know if this Gedalia ibn Yahya was the author of the Shalshelet ha-Kabbalah.
47 Malachi Beit-Ari, Hebrew Script in Spain: Development, Offshoots and Vicissitudes, in
Moreshet Sepharad, 1:282317.
48 I learned this fact by experience. A friend of mine, Emmanuel Chouchena (who would
go on to become a great rabbi), was the scion of a family driven out of Spain in 1492; he
offered to write the ketubbah for my son to give to his bride in the Sephardi script he was
taught by his father. The document he produced was written in a magnificent semi-cur-
sive that any paleographer would presume had been written in the fourteenth century!
Studia Of Philosophy As Scribal Centers 59

of the watermarks impressed into the paper by the different manufactur-


ers can provide an idea of the date of production. This date is never
precise,49 but it is possible to establish a range of years during which the
paper was produced. This range can vary from five to fifty years.

Let us suppose that the text is a philosophical one and that the script and
watermarks point to the Iberian Peninsula during the fifteenth century. In
order to determine whether the manuscript was written in a yeshiva or not, we
have to look at the number of hands that were involved in the writing or use
of the manuscript. We are not speaking about a collection of quires wherein
some have been written by one hand and some by another. In the cases we are
looking for, we see one hand giving the pen to another in the middle of a page
or at the end of a folio.
When there is only one scribe, the copy could have been made anywhere, a
yeshiva or any other location. This is the case in a number of the dated manu-
scripts we saw above; the scribe may have been a student of philosophy, but
without the colophon, we would not have identified it as a yeshiva manu-
script. The same is true of manuscripts penned by two scribes: they may have
been a scribe and his son, or two brothers, working on the same manuscript, a
situation that is not uncommon. When the number of hands is three, we can
begin to entertain the possibility of a class collaborating on the same work, and
indeed this is often the case.
A manuscript copied by more than three hands can be definitively attrib-
uted to a yeshiva setting. The collaboration of seven or eight scribes on the
same manuscript would only have occurred in a class of students in a yeshiva.
The distribution of hands is characteristic: one hand replaces another after a
few pages or a few lines.
However, distinguishing between quite similar hands (same age, same mas-
ter) is not an easy task.50 It takes a long time and much attention. An example
of the difficulty involved is provided by two mistakes made a few years ago:

49 For many reasons, which are explained in detail in the remarkable studies by Monique
Zerdoun Bat-Yehouda: Les papiers filigrans mdivaux: Essai de mthodologie descrip-
tive, 2 vols., Bibliologia 78 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1989); Les papiers filigrans des manu-
scrits hbreux dats jusqu 1450 conservs en France et en Isral, 2 vols., Bibliologia 1617
(Turnhout: Brepols, 1997); and as editor, Le papier au Moyen Age: histoire et techniques,
Bibliologia 19 (Turnhout: Brepols, 1999).
50 See Marie-Jeanne Sedeyn, Standard Handwriting Objective Examination SHOE: A Manual
for Physicians, Sociologists, Researchers, Examiners of Questioned Documents (Meyreuil:
Fovea, 1999).
60 Sirat

1. MS Paris, BNF, Hbreu 908 was described by the French and Israeli team
of the Hebrew Palaeography Project, of which I was part, and the descrip-
tion was published in 1986.51 We noted many irregularities in the manu-
scripts codicological and graphical features, numerous corrections, and
the fact that the copy was a yeshiva manuscript, among other things, but
only one name appears in the colophon, that of Isaac ben Habib, and we
concluded that he was the only scribe, albeit a very bad one. Recently, I
looked again at the manuscript, and now it is very clear to me that many
students took part in making the copy.
2. The second mistake is my own. In reference to the glosses of the Modena
manuscript, I spoke in 200552 and 2006 of: five individuals...supple-
mented by others.53 A more exact examination revealed that fourteen
hands wrote the glosses! These fourteen hands were those of students
who transcribed in Arabic, in Hebrew letters, an oral commentary on
Averroess Middle Commentary on the De anima in the margins of the
text copied in the center of the page.

Many hands are indeed a sure sign of a yeshiva manuscript. An unusual


example is the use of MS Paris, BNF, Hbreu 915 by yeshiva students. This
manuscriptwhich contains philosophical treatises by Ibn Tufayl, Averroes,
and Al-Farabiwas copied in Saragossa in 1474.54 The second text, Averroess
Commentary on the Metaphysics of Aristotle (fols. 81r160r), is accompanied
by numerous short glosses in tiny Sephardi handwriting, very similar to the dif-
ferent hands seen in the Modena manuscript. The words in the text to which
the glosses refer are marked by a graphic sign. It is not however the classical
atfa but individual signs, unique for each hand and easily differentiated. I
counted eleven signs corresponding to eleven different hands. The students
had to compare this text to another one,55 and the master wanted to be sure
that each student did his work by verifying the easily recognized graphic signs.
Thus, in order to identify a philosophical yeshiva manuscript, we need to
know: 1) the kind of text, 2) the watermarks of the paper, 3) the number of
hands and how they follow one another. These are details we do not find in

51 Sirat, Beit-Ari, and Glatzer, Manuscrits mdivaux, III, no. 5.


52 Colette Sirat and Marc Geoffroy, Loriginal arabe du Grand Commentaire dAverroes au
De anima dAristote: Prmices de ledition (Paris: Vrin, 2005), 34.
53 Sirat and Geoffroy, The Modena Manuscript, 189.
54 See Sirat, Beit-Ari, and Glatzer, Manuscrits mdivaux, I, no. 136.
55 A more detailed study of this manuscript will elucidate all these texts, commentaries, and
glosses.
Studia Of Philosophy As Scribal Centers 61

most catalogues, even the most-recent ones. However, they are found in the
new Catalogue56 of the Bibliothque nationale de France.57
While this new catalogue was being prepared, a few manuscripts were iden-
tified as having been written in Iberian philosophical yeshivot:

1. MS BNF, Hbreu 686, a Guide for the Perplexed, is copied on parchment,


but there were ten scribes, and it was evidently written in Sepharad.58
2. MS BNF, Hbreu 703 is a copy of Moses of Narbonnes Commentary on
the Guide for the Perplexed;59 eight scribes participated in the copy, which
was done in Sepharad at the end of the fifteenth century (fig. 3.3).
3. MSS BNF, Hbreu 72930 contain a copy of Mikhlal yofi, a philosophical
explanation of traditional texts by the fourteenth-century Iberian phi-
losopher Samuel Zarza.60 Here also, the fact that numerous scribes par-
ticipated in the copy, as well as the Sephardi origin, leave no doubt that
these are yeshiva manuscripts.
4. MS BNF, Hbreu 763 is a summary of the same work, Mikhlal yofi, and has
the same features as the preceding manuscript.

Provided that research on this topic continues, there is no doubt that further
discoveries of manuscripts of this kind will give us a better picture of the vari-
ety of manuscripts copied in fifteenth-century Sepharad and will provide a
fuller understanding of the yeshivot of philosophy. Moreover, this approach
to undated manuscripts offers another possible window into the more than
30,000 medieval Hebrew manuscripts that remain to be studied.

56 See Colette Sirat, New Catalogues for Medieval Hebrew Manuscripts? in Studies in
Hebrew Literature and Jewish Culture Presented to Albert van der Heide on the Occasion of
his Sixty-Fifth Birthday, eds. Martin F. J. Baasten and Reinier Munk (Dordrecht: Springer,
2007), 2130.
57 In the collection Catalogues des manuscrits en caractres hbreux conservs dans les bib-
liothques de France (CMCH). For the Bibliothque nationale de France four volumes have
appeared so far and one is in press: Philippe Bobichon, Bibliothque nationale de France.
Hbreu 669 703. Manuscrits de thologie, CMCH I (Turnhout: Brepols, 2008); Silvia Di
Donato, Bibliothque nationale de France. Hbreu 214 259. Commentaires bibliques, CMCH
III (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011); Javier del Barco, Bibliothque nationale de France. Hbreu 1
32. Manuscrits de la Bible hbraque, CMCH IV (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011); Cristina Ciucu,
Bibliothque nationale de France. Hbreu 763 777. Manuscrits de Kabbale, CMCH VI
(Turnhout: Brepols, 2014); and Philippe Bobichon, Bibliothque nationale de France.
Hbreu 704 733. Manuscrits de thologie, CMCH V (Turnhout: Brepols, forthcoming).
58 See Bobichon, Hbreu 669 703, 18287.
59 Ibid., 296302.
60 The description will appear in Bobichon, Hbreu 704 733.
62 Sirat

FIGURE 3.1 Modena, Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, MS Or. 13= J.6.23, fol. 55r.
SU CONCESSIONE DEL MINISTERO DEI BENI E DELLE ATTIVIT CULTURALI E DEL
TURISMO.
Studia Of Philosophy As Scribal Centers 63

FIGURE 3.2 New York, The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary, MS 2341, fol. 365r.
Courtesy of The Library of The Jewish Theological Seminary.
64 Sirat

FIGURE 3.3 Paris, Bibliothque nationale de France, Hbreu 703, fols. 29v30r.
Reproduced by permission of the Bibliothque nationale de France.
Studia Of Philosophy As Scribal Centers 65
66 Sirat

Bibliography

Manuscripts
Cambridge, Houghton Library, MS 37.
Cambridge, University Library, MS Mm.6.31.2.
Frankfurt, Universittsbibliothek, MS Hebr. 8 56.
Freiburg, Universittsbibliothek Freiburg, MS 143.
Modena, Biblioteca Estense, MS J. 6. 23.
New York, The Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary, MS 1351.
, MS 2341.
Paris, Bibliothque nationale de France, Hbreu 244.
, Hbreu 686.
, Hbreu 703.
, Hbreu 72930.
, Hbreu 763.
, Hbreu 853.
, Hbreu 898.
, Hbreu 908.
, Hbreu 915.
, Hbreu 967.
Parma, Biblioteca Palatina, Cod. Parm. 2372.
San Francisco, Sutro Library, MS WPA 149.
Sassoon Collection, Former, MS 693.
Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica, MS Neofiti 7.

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Arabic Text. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young Univ. Press, 2002.
Maimonides. The Guide of the Perplexed. Translated by Shlomo Pines. Chicago: Univ. of
Chicago Press, 1963.

Secondary Literature
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Publication Society, 1966.
Beit-Ari, Malachi. Hebrew Codicology: Historical and Comparative Typology of Hebrew
Medieval Codices Based on the Documentation of the Extant Dated Manuscripts in
Quantitative Approach. Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Press, forthcoming. Prepublication Internet version 0.4 [Hebrew], 2014. http://web
.nli.org.il/sites/NLI/English/collections/manuscripts/hebrewcodicology/Pages/
default.aspx
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. Hebrew Script in Spain: Development, Offshoots and Vicissitudes. In


Moreshet Sefarad: The Sephardi Legacy, edited by Haim Beinart, 1:282317. Jerusalem:
Magnes Press, 1992.
Bernheimer, Carlo. Catalogo dei manoscritti orientali della Biblioteca Estense. Rome:
n.p., 1960.
Bobichon, Philippe. Bibliothque nationale de France. Hbreu 669 703. Manuscrits de
thologie. Catalogues des manuscrits en caractres hbreux conservs dans les bib-
liothques de France (CMCH) I. Turnhout: Brepols, 2008.
. Bibliothque nationale de France. Hbreu 704 733. Manuscrits de thologie.
Catalogues des manuscrits en caractres hbreux conservs dans les bibliothques
de France (CMCH) V. Turnhout: Brepols, forthcoming.
Breuer, Mordechai, Simha Assaf, and Adin Steinsaltz. Yeshivot. In Encyclopaedia
Judaica, edited by Fred Skolnik and Michael Berenbaum, 2nd ed., 21:31521. Detroit:
Macmillan Reference usa, 2007.
Ciucu, Cristina. Bibliothque nationale de France. Hbreu 763 777. Manuscrits de
Kabbale. Catalogues des manuscrits en caractres hbreux conservs dans les bib-
liothques de France (CMCH) VI. Turnhout: Brepols, 2014.
Del Barco, Javier. Bibliothque nationale de France. Hbreu 1 32. Manuscrits de la Bible
hbraque. Catalogues des manuscrits en caractres hbreux conservs dans les bib-
liothques de France (CMCH) IV. Turnhout: Brepols, 2011.
Di Donato, Silvia. Bibliothque nationale de France. Hbreu 214 259. Commentaires bib-
liques. Catalogues des manuscrits en caractres hbreux conservs dans les biblio-
thques de France (CMCH) III. Turnhout: Brepols, 2011.
Girn-Negrn, Luis. Alfonso de la Torres Vision Deleytable: Philosophical Rationalism
and the Religious Imagination in 15th Century Spain. Leiden: Brill, 2001.
Glatzer, Mordechai, Charles Berlin and Rodney Dennis. Hebrew Manuscripts in the
Houghton Library. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Univ. Press, 1975.
Gross, Abraham. Centers of Study and Yeshivot in Spain. In Moreshet Sefarad:
The Sephardi Legacy, edited by Haim Beinart, 1:399410. Jerusalem: Magnes Press,
1992.
Gutwirth, Eleazar, and Miguel ngel Motis Dolader. Twenty-Six Jewish Libraries from
Fifteenth-Century Spain. The Library, 6th ser., 18 (1996): 2753.
Hacker, Joseph R. On the Intellectual Character and Self-Perception of Spanish Jewry
in the Late Fifteenth Century [Hebrew]. Sefunot 17 (1983): 2195.
IancuAgou, Danile. Les livres inventoris Grone aux lendemains de la dispute
de Tortosa (141415). Materia giudaica 6, no. 2 (2001): 16782.
Meyerson, Mark D. A Jewish Renaissance in Fifteenth-Century Spain. Princeton:
Princeton University Press, 2004.
Morris, Nathan. A History of Jewish Education [Hebrew]. 3 vols. Jerusalem: Rubin Mass,
1977.
68 Sirat

Reif, Stefan C. Hebrew Manuscripts at Cambridge University Library: A Description and


Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1997.
Richler, Binyamin, ed. Hebrew Manuscripts in the Vatican Library: Catalogue.
Palaeographical and codicological descriptions by Malachi Beit-Ari, with the col-
laboration of Nurit Pasternak. Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 2008.
Richler, Binyamin, and Malachi Beit-Ari, eds. Hebrew Manuscripts in the Biblioteca
Palatina: Catalogue. Jerusalem: Jewish National and University Library, 2001.
Riegler, Michael. Were the Yeshivot in Spain Centers for the Copying of Books?
Sefarad 57 (1997): 37398.
Roth, Ernst, and Leo Prijs. Hebrische Handschriften. Teil 1: Die Handschriften der Stadt-
und Universittsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main. Verzeichnis der orientalischen
Handschriften in Deutschland 6.1. 3 vols. Wiesbaden and Stuttgart: Franz Steiner,
1982, 1990, 1993.
Roth, Ernst, Hans Striedl, and Lothar Tetzner, Hebrischen Handschriften. Teil 2,
Verzeichnis der orientalischen Handschriften in Deutschland 6.2. Berlin: Franz
Steiner, 1965.
Sassoon, David S. Ohel Dawid. Descriptive Catalogue of the Hebrew and Samaritan
Manuscripts in the Sassoon Library. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1932.
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[Hebrew]. Ramat Gan: Bar Ilan Univ. Press, 2004.
. The Philosophy of a Fourteenth-Century Jewish Neoplatonic Circle [Hebrew].
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Sedeyn, Marie-Jeanne. Standard Handwriting Objective Examination SHOE: A Manual
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Sirat, Colette. New Catalogues for Medieval Hebrew Manuscripts? In Studies in
Hebrew Literature and Jewish Culture Presented to Albert van der Heide on the
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2130. Dordrecht: Springer, 2007.
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portant des indications de date jusquen 1540, I. 2 vols. Paris: CNRS; Jerusalem: Israel
Academy of Sciences and Humanities Press, 1972.
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actres hbraques portant des indications de date jusquen 1540, III. 3 vols. Paris:
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Studia Of Philosophy As Scribal Centers 69

. Loriginal arabe du Grand Commentaire dAverroes au De anima dAristote.


Prmices de ledition. Paris: Vrin, 2005.
Sirat, Colette, and Silvia Di Donato. Mamonide et les brouillons autographes du Dallat
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. Les papiers filigrans mdivaux: Essai de mthodologie descriptive. Bibliologia
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, ed. Le papier au Moyen Age: histoire et techniques. Bibliologia 19. Turnhout:
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Dordrecht: Springer, 2006.
CHAPTER 4

Jewish Book Owners and Their Libraries in the


Iberian Peninsula, FourteenthFifteenth Centuries

Joseph R. Hacker
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The strong connection linking Sephardi Jews and the scholars of their commu-
nities to the culture of the book is attested to in their writings and their wills, in
which they sought to bequeath their association with books to future genera-
tions. Their fondness for books was known beyond just Spain and Provence.
Thus, when Emmanuel of Rome wanted to describe a wandering bookseller
at the beginning of the fourteenth century, he chose to tell the story of a man
who came to Italy after having been in Toledo for seven years. According to
his description, the man had in his possession a catalogue that included
180 books. Whether this is an accurate description or just a fictional account,
it is clear that in the writers eyes, a person with such a large collection had to
have come from Spain. The following is his description:

I was in the city of Perugia in the company of people who possessed wis-
dom, morality, and understanding. One day, a respectable man named
Rabbi Aaron passed by...and he had wonderful books...and he said
that he had spent seven years in Toledo and that he brought from there
many fine, rare, and expensive books, some in Hebrew and some in
Arabic.... And he showed us one folio that included a list of his various
books, which numbered approximately 180, both new and used...and
they were enclosed within locked barrels.1

He goes on to describe how the man deposited the books with them when
he went to Rome and warned them not to open the containers. Nevertheless,
because of their thirst for the knowledge contained in the books and their
curiosity, he and his friends broke into the containers and copied some manu-
scripts before the man returned from Rome. He makes special mention in his
report of several works by Aristotle and the translations of Rabbi Moses ibn
Tibbon.

1 Immanuel ben Solomon, Mahberot immanuel ha-romi [The Cantos of Immanuel of Rome]
ed. Dov Yarden (Jerusalem: Mossad Bialik, 1985), Canto 8, pp. 16166.

koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 5|doi .63/9789004306103_006


Jewish Book Owners And Their Libraries In The Iberian Peninsula 71

What do we know about the libraries and books belonging to Iberian Jews
during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries? This article seeks to clarify
two primary points on this matter: 1) Were there Jewish public or semi-public
libraries in the Iberian Peninsula at the end of the Middle Ages? If so, where
were they, and what do we know about them and their owners?;2 and 2) What
was the nature of the private libraries that belonged to Jews in the Iberian
Peninsula and other territories ruled by the Crown of Aragon in the fourteenth
and fifteenth centuries? How large were they, what did they include, and what
can we learn from them about the cultural interests of the Jews in that region?

1 Midrash: The Public Library of the Jews in the Iberian Peninsula

The question of whether or not there were Jewish public libraries in the
Middle Ages has recently been discussed at length by Malachi Beit-Ari.3 On
the basis of the large amount of data in SfarData,4 he came to the conclusion
that there were no public or institutional libraries even at the end of the
Middle Ages, except for modest collections of biblical books and prayer books
in synagogues.5
However, as I will try to show below, at the end of the Middle Ages (from
the beginning of the fourteenth century) in the Iberian Peninsula and among
emigrants from the Iberian Peninsula (after their expulsion at the end of the
fifteenth century), there was a framework that made books available for study
in a semi-public setting. These libraries were privately owned and were located
in the house of one of the affluent community leaderswhether his actual

2 The first part of this article is an adaptation and expansion of a section of an article that was
published in Hebrew. See Joseph R. Hacker, Public Libraries of Hispanic Jewry in the Late
Medieval and Early Modern Periods [Hebrew], in From Sages to Savants: Studies Presented to
Avraham Grossman, ed. Joseph R. Hacker, Yosef Kaplan, and B. Z. Kedar (Jerusalem: Zalman
Shazar, 2010), 26677.
3 Malachi Beit-Ari, Did Public Libraries Exist in the Medieval Period? The Private Nature
of Medieval Hebrew Book Production and Consumption [Hebrew], Zion 65 (2000): 44151.
See also the updated and enlarged English version of this article, The Individual Nature of
Hebrew Book Production and Consumption, in Manuscrits hbreux et arabes: Mlanges en
lhonneur de Colette Sirat, ed. Nicholas de Lange and Judith Olszowy-Schlanger (Turnhout:
Brepols, 2014), 1728; and the chapter by Malachi Beit-Ari in this volume, entitled
Commissioned and Owner-Produced Manuscripts in the Sephardi Zone and Italy in the
Thirteenth-Fifteenth Centuries.
4 Codicological database of the Hebrew Palaeography Project sponsored by the Israel Academy
of Sciences and Humanities in Jerusalem: http://sfardata.nli.org.il/sfardatanew/home.aspx.
5 Beit-Ari, Public Libraries, 451.
72 Hacker

house or a building that he owned that was set aside specifically for that pur-
pose. In either case, this kind of library was open to scholars and other edu-
cated people who wanted to use it. In this house, or midrash as it was called,
texts would sometimes be copied at the initiative and financing of the phi-
lanthropist, and the works would be available to those who wished to study
them. These were also centers for conducting studies and offering lectures and
classes. In later data (from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries), we find
reference to a librarian, to lending policies, and the like. The midrash was not
a talmudic academy, nor was it a formal educational institution in which only
the students could use the books. Rather, it was open to anyone who wanted
to study. To some degree, it overlapped with the Bet midrash (study hall), but
not completely. It apparently served as a center of study for scholars as well as
for adult learners for whom the educational offerings of the community syna-
gogue were insufficient. In essence, there is no difference between this institu-
tion and the public libraries established in Italy during the Renaissance, for
those were also initiated, founded and financed by private individuals (usually
government officials, high-ranking clergy, or the very affluent).
By the first centuries CE it was already established in the Babylonian Talmud
that the residents of a city can compel each other to build a synagogue and
to buy a Torah and the Books of the Prophets.6 This obligation was later
expanded to the Hagiographa, and subsequently even beyond biblical works,
in the late Middle Ages, when scholars no longer studied from scrolls written
on parchment, but from codices. Rabbi Menahem ben Zerah wrote as follows
in fourteenth-century Castile: The sages of France said: Today, as we are not
used to studying from a Torah scroll, it is a great mitsvah [...] to copy the Torah,
Prophets, and Hagiographa (Bible), and talmudic tractates and commentaries,
since this is our main [object of ] study.7 (The emphasis here and further on
are mine.) Rabbi Asher ben Jehiel (Rosh), the father of Rabbi Menahems
teacher, had already written before him: This was in the early generations,
when they would write a Torah scroll and study from it. Today, however, since
we write a Torah scroll and place it in the synagogue for public use, every
Israelite who has the means is obliged to write the Torah, Mishnah, Gemara,
and commentaries for himself and his sons to study.8 In other words, in the
academy of the Rosh in Toledo at the beginning of the fourteenth century,

6 M Bava Metsia, 11:23.


7 Menahem ben Zerah, Tsedah la-derekh (Ferrara, 1554), pt. 1, sec. 4, par. 4 (p. 64a).
8 Asher ben Jehiel, Halakhot qetanot, Laws of Writing a Torah Scroll, sec. 1 (= Jacob ben Asher,
Tur yore deah, no. 270). See also Hilkhot ha-rosh on Berakhot that are cited by Ben Zion Dinur,
Yisrael ba-golah (Tel-Aviv: Devir, 1973), part 2, 6:164, 443 note 46.
Jewish Book Owners And Their Libraries In The Iberian Peninsula 73

the commandment to write a Torah scroll included the writing of Mishnah,


Gemara, and commentaries, and according to Menahem ben Zerah this addi-
tional requirement was instituted previously in France. This means that the
copying of books for study, and not just for ritual purposes, was perceived as
a religious obligation by scholars in these circles in Castile. It is clear that the
obligation was not just the writing of books by individuals exclusively for their
own use, but for the needs of the community, as well. Indeed, we also find that
in the same period, the author of Sefer ha-hinnukh9 wrote:

...Know further, my son, that even though the principle, essential obliga-
tion by the law of the Torah applies to nothing but a Torah scroll, there is
no doubt that everyone should acquire, according to [his] ability, other
volumes as well, that were composed in explanation of the Torah, for the
reasons we stated, even if his fathers left him many of them. This was
the way of all God-fearing men of noble quality who lived before us, to
establish a study [midrash, i.e., scriptorium] in their house for scribes
to write many volumes, according to the blessing of the Eternal Lord that
He bestowed on them.10

This text, which has not attracted sufficient attention in scholarly literature,
implies that in Iberia, men of staturei.e., men with both status and financial
meanswere accustomed to establishing a midrash in their houses, a writ-
ing room (scriptorium) for scribes who transcribed many books for the use
of the public. This institution was clearly not identical to the Christian scrip-
torium, nor do I contend that medieval Hebrew manuscripts were regularly
produced in scriptoria.11 However, the text indicates that there were people of
standing and financial means who established writing rooms so that scribes
could produce manuscripts for the public. Who are the people to whom he

9 Scholars disagree regarding the identity of the author of the book. Some attribute it to
Rabbi Aaron ha-Levi of Barcelona, others to his brother Rabbi Pinhas. See Yisrael Ta-Shma,
The True Author of Sefer ha-hinnukh [Hebrew] in Knesset mehqarim (Jerusalem: Mossad
Bialik Press, 2004), 2:196201; Y. S. Spiegel, Rabbi Pinhas ha-Levi and his Azharot for the
Sabbath before Rosh Hashanah, [Hebrew] in Pithe tefillah u-moed, asufat maamarim
(Rehovot and Elkana, 2010), 24258.
10 Aaron (or Pinhas) ha-Levi, Sefer ha-hinnukh, ed. Dov Ber Chavel (Jerusalem: Mossad ha-
Rav Kook, 1962), sec. 613, p. 732. Quotation from the translation by Charles Wengrov: Sefer
Hahinnuch (Jerusalem and New York: Feldheim, 1989), 2: 43739.
11 Nevertheless, in some sources collective copying is mentioned, and in other sources a
scriptorium is mentioned as the location of the manuscripts. See below notes 17, 23, 28,
43, and 44.
74 Hacker

refers, and when did they live? In the sources at our disposal, there is a well-
known description in the book of Rabbi Abraham ibn Daud (twelfth century)
of Samuel ha-Naggid, who acquired for the public many copies of the Bible,
Mishnah, and Talmud, and who hired scribes to make copies of the Mishnah
and Talmud that he gave to students.12 There are similar traditions regarding
the activities of Hasdai ibn Shaprut. Was the author of the Sefer ha-hinnukh
referring to the more distant pastto the Jews in the courts of the Muslim
kingsor to the activities of the court Jews in Castile and Aragon who likewise
sponsored the copying of books? In any case, his statement that this was an
accepted and widespread practice of those who lived before us demonstrates
that there were men in the upper strata of Iberian society who fulfilled a com-
munity function by providing books to the public, some of whom maintained
scribes in their homes. In other words, even if books in the Jewish commu-
nity were not produced in scriptoria, as they were in the Christian world, there
were people who produced manuscripts for the use of scholars by bringing
scribes together under one roof.
Another important piece of information is provided by the Sefer ha-
hinnukh in its concluding remarks regarding the location in which this activity
was performed: the midrash in their houses. We generally consider the term
midrash to be a shortened version of Bet midrash, a study hall, but as we will
see in a moment, this is not the precise meaning in this context.
In a source from the time of the Sefer ha-hinnukh, we find a concrete descrip-
tion of a person who acts in the manner described in that book. In a letter

12 Abraham ibn Daud, The Book of Tradition, ed. and trans. Gerson D. Cohen (London:
Routledge & K. Paul, 1969), 74: He achieved great good for Israel in Spain, the Maghreb,
Ifriqiya, Egypt, Sicily, indeed as far as the academy of Babylonia and the Holy City....He
also purchased many books [copies] of the Holy Scriptures, as well as the Mishnah and
Talmud, which he would present to students who were unable to purchase copies them-
selves, both in the academies of Spain as well as of other countries we mentioned.
 R. Samuel ha-Naggid lived under Muslim rule, and this was an accepted form of pub-
lic activity and the prevailing model for supporting clerics and scholars. Muslim libraries
were formed in a similar fashion. The words of Ibn Daud are cited verbatim in Abraham
Zacuto, Sefer yuhasin, ed. Herschell Filipowski and Abraham Hayyim Freimann (Frankfurt
am Main: M. A. Vahrmann, 1924), 211. In my opinion, this is a model of public activity that
is funded by communal leaders, which was an accepted practice in Christian Spain. The
fact that it was not funded by public budgets and was not managed by elected officials
does not detract at all from its public nature. See Eliyahu Ashtor, The Jews of Moslem Spain
(Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1973), 1:15968, 193, 22830, 24244;
Judah Al-Harizi, Tahkemoni (Istanbul, 1578), sec. 18, p. 35b.
Jewish Book Owners And Their Libraries In The Iberian Peninsula 75

sent to the sages and leaders of the Barcelona community, foremost among
them the Rashba (Solomon ben Adret), the writer, who wished to deny rumors
about Rabbi Samuel ha-Sulami, described his character and unique qualities
as follows:

And I searched from our city, the holy city [= Perpignan] to the great
city of Marseille, and I did not find in all the land a person like him:
great in his actions, great in his Torah scholarship, and great in his
righteousness...who distributes his bread and water to the destitute,
tirelessly collects books, and if any book is not in his collection, saves a
place for it in his library [midrash]. We can only attribute good intentions
to a person with such qualities.13

In other words, Samuel ha-Sulami is described here as an ideal person, who


saves a place in his midrashhis librarywhen he learns of the existence of
a particular book, and makes a copy of it. We find here the same usage of the
term midrash to refer to a library, and the same practice as described in
the Sefer ha-hinnukh.
A document from Aragon dated 1328 tells of a Jew from Lrida who ordered
the establishment of a studium (midrash) in the city of Tortosa, to which he
dedicated his house and the large number of books that it contained for the
use of the public.14 The connection between the term midrash and a place
where books are collected or copied is clear from other documents as well.
In a colophon of a manuscript on geometry, the author points out that it was
transcribed in the city of Saragossa in the midrash of Rabbi Isaac Cohen, may
his Rock keep him and grant him life...in 1452.15 It would be far-fetched to
think that this work was studied in a Bet midrash. Rather, the use of the word
midrash here refers to a place where books are copied and collected.
A description of the phenomenon of wealthy Jews in every generation
collecting many books and sponsoring elegant copies of them is found as
well in the words of Profiat Duran (Efodi) of Perpignan in the beginning of
the fifteenth century. Even though he criticized the wealthy donors, whose
primary motivation was to glorify themselves rather than to study the books,

13 [Solomon ben Abraham Adret], The Responsa of the Rashba, ed. Haim Zalman Dimitrovsky
(Jerusalem: Mossad ha-Rav Kook, 1990), pt. 1, vol. 1 [Abba Mari of Lunel, Minhat qenaot],
ch. 30, pp. 36768.
14 A summary of this document can be found in Simha Assaf, Meqorot le-toledot ha-hinnukh
be-yisrael, ed. Shmuel Glick (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 2002), 2:14647.
15 Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Laud. Or. 93 (Cat. Neubauer, no. 2007), fol. 28v.
76 Hacker

he nevertheless praised their activities. Unlike the author of Sefer ha-hinnukh,


he does not say that they were accustomed to opening their book collections
to others:

It was already part of the perfection of the nation that its wealthy mem-
bers would always, in every generation, actively promote the writing of
the finest manuscripts and the production of many books. And even if
the majority was satisfied with the self-glorification achieved through
their purchase and by placing them in their personal collections, and this
alone was in their view enough to justify [the books] existence, there is
[nevertheless] a reward for their activities, for they contributed to the
spreading of the Torah and its glorification, and even if they do not study
it, they will perhaps leave it as a blessing for their sons and those who
come after them.16

The fact that a library in the home was called a midrash is verified in a num-
ber of sources, as is the fact that this type of midrash was found in the homes
of men of means in the fifteenth century. Rabbi Isaac Nathan of Provence, the
author of the first Hebrew biblical concordance entitled Sefer meir netiv, has
the following to say in the introduction of the book, which was written in Arles
between 1437 and 1447:

And I found among their [the Christians] books one...that I desired, I


loved, and that I held, until I brought it to the room in my Bet midrash,
and then I also said to copy [translate] it....And I had remorse...and I
labored and found vitality for myself by producing a copy of that book,
with its difficulty, its length, and the great effort necessary to complete
it....And I chose to lighten my load and gave it to a variety of scribes...17

16 Isaac ben Moses (Profiat Duran), Maase efod, ed. Jonathan Friedlnder and Jacob Kohn
(Vienna: J. Holzwarth, 1865), 20, and see also there 19192: ...The destruction and plun-
dering of the communities of Castile and Catalonia whose level in the nation was that of
the main limbs for all of the other limbs...and the pearls of your books were torched and
all of its precious things destroyed.
17 Ram Ben-Shalom, Meir Netiv: The First Hebrew Concordance of the Bible and Jewish
Bible Study in the Fifteenth Century, in the Context of Jewish-Christian Polemics, Aleph
11, no. 2 (2011): 35657.
 On rooms in the houses of philanthropists in which there were manuscripts,
see also the comments of Isaac Jabez at the end of the commentary on Psalms of his
great-grandfather, Rabbi Joseph Jabez, where he describes his search for manuscripts of
R. Josephs commentaries: ...I was not at ease nor did I rest until they finished printing
Jewish Book Owners And Their Libraries In The Iberian Peninsula 77

After deciding not to translate the Latin concordance that he had acquired
for his library, he resolved to write his own Hebrew concordance, and he gave
the latter over to scribes to transcribe in order to lighten his work load. This
document depicts one of the leaders of the Jewish community who acquired
a manuscript and then employed scribes to transcribe his own work. Here too,
the use of the phrase the room in my Bet midrash refers to his library and not
to his study hall.
Don Isaac Abrabanel describes the plundering of his library and his writings
in Lisbon when he fled from King Joo II of Portugal to Castile:

The upright minister, Don Isaac Abrabanel, of blessed memory, said:


When I was in my youth at the age of twenty and living in my land...the
fury of the times engulfed me...plotting to take my soul. And he [Joo
II] took all of my possessions, and only I escaped, fleeing from every-
thing, to the spacious Kingdom of Castile, because I feared the anger and
rage. And so all of my books were lost to the horror as my brothers, my
people, and my neighbors became my foe. They also went up and came
into my house and my Bet midrash,18 and took that which was beloved to
my soul, and also that which I did with [= wrote] this book was destroyed
or taken captive, and I did not take it with me and have not seen
it since.19

all that was found in the rooms in the houses of the philanthropists and their copies,
and I did not find any changes or alterations in them at all. (Joseph Jabez, Commentary
on Psalms [Hebrew], Salonica, 1571). In an effort to consult many manuscripts, he exam-
ined the collections of the wealthy, who opened their libraries to him, and in that way he
checked and established the wording of the text for this commentary.
18 He also used the same expression to refer to a library in a letter to Rabbi Jehiel of Pisa
in 1481: Because others of these and the commentaries of Rabbi Emmanuel [of Rome]
did not remain with us, if more can be found in your Bet midrash on the Torah and the
Prophets... See Isaac Abravanel: Letters, ed. and trans. Cedric Cohen Skalli (Berlin and
New York: Walter De Gruyter, 2007), 144; see also the comments of Rabbi Baruch Hezkito
in the introduction to the book Maayane ha-yeshua (Ferrara, 1551), 38: Because there
on the island of Corfu he found what he had done with his commentary on the Mishne
Torah (Deuteronomy) when he was in Lisbon and his Bet midrash was torn apart when he
fled from King Don Joo, and he has not seen it since. On the fate of eleven of his books
that were appropriated by the government and given by the king to another person who
was close to the ruling authority, see Elias Lipiner, Two Portuguese Exiles in Castile: Dom
David Negro and Dom Isaac Abravanel (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1997), 130.
19 Isaac Abrabanel, Introduction to Merkevet ha-mishne (Sabbioneta, 1551). Compare to his
Commentary on the Torah [Hebrew] (Venice, 1579). The introduction was written a few
years after the completion of the book (1503?).
78 Hacker

Isaac Abrabanel, like the other court Jews and associates of royalty, had a
midrash in his house. This housed his library, including the manuscript of his
book. His library and his house were plundered by, in his words, my brothers,
my people, and my neighbors, all of whom were in his Bet midrash.
Thus, the description of the author of the Sefer ha-hinnukh is accurate in
the fifteenth century as well, and wealthy Jews who were close to the ruling
class and the authorities had a midrash in their homes, in which they kept
and copied books. In a letter, Rabbi Meir Arama personified his fathers book
Aqedat yitshaq. According to Meir Arama, the book complained: I was serene
in my home...serving out of love...on the shelves of the walls of his Bet
midrash.20 Isaac Arama also kept his work in his Bet midrash. The place where
he kept this book was not just in his house, in his academy, or in his synagogue,
but in the Bet midrash in his home, i.e., his library, which was synonymous
with midrash in common parlance.
Clearer and more explicit references on this point are found in the writings
of refugees from Spain and Portugal in the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth
century. I will cite here only a few of the descriptions from Salonica in the years
following the Spanish expulsion.21
Rabbi Jacob ibn Habib, the head of a talmudic academy in Salamanca, who
left Castile during the 1492 expulsion and made his way to Salonica, relates the
following in the introduction to his book En yaaqov:

In order to express my gratitude to its owners, I come to tell in my intro-


duction that I planned to write this work for a long time, but I was delayed
until now because I did not have the books of the six orders of the
Mishnah and the Talmud with all their commentaries, and it was practi-
cally impossible for me to collect all those works, were it not for the fact
that God, may He be praised, brought me to this place, Salonica, and I
found a large number of these books when I came to the house of the
perfect and exalted scholar Don Judah the son of the pious nobleman
Don Abraham22 Ben-Ban-Benesht, of blessed memory, who grew up in

20 Joseph R. Hacker, Meir Aramas Letter of Censure against Isaac AbravanelA Riddle
Solved, [Hebrew] Tarbiz 76, nos. 34 (2007): 512.
21 Additional descriptions from the Ottoman Empire and Italy in the sixteenth century can
be found in Hacker, Public Libraries.
22 On Rabbi Abraham Ben-Ban-Benesht, who was the rav de la Corte in Castile and the
grandfather of the person who is mentioned here, see Yitzhak Baer, A History of the Jews
in Christian Spain (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1971) 2:25970,
487; see also Abraham Zacuto, Sefer yuhasin, Constantinople, 1566, 144b: In the year 1432,
Jewish Book Owners And Their Libraries In The Iberian Peninsula 79

the court of the kings and their castles.23 And he did great things in the
palace of the King, the King of the universe, and for many years he
retained expert scribes who copied many times all of the tractates of
the Mishnah and Talmud in a very handsome script. Behold, his reward
for his acts goes before him, and he did a great service for the public. He
is the person that the sages had in mind when they said: Happy is he who
comes to the world to come with his Talmud in his hand. He now has
several copies of the Mishnah and Talmud with the commentary of Rashi.
Indeed, the works with the commentaries and novellae of the Rashba
(Solomon ben Adret), the Ritva (Yom Tov of Seville), and the Ran (Nissim
of Gerona), I found in the home of the exalted and knowledgeable
scholar Don Ben-Ban-Benesht, his relative, who adopted the craft of his
ancestors.24 His house was filled with books, a meeting place for scholars

the righteous Rabbi Don Abraham Ben-Ban-Benesht was appointed, and he strengthened
the Torah and its students, and defended Israel from a few persecutions. And his son
Rabbi Joseph and his grandchildren in our time sustain the talmudic academies, both
Don Vidal and Don Abraham [who is mentioned here as the father of Don Judah]. And
when this Don Abraham was born in 1433, Rabbi Joseph Albo spoke about him, and the
topic was from the section of the Torah dealing with this one is of the children of
the Hebrews [Exod. 2:6]. (Compare to the wording of the Filipowski-Freimann edition
of Zacutos Sefer yuhasin, p. 226: Then the crown was restored to its former status and
the righteous Rabbi Don Abraham Ben-Ban-Benesht, who was perfect in every way, was
appointed in 1432, and he strengthened the Torah and its students, and defended Israel
from a few persecutions with his money. And his son Rabbi Joseph and his grandchil-
dren in our time are very wealthy and have distributed much money to sustain the tal-
mudic academies...And in our time, both Don Vidal Ben-Ban-Benesht and his brother
Don Abraham Ben-Ban-Benesht have strengthened the Torah. And on the day that this
righteous Don Abraham was circumcised, Rabbi Joseph Albo, of blessed memory, spoke
about him in the fort of the city of Soria on the section [of the Torah] Shemot: this one is
of the children of the Hebrews [Exod. 2:6].)
23 That is, in Castile, before he emigrated to Salonica. Don Judah Ben-Ban-Benesht was one
of the first Iberian scholars who migrated to Salonica after 1492. See about him: David
Conforte, Qore ha-dorot, ed. David Cassel (Berlin: Abraham ben Asher, 1846), in the index,
p. 56a; Heimann Joseph Michael, Or ha-hayyim (Frankfurt am Main: J. Kauffmann, 1891),
448. A manuscript of the book Marot elohim copied by Judah Ben-Ban-Benesht has been
preserved, but I dont know if it is this Judah or another. See Paris, Bibliothque nationale
de France (BNF), Hbreu 853 (Film 14482, Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts
[IMHM], National Library of Israel, Jerusalem), which was written in 1485 or 1480; see
Colette Sirat, Malachi Beit-Ari, and Mordechai Glatzer, Manuscrits mdivaux en car-
actres hbraques portant des indications de date jusquen 1540, III, 3 vols. (Paris: CNRS;
Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities Press,1986), no. 32.
24 He refers to Samuel Ben-Ban-Benesht. See below.
80 Hacker

and students to read, study, and scrutinize. He financed copying, correct-


ing, and proofreading of these manuscripts, and they both were kind
enough to lend me any book that I needed, and about them it is said:
Those who do charity all of the time, may the one who compensates pay
them their reward.25

The description of Jacob ibn Habib seems to suggest that Judah Ben-Ban-
Benesht (the Don Ben-Ban-Benesht mentioned in the quote) continued the
tradition of his ancestors from the Iberian Peninsula and emulated their activi-
ties both in Spain and in Salonica. Here we even see that a community leader
surrounded himself with expert scribes who copied all of the works of the
Mishnah and Talmud many times for public use. Judah Ben-Ban-Benesht was
a descendant of a family of court Jews. His ancestors, and perhaps he him-
self, funded talmudic academies and the study of the Torah in Castile, and
he continued the tradition in Salonica.26 From the comments regarding his
relative Samuel Ben-Ban-Benesht, we learn that he was involved in similar
activities, and that he likewise made his library available to learners and even
agreed to lend books to authors. Samuels house was a midrash: His house
was filled with books, a meeting place for scholars and students to read, study,
and scrutinize.27 Irrefutable proof that the term midrash in the words of Ibn

25 Jacob ibn Habib, En yaaqov (Salonica, 1516), 1:2ab (from the introduction). M. Molcho
made reference to the words of Rabbi Jacob ibn Habib and Rabbi Benjamin Ashkenazi in
Libraries in Salonica, [Hebrew] Mahberet (1954): 18889; (1955): 2122.
26 Apparently, it would be possible to understand the statement that for many years he
retained expert scribes who copied many times all of the tractates of the Mishnah and
Talmud in a very handsome script as referring to Castile and not Salonica, in which
case the continuation, Happy is he who comes here with his Talmud in his hand refers
to the manuscripts that he brought with him, and that in Salonica he had several copies
of the Mishnah and Talmud with the commentary of Rashi. I tend to view these words as
a description of his activities in Salonica in the first decade of the sixteenth century, but it
is possible that they describe his activities in Castile and not Salonica.
27 We have extant manuscripts that were written for Samuel Ben-Ban-Benesht, the son
of Meir (it is not always clear that we are not talking about the same person). See, for
example, Sefer ha-hinnukh, Paris, BNF, Hbreu 403 (Film 4434, IMHM, National Library
of Israel, Jerusalem), fol. 287r: This book was completed at the request of Don Samuel
Ben-Ban-Benesht, the son of the master Don Meir Ben-Ban-Benesht on Thursday, 2 Tevet,
1516, by me, the lowly, Judah ibn Daud.(See Sirat, et al., Manuscrits mdivaux, III, no. 65);
Midrashim u-massekhtot qetanot, MS in New York, The Library of the Jewish Theological
Seminary, Mic. 10.484 (Film 72979, IMHM, National Library of Israel, Jerusalem),
fol. 334v: The completion of this book on Wednesday, 19 Shevat 5269...of the sixth
millennium here in Salonica, the Kingdom of Turkey by Isaac Aphomado of Don
Jewish Book Owners And Their Libraries In The Iberian Peninsula 81

Habib refers to a library can be found in the lamentation of Rabbi Benjamin,


son of Meir Ashkenazi, the rabbi of the Ashkenazi community in Salonica,
who bemoans the burning of the city in 1545:

Since fire fell from the heavens of God and their abode
And devoured its rooms to their very foundations
Synagogues, libraries [midrashim], holy places and dwellings
And books, and cloaks, and bells, and pomegranates
And the books of the private owners, new and old
And the library [midrash] of Don Samuel became a firebrand
for the smoke
Where there were uncountable numbers of books
From his youth until he was seventy or eighty years old
For he hired scribes who with bronze pens and quills
Copied the books of the Talmud, Codes, and Commentaries
And an infinite number of books, Jewish and secular
Were written with letters like sapphires and pearls
On glorious parchments of the greatest beauty
And as soon as he knew that books were available he purchased them
And ran to them like a storm and clouds
And now the parchments and folios have disappeared in fire...28

From the description of the midrash of Samuel Ben-Ban-Benesht in Salonica,


we see that he also employed scribes to copy books, as well as the types of

Samuel Ben-Ban-Benesht the son of the master Don Meir Ben-Ban-Benesht of blessed
memory.... The owner of the middle commentary of Sefer ha-shema ha-tivi, Munich,
Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, MS Heb. 352 (Film 1663, IMHM, Jerusalem), was Don Samuel
and from him it was transferred to Rabbi Solomon (?) Alkabez [in Salonica]; Sefer diqduq,
London, British Library, MS Add 18970 (Cat. Margoliouth, no. 964; Film 5026, IMHM,
National Library of Israel, Jerusalem), fol. 125v: Don Meir Ben-Ban-Benesht son of...Don
Abraham Ben-Ban-Benesht.
28 Mahzor ashkenaz (holiday prayer book) (Salonica, [1555]), 1:187ab. See D. Goldschmidt,
Holiday Prayer Books According to the Greek Rite [Hebrew], in Mehqare tefillah ve-piyyut
(Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1979), 262. On the fire, see Conforte, Qore ha-dorot, 45a: Approx-
imately 5000 Jewish homes were burned, and 200 people, and several synagogues and
study halls, and afterwards the plague turned on the people...and all of this was in 1545.
See also: Responsa of Samuel de Medina, Hoshen mishpat (Salonica, 1595), no. 262: Behold
God burned this city, Salonica, with a conflagration that burned the synagogue and its
courtyard, also the aforementioned house [of Rabbi Jacob ibn Habib] was totally destroyed
to the point that the community had to rebuild the courtyard with all of the houses.
82 Hacker

books that were copied and purchased for the library: The books of the
Talmud, Codes, and Commentaries were written / And an infinite number of
books, Jewish and secular. In other words, the collection included books of sci-
ence and philosophy by both Jewish and non-Jewish authors. The collections,
both of Judah and of Samuel, were made available to readers, as demonstrated
in the testimonies of authors from sixteenth-century Salonica.29 Moreover,
there is evidence of a similar collection belonging to Meir Ben-Ban-Benesht,
who was perhaps the son of Samuel. In any case, it seems that Meir inherited at
least part of Samuels collection. The greatest of the sages of Salonica in the lat-
ter half of the sixteenth century refers to the collection of responsa literature

29 See, for example, testimonies about the use of Judah Ben-Ban-Beneshts manuscripts and
books by scholars: Joseph Taitazak, Pisqe ha-gaon maharit [The Rulings of the Gaon Rabbi
Joseph Taitazak], ed. Meir Benayahu (Jerusalem: Bet ha-hotsaah shel yad ha-Rav Nissim,
1987), no. 4, p. 35: And I checked the Talmud of the great and exalted Don Judah, may the
righteous be of blessed memory, and I found notes and points on Rashis text...and on
the right side of the page...and on the left side of the page.; ibid., 291: And I found in
the manuscripts of the sharp scholar, Rabbi Judah Ben-Ban-Benesht of blessed memory,
that there are books that do not say but prohibited to sell using the language of the Tur;
[Levi ibn Habib], Responsa ralbah (Venice, 1565), 257b: Approximately two years after I
wrote this pamphlet, one day the exalted scholar Don Judah Ben-Ban-Benesht by chance
showed me a commentary on Arakhin that was missing the beginning, and I dont know
who of the holy ones wrote it, and since he explained the section that was mentioned
at length, I saw fit to record his language here word for word; Responsa of Rabbi Samuel
de Medina, Even ha-ezer (Salonica, 1594), no. 203: In any case, I wanted to check in the
Talmud of the righteous Judah Ben-Ban-Benesht of blessed memory, and I found this
reading there.
 About the midrash of Samuel Ben-Ban-Benesht, see Binyamin ha-Levi Ashkenazi in:
Responsa matanot ba-adam, ed. Yaakov Boksenboim (Tel-Aviv: Tel-Aviv Univ., 1983), 146:
And you have the responsa of Rabbi Hasdai Crescas which is found in a collection of the
responsa of the Rashba which is in the midrash of Don Judah Ben-Ban-Benesht; Responsa
of Moses bar Joseph de Trani (Venice, 1629), vol. 1, no. 38: Until here, I copied the responsa
[of Rabbenu Shimshon] from the manuscript of the scholar, Rabbi Moses Besodo, may
his Rock keep him and grant him life, who copied it in Salonica in the midrash of Don
Samuel Ben-Ban-Benesht of blessed memory. See also: Responsa of Rabbi Samuel de
Medina, Even ha-ezer (Salonica, 1594), no. 220: Because in those days the responsa of
the Rashba were not printed yet and I found them in a manuscript in the midrash of
Rabbi and Patron Samuel Ben-Ban-Benesht of blessed memory. When my teacher [Rabbi
Joseph Taitazak] saw them in my ruling, he wrote to me that I should return and copy
them from the book and have witnesses sign on it and send them to him.; Responsa of
Samuel de Medina, Hoshen mishpat (Salonica, 1595), no. 323: And after this, I found it in
a collection of responsa of the Rashba in the Bet midrash of the scholar, Rabbi Samuel
Ben-Ban-Benesht.
Jewish Book Owners And Their Libraries In The Iberian Peninsula 83

in Meirs midrash,30 which suggests that the collection, or at least part of it,
survived the fire of 1545 and was inherited by Meir.
The evidence presented above indicates that in the Iberian Peninsula and
among the Spanish refugees in Salonica (and in other locations not discussed
in this article)31 at the end of the Middle Ages (or at least from the fourteenth
century onward), the midrash (which was a room in the homes of wealthy
philanthropists) served as a library and a place of study for scholars and sages.
In the sixteenth century, we find that separate buildings were used for this
purpose.32 This midrash also served as a place for scribes to copy books for the
use of patrons and for students, through the funding of a philanthropist. This
was not a public library in the full sense of the term, but rather a semi-public
library that was funded by individuals and not the community, and was under
the control of a wealthy individual who was a patron of learning and whose
collection of books and contribution to study enhanced his social standing.
Such midrashim were established in other cities that received refugees from

30 See Responsa of Rabbi Joseph ibn Lev, vol. 1 (Salonica, [1556]), no. 18: But when I in fact
checked the collections of responsa in the midrash of the exalted scholar Don Meir
Ben-Ban-Benesht, I found those of the Rabbis of Provence who lived in the times of the
Rashba; ibid., no. 112: But when I in fact searched in the collections of the midrash of
the exalted scholar Don Meir Ben-Ban-Benesht of blessed memory, I found in the book
of responsa...; Responsa of Rabbi Samuel de Medina, Yore deah (Salonica, 1594), no. 80:
And it is in the collection of the responsa of the Rashba of our master, Rabbi Meir Ben-
Ban-Benesht.; ibid., Even ha-ezer, no. 127: And I asked the lord, the exalted Rabbi Meir
Ben-Ban-Benesht, may his Rock keep him and grant him life, to show me a ruling of Rabbi
Joseph Taitazak, and it wasnt found. Nevertheless, I found a wealth of rulings written by
the outstanding sages which excited me; and compare ibid. no. 129: In the short book
of responsa of the aforementioned Rabbi [Perfet] in the hands of the exalted master
Meir Ben-Ban-Benesht, who in his compassion for me allowed me to copy it; Responsa
of Samuel de Medina, Hoshen mishpat, no. 332: This response I saw in a collection of
responsa of the Rashba in the Bet midrash of the exalted Rabbi Meir Ben-Ban-Benesht
of blessed memory; ibid., no. 380: What I found in one of the responsa of the Rashba
in a collection of his responsa Hoshen mishpat, which is in the house of the lofty and
exalted Rabbi Meir Ben-Ban-Benesht of blessed memory. It is logical to assume that
Rabbi Meir Ben-Ban-Benesht was the author of the book Ot emet (Salonica, 1565), which
utilized midrashic literature extensively. About him and his book, see Joseph R. Hacker,
The History of the Study of Kabbalah and its Dissemination in Salonica in the Sixteenth
Century [Hebrew], in Creation and Re-Creation in Jewish Thought: Festschrift in Honor of
Joseph Dan on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday, ed. Rachel Elior and Peter Schaefer
(Tbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005), 166*70*, and in the literature cited there; Hacker,
Aramas Letter, 504 and note 22.
31 See Hacker, Public Libraries, 27577, 28092.
32 Ibid., 27677, 28083.
84 Hacker

the Iberian Peninsula in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, like Istanbul,
several places in Italy, and Amsterdam.33

2 The Nature of Private Jewish Libraries in Catalonia and Aragon


in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries

The information we have about the semi-public libraries established by


Sephardi Jews comes primarily from literary sources. In this literature, they are
generally mentioned incidentally or in descriptions of destruction or confla-
gration. We have found very few explicit descriptions of these libraries. Quite
the opposite is true of private libraries. Most of the information we have about
them comes from wills, inventory lists, or notarized lists that were written for
legal purposes (in cases of inheritance or debt collection). The books were
generally recorded as part of lists of property that were prepared by notaries
either in the home of the owner or the heirs, or in another location. There
are also lists that were created as a result of the government directive imple-
mented in Catalonia and Aragon following the Etsi doctoris gentium edict
issued by Benedict XIII, the pope in Avignon. After organizing the Disputation
of Tortosa in 141314, the pope issued the edict in 1415, which was followed by
a widespread campaign to examine and make a record of the books belonging
to Jews.34 The king and the authorities in Aragon heeded him, even though he
had no formal jurisdiction there, and some of the lists that were compiled of
the books belonging to Jews from Gerona and Jaca have been preserved.
Based on these two types of lists, a data set has been created and will be
used later to analyze the size, quality, and nature of Jewish libraries in these
regions at the end of the Middle Ages (see Tables 4.1a, 4.1b, and 4.1c below).
A few lists of books from Castile have not been included because of their pau-
city. It should be emphasized that in none of these lists is there a description
of how the libraries were positioned and set up in the homes of their own-
ers, but there are at times short descriptions of the places in which they were
located. For the most part, what we have are lists of books, some of which are
identified, some insufficiently described, and some completely unidentified.

33 Ibid., 275283.
34 On this edict, see Fritz [Yitzhak] Baer, Die Juden im christlichen Spanien (Berlin: Akademie-
Verlag, 1929), vol. 1, nos. 513, 527 (pp. 828, 84750); Francisca Vendrell de Mills, En torno
a la confirmacin real, en Aragn, de la pragmtica de Benedicto XIII, Sefarad 20 (1960):
31951; Moshe Orfali, The Library of Pope Benedict XIII: A Historical Glance [Hebrew],
in Libraries and Book Collections, ed. Yosef Kaplan and Moshe Sluhovsky (Jerusalem:
Zalman Shazar, 2006), 10526.
Jewish Book Owners And Their Libraries In The Iberian Peninsula 85

At times, the recorders described only the appearance of the book or external
features, and some books are identified just by a number without any details.
There are many lists of books belonging to Jews from the Middle Ages and
the Early Modern Period that were published in the nineteenth and twentieth
centuries. However, these tend to be from Italy and have already been studied.35
Similarly, a number of book lists of Jewish doctors and scholars from medieval
Provence and France have been published.36 There have also been preliminary
attempts to compare the collections of wealthy and scholarly individuals in
Provence with some of the Catalonian lists, but they were conducted without
an attempt to re-identify the items on the lists and without a comprehensive
comparative examination of all of the lists, using rather only a small portion
of them.37 A bibliography of published lists of books in Jewish libraries in the
Middle Ages has also been compiled.38 I make use of all of these sources in
this discussion. Until now, however, there has been no attempt to do a com-
prehensive examination of all the lists of books belonging to Jews in Catalonia

35 See Robert Bonfil, The Rabbinate in Renaissance Italy [Hebrew] (Jerusalem: Magnes
Press, 1979), Appendix II, pp. 29598; Bonfil, Le biblioteche degli Ebrei dItalia nel
Rinascimento, in Manoscritti, frammenti e libri ebraici nellItalia dei secoli XVXVI,
ed. Giuliano Tamani and Angelo Vivian (Rome: Carucci, 1991), 13755; Jean-Pierre
Rothschild, Les listes de livres, reflet de la culture des juifs en Italie du Nord au XV e et au
XVI e sicle?, in Tamani and Vivian, Manoscritti, 16393; Rothschild, Les bibliothques
hbraques mdivales et lexemple des livres de Lon Sini (vers 1523), in Libri, lettori
e biblioteche dellItalia medievale (secoli IXXV): Fonti, testi, utilizzazione del libro, ed.
Giuseppe Lombardi and Donatella Nebbiai-Dalla Guarda (Rome: Istituto centrale per il
catalogo unico delle biblioteche italiane, 20002001), 23161.
36 Primarily in the articles of Danile Iancu-Agou. See lately, for example, Les livres inven-
toris Grone aux lendemains de la dispute de Tortose (14141415), Materia giudaica, VI,
2 (2001), 16782; Les lites lettres juives dans lespace catalano-occitan (XV e sicle), in
Perpignan. LHistoire des Juifs dans la ville (Perpignan: Agence Canibals, 2003), 6372; Les
uvres traduites des mdecins montpellirains dans les bibliothques des juifs du Midi
de la France au XV e sicle, in LUniversit de Mdecine de Montpellier et son rayonnement.
XIII eXV e sicles, ed. Daniel Le Blvec (Turnhout: Brepols, 2004); see also the bibliography
cited in these publications, and other previous articles by Iancu-Agou, for example, Une
vente de livres hbreux Arles en 1434. Tableau de llite juive Arlsienne au milieu du
XV e sicle, Revue des tudes juives 146 (1987): 562; and Linventaire de la bibliothque
et du mobilier dun mdecin juif dAix-en-Provence au milieu du XV e sicle, Revue des
tudes juives 134 (1975): 4780. See also Grard E. Weil, La bibliothque de Gersonide daprs
son catalogue autographe (Louvain: E. Peeters, 1991).
37 See the articles by Iancu-Agou mentioned in the preceding note.
38 Eduard Feliu, Bibliografia sobre inventaris, testaments, llistes i notcies de llibres hebreus
medievals, Tamid: revista catalana anual destudis hebraics 2 (199899): 22840; 3 (2000
2001): 263.
86 Hacker

and Aragon, and the areas under Aragonese control such as Majorca, Sicily,
Roussillon, etc. Similarly, there has been no attempt to compare this data with
the literary sources of the period.39 Such a systematic examination utilizing
a comparative approach is likely to provide a clearer picture of a geographi-
cally defined social group that speaks a common language and shares common
values, a culture, and a religion. Naturally, this endeavor will not only permit
us to draw conclusions about the nature, size, and composition of the literary
collections, but also to describe the parameters of the culture and learning of
that society. A preliminary attempt at such a study will be undertaken here.
However, since research on the details of the lists has not yet been completed,
and due to space limitations, this is not the place for a detailed analysis and
explanation of the data. Rather, I will present here only the basic information
regarding the number of books, the size of the libraries, and the division of
the books into different academic disciplines. Yet, the fact that even some of
the data in the tables presented below is likely to change as more items are
identified prevents the presentation of a detailed summary of the categoriza-
tion of the books. Such an analysis, based on owners lists and notarial and
governmental documentation is in progress, and I expect to conclude it in the
near future.

Tables 4.1a4.1c: Categorization of the Books According


to Discipline and Type

The 48 books that appear in the records of sale for the library of Judah Mosconi
but are not included in the book inventory list of his inheritance are indi-
cated with an asterisk [*].40 These items were not yet identified, despite their
detailed description, but their identification is possible. In the data of Gerona
and Jaca, there are a few dubious items that might belong to different catego-
ries. Therefore, they are listed twice.

39 A comprehensive list of dated Hebrew manuscripts of Sephardi typology (including the


Iberian Peninsula, the Maghreb, Majorca, Provence and Sicily) is available in SfarData.
According to this database, there are 715 dated manuscripts that were produced in those
places between 1301 and 1492, of which 391 are from Spain (Portugal not included),
Majorca, Provence and Sicily. In order to get a comprehensive picture of book production
and ownership in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Sepharad, it would be necessary to
compare and contrast the data contained in SfarData with the data presented here.
40 See Jocelyn N. Hillgarth, Readers and Books in Majorca, 12291550, 2 vols. (Paris: Centre
national de la recherche scientifique, 1991), 43441.
Jewish Book Owners And Their Libraries In The Iberian Peninsula 87

TABLE 4.1a Categorization of the books according to discipline and type

Place Years No. of No. of #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7


Books Libraries

Santa Coloma 1326, 1373, 282 11 21 19 22 6 1 42


de Queralt 1416
Majorca 13301391 536 + 10 8 13 12 6 4 26
48*
Valencia 1362 139 1 3 14 14 1 26
Majorca
Peralada 1389 91 1 11 5 13 2 2 7
Vic 1391 2 1
Perpignan 1370, 1388, 45 4 6 6 5 1 1 6
1403, 1411
Gerona 14151416 510 19 57 55 62 17 20
Jaca 14151416 617 26 71 15 156
Cervera 1407, 1422, 125 4 8 9 10 6 1 28
1484
Sicily 14061492 630 34 15 54 21 1 4 31
La Almunia de 1439 9 1 1
Doa Godina
Tarragona 1488 12 1 2 1 1
Calatayud 1495 127 1 1 6

Total 3173 114 132 181 230 16 45 30 322

Discipline and Type: [1] Torah (Pentateuch); [2] Prophets and Hagiographa; [3] Biblical
Commentary; [4] Homiletics; [5] Targum; [6] Scrolls; [7] Mishnah, Talmud, Alfasi

TABLE 4.1b Categorization of the books according to discipline and type

Place #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14

Santa Coloma de Queralt 2 3 26 42 1 3 6


Majorca 3 3 11 18 6 6 54
Valencia Majorca 10 10 22 9 1 5 4
Peralada 8 12 15 3 3 7
Vic
Perpignan 2 3 5 5 3 1
88 Hacker

Place #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14

Gerona 1? 206 17 7 9
Jaca 31 114 142 2 34
Cervera 1 3 8 11 1 4
Sicily 5 4 31 14 1 3 5
La Almunia de Doa Godina 1 1
Tarragona 6
Calatayud

Total 55 149 259 328 30 30 123

Discipline and Type: [8] Midrash, Aggadah: Text and Commentary; [9] Talmud, Commentary and
Novellae; [10] Jewish Law, Codes, Responsa, Customs; [11] Liturgy, Prayer, Religious Poetry; [12]
Literature, Prose, Poetry; [13] Grammar; [14] Philosophy, Ethics, Thought, Commentary on Avot

TABLE 4.1c Categorization of the books according to discipline and type

Place #15 #16 #17 #18 #19 #20 Not Identified Not Described

Santa Coloma de 3 1? 2 9 73
Queralt
Majorca 36 1 1 1 2 19 + 48* 306
Valencia Majorca 2 1? 2 2 1 5 7
Peralada 3
Vic 2
Perpignan 1
Gerona 11 1 1 3 12 34
Jaca 14 3 1 4 1 19 9
Cervera 24 1 7 3
Sicily 25 1 2 53 360
La Almunia de 4 2
Doa Godina
Tarragona 2
Calatayud 56 64

Total 162 1517? 5 4 10 10 129 + 48* 860

Discipline and Type: [15] Science, Medicine; [16] Jewish Mysticism; [17] History; [18] Polemics;
[19] Reference, Dictionaries; [20] Miscellaneous
Jewish Book Owners And Their Libraries In The Iberian Peninsula 89

In these tables, information from 114 lists from 13261495 has been collated
from a number of known locations (in the published lists from Majorca and
Sicily, I allow the notation of the island to suffice, without detailing the precise
locations). Of these lists, twenty-six collections are from the fourteenth cen-
tury (between the years 13261391), eighty-six are from the fifteenth century
(between the years 14031492), and one collection is from 1495, after the expul-
sion of the Jews from Castile and Aragon. Included are two collections belong-
ing to Jews from Cervera and Calatayud who converted to Christianity. The fact
that conversos kept Hebrew manuscripts in their possession after their conver-
sion is documented in several sources from fifteenth-century Spain, includ-
ing a will from 1445 of a conversus sederius from Barcelona who bequeathed
alios eciam meos ebraice scriptos to his heirs.41 The lists currently enumerate
3173 books, a large enough number from one cultural region to enable us to
make more-definitive conclusions than those drawn previously. Nevertheless,
these numbers might be misleading, for we do not know the title or author of
approximately 989 books (those listed in the tables as not described or not
identified). Of these, approximately 860 are books for which the sources give
no descriptions that allow even partial identification, as there is no informa-
tion about them that defines their disciplinary areas. Approximately 130 books
have not yet been identified by those who published the lists or by me, since
neither the title nor the name of the author is mentioned, or because they were
recorded by a notary in an unclear manner that makes identification more dif-
ficult. In other words, we have a detailed identification or a disciplinary area
(e.g. medical book, Bible etc.) of approximately 2232 books (2184+48*; see
asterisk remark previous to tables 4.1a4.1c). These are arranged in the table by
category. Similarly, I included the data on books classified as not described or
not identified in separate columns, because only by including it can we know
the total size of the collections and thus develop a rough picture of the size of
the libraries. The places in which the collections were published are listed in
an appendix to this article.42

41 Josep Maria Madurell i Marimon, El arte de la seda en Barcelona entre judos y conver-
sos (notas para su historia), Sefarad 25 (1965), 25556, 27981. See also Haim Beinart,
Records of the Trials of the Spanish Inquisition in Ciudad Real, vol. IV (Jerusalem: The Israel
Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1985), 634.
42 They are listed by their location in the same order as they appear in the table.
90 Hacker

2.1 The Number of Books and the Size of the Collections


The existence of 3173 books in 113 lists of books belonging to Jews in Catalonia
and Aragon yields an average of 28 books per library. This number is consid-
ered quite high for the period under discussion, particularly given the fact
that we are dealing with manuscripts and not printed books. Even more sig-
nificant is the fact that included in this average are people who had only one
or two books and, at the other end of the spectrum, certain individuals who
had collections of 100200 books (see Table 4.2 below). However, when read-
ing the lists of the notaries and the literature of the period, it becomes clear
that the number of books in many circumstances was well beyond the number
listed. There are many reasons for this. First and foremost, it is known that
the Christian notaries required the aid of the Jews when faced with the chal-
lenge of recording books whose language and content were unknown to them.
Therefore, they not infrequently indicated that they found more books that
they did not record, or more frequently handed them over without identifying
them, or utilized an external identifying mark such as the appearance of the
binding, the material on which the book was written (paper or parchment), or
the form of the script. This also explains the noticeable number of books that
fall into the Not Described category in Table 4.1. I will provide a few examples
of this phenomenon.
A document from Majorca dated 1389 lists the sequestered property of three
Jews who were part of the communal leadership. Among other things, the fol-
lowing was written: ...fon segellat e mes en lo scriptori, on ha molts libres, ax
que de les coses que en aquell eren non fon fet inventari...E apres lo scriptori,
en lo qual hom entre per la prop dita cambra, en lo qual ha diverses e molts
libres e scriptures (...in the scriptorium, where there are a lot of books, no
inventary was made of the things that were in it...in the scriptorium, in which
one can enter through the mentioned chamber, in which there are many books
and writings.)43 However, in this instance and in the other instances described
there, no details are given, not even a total count of books. Therefore, this type
of information is not included in our study.44 Another example, in which at

43 See Hillgarth, Readers, 450. The description of the location as a scriptorium is interesting.
Can we deduce from this that in this instance there was a scriptorium in the home of the
scholar Mestre Aron Abdalach? See also following note. As Hillgarth mentions there,
these individuals were among the most prominent buyers of the collection of Judah
Mosconi.
44 Ibid., ...I armari de fust, ple de libres, lo qual fon segellat...Item, una taula longa, vey
ab molts e diverses libres...scrits en abrahic...; ...Item altra casa, appellada lo scriptori
Jewish Book Owners And Their Libraries In The Iberian Peninsula 91

least a general number of books is recorded but without any details, would
be the lists that were made in Aragon, in addition to other regions of Spain, with
the expulsion of the Jews in 1492. Thus, for example, 140 books were counted
in the possession of three Jews in a small village in northern Aragon, Ejea de los
Caballeros (not far from Jaca), but all that was recorded were the numbers (60,
40, and 40, respectively, along with approximately 120 books belonging to the
rest of the Jews in the town, which included some 30 Jewish families). In other
words, in this rural agricultural village in 1492, the Jews possessed approxi-
mately 260 Hebrew books.45 An idea of the number of books in the posses-
sion of the Jews of Aragon just before their expulsion can be derived from the
fact that a group of Jews from Saragossa, Calatayud, and Fuentes del Ebro who
negotiated the rental of a ship to take them to Naples, paid for the transport of
150 quintals of books, the equivalent of more than 6200 kilograms.46 Another
interesting case is the Jewish doctor who was exiled to Portugal, retracted and
converted to Christianity, and then wished to return to Spain. He requested
and received a permit to bring back with him his Hebrew and Arabic books
as long as they dealt with medicine and science and not the Torah of Moses.47
Even the detailed descriptions in the lists from which I built our data
set give the impression that what we have is only a partial picture. Thus, for
example, in the lists from Perpignan, the word libres (books) is written fre-
quently with no details provided (every description like this was recorded in
the table as one unit), or the phrase omnnes libros qui sunt de Asserim Verba
was written.48 Similarly, in the lists from Gerona, the phrase additional books

(another house, called the scriptorium), lo qual fo segellada...Item sinch libres...quatre


libres...molts libres...e molts scriptures e cartes. Item en I armari dotze libres juyave-
sches... (The emphasis is mine.)
45 Miguel ngel Motis Dolader, La expulsin de los judos del reino de Aragn (Saragossa:
Diputacin General de Aragn, 1990), 2:33435; Haim Beinart, The Expulsion of the Jews
from Spain (Oxford: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2002), 23233. Since the list
does not include the description of even one book, the data has not been included in our
discussion, as with other similar data found in the sources.
46 Jos Ramn Hinojosa Montalvo, Solidaridad juda ante la expulsin: Contratos de
embarque (Valencia, 1492), Saitabi: revista de la Facultat de Geografia i Histria 33 (1983):
114, 124; Motis Dolader, La expulsin, 338; Beinart, The Expulsion, 231.
47 Luis Surez Fernndez, Documentos acerca de la expulsin de los judos (Valladolid:
Biblioteca Reyes Catlicos, 1964), no. 242 (Barcelona [9].1.1493), 5045; Motis Dolader, La
expulsin, 334; Beinart, The Expulsion, 34143.
48 Pierre Vidal, Les juifs des anciens comts de Roussillon et de Cerdagne (Perpignan: Mare
Nostrum, 1992), 8388. Page 88 contains information on books belonging to the Jews in
92 Hacker

is written more than once without any specification as to the number or titles,49
as it is at times in the lists from Jaca,50 Calatayud,51 and other locations as well.
Moreover, sometimes the number does not accurately reflect all the items in
the collections for reasons other than the incomplete recording of the notary.
With respect to at least two of the important collections included herethe
26 libraries of Jaca and the 19 libraries of Geronait is clear to anyone who
examines the table of books that it is inconceivable that the Jews of Gerona
had no talmudic literatureno Mishnah, no Gemara, no commentaries and
novellae on the Gemaraand no halakhic literature, and that it is similarly
inconceivable that the Jews of Jaca had no Pentateuchs, no Bible with Targum,
and practically no prayer books, holiday prayer books, or any other type of
book relating to liturgy. We must conclude one of two things: either the Jews
of Gerona refrained from handing over for the inspection of the authorities
lists of their copies of the Mishnah, the Talmud and its commentaries, and hal-
akhic works, or they were handed over separately.52 The same conclusion can
be drawn regarding biblical and liturgical literature among the Jews of Jaca.
In other words, only by viewing these two places side by side, complementing
each other, can we get a reasonable picture of the Jewish libraries in both of
them. Furthermore, the number of the books in the 114 lists is not intended
to reflect the total number of books belonging to the Jews of Catalonia and

1493, but the only information included is the number of books, without any other details:
13, 20, 31, 40, 21.
49 Josep Maria Mills Vallicrosa and Llus Batlle, Inventaris de llibres de jueus gironins,
Butllet de la Biblioteca de Catalunya 8 (1928), 29, no. 168: item denuncia los libres que lo
dit...; 40, no. 304: item corns de hosanos; 306: item corns e fules de diversas coses; and
many more.
50 Eleazar Gutwirth and Miguel ngel Motis Dolader, Twenty-Six Libraries from Fifteenth-
Century Spain, The Library 18, no. 1 (1996), 51, no. 570: Item hun saguo pleno de quader-
nios e libros de Talmut.
51 Motis Dolader, La expulsin, 225: Item un Salterio entero, con otros livros en pargamino...
52 So it was understood by Mills Vallicrosa and Batlle, Inventaris, 288. See also Josep
Perarnau i Espelt, Notcia de ms de setanta inventaris de llibres de jueus gironins,
Arxiu de Textos Catalans Antics 4 (1985), 438. Yet, the Jews of Jaca, in contrast to those of
Gerona, handed over information on Rabbinic and halakhic literature for examination
in the same year and under the same circumstances but neglected to include books from
other fields of religious scholarship.
 A similar phenomenon is found in the book lists of the Jews of Mantua at the end of
the sixteenth century. The fact that talmudic literature was missing from the lists and that
these works were not presented for inspection does not prove that these works were not
found at all among the Jews. On Mantua, see Shifra Baruchson-Arbib, La culture livresque
des juifs dItalie la fin de la Renaissance (Paris: CNRS ditions, 2001).
Jewish Book Owners And Their Libraries In The Iberian Peninsula 93

Aragon, but merely a sampling. For example, we know from the sources that
we have only 19 out of approximately 70 lists that were produced in Gerona,
and that the others have so far not been found.53
In light of all that has been said above, it is reasonable to assume that the
size of the Jewish libraries in Catalonia and Aragon at the end of the Middle
Ages was much larger than what is seen in our data. Yet, there is no reason to
doubt the value of the data gathered from these lists. In reality, they present
the minimum size of the collections and not the maximum: among the 114 lists
there are only four collections that exceed 100 volumes, collections that would
have been typical of the libraries of scholars, doctors, and the wealthy.

TABLE 4.2 Categorization of data according to size of collections

Number of Books in the Collection: 19 1030 31100 101150 151200


Place:

Santa Coloma de Queralt 6 5


Majorca 3 3 2 1 2
Peralada 1
Vic 1
Perpignan 2 2
Gerona* 7 4 8
Jaca 9 8 9
Cervera 2 2
Sicily 14 11 9
La Almunia de Doa Godina 1
Tarragona 1
Calatayud 1

Total 43 31 36 2 2

*11 of the 19 book owners had more books than listed, since some were handed over
separately to the authorities upon demand.

53 See Perarnau i Espelt, Notcia, 44142, for the list of 67 people who were ordered to hand
over lists of their books in November 1415.
94 Hacker

A preliminary comparison of this data to the data from fifteenth- and sixteenth-
century Christian society in the Crown of Aragon54 yields some fascinating dis-
coveries regarding the owners of the collections, the content of the books, and
the size of the libraries. A truly rigorous comparison would require a side-by-
side evaluation of similar groups within the two societies, such as priests and
men of the church vs. Jewish scholars and rabbis, intellectuals vs. intellectuals,
merchants vs. merchants, and manual laborers vs. manual laborers.55 Such seg-
mentation of owners of Hebrew collections in the late Middle Ages has never
been done and is perhaps impossible. Even so, it is possible to say that there is
a noticeable difference between the size and richness of Jewish libraries in the
Middle Ages in comparison to those of the surrounding society. For example,
according to the data of Philippe Berger on Valencia at the end of the fifteenth
century, the average size of the libraries of craftsmen, manual laborers, and
service providers was between 13 books, for merchants it was 34, and for
the aristocracy it was 11.56 Even among doctors and lawyers, who represent the
highest levels of society, the average number of books per library was 26 at the
end of the fifteenth century.
This is also the case in fifteenth-century Castile, according to Isabel Beceiro
Pita, who wrote on the libraries of letrados and aristocrats in late medieval
Castile. According to her findings, the size of libraries until the mid-fifteenth

54 In my examination of data on Christian society in Catalonia and Aragon, I relied on the
following studies: Carmen Batlle, Las bibliotecas de los ciudadanos de Barcelona en el
siglo XV, in Livre et lecture en Espagne et en France sous lancien rgime (Paris: A.D.P.F.,
1981), 1531; Miguel ngel Ladero Quesada and Mara Concepcin Quintanilla Raso,
Bibliotecas de la alta nobleza castellana en el siglo XV, in Livre et lecture, 4759; Philippe
Berger, La lecture Valence de 1474 1560, in Livre et lecture, 97107; Berger, Libro y lec-
tura en la Valencia del Renacimiento, 2 vols. (Valencia: Edicions Alfons el Magnnim, 1987);
Francisco M. Gimeno Blay and Jos Trenchs Odena, Libro y bibliotecas en la corona de
Aragn (siglo xvi), in El libro antiguo espaol, ed. Mara Luisa Lpez-Vidriero and Pedro
M. Ctedra (Salamanca: Univ. de Salamanca, 1992), 2:20739; Josep Hernando, Llibres
i lectors a la Barcelona del s. XIV, 2 vols. (Barcelona: Pags, 1995); Manuel Jos Pedraza
Gracia, Lectores y lecturas en Zaragoza (15011521) (Saragossa: Prensas Universitarias de
Zaragoza, 1997); Jos Trenchs Odena, Libri, letture, insegnamento e biblioteche nella
Corona dAragona (secoli XIIIXV), in La Corona dAragona in Italia (secc. XIIIXVIII):
XIV Congresso di Storia della Corona dAragona; SassariAlghero 1924 maggio 1990, ed.
Maria Giuseppina Meloni and Olivetta Schena (Sassari: Carlo Delfino, 1993), 1:193258.
55 There is, of course, a place for such a comparison with Jewish communities other than
those of Catalonia and Aragon. See notes 34 and 35 above.
56 Berger, Libro y lectura, 1:367.
Jewish Book Owners And Their Libraries In The Iberian Peninsula 95

century was rather small, and common people rarely had significant numbers
of books, unless they were clergymen, lawyers, or physicians.57
In contrast, we find much larger libraries among the upper classes of Jewish
society in Catalonia and Aragon, frequently close to 100 books. Certainly, there
are also some similarities between the two societies: for example, the fact that
practitioners of the more accomplished professions had the largest libraries.
The collection of books testifies to the importance attributed to preserving the
culture of the society and is intertwined with ideological trends in both societ-
ies. Similarly, the fact that the library is located in a persons home grants him a
degree of social prestige. Nevertheless, the largest difference between the two
societies is in the size and ownership of their collections. In Spanish Christian
society, the largest libraries of the aristocracy, such as those of the Counts
of Haro and Benavente, reached a maximum of 200 books,58 whereas some
wealthy Jews, scholars, and doctors had libraries of no fewer than 150 volumes
over 100 years earlier. More significant, however, is the picture that emerges
from an examination of the collections of ordinary Jews, laborers, craftsmen,
merchants, financial agents and money lenders in the small settlements and
villages of Catalonia and Aragon, who owned scores of manuscripts. We find
no parallel to this phenomenon in the surrounding society, where book collec-
tions simply didnt exist in rural communities.
In the will of Rabbi Judah ben Asher (the son of the Rosh), written in 1349,
he turns to his sons and reproaches them as follows:59 What have I left undone
for you that a father could do for his children? Regularly were your meals pro-
vided, and all your wants. You own many books, and my every thought was
directed to you.... He continues: I have resolved to dedicate my library (on
the estimate made by three persons)...These books are ready for the use of
students...
In a similar spirit, another scholar from Castile, in the first half of the fif-
teenth century wrote as follows:

57 Isabel Beceiro Pita, Libros, lectores y bibliotecas en la Espaa medieval (Murcia: Nausca,
2007), 1946.
58 On the libraries of the aristocracy in the fifteenth century, see the following articles:
Ladero Quesada and Quintanilla Raso, Bibliotecas de la alta nobleza; Jeremy Lawrance,
Une bibliothque fort complte pour un grand Seigneur: Gondomars Manuscripts and
the Renaissance Idea of the Library, Bulletin of Spanish Studies 81, nos. 78 (2004):1078
83. (The examples above were taken from the latter article.)
59 Israel Abrahams, Hebrew Ethical Wills (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of
America, 1926), 2:170, 196.
96 Hacker

The wisdom of a person is commensurate with the scope of his library.


Therefore, a person should sell everything that he has and buy books, for,
for instance: one who does not possess the books of the Talmud cannot
become an expert in it; similarly, one who does not possess books of
medicine, cannot become an expert in it; and one who does not possess
books of logic and wisdom, cannot become an expert in them.60

This was the perspective of men from the scholarly class. The lists of books that
come from the archival sources are likely to reveal additional points of view,
those of library owners from a variety of other social classes, who also saw
the collection of books and the maintenance of libraries within the home as
appropriate goals. I plan to devote a future study to their perspectives and the
social implications of the make up of their libraries.

Appendix

Sources of the Data in the Tables


1.Santa Coloma de Queralt.
Soberanas i Lle, Amadeu J. La biblioteca de Salom Samuel Atzarell, jueu de Santa
Coloma de Queralt (1373). Boletn de la Real Sociedad Arqueolgica Tarraconense
6768 (196768): 191204 (see review of Georges Vajda, in: Revue des tudes juives,
128 [1969]: 3089). Thanks to Javier Castao who photocopied this article for me.
Secall i Gell, Gabriel. La comunitat hebrea de Santa Coloma de Queralt. Tarragona:
Diputacin Provincial de Tarragona, 1986.

2.Majorca.
Hillgarth, Jocelyn N. Readers and Books in Majorca, 12991550. 2 vols. Paris: Centre
nacional de la recherche scientifique, 1991.
. Majorcan Jews and Conversos as Owners and Artisans of Books. In Exile and
Diaspora: Studies in the History of the Jewish People, Presented to Professor Haim
Beinart, edited by Aaron Mirsky, Avraham Grossman, and Yosef Kaplan, 12530.
Jerusalem: Ben-Zvi Institute of Yad Izhak Ben-Zvi and the Hebrew Univ. of Jerusalem,
1991.

60 Isaac Canpanton, Darke ha-talmud [The Ways of the Talmud], ed. Y. S. Lange (Jerusalem:
private publication, 1981), 72.
Jewish Book Owners And Their Libraries In The Iberian Peninsula 97

2a.ValenciaMajorca.
Riera i Sans, Jaume. Cent trenta-nou volums de llibres dun jueu mercader i talmudista:
Moss Almater (1362). Sefarad 68, no. 1 (2008): 1535.

3.Peralada.
Rich Abad, Anna, and Eduard Feliu. Inventari dels llibres dAbraham Samuel de
Peralada. Tamid: revista catalana anual destudis hebraics 2 (199899): 24152.

4.Vic.
Llop Jordana, Irene. La fi de la comunitat jueva de Vic. Bns i conversi dels ltims
jueus (1391). Tamid: revista catalana anual destudis hebraics 9 (2013), 102.

5.Perpignan.
Vidal, Pierre. Les juifs des anciens comts de Roussillon et de Cerdagne. With a preface by
Eduard Feliu. Perpignan: Mare Nostrum, 1992, pp. 8388, 13537, 14446 (I did not
include one list of Aly Abram, pp. 8283, because he was from Provence.)

6.Gerona.
Mills Vallicrosa, Josep M., and Llus Batlle. Inventaris de llibres de jueus gironins.
Butllet de la Biblioteca de Catalunya 8 (1928): 545.
Perarnau i Espelt, Josep. Notcia de ms de setanta inventaris de llibres de jueus giro-
nins. Arxiu de Textos Catalans Antics 4 (1985): 43544. Republished in: Per a una
histria de la Girona jueva, edited by David Romano, 1:283334. Gerona: Ajuntament
de Girona, 1988. I made use of the text in the collection of David Romano.

7.Jaca.
Gutwirth, Eleazar, and Miguel ngel Motis Dolader. Twenty-Six Libraries from
Fifteenth-Century Spain. The Library 18, no. 1 (1996): 2753.

8.Cervera.
Duran i Sanpere, Agust, and Moiss Schwab. Les Juifs Cervera et dans dautres villes
catalanes. Sefarad 34 (1974): 86102.
Llobet i Portella, Josep M. Documents de jueus de Cervera (segle XV) que contenen
ttols de llibres. Tamid: revista catalana anual destudis hebraics 3 (200001): 4963.

9.Sicily.
Bresc, Henri. Livre et socit en Sicile (12991499). Palermo: Luxograph, 1971.
. La diffusion du livre en Sicile la fin du Moyen ge: Note complmentaire.
Bollettino del Centro di studi filologici e linguistici siciliani 12 (1973): 16789.
. Arabes de langue, juifs de religion. Paris: Bouchne, 2001, pp. 5559.
98 Hacker

10.La Almunia de Doa Godina.61


Roth, Cecil. The Library of a Spanish-Jewish Physician. Journal of Jewish Bibliography
4 (1943): 2526.
Serrano y Sanz, Manuel. Orgenes de la dominacin espaola en Amrica: Estudios
histricos. Madrid: Bailly-Baillire, 1918, 1:xlix.

11.Tarragona.
Muntan i Santiveri, Josep-Xavier. Notcies de jueus de laljama de Tarragona extretes
de lArxiu Histric de Tarragona. Tamid: revista catalana anual destudis hebraics 7
(2011): 164165.

12.Calatayud.
Borrs Gualis, Gonzalo Mximo. Liquidacin de los bienes de los judos expulsados de
la aljama de Calatayud. Sefarad 29 (1969): 3638.
Motis Dolader, Miguel ngel. The Expulsion of the Jews from Calatayud, 14921500:
Documents and Regesta. Jerusalem: Central Archives for the History of the Jewish
People, 1990, no. 306, pp. 22526 [= La expulsin de los judos del reino de Aragn.
Vol. 2. Saragossa: Diputacin General de Aragn, Departamento de Cultura y
Educacin, 1990, pp. 33638.]

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Section 2
Conceptualizing the Hebrew Book


CHAPTER 5

Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century


Perpignan

Eva Frojmovic
University of Leeds

When a certain Solomon ben R. Raphael signed the masoretic Bible currently
held in Paris, Bibliothque nationale de France (BNF), Hbreu 7, the day after
Shavuot in the year 1299 CE, he named himself as the sole scribe of his codex:

I, Solomon son of Rabbi Raphael, have written this book for myself, and
I have arranged in it the Torah, the Prophets and the Hagiographa in one
volume. And I have completed it here, in the city of Perpignan, in the
month of Sivan, the day after Shavuot, in the year 5509 after the creation
of the world [1299]. May God in his mercy realize for me, my seed and the
seed of my seed that which is written in the passage: This book of the law
shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day
and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written
therein; for then thou shalt make thy ways prosperous, and then thou
shalt have good success [Josh. 1:8]. And it is also written: My son, forget
not my teaching; but let thy heart keep my commandments; for length
of days, and years of life, and peace, will they add to thee [Prov. 3:12].
Amen amen.1

Did he indeed complete the book all by himself, including the Masorah
magna and parva and the masoretic and calendrical treatises in the preface
and the postface of the biblical text? If, as is likely, he was a man of leisure
rather than a hireling, why did he copy his own Bible? In his recent study of the
typology of Hebrew Bible codices in medieval Europe, David Stern cautioned

1 Paris, BNF, Hbreu 7, fol. 512v, column 2. A full digital version is available on http://gallica.bnf
.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b9002997b. Photo in Gabrielle Sed-Rajna and Sonia Fellous, Les manuscrits
hbreux enlumins des Bibliothques de France (Leuven: Peeters, 1994), 29. The manuscript is
analyzed, and further pages reproduced, in Katrin Kogman-Appel, Jewish Book Art Between
Islam and Christianity: The Decoration of Hebrew Bibles in Medieval Spain (Leiden: Brill, 2004),
13140. My thanks to the staff of the BNF for their kind assistance.

koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 5|doi .63/9789004306103_007


108 Frojmovic

us that we know very little for certain about the precise functions that any
of these books served for their owners, and we know the least of all about the
functions of the masoretic Bible.2
Although a halakhic obligation existed to write ones own Torah, the copy-
ing of the Masoretic Text had become a highly specialized and often labor-
divided undertaking.3 Professional copyists were often required for the task.
Nevertheless, some nonprofessionals, like Solomon ben R. Raphael, tried their
hand at copying not only the Pentateuch, but the complete Bible. The question
that underlies this study is this: why did some (though by no means all) laymen
copy their own copy of the Bible, despite being manifestly able to afford the
services of a professional scribe? What did it mean for them to not only own
but produce (or, to be precise, co-produce) such a Bible? And why did Solomon
ben Raphael hide the fact that he actually did employ, as I will detail, a team of
unnamed artisans?
Stern suggests that most of the deluxe Bibles, especially the illuminated
ones, were what he calls trophy-books, commissioned specifically for con-
spicuous display of their owners wealth.4 Stern has brought back to our
attention the fascinating and ambivalent testimony of the grammarian and
Bible scholar Profiat Duran of Perpignan (Isaac ben Moses ha-Levi, 13601412).
Profiat Duran, who as Stern points out is our most eloquent source for under-
standing Bible study in late medieval Catalonia, satirized a class of wealthy
but ignorant book owners, for whom possessing these books is sufficient as
self-glorification, and they think that storing them in their treasure-chests
is the same as preserving them in their minds.5 And yet, Duran admits that

2 David Stern, The Hebrew Bible in Europe in the Middle Ages: A Preliminary Typology, Jewish
Studies, an Internet Journal 11, http://www.biu.ac.il/js/JSIJ/11-2012/Stern.pdf, 4. My thanks to
David Stern for having shared his research with me prior to publication.
3 I review the sources and development of the commandment in Eva Frojmovic, The Patron
as Scribe and the Performance of Piety in Perpignan during the Kingdom of Majorca, in
Patronage, Production, and Transmission of Texts in Medieval and Early Modern Jewish
Cultures, ed. Esperanza Alfonso and Jonathan Decter (Turnhout: Brepols, 2014), 299337.
4 Stern, Hebrew Bible, 37.
5 Profiat Duran, Maase Efod: Einleitung in das Studium und Grammatik der hebrischen
Sprache von Profiat Duran, ed. Samuel David Luzzatto, Jonathan Friedlnder, and Jakob
Kohn (Vienna: J. Holzwarth, 1865), 21, and translation in Stern, Hebrew Bible, 36. See Irene
Zwiep, Jewish Scholarship and Christian Tradition in Late-Medieval Catalonia: Profiat
Duran on the Art of Memory, in Hebrew Scholarship and the Medieval World, ed. Nicholas
de Lange (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 2001), 22439; and Maud Natasha Kozodoy,
A Study in the Life and Works of Profiat Duran (PhD diss., Jewish Theological Seminary of
America, 2006).
Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan 109

when directed towards the patronage of Bible codices, this acquisitiveness of


the wealthy still constitutes a form of Torah devotion: There is merit for their
actions, since in some way they cause the Torah to be magnified and exalted;
and even if they are not worthy of it, they bequeath a blessing to their children
and those who come after them.6
Many surviving Bibles, especially decorated and illuminated ones, which
include colophons where professional scribes extol the generosity of wealthy
lords and wish their patrons children future enjoyment of the book, were
indeed very likely such trophy-books. Durans incisive and ambivalent com-
ments, however, were directed at the society of his time, around 1400. He was
writing a full century after the masoretic Bible in Paris, BNF, Hbreu 7, and a
very similar one in Copenhagen, Det Kongelige Bibliotek (KB), Cod. Heb. 2
(dated 1301), were produced. Profiat Duran was writing some time after the
golden age of the lavishly illuminated Miqdash-yah Bibles, most of which were
produced between 1300 and the 1360s (when he was very young). Arguably, a
man like Solomon ben R. Raphaeland there were others like himwas a
different type of owner, learned enough to be able to copy his own Torah, the
Prophets and the Hagiographa in one volume. But was he learned enough to
also vocalize and add the Masorah?
In addition to the wealthy patrons satirized by Profiat Duran, who com-
missioned Bible copies which they were well-equipped to display and enjoy
but ill-equipped to seriously study, I propose that there was also a different
group of wealthy men who sought to perform their devotion to Torah by tak-
ing on the role of scribe themselves. Abraham Cresquess Bible, the object of
a study by Katrin Kogman-Appel in the present volume, is a late example of
this type of Bible; Paris, BNF, Hbreu 7 and Copenhagen, KB, Cod. Heb. 2 are
early examples. The fruit of their labor is known by the technical term user-
produced codexthe most common type of Hebrew codex. I believe some of
the user-produced Bibles were only partly so and owe their direction to a pro-
fessional vocalizer and masorator who remained unnamed in the colophon. So
theseand I stress that I have not undertaken a surveyare user-coproduced
codices made in collaboration with a (presumably) hired vocalizer-masorator.
Copying the biblical text was not easy, but it was considerably easier than the
complex and highly abstract task of adding the vowels, the cantillation marks,
and the multitude of masoretic notes and lemmata as well as the appropri-
ate liturgical cross-references (to haftarah readings for the various occasions
throughout the year). Although it was a halakhic commandment to copy the
Torah, these finishing touches were best left to professionals.

6 Duran, Maase Efod, 21, and translation in Stern, Hebrew Bible, 36.
110 Frojmovic

In revisiting the masoretic Bible BNF, Hbreu 7, I aim to attend more holis-
tically to the book as a project of collaboration in writing and drawing. The
collaboration I wish to describe is that between Solomon himself and an
(unnamed) team responsible for corrections, vocalization and Masorah, auxil-
iary Masoretic Texts, and the decoration of the volume. Unlike this professional
team, Solomon was not a professional scribe, but an educated and wealthy lay-
man who arguably wrote his codex to perform a commandment and to display
both his piety and his social status. The members of this vocalizer-masorator
team, by contrast, were highly skilled in their work and possessed an impres-
sive command of drawing; it is among this team that we should seek the most
likely designer of the well-known Sanctuary implements frontispiece.
Despite the colophons assertion of a single scribal identity, it is unlikely
that BNF, Hbreu 7 is the work of a single person. I will substantiate this argu-
ment here with reference to three features: firstly, the extensive corrections of
the scribes numerous errors, showing him to be anything but a professional;
secondly, the decoration of the paratextual elements such as parashah and
haftarah markers, Psalm numbers and verse counts; and thirdly, the division
of labor between the decorator(s) and the main vocalizer-masorator. To antici-
pate my findings, after a renewed study of the decoration of parashah markers,
haftarah markers, Psalm numbers, and the decorated verse counts separat-
ing the biblical books, and a comparison with the Masorah figurata, I no lon-
ger believe that these were the work of one hand. Following and elaborating
on Kogman-Appels assessment that this work entailed a division of labor
between more than one person,7 I will argue for the presence of a professional
team involving the vocalizer-masorator(s) and more than one rubricator or
filigree artist. In his colophon, Solomon ben Raphael is silent about this sup-
port team. Colette Sirat cautioned that the most difficult cases to detect are
those where the scribe does not tell what we would consider the whole truth.
A relatively frequent case is where the scribe of the colophon forgets to men-
tion that he has only written part of the book...8 BNF, Hbreu 7 is such a case
of a scribe forgetting to tell the whole truth, which is that Solomon was a
patron as well as a scribe.

1 The Corrections

Solomon ben Raphael almost managed to conceal the whole truth from the
most recent cataloguer. Despite his initial assessment that this manuscript

7 Kogman-Appel, Jewish Book Art, 13233.


8 Colette Sirat, Hebrew Manuscripts of the Middle Ages (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press), 209.
Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan 111

constitutes a single codicological unit and is the work of a sole scribe,9 Javier
del Barco clearly recognized the separate identity of the masorator in at least
one egregious case of the scribes miscopying.10 His observation that the scribe
had omitted a whole Psalm verse and that the masorator had filled it in opened
for me a new avenue of inquiry: textual corrections as evidence of a division
of labor.
Solomon ben Raphael copied his Bible with a fine calligraphic hand, but this
aesthetic accomplishment is misleading. Although copied by somebody who
must have known the Bible well, the codex is full of copying mistakes and thus
deviates from the high standard of accuracy achieved generally by the copyists
of medieval Sephardi Bibles, who, as Stern reminds us, lived in an environment
where biblical Hebrew was studied intensively.11 For example, another scholar
active in Perpignan, Menahem Meiri (12491316), ascribed so much authority
to a model Torah scroll written and corrected by Rabbi Meir Abulafia (Ramah,
ca. 11701244) that a great Ashkenazi rabbi by the name of Samuel ha-Qatan
ben Jacob travelled all the way to Toledo to acquire a hummash copied from it
to serve as a model for Ashkenazi Torah scroll copyists.12
Against this background, we note that the biblical text in BNF, Hbreu 7 is
marred by numerous errors. In some parts an error is found on every other
folio, though the frequency of errors varies. Altogether, I have thus far found
forty-six corrected errors in the Pentateuch section of the Bible, that is, on
folios 14v140r. In Table 5.1 in the appendix, I have listed the folios on which
these errors and corrections are to be found. It is very likely that more will
come to light. Casual perusal indicates that the errors continue throughout the
remainder of the codex. The errors in BNF, Hbreu 7 should not be taken as a
matter of course, but used as evidence for an understanding of the making of
this codex.
The errors can be divided into three categories. The first type of error, and
the most frequent, consists of words dropped, more often than not at the end
of lines. The second type of error, much less frequent, occurs where the scribe
has chosen an incorrect divine name, although to be fair it is not impossible

9 Javier del Barco, Bibliothque nationale de France. Hbreu 1 32. Manuscrits de la Bible
hbraque, CMCH IV (Turnhout: Brepols, 2011), 46.
10 The omission, on fol. 368r, of a long Psalm passage is noted in Del Barco, Hbreu 1 32, 47:
Lacunes et notes marginales: au f. 368r, le massorte a ajout le passage manquant dans
le Ps 18 dans un espace laiss vacant par le texte consonantique.
11 Stern, Hebrew Bible, 14.
12 Menahem Meiri, Kiryat sefer, ed. Moshe Hirschler (Jerusalem: Vagshel, 1996), 48. See also
Stern, Hebrew Bible, 15.
112 Frojmovic

that his model was defective or exhibited a variant recension. The third type,
very infrequent, consists of spelling errors.
These errors were subsequently corrected in the intercolumnia and mar-
gins in a contemporary script only slightly larger than the tiny script of the
Masorah, and of about the same size as the haftarah indicators in the second
part of the codex. It is my contention that these corrections were carried out
by the vocalizer-masorator. My reason for ascribing the corrections to him is
the similarity of the script of the corrections to the script of the Masorah. It
is the same font that also supplies the masoretic notes indicating middles of
books and the masoretic/calendrical texts preceding and following the biblical
text. But even more crucial is the fact that all the corrections are vocalized. It
seems to me most plausible that the vocalizer-masorator discovered the errors
in the process of vocalization, a task which was impeded by missing words in
the text, which it would have been relatively easy for the vocalizer-masorator
to supply, since he was working from a model codex, just like Solomon ben
Raphael had done, only of necessity with greater precision than the latter. To
the vocalizer, every letter counts.

2 Decoration of Textual Divisions (Parashah Markers, Psalm


Numbers, Verse Counts, Haftarah Markers) and Its Relation
to the Masorah figurata

The Masorah magna and parva were written presumably by the vocalizer.
Then there is the question of who wrote the paratextual numberings and verse
counts. As far as I can tell, these were written in two very different scripts. The
parashah markers (pe-resh-shin) in the Pentateuch appear to have been writ-
ten by Solomon ben Raphael, though decorated separately in red ink. It is not
clear why, when the scribe had erroneously inserted a parashah marker on
folio 65v at Exodus 32:15, that parashah marker was decorated prior to being
erased; but this sequence of events also suggests that more than one, possibly
more than two persons were involved in the making of the codex. The Psalm
numbersletters written in the margin alongside the incipit of each Psalm
can equally be ascribed to Solomon.
By contrast, the haftarah markers in the Prophets and Hagiographa, which
specify the weekly or festival Torah portion for which the haftarah is destined,
were written in a smaller module by a masorators hand, although not as small
as the Masorah parva interspersed between the text columns; I do not believe
they are by the hand of Solomon ben Raphael, but that the vocalizer-masorator
wrote them. Finally, the verse counts between biblical books, which effectively
Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan 113

serve as book divisions, were written in a very small module, the size of the
Masorah magna, presumably by the masorator as well. Whatever the precise
individual attribution of the verse counts and the haftarah markers, with their
slightly different sized modules, it seems clear that a complex process for the
annotation of the biblical text was followed.
While the parashah markers and Psalm numbers were written by a differ-
ent hand from that of the haftarah markers and verse counts, their decoration
cannot usually be distinguished along the same lines. It appears that although
more than one decorator was involved, the stylistic differences do not corre-
spond to the different scripts visible in the parashah markers and Psalm num-
bers, on the one hand, and the haftarah markers and verse counts, on the other.
Katrin Kogman-Appel discussed the authorship of the decoration of the
paratextual markers for parashah, haftarah, Psalm numbers, and verse counts,13
and I wish to elaborate on her assessment in more detail here. Kogman-Appel
found that the work was divided according to quires but that in some quires
more than one hand was at work. She further demonstrated how different the
styles of the different draftsmen were in their drawing style:

...the first skilled and secure, working in a very delicate technique and
producing a refined design, and the second stiffer, creating thicker and
cruder lines. The repertoire of forms applied by the first decorator is
richer and includes stylized foliage designs, spared ground interlace pat-
terns, abstract facial features, and stylized animal heads.14

Kogman-Appel suggested that the more accomplished hand took the lead on
the initial folios of some quires. There are indeed differences in style among
the decorative rubrication of the biblical text. There are also important stylis-
tic differences between the drawn elements of the Masorah magna, on the one
hand, and the parashah/haftarah markers and Psalm verses and verse counts,
on the other. These differences support Kogman-Appels view that a division
of labor was operative. However, I do not believe that the artistically superior
rubricator worked with an artistically inferior assistant, or at least I do not
believe that this question can be approached without considering the Masorah
magna. Rather, in reviewing all the pen-drawn decorations in the codex in rela-
tion to the writing of the codex, I conclude that the division of labor largely
followed function. The vocalizer-masorator and at least one rubricator shared

13 Kogman-Appel, Jewish Book Art, 13233.


14 Ibid., 13233.
114 Frojmovic

the work of decorating all the paratexts, be they Masorah figurata or the text
markers mentioned above.
It may be noted that the decorated verse counts, although functionally
explicit, effectively provide decorative head pieces to most books subsequent
to Genesis (whose incipit is unadorned because it follows immediately upon
the painted Sanctuary pages and a Masorah figurata carpet page). This func-
tion as decorative book separator is especially evident on folio 72r, where the
verse count is written in a simple zigzag micrography at the bottom of col-
umn one, whereas the filigree decorative band, with a pair of birds perched on
loops suspended from either end, has been placed at the top of column two
(fig. 5.1). Similarly, on folio 206v there would have been enough space to add
the decorated verse count at the bottom of the column ending Samuel; instead,
this decorative element has been moved to the top of folio 207r, where the
beginning of Kings starts on line four, making space for the decorative panel
as a kind of heading device. Exceptionally, at the end of Proverbs, at the bot-
tom of folio 417r, the verse count has been left entirely undecorated, whereas a
filigreed Star of David ornament enclosing a masoretic note heads the book of
Job on the opposite folio. The verse count panels were decorated in the same
red rubricators ink as the parashah and haftarah markers were. The question is
whether the design of the Masorah figurata is due to the same person.
The paratextual markers were not the only outlet for ornamentation. The
Masorah magna was sometimes shaped into patterns to form Masorah figu-
rata, which occasionally included pure drawing (i.e., not composed of letters).
The Masorah magna, especially that written out in the bas-de-page, is shaped
into Masorah figurata on the first and last folios of each of the 43 quires. The
designs on the last page of a quire and the first page of the subsequent quire
sometimes match, but by no means always. The Masorah magna also takes the
form of Masorah figurata at the principal divisions of the Bible: at the begin-
ning of Genesis (fol. 14v15r), the end of the Pentateuch (fol. 140r), the end of
the Prophets (fol. 364v365r), and the end of Chronicles (fol. 512v).15 Is the
design of the Masorah figurata due to the same person who drew the verse
count panels and the ornaments surrounding the parashah and haftarah
markers? With one exception, a clearly definable difference can be observed
between the Masorah figurata articulating the quires and the Masorah figu-
rata articulating the main divisions of the Bible: the former commands a var-
ied range of relatively simple geometric motifs, with a predilection for the

15 Fols. 14v, 140r, and 512v are reproduced in Sed-Rajna and Fellous, Les manuscrits hbreux,
26, 27, and 29.
Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan 115

six-pointed Star of David.16 The geometry of the Masorah figurata is often lack-
ing in perfect symmetry; one might call it charmingly lopsided. Some of these
Masorah figurata forms are either outlined or filled with drawn (rather than
written) motifs. The design and drawing is generally very simple (small circles
and crosshatched fields) and characterized by lines that are as careless as the
masorators handwriting is careful. In sum, the Masorah figurata is largely a
work of fine writing but of less-than-impressive draftsmanship.
The general mediocrity of the Masorah figurata design contrasts with
the skillfulness of the exceptional examples of Masorah figurata found
at the beginning of Genesis, and at the ends of the Pentateuch, Prophets, and
Hagiographa. Here, an accomplished draftsman has designed large stylized
fleur-de-lis shapes akin to the Aarons rod found in the painted Sanctuary page
on folio 12v; this design is also closely related to the floral ornamentation of
many of the paratextual markers (parashah, haftarah and Psalm numbers). On
folio 140r, the end of the hummash, a pair of ferocious birds heads, of very fine
draftsmanship, has been incorporated into the fleur-de-lis design.17 These are
the kind of beast abounding among the rubricators designs of parashah and
haftarah markers throughout the codex. The elaborate fleur-de-lis Masorah
figurata designs occur only at the beginning and end of the Bible and at major
textual junctions. There is one exception to the consistent difference between
the simple, even lopsided geometric Masorah figurata articulating quires and
the fleur-de-lis Masorah figurata articulating main biblical divisions: on folios
25v27r, the end of the first quire and the beginning of the second, the Masorah
figurata is designed in fleur-de-lis shapes. I account for this exception by sup-
posing that the rubricator provided the underdrawing and was then followed
by the masorator who wrote out the Masorah following the underdrawn out-
lines. This conclusion I draw from a disjunction between the overall design of
the Masorah and the drawn details. On folio 26r, the masorator filled the design
with a very lopsided line-and-dot pattern out of kilter with both the fleur-de-lis
design of that page itself, and of the elegant drawn elements of the Masorah
figurata (fig. 5.2). The interaction between the rubricator and the masorator
on these pagesbeginning and end of the Bible, principal divisions, and the
junction of quires 1 and 2can be described as a true collaboration, where two
people are working together on one design, one drawing and the other writing.
Elsewhere in the codex, we find a less coordinated division of labor (where
each person does their own thing): where Masorah figurata at quire begin-
nings and ends happen to coincide with parashah or haftarah markers on the

16 See for example fols. 457v458r, full pages reproduced in Del Barco, Hbreu 1 32, 4445.
17 Sed-Rajna and Fellous, Les manuscrits hbreux, 27 (with photo).
116 Frojmovic

same folios, the designs are entirely independent of each other. Where we find
both a decorated parashah or haftarah marker and Masorah figurata of any
ambition, the latter, though often including some element of drawing (i.e., not
by means of letters, but drawing in addition to lettering), is invariably designed
in a pattern independent of the former. I suspect that the masorator wrote his
Masorah figurata first, and that the quire subsequently came into the hands of
the rubricator for the decoration of the parashah and haftarah markers, and
the latter gave vent to his own, very different design ideas. At any rate, they are
always wholly unconnected. Very occasionally, the fine filigree lines radiating
from a design will cut across and interfere with an already written Masorah
magna. Mostly, the two independent design ideas keep out of each others way,
such as for example on folio 72r, at the beginning of the book of Leviticus:
two birds on perches are suspended from the decorated panel at the top of
column two; the one on the right finds a narrow place in the intercolumnium,
where it just manages to skirt the Masorah magna running straight down verti-
cally (fig. 5.1). Folio 273v offers another good example (fig. 5.3). The masorator
has designed his lower Masorah in the shape of a crescent moon and star, in
illustration of the fact that the haftarah on this page is read on Shabbat Rosh
Hodesh. The haftarah marker is anthropomorphic, and keeps to itself, aligned
with but unconnected to the Masorah. Other examples where the rubricators
work skirts the already existing Masorah figurata abound. These uncoordi-
nated designs are consistently observable from the beginning of the Bible in
quire 2 to its end in quire 43: never does a unitary overarching composition
incorporate both Masorah figurata and paratextual markers. Different people
designed the two systems of Masorah and of paratextual markers.
The majority of the parashah and haftarah markers, Psalm numbers, and
verse counts were decorated by a highly accomplished draftsman, who pro-
duced designs both inventive and elegant, be they abstract, floral, zoo- or
anthropomorphic. His snarling, open-jawed beasts (e.g. fols. 94r, 179r, 212r, 212v,
269v) and pretty or fierce birds (e.g. fols. 36r, 72r, 78r, 208r) are highly stylized
and cannot be assigned to any particular species. The floral motifs tend to be
variations on a slightly Islamicized fleur-de-lis theme known from Castilian
Bible decoration, such as Madrid, Biblioteca de la Universidad Complutense
de Madrid, BH MS 1.18 But here they are often extended by long, almost Gothic
filigree tendrils reaching across the page. One can see a development over the
course of the codexs folios, from relatively conservative motifs inspired by the

18 Kogman-Appel, Jewish Book Art, fig. 22; Esperanza Alfonso, et al., eds., Biblias de Sefarad
Bibles of Sepharad (Madrid: Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa, 2012), no. 2, 18689, with fur-
ther literature.
Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan 117

visual vocabulary of earlier Castilian Bibles (fols. 17r, 20r, 22v, 26r, 30r, 33r) to
progressively more and more daring uses of fleuronn tendrils and asymmetri-
cal free-style designs (e.g. fols. 78v, 88r). The first zoomorphic heads are found
on folio 36r, the first human figures (apart from cherubim on the Sanctuary
page, fol. 12v), on folio 115r (a pair of cherubim-like, youthful longhaired half-
figures, facing each otherthe parashah is Masae, Num. 3336).19 The human
figures (e.g. fols. 115r, 170v, 211r, 222v, 231v, 268v, 269r, 272r, 273v, 293v, 310r, 337v)
are marked by the drooping eyes also characteristic of the cherubim on folio
12v; some wear bonnets and hats (fol. 222v), some sport pointy beards. The
abstract ornaments exhibit the boundless ingenuity of a seasoned filigree art-
ist. In a few cases, as Gabrielle Sed-Rajna and Sonia Fellous have pointed out,
the parashah/haftarah markers allude to content or context.20 For example,
the beginning of parashah Shelah (Num. 13:115:41) is decorated with the fruit
of the land of Israel (Num. 13:23): grape, fig and pomegranate can be easily
made out and are labeled (fol. 100v, fig. 5.4);21 the marker indicating the haf-
tarah for the parashah of Pinhas (Num. 25:1031:1) is decorated with a hand
holding up a spear, thus alluding to the violent content of the parashah. The
haftarot for both days of Rosh ha-shanah are ornamented with a man blowing
a shofar, though they vary somewhat in style (fig. 5.5).22 Such variation may
have been expected, though it is also possible that more than one artist was
engaged in the project. At any rate, no two designs are identical, though some
motifs recur in similar forms.
Three of the four parashah markers in quire four, and all five in quire five, as
well as the single haftarah marker for the Ninth of Av (fol. 279v, fig. 5.6) were
probably drawn by a different hand or different hands. Here, relatively simple
geometric patterns are drawn without much aspiration to elegance. These are
throughout of a relatively stiff design, as Kogman-Appel has stated, and con-
sist of uncomplicated geometric and interlace design. They tend to be rather
small and avoid the invasive tendrils favored by the main rubricator. Far from
being due to a lowly assistant, this work may have been that of the principal
vocalizer-masorator, who was working in a less familiar genre, that of filigree
drawing.

19 Reproduced in Eva Frojmovic, Jewish Mudejarismo and the Invention of Tradition,


in Late Medieval Jewish Identities: Iberia and Beyond, eds. Carmen Caballero-Navas and
Esperanza Alfonso (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010), 250, fig. 14.8.
20 Sed-Rajna and Fellous, Les manuscrits hbreux, 28.
21 The minute script of the labels clearly differs from the adjacent Masorah.
22 Sed-Rajna and Fellous, Les manuscrits hbreux, 28 (fol. 293v, shofar blower illustrating the
haftarah for the second day).
118 Frojmovic

It is thus very clear that (at least) two people were involved in drawing dec-
orative elements throughout the codex: the vocalizer-masorator, who some-
times included geometric or floral drawing among his Masorah figurata, and
a rubricator (possibly working with further colleagues, to account for some
stylistic variations). It is this very accomplished rubricator, the master of fili-
gree decoration, who was probably the assistant of or subcontracted to the
principal vocalizer-masorator. Their difference is not one of talent, I wager, but
of expertise, and there may have been a generational difference as well, with
the rubricator presumed to be younger. There is one case where this rubricator
also exhibits his writing: on folio 100v, the parashah marker includes the names
of the fruit, and it is evident that the minute but careless, semi-cursive script
does not belong to the masorator (fig. 5.4).
We can now revisit the final folio of the manuscript, the page containing the
colophon, and also look again at the relationship between scribe and vocal-
izer. On this last page, Solomon ben Raphael completed the second book of
Chronicles in the right column, taking up most of the column. He then cen-
tered his colophon, which he wrote in the same square script of the same size
as the biblical text, in the left column, thus leaving space above and below. The
vocalizer-masorator had therefore some extra space left above and below the
text. The text in this column was not to be vocalized, and there was moreover
no need for any Masorah. Nevertheless, the vocalizer-masorator extended his
masoretic work into two decorative shapes. Above the colophon, an interlaced
six-pointed star in a medallion; below the colophon, a symmetrical floral orna-
ment. Both can be found elsewhere in the codex and aesthetically connect the
end back to the beginning. On folio 14r a large six-pointed star ornament filled
the entire page, preceding the beginning of Genesis.23 And on folio 14v, a very
similar floral ornament is reiterated with variations in the outer margin and
the intercolumnium. While this ornamental device is akin to the so-called can-
delabra ornaments in the margins of other Sephardi Bibles, here this shape is
reminiscent of nothing so much as Aarons flowering rod in the famous Temple
implements frontispiece on folio 12v. We can thus begin to see how the vocal-
izer-masorator and the rubricator, while apparently unable to sign their handi-
work, have quite literally framed, in a rather competitive way, the work of the
main scribe.

23 Reproduced in Kogman-Appel, Jewish Book Art, fig. 88.


Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan 119

3 Conclusion

Having observed how the vocalizer-masorator and the rubricator(s) provided


a careful aesthetic framing for the scribe, we can proceed to a further assess-
ment of the vocalizer-masorator and rubricator(s) as shapers of the book as a
material object, by means of a drawing as well as writing. The merit of turning
a copy of the Bible into an aesthetically pleasing object is undoubtedly theirs.
Malachi Beit-Ari distinguished between two different types of scribe:

[T]here must have been a fundamental difference between the reproduc-


tion of texts by a hired scribe and by a talmid hakham, a learned man or a
scholar, who was copying texts for his own use. I suggest calling the former
a scribe, and the latter a copyist....[T]he average hired scribe would have
been consciously more loyal to his model, probably would have avoided
critical and deliberate intervention in the transmission, yet would have
been more fallible and vulnerable to the involuntary changes and mis-
takes conditioned by the mechanics of copying, while the scholar-copyist
might intentionally interfere in the transmission...24

In BNF, Hbreu 7, Solomon ben Raphael acted as neither. He wrote for his own
use and thereby made pretensions to the status of a learned copyist. But he
was not completely successful: although the text before him was sacrosanct
and he would not have dreamed of interfering with it, he certainly commit-
ted the errors typical of a hired scribe: the involuntary changes and mistakes
conditioned by the mechanics of copying. A hybrid between a scribe and a
copyist in Beit-Aris terms, Solomon ben Raphael was also a patron, a man
of leisure who probably could have afforded to hire a team of scribes for the
whole project, but chose to perform his learning and piety by writing the con-
sonantal text himself, as best as he was able to.

24 Malachi Beit-Ari, Publication and Reproduction of Literary Texts in Medieval Jewish


Civilization: Jewish Scribality and Its Impact on the Texts Transmitted, in Transmitting
Jewish Traditions: Orality, Textuality, and Cultural Diffusion, ed. Yaakov Elman and Israel
Gershoni (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 2000), 23031.
120 Frojmovic

FIGURE 5.1 Paris, Bibliothque nationale de France, Hbreu 7, fol. 72r. Decorative filigree
panel and birds skirting the Masorah.
Reproduced by permission of the Bibliothque nationale de France.
FIGURE 5.2 Paris, Bibliothque nationale de France, Hbreu 7, fols. 26v27r.
Reproduced by permission of the Bibliothque nationale de France.
Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan
121
122 Frojmovic

FIGURE 5.3 Paris, Bibliothque


nationale de France,
Hbreu 7, fol. 273v.
Haftarah markers
decoration separate from
the Masorah figurata
design.
Reproduced by
permission of the
Bibliothque
nationale de France.
Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan 123

FIGURE 5.4 Paris, Bibliothque nationale de France,


Hbreu 7, fol. 100v. Parashah marker for
Shelah. The fruit of the land, mentioned
in the parashah, are suspended from the
filigree tendrils. The fruit are labelled
in a different hand from that of the
masorator.
Reproduced by permission of the
Bibliothque nationale de France.
124 Frojmovic

FIGURE 5.5 Paris, Bibliothque nationale de France, Hbreu 7, fol. 170v. Shofar
blower (shofar added by another hand?) for the first day of Rosh
ha-shanah.
Reproduced by permission of the Bibliothque nationale
de France.
Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan 125

FIGURE 5.6 Paris, Bibliothque nationale de France, Hbreu 7,


fol. 279v. Haftarah marker for the 9th of Av.
Reproduced by permission of the
Bibliothque nationale de France.
126 Frojmovic

Appendix

TABLE 5.1 List of corrections occurring in the Pentateuch.

Folio/column Book/verse Omissions are Notes


number underlined

16v col 1 Gen. 4:23 hear my voice qoli spelled without vav,
corrected with vav

18r col 2 Gen. 8:2 and the fountains of tehom spelled without vav,
the deep corrected in outer margin

19r col 2 Gen. 10:4 the descendants of kittim omitted, supplied in


Yavan: Elisha and margin
Tarshish, the Kittim
and the Dodanim

20r col 1 Gen. 11:21 and he begot sons and banim omitted at line end,
daughters added on beyond line end25

20v col 2 Gen. 12:20 and they sent him off Word omitted in mid-line,
with his wife and all supplied in
that he possessed intercolumnium

21v col 1 Gen. 15:2 oh Lord God, what can God written as Elohim, in
you give me? margin substituted with
tetragrammaton

21v col 2 Gen. 15:8 oh Lord God, by what Lord God = tetragrammaton
will I know? elohim, substituted in
margin with Adonai
tetragrammaton

25 Reproduced in Kogman-Appel, Jewish Book Art, fig. 90.


Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan 127

Folio/column Book/verse Omissions are Notes


number underlined

24r col 2 Gen. 20:3 but God came to elohim omitted


Abimelech in a dream
by night

25r col 1 Gen. 21:12 listen to her voice shema omitted

27r col 1 Gen. 24:30 and when he heard the rivkah omitted
words of Rebekah his
sister

29v col 1 Gen. 27:19 and Jacob said to his el aviv omitted
father

30r col 2 Gen. 28:5 Laban son of Bethuel ben omitted at end of line,
supplied in margin

31v col 1 Gen. 30:16 surely hired sakhor omitted at end of


line, supplied in
intercolumnium

34v col 1 Gen. 34:12 ask of me a bride-prize meod omitted, supplied in


ever so high outer margin

39v col 1 Gen. 41:48 and in the seven years shanim omitted end of line,
of plenty the land supplied in
brought forth intercolumnium

43v col 2 Gen. 47:29 and he called his son li-veno dropped from line
Joseph end, supplied in inner
margin (gutter)

44r col 1 Gen. 48:3 God almighty elai omitted in mid-line,


appeared to me at Luz with a correction mark in
its place, supplied in
intercolumnium
128 Frojmovic

TABLE 5.1 List of corrections (cont.)

Folio/column Book/verse Omissions are Notes


number underlined

45v col 2 Exod. 1:10 lest they multiply yirbeh omitted mid-line,
supplied in
intercolumnium

46r col 1 Exod. 2:5 and she saw the basket et omitted mid-line,
among the reeds supplied in inner margin
(gutter)

49r col 2 Exod. 7:16 and you shall say to Tetragrammaton omitted
him: the Lord, the God from end of line, added in
of the Hebrews, has outer margin
sent me

56r col 1 Exod. 17:3 to kill my children and et-banai omitted end of
my cattle line, added in
intercolumnium

56v col 2 Exod. 18:20 show them the way et (ha-derekh) omitted
wherein they must mid-line, added in
walk intercolumnium

58v col 1 Exod. 21:24 foot for foot tahat omitted end of line,
added in intercolumnium

59r col 1 Exod. 22:16 if her father utterly aviha omitted mid-line,
refuse to give her unto added in intercolumnium
him

60r col 1 Exod. 24:3 and Moses came and moshe omitted end of line,
told the people added in intercolumnium

60r col 2 Exod. 25:3 and this is the offering asher tiqehu omitted
which you shall take of mid-line, added in outer
them margin
Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan 129

Folio/column Book/verse Omissions are Notes


number underlined

60v col 1 Exod. 25:19 and make one cherub mi-qatsah omitted end of
at the one end, and line, added in
one cherub at the intercolumnium
other end

61r col 2 Exod. 26:10 and thou shalt make ha-yeryiah omitted
fifty loops on the edge mid-line, added in outer
of the one curtain that margin
is outmost in the first
set

71v col 1 Exod. 40:9 and you shall take the kol omitted
anointing oil and
anoint the tabernacle
and everything that is
in it, and you shall
make it and all its
equipment holy, and it
will be holiness

73r col 1 Lev. 3:1 and if his offering be a shelamim omitted mid-line,
sacrifice of added in intercolumnium
peace-offering

74r col 1 Lev. 4:33 it shall be slaughtered le-hattat omitted end of


as a sin offering in the line, added in
place where intercolumnium

76v col 2 Lev. 8:30 and Moses took some moshe omitted mid-line,
of the anointing oil added in intercolumnium
and some of the blood

78r top of Lev. 11:15 and every raven after missing entirely mid-line,
col 2 its kind whole sentence added in
outer margin
130 Frojmovic

TABLE 5.1 List of corrections (cont.)

Folio/column Book/verse Omissions are Notes


number underlined

90v col 1 Lev. 27:21 when the field is then be-tseto ba-yovel omitted
released by the jubilee, mid-line, added in outer
it becomes conse- margin
crated to God

92v col 1 Num. 3:4 Nadav and Avihu died lifne tetragrammaton
before God when they omitted mid line, added in
offered unauthorized outer margin
fire to God in the Sinai
Desert

94v col 2 Num. 5:13 a man may have lain ish omitted mid-line, added
with her carnally, in intercolumnium
keeping it hidden from
her husband

101r col 2 Num. 14:2 the entire community kol ha-edah omitted end of
was saying, We wish line, added in outer margin
we had died in Egypt!

105v col 2 Num. 20:3 the people disputed va-yomru omitted mid-line,
with Moses, and they added in intercolumnium
said, saying: We wish
that we had died
together with our
brothers before God!

107r col 2 Num. 22:13 and Balaam rose up in ba-boqer omitted end of
the morning line, added in outer margin

107v col 1 Num. 22:22 and Gods anger flared The scribe has written the
tetragrammaton, the
corrector has framed it in a
box and written the correct
elohim in the outer margin
Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan 131

Folio/column Book/verse Omissions are Notes


number underlined

112r col 2 Num. 29:14 for thirteen bulls, two ha-elim omitted end of line,
line 1 tenths for each ram, added in outer margin
for two rams

119r col 1 Deut. 2:33 and all his people kol omitted, supplied in
margin

126r col 2 Deut. 12:22 as the gazelle and the et omitted, supplied in
hart is eaten margin (possibly by scribe)

132r col 2 Deut. 23:22 the lord will surely Three words omitted,
require it from you; added in the margin
and it will be a sin in (possibly by the scribe
you. himself)

135v col 1 Deut. 28:55 your enemy will be-khol omitted, supplied in
straighten you in all margin
your gates

139r col 1 Deut. 32:49 which is in the land of asher omitted, supplied in
Moab, that is over margin
against Jericho
132 Frojmovic

TABLE 5.2 Quires and filigree decorations.

Quire Parashah (P)/ Attribution Masorah magna Attribution


number Haftarah (H)/ and notes (Mm) (Masorah and notes
and folios book division/ figurata) (where
verse count: occurring in
folio number conjunction
with other
paratextual
features)

Q1 fols. 2v11r principal masoretor


213 masoretic (princ. mas.) (with
tables in some participation
Gothic arches from rubricator on
fols. 2v3r?)
11v12r princ. mas.
masoretic
carpet pages
12v13r Designed
Sanctuary by rubricator
pages

Q2 fols. 14r full-page princ. mas.


1425 Star of David
Masorah
figurata
14v decorated fleur-de-lis pattern
at Gen. 1 designed by
rubricator?
17r P rubricator
20r P rubricator
22v P rubricator

26 As listed in Del Barco, Hbreu 1 32, 46.


Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan 133

Quire Parashah (P)/ Attribution Masorah magna Attribution


number Haftarah (H)/ and notes (Mm) (Masorah and notes
and folios book division/ figurata) (where
verse count: occurring in
folio number conjunction
with other
paratextual
features)

Q3 fols. 26r P rubricator


2637 28r P rubricator
30r P rubricator
33r P rubricator
36r P rubricator

Q4 fols. 38v P princ. mas./


3849 second
rubricator?27
41v P rubricator
43v P princ. mas./
second
rubricator?
45v verse rubricator 45v Mm princ. mas.
count
Gen.
48r P princ. mas./
second
rubricator?
49v50r Mm princ. mas.

27 The parashah marker filigrees attributed to the principal masorator in this quire may also
be the work of an assistant rubricator, but they differ markedly in their geometric style
from the adjacent quires and from the main rubricator.
134 Frojmovic

TABLE 5.2 Quires and filigree decorations (cont.)

Quire Parashah (P)/ Attribution Masorah magna Attribution


number Haftarah (H)/ and notes (Mm) (Masorah and notes
and folios book division/ figurata) (where
verse count: occurring in
folio number conjunction
with other
paratextual
features)

Q5 fols. 51r P rubricator?28 50v51r Mm princ. mas.


5061
53v P rubricator?
56v P rubricator?
58r P rubricator?
60r P rubricator?

Q6 fols. 62r P rubricator?29


6273
64v P rubricator
65v P30 rubricator
(1st animal)
67v P rubricator
70r P rubricator
72r verse rubricator 72r Mm princ. mas.
count Exod. (2 birds)

28 The parashah marker filigrees in quire 5 differ in style from both the geometric style of
fols. 38v, 43v, and 48r, and from the accomplished fleuronn style of the principal rubrica-
tor. This may be either an early stage of development or the work of a competent but not
outstanding assistant.
29 In this quire, the decorations develop a greater range and more boldness. Still close to
the Sanctuary pages design, fleuronn occupies more space on the page. An animal head
appears for the first time as part of the decoration.
30 Here, a parashah marker was inserted erroneously, decorated, and the letters later erased.
Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan 135

Quire Parashah (P)/ Attribution Masorah magna Attribution


number Haftarah (H)/ and notes (Mm) (Masorah and notes
and folios book division/ figurata) (where
verse count: occurring in
folio number conjunction
with other
paratextual
features)

Q7 fols. 74v P rubricator


7485 76v P rubricator
78v P rubricator
80r P rubricator
82r P rubricator 82r Mm princ. mas.
84r P rubricator 84r Mm princ. mas.
85r P rubricator

Q8 fols. 88r P rubricator


8697 89r P rubricator?
90v verse rubricator 90v Mm princ. mas.
count Lev.
94r P rubricator
97v P rubricator

Q9 fols. 100v P rubricator


98109 103r P rubricator
105r P rubricator
107r P rubricator
109r P rubricator

Q10 fols. 112v P rubricator


11021 115r P rubricator
117r verse rubricator 117r Mm princ. mas.? Design
count Num. unrelated to verse
count
119v P rubricator
121v Mm princ. mas.
136 Frojmovic

TABLE 5.2 Quires and filigree decorations (cont.)

Quire Parashah (P)/ Attribution Masorah magna Attribution


number Haftarah (H)/ and notes (Mm) (Masorah and notes
and folios book division/ figurata) (where
verse count: occurring in
folio number conjunction
with other
paratextual
features)

Q11 fols. 122r Mm princ. mas.


12233
122v P rubricator
125v P rubricator
128v P rubricator
130v P rubricator
133v P rubricator 133v Mm princ. mas.

Q12 fols. 136r P rubricator


13445 137r P rubricator
138r P rubricator
139r P rubricator 139r Mm princ. mas.
140r verse Simple zigzag 140r Mm rubricator: fleur-de-
count Deut. design, princ. lis design with bird
mas. heads
140v H rubricator 140v Mm princ. mas.
141r H rubricator 141v Mm princ. mas.
142v H rubricator

Q13 fols. 155v verse rubricator 155v Mm princ. mas.


14657 count
Josh.
157v H rubricator

Q14 fols. 163v H rubricator


15869 164v H
169v Mm at princ. mas.
quire end
Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan 137

Quire Parashah (P)/ Attribution Masorah magna Attribution


number Haftarah (H)/ and notes (Mm) (Masorah and notes
and folios book division/ figurata) (where
verse count: occurring in
folio number conjunction
with other
paratextual
features)

Q15 fols. 170r Mm at princ. mas.


17081 beginning of
quire
170v verse H at incipit of 170v171 Mm princ. mas.
count Judg., H Sam.: shofar
blower (first
day Rosh
ha-shanah):
princ. mas./
rubricator
176v H rubricator
179r H rubricator
181v princ. mas.
182r Mm

Q16 fols. 182r Mm princ. mas.


18293
183v H rubricator
193v H rubricator

Q17 fols. 204v H rubricator


194205
205v princ. mas.
206r Mm
138 Frojmovic

TABLE 5.2 Quires and filigree decorations (cont.)

Quire Parashah (P)/ Attribution Masorah magna Attribution


number Haftarah (H)/ and notes (Mm) (Masorah and notes
and folios book division/ figurata) (where
verse count: occurring in
folio number conjunction
with other
paratextual
features)

Q18 fols. 206v H rubricator 206v Mm princ. mas.


20617 Explicit Sam.
207r verse rubricator and 207v princ. mas.
count Sam., H princ. mas.? 208r Mm
208r H rubricator
209v H rubricator
211r H rubricator
212r H rubricator
212r H rubricator
212v H rubricator
213r H rubricator
214v H rubricator

Q19 fols. 222v H rubricator


21829 223v H rubricator
229r H rubricator
229v Mm princ. mas.

Q20 fols. 230v H rubricator 230r Mm princ. mas.


23041
231v H rubricator
235v H rubricator

Q21 fols. 244r H rubricator


24253
Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan 139

Quire Parashah (P)/ Attribution Masorah magna Attribution


number Haftarah (H)/ and notes (Mm) (Masorah and notes
and folios book division/ figurata) (where
verse count: occurring in
folio number conjunction
with other
paratextual
features)

246v verse rubricator 246v Mm princ. mas.


count Kings, H
247r Mm princ. mas.
249r H rubricator
251r H rubricator
253v Mm princ. mas.

Q22 fols. 254r Mm princ. mas.


25465
256v H rubricator
262v H rubricator
263r H rubricator
264r H rubricator?
264v H rubricator

Q23 fols. 267v H rubricator


26677 268v H rubricator
269r H rubricator
269v H x 2 rubricator
270v H rubricator
271v H rubricator
272r H rubricator
273v H rubricator 273v Mm princ. mas.
274v verse rubricator.
count Isa., H H for Pinhas
hand holding
spear
140 Frojmovic

TABLE 5.2 Quires and filigree decorations (cont.)

Quire Parashah (P)/ Attribution Masorah magna Attribution


number Haftarah (H)/ and notes (Mm) (Masorah and notes
and folios book division/ figurata) (where
verse count: occurring in
folio number conjunction
with other
paratextual
features)

275r H rubricator

Q24 fols. 279r H rubricator


27889
279v H for 9 Av princ. mas.
(Jer. 8:13)
284v H rubricator
289v Mm princ. mas.

Q25 fols. 293v H rubricator


290301 for Rosh (shofar blower)
ha-shanah
day 2
294v H rubricator
296v H rubricator

Q26 fols. 304r H rubricator


30213
310r verse rubricator 309v princ. mas.
count Jer., H 310r Mm
313v Mm princ. mas.

Q27 fols. 314r Mm princ. mas.


31425
317r H rubricator
322v H rubricator
Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan 141

Quire Parashah (P)/ Attribution Masorah magna Attribution


number Haftarah (H)/ and notes (Mm) (Masorah and notes
and folios book division/ figurata) (where
verse count: occurring in
folio number conjunction
with other
paratextual
features)

Q28 fols. 327r H rubricator


32637 331v H rubricator
332r H rubricator
332v H rubricator
333v H rubricator
337r H rubricator
337v H rubricator 337v Mm princ. mas.

Q29 fols. 339v H rubricator


33849
341r verse rubricator 341r Mm princ. mas.
count Ezek., H
341v H rubricator
344r H rubricator
344v H rubricator
345v H rubricator
347r H rubricator
350r H rubricator 349v princ. mas.
350r Mm (Stars of David
and diamonds)

Q30 fols. 350v H rubricator


35061
353r H rubricator
355v H rubricator
359r H rubricator

Q31 fols. 362v H rubricator 362v Mm princ. mas.


36273
363r H rubricator 363r Mm princ. mas.
142 Frojmovic

TABLE 5.2 Quires and filigree decorations (cont.)

Quire Parashah (P)/ Attribution Masorah magna Attribution


number Haftarah (H)/ and notes (Mm) (Masorah and notes
and folios book division/ figurata) (where
verse count: occurring in
folio number conjunction
with other
paratextual
features)

364v explicit 364v Mm Aarons rod


Prophets patterned Mm
(lower), designed by
rubricator; upper
Star of David: princ.
mas.
365r373v rubricator 365r Mm princ. mas.
Ps. nos.

Q32 fols. 374r385v all rubricator


37485 Ps. nos.
383r Ps. no. and rubricator
rosette between
Ps. 72 and 73
385v Mm princ. mas.

Q33 fols. 386r396r rubricator 386r Mm princ. mas.


38697 Ps. nos.
388v Ps. nos., rubricator
rosette between
Ps. 89 and 90
397v Mm princ. mas.

Q34 fols. 398r403v rubricator 398r Mm princ. mas.


398409 Ps. nos.
403v Ps. no., rubricator 403v Mm princ. mas.
verse count Ps.
Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan 143

Quire Parashah (P)/ Attribution Masorah magna Attribution


number Haftarah (H)/ and notes (Mm) (Masorah and notes
and folios book division/ figurata) (where
verse count: occurring in
folio number conjunction
with other
paratextual
features)

Q35 fols. 417r verse


41021 count Prov.
undecorated
417v Mm rubricator (Star of
David above incipit
to Job) and princ.
mas. (upper and
lower Mm)

Q36 fols. 432v verse rubricator 432v princ. mas.


42233 count Job 433r Mm
433v princ. mas.
434r Mm

Q37 fols. 434v verse rubricator


43445 count Ruth
437r verse rubricator 437r Mm princ. mas.
count Lam.
441v verse rubricator 441v princ. mas.
count Eccles. 442r Mm

Q38 fols. 446v verse rubricator


44657 count Esther
448v verse rubricator
count Cant.
457v Mm Star princ. mas.
of David design
144 Frojmovic

TABLE 5.2 Quires and filigree decorations (cont.)

Quire Parashah (P)/ Attribution Masorah magna Attribution


number Haftarah (H)/ and notes (Mm) (Masorah and notes
and folios book division/ figurata) (where
verse count: occurring in
folio number conjunction
with other
paratextual
features)

Q39 fols. 458r verse rubricator 458r Mm princ. mas.


45869 count Dan. simple
geometr.
design
469v Mm princ. mas.
simple
geometr.
design

Q40 fols. 470r Mm princ. mas.


47081 simple
geometr.
design
473r verse rubricator
count
Ezra-Neh.
481v Mm Simple geometric
Masorah figurata at
end of quire: princ.
mas.

Q41 fols. 482r and Simple geometric


48293 493v Mm Masorah figurata at
beginning and end
of quire: princ. mas.
Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan 145

Quire Parashah (P)/ Attribution Masorah magna Attribution


number Haftarah (H)/ and notes (Mm) (Masorah and notes
and folios book division/ figurata) (where
verse count: occurring in
folio number conjunction
with other
paratextual
features)

Q42 fols. 494r and Simple geometric


494505 505v Mm Masorah figurata at
beginning and end
of quire: princ. mas.

Q43 fols. 506r Mm princ. mas.


50617
512v col undecorated 512v Mm A variety of
1 verse count Masorah figurata
Chron. motifs (Star of
David, fleur-de-lis):
designed by
rubricator
513r514r: design too
tables in Gothic simple to
arches attribute
514v516r design too
tables in simple to
rectang. frames attribute
146 Frojmovic

Bibliography

Manuscripts
Copenhagen, Det Kongelige Bibliotek, Cod. Heb. 2.
Paris, Bibliothque nationale de France, Hbreu 7.

Primary Sources
Menahem ben Solomon Meiri. Kiryat sefer, edited by Moshe Herschler. Jerusalem:
Vagshel, 1996.
Profiat Duran. Maase Efod: Einleitung in das Studium und Grammatik der hebrischen
Sprache von Profiat Duran, edited by Samuel David Luzzatto, Jonathan Friedlnder,
and Jakob Kohn. Vienna: J. Holzwarth, 1865.

Secondary Literature
Alfonso, Esperanza, Javier del Barco, M. Teresa Ortega Monasterio, and Arturo Prats,
eds. Biblias de SefaradBibles of Sepharad. Madrid: Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa,
2012.
Beit-Ari, Malachi. Publication and Reproduction of Literary Texts in Medieval Jewish
Civilization: Jewish Scribality and Its Impact on the Texts Transmitted. In
Transmitting Jewish Traditions: Orality, Textuality, and Cultural Diffusion, edited by
Yaakov Elman and Israel Gershoni, 22547. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 2000.
Del Barco, Javier. Bibliothque nationale de France. Hbreu 1 32. Manuscrits de la Bible
hbraque. Catalogues des manuscrits en caractres hbreux conservs dans les bib-
liothques de France (CMCH) IV. Turnhout: Brepols, 2011.
Frojmovic, Eva. Jewish Mudejarismo and the Invention of Tradition. In Late Medieval
Jewish Identities: Iberia and Beyond, edited by Carmen Caballero-Navas and
Esperanza Alfonso, 23358. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.
. The Patron as Scribe and the Performance of Piety in Perpignan during the
Kingdom of Majorca. In Patronage, Production, and Transmission of Texts in
Medieval and Early Modern Jewish Cultures, edited by Esperanza Alfonso and
Jonathan Decter, 299337. Turnhout: Brepols, 2014.
Kogman-Appel, Katrin. Jewish Book Art Between Islam and Christianity: The Decoration
of Hebrew Bibles in Medieval Spain. Leiden: Brill, 2004.
Kozodoy, Maud Natasha. A Study in the Life and Works of Profiat Duran. PhD diss.,
Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 2006.
Sed-Rajna, Gabrielle, and Sonia Fellous. Les manuscrits hbreux enlumins des
Bibliothques de France. Oriental Series, 3. Corpus of Illuminated Manuscripts, 7.
Leuven: Peeters, 1994.
Sirat, Colette. Hebrew Manuscripts of the Middle Ages. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ.
Press, 2008.
Inscribing Piety in Late-Thirteenth-Century Perpignan 147

Stern, David. The Hebrew Bible in Europe in the Middle Ages: A Preliminary Typology.
Jewish Studies, an Internet Journal 11. http://www.biu.ac.il/js/JSIJ/11-2012/Stern.pdf.
Zwiep, Irene. Jewish Scholarship and Christian Tradition in Late-Medieval Catalonia:
Profiat Duran on the Art of Memory. In Hebrew Scholarship and the Medieval World,
edited by Nicholas de Lange, 22439. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.
CHAPTER 6

The Scholarly Interests of a Scribe and Mapmaker


in Fourteenth-Century Majorca: Elisha ben
Abraham Bevenisti Cresquess Bookcase
Katrin Kogman-Appel
Westflische Wilhelmsuniversitt, Mnster

One of the most lavish extant Hebrew illuminated manuscripts, the codex
in the former Sassoon collection (MS 368), best known as the Farhi Codex,
is also one of the least studied.1 Famous for the Bible it contains, a series of
extraordinarily beautiful carpet pages, and a Temple diagram,2 the codex has
an unusually detailed colophon in which the scribe, Elisha ben Abraham
Bevenisti...known by the name Cresques, informed us that he was born on
the 28th of Tammuz, 5085 (July 11, 1325). He further noted that he began work-
ing on the manuscript in 1366 and that he concluded the project in 1383.3 On
one of the decorated pages he signed his name again, Elisha ben Abraham,
as part of the calligraphic embellishment to tell us that he was also the
illuminator.4 In 1975 Jaume Riera i Sans suggested that Elisha ben Abraham was

* My research on Elisha ben Abraham Bevenisti Cresques is supported by a grant from the
Israel Science Foundation (122/12, 20122015). I am currently working on a book-length
manuscript, and this paper provides a basic framework for my study of the scholarly interests
and the intellectual profile of Elisha Cresques. The different fields addressed here in short
will be subjects of individual chapters.
1 David S. Sassoon, Ohel Dawid: Descriptive Catalogue of the Hebrew and Samaritan Manuscripts
in the Sassoon Library, London (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1932), 1:614; the codex was never
sold and is still part of the Sassoon collection; it is, however, not accessible to researchers
for examination. I am grateful to R. David Sassoon, Jerusalem, for providing me with high-
quality photographs of some of the miniatures. Other pages had to be studied from photo-
graphs of rather poor quality. The text was accessed on microfilm. The manuscript will be
cited hereinafter as Farhi Codex.
2 Farhi Codex, pp. 4271 and 18287; Bezalel Narkis, Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts [Hebrew]
(Jerusalem: Keter, 1984), 9899; Katrin Kogman-Appel, Jewish Book Art between Islam and
Christianity: The Decoration of Hebrew Bibles in Spain (Leiden: Brill, 2004), 15054 and 16364.
3 The main colophon appears on pp. 24; more biographical information is scattered through-
out the manuscript on several other folios.
4 Farhi Codex, p. 89.

koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 5|doi .63/9789004306103_008


Scholarly Interests of a Scribe & Mapmaker in 14th-Century Majorca 149

to be identified with the famous mapmaker Abraham Cresques, who is associ-


ated with the Catalan mappamundi in Paris (Bibliothque nationale de France,
MS Esp. 30)5 and known from several documents in the Archivo General de
la Corona de Aragn in Barcelona and the Archivo Capitular de Mallorca in
Palma.6 Although Riera i Sans argued convincingly on the grounds of the
typical Catalan usage of patronymics, his observations were largely ignored in
both cartographic and Jewish art history research (with very few exceptions).7
Recently it has been shown that his conclusions can be supported by art-
historical considerations.8

5 Literature on the mappamundi is copious and can be listed here only selectively: George
Grosjean, ed., LAtles Catal: The Catalan Atlas of 1378 (Dietikon: Graf, 1977); Hans-Christian
Freiesleben, Der katalanische Weltatlas vom Jahre 1375: nach dem in der Bibliothque Nationale,
Paris, verwahrten Original farbig wiedergegeben (Stuttgart: Brockhaus, 1977); Gabriel
Llompart i Moragues, Ramon J. Pujades i Bataller, and Julio Sams Moya, eds., El mn i els
dies: lAtles catal, 1375 (Barcelona: Enciclopdia Catalana, 2008); Abraham Cresques, Mapa
mondi: une carte du monde au XIVe siecle: LAtlas catalan, Collection Bibliothque nationale
de France, Sources (Paris: Bibliothque nationale de France, Opus Species and Montparnasse
Multimedia, 1998), CD-ROM. The mappamundi has also been treated in numerous carto-
graphic surveys; see, among others, primarily Tony Campbell, Portolan Charts from the Late
Thirteenth Century to 1500, in The History of Cartography, ed. John. B. Harley and David
Woodward (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1987), 2:371461; Evelyn Edson, The World Map,
13001492 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2007), 7989; Ramon Pujades i Bataller, Les
cartes portolanes: La representaci medieval duna mar solcada (Barcelona: Lunwerg Editores,
2007), chap. 5; Philipp Billion, Graphische Zeichen auf mittelalterlichen Portolankarten:
Ursprnge, Produktion und Rezeption bis 1440 (Marburg: Tectum, 2011), 18490.
6 Jaume Riera i Sans, Cresques Abraham, jueu de Mallorca, mestre de mapamundis i de brix-
oles, in LAtles Catal de Cresques Abraham (Barcelona: Difora, 1975), 1422; the archival
material was also studied by Gabriel Llompart i Moragues and Jaume Riera i Sans, Jafud
Cresques i Samuel Corcs: Ms documents sobre els jueus pintors de cartes de navegar
(Mallorca, segle XIV), Bolleti de la Societat Arqueolgica Luliana 40 (1984): 34150; Jocelyn N.
Hillgarth, Readers and Books in Majorca, 12291550 (Paris: Centre national de la recherche
scientifique, 1991), nos. 67, 96, 97, 108, 112, 123; Gabriel Llompart i Moragues, El testamento
del cartgrafo Cresques Abraham y otros documentos familiares, Estudis balerics 64/65
(19992000): 99115.
7 See the works listed in note 6. Significantly enough, at the time I published my project on the
Sephardi Bibles (see note 2), I myself was not aware of the suggested identification of Elisha
ben Abraham with Cresques Abraham.
8 For iconographic observations, see Sandra Senz-Lpez Prez, El portulano, arte y oficio,
in Cartografa medieval hispnica: Imagen de un mundo en construccin, ed. Mariano Cuesta
Domingo and Alfredo Surroca Carrascosa (Madrid: Real Sociedad Geogrfica, Real Liga Naval
Espaola, 2009), 11134; for stylistic and technical observations, see Katrin Kogman-Appel,
Observations on the Work of Elisha ben Abraham Cresques, Ars Judaica 10 (2014): 2736.
150 Kogman-Appel

The documents in the archives of Palma and Barcelona, together with the
quite detailed information in the colophon of the Farhi Codex, offer a wealth
of information regarding the principal dates in Elisha Cresquess life (he lived
from 1325 until 1387), his status at the court, and his financial situation. He was
an accomplished scribe, a gifted and well-trained miniaturist, and a respected
cartographer in the service of the king of Aragon. According to the Farhi Codex
colophon, Elisha came from a family of scholars that he refers to as Rabbis:
his father, Abraham; his grandfather [Vidal Haim] Bevenisti; and his great
grandfather Elisha. In 1361 Abraham decided to honor his son in apprecia-
tion of his work as a Hebrew scribe by buying him a seat in their synagogue.9
These latter pieces of information indicate that, apart from any artistic train-
ing Elisha may have undergone,10 in all likelihood he also received a traditional
rabbinic education.
Insights into his intellectual profile can also be discerned from the Farhi
Codex itself, which is, in fact, much more than a typical Sephardi illuminated
Bible and was intended, as the mentioned colophon states explicitly, for his,
his familys, and his descendants own use. Elisha explained that he collected
various kinds of texts: gematria, philological texts, the Bible, Mishnah and
Gemara,11 and the midrashim of the Sages, so that he and his progeny would
be able to learn from them.12 We find echoes of this collection in the form of
a series of texts on the first 194 pages of the codex. These texts are of a varied
charactereclectic at first sightand reflect a relatively broad and multilay-
ered range of interests. On the one hand, they allow us to appreciate Elishas
rabbinic background, and on the other, they demonstrate that he possessed
general knowledge beyond traditional Jewish scholarship. Moreover, we know
that in 1377 Elisha and his son Jafud, also a cartographer who collaborated
with his father, were involved in the sale of the personal library left by the

9 Archivo Capitular de Mallorca, Not. Num. 14621, n.d.; Llompart i Moragues, Testamento,
appendix, no. 1.
10 It has been suggested that Elisha was the brother of Vidal Abraham, an illuminator in
the kings service. See Gabriel Llompart i Moragues, La pintura medieval mallorquina: Su
entorno cultural y su iconografa (Palma de Mallorca: Luis Ripoll, 1977), 1:169; see also Riera
i Sans, Cresques Abraham; Llompart i Moragues and Riera i Sans, Jafud Cresques i
Samuel Corcs, 344; Pujades i Bataller, Les cartes portolanes, 49192. Apart from the fact
that Elisha and Vidal both had fathers by the name of Abraham, there is no firm evidence
in support of this suggestion.
11 The words mishnah and gemara are erased and one could speculate that Elisha had
also planned to add parts of the Talmud to his miscellany, but with the exception of sev-
eral texts related to the Temple, he did not do so.
12 Farhi Codex, p. 4.
Scholarly Interests of a Scribe & Mapmaker in 14th-Century Majorca 151

physician Lle Mosconi. Elisha not only signed as a witness to the auction, but
also acquired six books himself; Jafud bought three more.13 In some sense,
then, we are able to reconstruct the familys private bookcase.
In the following pages, I draw attention to the texts introduced into the Farhi
Codex in order to delineate Elishas fields of knowledge and interest: history,
calendrical issues, Hebrew philology and Masorah, liturgy, traditional biblical
exegesis and midrash, and gematria. This close look at Elishas scholarly inter-
ests reveals him to have been quite erudite and thus very unlike the charac-
terization of him by some scholars as a mere colorist, a craftsman who simply
applied paint to world maps and compasses,14 with no intellectual input of
his own.

1 Time: History and Calendar

The colophon points to Elishas strong interest in history, observable in the way
he linked the date of the completion of the Farhi Codex with a whole series
of historical episodes. He calculated the year 1383 according to various other
calendars, including the Seleucid, the Roman, the Christian, and the Islamic
calendars, and related them to various biblical events, such as the deluge, the
destructions of the First and Second Temples, and the end of the period of the
Prophets.15 Elisha thus anchored his life and work within a historical timeline,
a timeline that goes beyond the narrow focus of Jewish history. Not only was

13 The list includes 156 titles and offers some indication of the size of an erudite Sephardi
Jews private collection; it is kept in the Archivo del Reino de Mallorca, P-139, fols. 97107;
Hillgarth, Readers, vol. 2, no. 96; the Hebrew titles are transcribed in Occitan, and not all of
the nine books can be associated with known titles, see Riera i Sans, Cresques Abraham,
with references to earlier publications of the document, note 42. The titles Elisha pur-
chased are: Laquotot, moresch (?), Atonhone quesef, Acoenesefe (?), and Tameyha (?).
Jafud acquired Nazir ben aonelhec, Sefer (?), and Mispete asmaalot. For further remarks,
see below.
14 Riera i Sans, Cresques Abraham, 22; Gabriel Llompart i Moragues, Apunts iconogrfics
des del port de Mallorca, Cartografia Mallorquina (Barcelona: Diputaci de Barcelona,
1995), 7187; and more recently Pujades i Bataller, Les cartes portolanes, 487.
15 Farhi Codex, p. 3; a similar method was pursued by the anonymous author of the Libro
del conoscimiento de todos los reinos, a fictional Castilian travelogue from the fourteenth
century; for a modern edition with a translation into English, see the edition by Nancy F.
Marino (Tempe: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 1999); for the colo-
phon, see p. 2. The relationship between these two books and Elishas cartographic work
will be discussed in my forthcoming study.
152 Kogman-Appel

he aware of five different calendrical systems, but he also referred repeatedly to


events that are only secondarily relevant to the Jewish timeline.
More complex calendrical interest is apparent on the first few pages after
the colophon, which are devoted to an explication of how to calculate leap
years and related matters, followed by a list of hagiographic readings for the
holidays, as if to link matters of liturgy to the calendar.16 The section begins
with an introductory statement: I, Elisha ben Abraham Bevenisti, set up the
secret of calculating leap years (sod ha-ibbur) in this book, so that I would
have it before me arranged as a set table... We then find a set of tables, and
Elishas explanation that he arranged the dates of the new moon.... I listed
the thirteen cycles.... He did so by choosing the letters of his own name to
designate certain years. From this it seems that he was probably familiar with
the method used for calculating leap years and used it to build the set of calen-
drical tables included in the codex. This section concludes with a short text
explaining that, during the days of the Temple, the Sages determined the cal-
endar by viewing the moon, which is then followed by a brief summary of the
calculation method devised by post-talmudic scholars.
The calculation of leap years was a matter that concerned only the schol-
arly elite and was not of particular interest to the wider population, and in
this sense it was considered a secret. Practical information was delivered to
broader circles in the form of calendrical tables (luhot).17 During the early
Middle Ages the methods for calculating leap years were treated as an eso-
teric body of knowledge, preferably transmitted only orally. During the twelfth
century, Jewish scholars gained access to Arabic astronomical texts and the
Jewish method had to be updated according to the more recent scientific stan-
dards, so that by the fourteenth century calendrical knowledge was no longer

16 Farhi Codex, pp. 621. This may have been a wider practice. As Elisheva Carlebach dem-
onstrates, there is an eleventh-century Byzantine-Italian anthology that includes both an
ibbur treatise and a liturgical guide for Torah readings and prayers (Vatican, Biblioteca
Apostolica, MS ebr. 299/6); in the middle of the fourteenth century, David Abudarham
of Seville likewise linked the calendrical method to the liturgy. Palaces of Time: Jewish
Calendar and Culture in Early Modern Europe (Cambridge, ma: Harvard Univ. Press, 2011),
2425.
17 For a short overview of calendrical methods in the Middle Ages, see Carlebach, Palaces
of Time, chap. 1, dealing with the medieval background; for a more detailed discussion
on the rabbinic calendar and its development during the Geonic period, see Sacha Stern,
Calendar and Community: A History of the Jewish Calendar, 2nd Century bce to 10th Century
ce (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2001).
Scholarly Interests of a Scribe & Mapmaker in 14th-Century Majorca 153

esoteric, but owing to its complexity it was still limited to those who had
scientific training.18
In Christian society there was a similar distinction between those who were
able to determine the precise date of Easter, which depends on the lunar cycle,
and those who used simple calendars for daily life. The date was calculated by
various scientific means using a method that was known from the so-called
computus treatises. The latter can, in many ways, be seen as an equivalent to
texts that treat the Jewish secret of calculating leap years. That Elisha was famil-
iar not only with the latter but also with Christian methods of determining
the paschal date can be discerned from his work on the Catalan mappamundi.
There we find the remains of a circular chart that was intended for the calcula-
tion of the golden number, the number that marked any years position within
the Metonic cycle of nineteen years (the cycle contains 235 lunar months that
can be synchronized with the solar year). One had to determine the golden
number in order to calculate the date of Easter in any particular year.
That Elisha was familiar with the ibbur method sheds some light on his
scientific education, for as a painter his professional background would
have been limited to artistic training and he would not necessarily have had
that sort of knowledge. The fact that he did have the knowledge and train-
ing needed to arrange a set of calendrical tables, as he did in the Farhi Codex,
indicates that he received a scholarly education that went far beyond artis-
tic training. Moreover, since ibbur is related to computus, the ability to calcu-
late leap years also enabled Elisha to satisfy his patrons expectation that he
would be able to add a device for the determination of the paschal date to the
mappamundi. Finally, a most telling indication of the wide-ranging interests
shared by Elisha and his son is that an astrological treatise by Abraham ibn
Ezra (d. 1169), Mishpete ha-mazalot (Book of the Judgments of the Zodiacal
Signs), was found among the books that Jafud ben Elisha purchased during
the 1377 Mosconi auction.19 Ibn Ezra wrote extensively about ibbur and other
calendrical matters,20 and if Jewish cartographers were more than mere color-
ists, it is natural that such works would have been counted among the books
in their collections.
Apart from the attempts to anchor his work within the framework of
different calendars, Elisha dedicated twenty-one pages of his codex to other

18 For a more detailed description of this process, see Carlebach, Palaces of Time, 1124.
19 See above, note 13.
20 For more background on these writings, see Shlomo Sela, Abraham Ibn Ezra and the Rise
of Medieval Hebrew Science (Leiden: Brill, 2003), 1974.
154 Kogman-Appel

historical matters.21 He included a series of texts that likewise demonstrate a


clear interest not only in Jewish chronology but in universal history as well.
This section consists of several parts and combines elements from different
sources. The first part, entitled History of the Patriarchs (Toledot ha-avot),
establishes a Jewish chronology based partially on the chronographic treatise
Seder olam. It was under the influence of the latter, apparently a Tannaitic
work, that around the eleventh century Jews began to mark dates in relation
to the creation of the world. Other historical inclusions in the Farhi Codex
are based on Seder olam zuta, its focus being the chronology of the Exilarchs
in Babylonia and their Davidic ancestry.22 There is also a list of the proph-
ets based on an interpolation into Seder olam and later incorporated in the
Geonic collection Halakhot gedolot.23 Another of Elishas historical sections is,
in fact, entitled Seder olam, but it does not actually fully correspond to the
above-mentioned chronographic text and similar works. Rather, it constitutes
an abbreviated paraphrase that skips the narrative and midrashic elements
and lists only a long series of dated events.
Here we also find a list of Tannaim, Amoraim, and Geonim beginning with
Hillel the Elders move from Babylonia to the Land of Israel (first century BCE).
This list is based not only on Seder olam zuta, which follows the Babylonian
tradition, but also on Seder tannaim ve-amoraim (List of Mishnaic and talmu-
dic Sages).24 Toward its end, Elishas text leads into the Middle Ages, reflecting
the Letter of Sherira Gaon (d. 1006) and Abraham ibn Dauds (d. 1180) Book of
Tradition.25 All these sources offer accounts of primarily rabbinic history from
the Geonic period in Babylonia and the Islamic period in Iberia.

21 Farhi Codex, pp. 15676.


22 For background on chronographic texts and information about editions of Seder olam
and Seder olam zuta, see Chaim Milikowsky, Seder Olam and Jewish Chronography
in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods, Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish
Research 53 (1985): 11439; Milikowsky, Seder Olam, in The Literature of the Sages, pt. 2,
ed. Shmuel Safrai (zl), et al., (Assen: Van Gorcum, 2006), 23137.
23 In the following, only critical editions will be fully referenced; traditional editions are
cited according to the traditional chapter counts, Seder olam rabbah, chap. 21; Halakhot
gedolot, ed. Ezriel Hildesheimer (Jerusalem: Mekitse Nirdamim, 1972), 3:37579.
24 This list, which originated in a Geonic milieu, appeared in Central Europe first in the
Mahzor Vitry, Commentary to Pirqe Avot 1 and later in the manuscript of the Babylonian
Talmud copied in Paris in 1343 (Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, cod. Hebr. 95),
see Hermann L. Strack and Gnter Stemberger, Introduction to Talmud and Midrash
(Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992), 56.
25 On Ibn Dauds chronographic work, see Katja Vehlow, Abraham Ibn Dauds Dorot Olam
(Generations of the Ages) (Leiden: Brill, 2013).
Scholarly Interests of a Scribe & Mapmaker in 14th-Century Majorca 155

The Farhi Codex also includes a list of the biblical books and the talmu-
dic tractates, which provide a canonical account of halakhic material but are
primarily a reference tool for an overall chronological framework. A similar
list within a chronographic framework is found in Halakhot gedolot.26 Finally,
Elishas historical interest went so far as to having had him note the precise birth
dates of the sons of Jacob. Similar lists of birth dates are found in the medieval
Ashkenazi anthology Yalqut shimoni;27 in Midrash tadshe, a midrashic treatise
now commonly attributed to Moses the Preacher of Narbonne from the early
eleventh century;28 and in Bahya ben Ashers Commentary on the Torah, which
appeared in 1299 in Saragossa.29 While Elisha must have been familiar with one
or more of these sources, none of them corresponds fully to his list of dates.
This historical section concludes with a version of Midrash eser galuyot (The
Ten Exiles)30 and a list of fast days based on a section in Halakhot gedolot.31
Elisha also had an interest in several events in general history that go beyond
the point where they intersect with Jewish history. This again links his inter-
ests with his cartographic work, where he inserted numerous allusions to non-
Jewish history. The sources of his knowledge are not always apparent. He listed
several Chaldean rulers and, naturally, was aware of the transfer of power
from the Babylonians to the Persians, something that he would have known
from biblical accounts. He also listed the Persian kings, mentioned Alexanders
victory over the Persians, and noted some of Alexanders followers and a selec-
tion of Roman emperors.32
Following this historical section we find a short text entitled The Length
of the Earth, which offers some information concerning the dimensions of
different parts of the known world.33 These areas are defined according to
the biblical tradition, but the interest in their dimensions speaks for itself.
Moreover, the fact that this section is part of a much broader historical and
chronological framework sheds an interesting light on Elishas considerations

26 See above, note 23.


27 Ed. Aaron Heyman, Isaac Shilony, and Dov N. Lerer (Jerusalem: Mossad ha-Rav Kook,
197399), Ex. no. 162.
28 In Bet ha-midrash, ed. Adolph Jellinek (Leipzig: C.W. Vollrath, 1852), 3:171.
29 Biur al ha-torah, ed. Haim B. Chavel (Jerusalem: Mossad ha-Rav Kook, 1966), Exod. 1.
30 Otsar midrashim, ed. Judah D. Eisenstein (New York: Biblioteca Midraschica, 1915),
2:14951.
31 Halakhot gedolot, hilkhot tisha be-av ve-taanit, 1:39698.
32 Farhi Codex, p. 179; a similar list appears in Oxford, Bodleian Library, Opp. Add. Qu. 37,
fol. 70; see Adolf Neubauer, Medieval Jewish Chronicles and Chronological Notes Edited
from Printed Books and Manuscripts (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1895), 2:196.
33 Orko shel ha-olam, Farhi Codex, pp. 17879.
156 Kogman-Appel

of time and space. In many ways this juxtaposition of chronological data and
considerations of the measurement of the earth reflects his cartographic work,
which is similarly conceived as a source of information that not only offers car-
tographic and geographic data but includes many references to history as well.

2 Language

One of Elishas main foci is masoretic scholarship, philology, and language, cov-
ering a wide array of subjects. From basic issues about the order of Pentateuch
pericopes and biblical books, his focus moved to matters of vocalization
and Masorah. First we find a list of pericopes with verse counts, alternative
titles, and references to the portions of the triennial reading cycle (sedarim).34
This section begins with a list of mnemonic expressions for every pericope;
the numerical value of these mnemonic devices is the number of verses
in the pericope. This is followed by a more elaborate version of the same idea:
each pericope is marked by its original title, the mnemonic expression and a
count of the sedarim, the verses, the words, and the letters it contains. What
is interesting is that these counts are in line with the Palestinian triennial
cycle. During the Middle Ages, seder markings were quite common in Castilian
Bibles (together with pericope markings), but they were apparently not used
anywhere else. The Bible in the Farhi Codex, in fact, has no indications of the
sedarim. Hence, Elishas reference to the triennial cycle is indicative of a certain
theoretical, intellectual interest but has no practical, liturgical implications.
Another short section focuses on the importance of the correct order of bib-
lical books and the ways of reading, pronouncing, and vocalizing the text of the
Bible. The order does not consider the Pentateuch, but starts with the middle
section, Neviim (Prophets): Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Jeremiah, Ezekiel,
Isaiah, and the twelve Minor Prophets. Apparently, at one time it was custom-
ary among the Jews of Iberia to list the books according to their chronology:
Isaiah first, followed by Jeremiah and Ezekiel. The twelve Minor Prophets came
afterward as in the rabbinic tradition, even though some of them predated
those three. From there the text goes on to discuss the hagiographic texts
Psalms, Proverbs, and Joband their order with some explanations.35

34 Farhi Codex, pp. 2529.


35 Ibid., pp. 7273; on the order of books in the different communities, see Israel Yeivin, The
Masorah to the Bible [Hebrew], Asufot u-mevoot be-lashon 3 (Jerusalem: The Academy of
the Hebrew Language, 2003), 37.
Scholarly Interests of a Scribe & Mapmaker in 14th-Century Majorca 157

Commentary on the Vowels, a short text based on the work of Joseph


Kimhi (d. 1170), which discusses long and short vowels,36 leads us to the
field of Masorah. Whereas many Sephardi Bibles contain tables with the dif-
ferences between Ben Asher and Ben Naphtali, the Farhi Codex also lists
differences in readings according to the Western and the Eastern usage.
These variations have their roots in the diverging Babylonian (Eastern) and
Palestinian (Western) reading practices. They concern only the Prophets
and the Hagiographa and are not common in all Bible manuscripts.37 We then
find a list of words and names that come in couples or triplets and further lists
that are, as Elisha made clear, included neither in the Masorah gedolah, nor in
the Masorah qetanah. They are, in fact, based on Diqduqe ha-teamim (Rules of
Accentuation), by Aaron ben Asher (first half of the tenth century).38
Several more short sections of masoretic interest can be found:39 sixteen
words in which the letters sin and samekh are interchangeable;40 sections on
isolated, suspended, and interchangeable letters; hanging letters; a list of
cases where certain letters are written either enlarged or smaller than usual,
arranged according to the alphabet (this arrangement follows the treatment
of these letters in the Masorah parva);41 variants of the Severus scroll;42 valu-
ations (arakhim) in the Bible and the Talmud; various phenomena of word
formations (sod ha-tevot); a section about a few cases where words should be
read even though they do not appear in writing or vice versa (qere ve-lo ketiv,
ketiv ve-lo qere);43 a list with word couples that appear with either a qamats or
a patah;44 and explanations about accents and syllables.45

36 Perush ha-tenuot, Farhi Codex, pp. 1617.


37 Farhi Codex, pp. 3033; for some background on both lists, see Yeivin, Masorah, 11520.
38 Ed. Aron Dotan (Jerusalem: The Academy of the Hebrew Language, 1967).
39 Farhi Codex, 1089; 14147; 18081.
40 Several such lists exist, most prominently in Sefer okhla ve-okhla (of which different
manuscript versions exist); for these and other lists, see the summary in Lea Himmelfarb,
Rashis Use of Masoretic Notes in His Commentary to the Bible [Hebrew], Shenaton le-
heqer ha-miqra ve-ha-mizrah ha-qadum 15 (2005): notes 17 and 18.
41 Yeivin, Masorah, chap. 2.
42 According to the rabbinic tradition, Titus took this scroll, mentioned in various sources,
to Rome, and Severus (222235 ce) later gave it to the synagogue of Severus; Emanuel
Tov, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, 3rd ed. (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2011), 11214.
43 Yeivin, Masorah, 55.
44 Such lists are found in Sefer okhlah ve-okhlah, but they contain different examples; see the
version edited by Fernando Daz Esteban (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones
Cientficas, 1975), nos. 2425.
45 Such masoretic lists, of which the most prominent is Okhlah ve-okhlah, circulated in dif-
ferent forms, as separate units not included in the actual Masorah that accompanies the
biblical text; for some further remarks, see Yeivin, Masorah, 1059.
158 Kogman-Appel

Whereas this selection of short sections does not say much about Elishas
specific philological interests, there are several more-substantial texts that
offer better clues. For example, there is a commentary on the Masorah, enti-
tled Taame torah.46 Yitzhak Lange and more recently Talya Fishman argue
that the earliest commentary on the Masorah was a work by Judah ben
Samuel the Pious, the leading figure of Rhineland Pietism at the turn of the
thirteenth century.47 Interest in interpreting the Masorah seems to have been
typical of Ashkenaz,48 and the next scholar to write a commentary was Meir
ben Baruch of Rothenburg toward the end of the thirteenth century (Maharam,
d. 1293). Even though the text in the Farhi Codex bears a different title, it is in
fact an exact, albeit abridged version of Meir ben Baruchs work.49
This last observation poses some interesting questions about the transfer of
Ashkenazi traditions to Iberia. One of Meir ben Baruchs most outstanding stu-
dents was Asher ben Jehiel (Rosh, d. 1327), who moved to Castile after he had
to leave the German lands and introduced his teachers scholarship to Iberia.
His son, Jacob ben Asher (d. 1343), composed a commentary to the Pentateuch
that leans heavily on Meir ben Baruchs commentary and is replete with maso-
retic material. It is interesting, however, that the Farhi version is much closer to
Meir ben Baruchs original than to Jacob ben Ashers text, even though the lat-
ter was active in Castile and was more or less Elishas contemporary. In fact, we
do know that Elisha was acquainted with Jacob ben Ashers text, as he used it
elsewhere in the Farhi Codex. Nevertheless, for this particular masoretic com-
mentary he chose not to rely on it but to use Meirs text itself, which thus must
have been in circulation among Sephardi scholars. Owing to the accuracy of
the wording, it must be assumed that Elisha had first-hand access to Meirs
version but for some reason decided to include only a selection of the latters
commentaries.

46 Farhi Codex, pp. 11020.


47 Taame masoret ha-miqra le-rabbi yehudah he-hassid, ed. Yizhak S. Lange (Jerusalem:
n.p., 1980), introduction; Talya Fishman, Becoming the People of the Talmud: Oral Torah as
Written Tradition in Medieval Jewish Cultures (Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press,
2011), 21213, believes that the Pietists did not create this and other commentaries of the
Masorah but put earlier traditions into writing.
48 For some notes on the reception of masoretic knowledge among Ashkenazi and north-
ern French scholars, see Lea Himmelfarb, Masoretic Notes in Rashis Commentary to the
Bible [Hebrew], in Studies in Honor of Eliezer Touati, Iyyune miqra u-farshanut 8 (Ramat
Gan: Bar-Ilan Univ. Press, 2008), 23144.
49 Taame masoret ha-miqra, in Teshuvot, pesaqim u-minhagim la-maharam mi-rothenburg,
ed. Yitzhak Z. Kahana (Jerusalem: Mossad ha-Rav Kook, 195777), 1:139.
Scholarly Interests of a Scribe & Mapmaker in 14th-Century Majorca 159

Elishas interest in matters of language went beyond the Masorah and con-
cerned as well a comparison of vocabularies in different languages. On the
margins of his diagrams of the Temple we find a list of expressions from differ-
ent versions of the Aramaic Targumim, mostly Targum Yerushalmi, with expla-
nations in Mishnaic Hebrew and occasionally in Arabic.50
Finally, interesting and more significant conclusions especially about
Elishas cultural background can be drawn from a dictionary that we find in
the margins of more than 120 pages. An abridged version of David Kimhis Sefer
ha-shorashim (Radaq, d. 1235), it also has occasional references to the work of
Jonah ibn Janah (eleventh century). However, Elisha diverged from Kimhi in
adding some words and skipping others, so his intentions seem to have been
different. A key to understanding those intentions is a close examination of
the non-Hebrew expressions incorporated in the dictionary. Kimhis original
text explains every root at length and offers a wealth of examples of its use in
Hebrew sources. Only occasionally did he add non-Hebrew expressions.51 Even
though Elisha cited Kimhi time and again, he never copied a full entry. Rather,
in order to communicate the meaning of a word he tended to relymuch
more than Kimhion the non-Hebrew equivalents. Hence, his is not a phil-
ological dictionary, but rather a handbook for one who needed non-Hebrew
expressions to understand the Hebrew.
Only in a very few cases is there some slight relationship between the non-
Hebrew expressions in the different versions of the Sefer ha-shorashim and the
Farhi Codex. In the majority of cases, however, there is no actual correlation
between Kimhi and the Farhi Bible, which makes it clear that Elisha used Kimhi
in compiling his dictionary, but only as a basic reference. For the explanations,
he abridged Kimhis Hebrew renderings, and for the non-Hebrew expressions
he worked out his own.
Elishas non-Hebrew words belong to one of the variants of the Occitan lan-
guage, which fact leads us to the Catalan mappamundi, as that work includes
a wealth of captions in Occitan. Ramon Pujades i Bataller asks if Elisha him-
self might have been able to write Occitan in the professional style of a notary
or whether he employed a Christian scribe for this work,52 and examining
the Occitan dictionary in the Farhi Codex may offer an answer. Several of the
Occitan expressions in the dictionary do have equivalents in the captions
of the Catalan mappamundi, and here there is almost full correspondence

50 Farhi Codex, pp. 18389.


51 The language of the non-Hebrew expressions differs from manuscript to manuscript; see
the contribution by Judith Kogel in this volume.
52 Pujades i Bataller, Les cartes portolanes, 49192.
160 Kogman-Appel

between the two. All in all, the vocabulary of the mappamundi captions
with their focus on geographic information is very different from the biblical
vocabulary of the dictionary, but where they do intersectas in words such as
mont (mountain), flum (river), gent (people), and the
likethey share a common language. Clearly, then, the mappamundi and the
Farhi Codex use the same language, Occitan, which was the spoken language
of Elisha and his family. The compilation of a full dictionary indicates that
Elisha had complete command of the Occitan language and a rich vocabulary;
moreover, these observations suggest that he may as well have been able to use
Occitan in Latin script.

3 Midrash

Elisha also had a great interest in midrash. Quite remarkably, some of the
midrashic material he included in his codex is closely linked to masoretic
matters and in many ways supplements the philological interests I described
above. This applies, first of all, to a midrash entitled Haserot vi-yterot, which
discusses midrashic explanations about plene and defective readings.53 Not
much is known about this text, which was conceived as an explanation of the
use and nonuse of matres lectionis in the Hebrew language. The matres lec-
tionis are vowel-bearing letters, such as yod and vav, which, even though not
part of the grammatical root, are often inserted to indicate a vowel in non-
vocalized texts, but under certain circumstances they are left out even in such
texts. These issues were, naturally, among the interests of the Masoretes, but
the aforementioned midrash goes beyond grammatical and lexical matters. It
offers exegetical explanations for the missing matres lectionis, for example, sug-
gesting that in the story of creation, the word God ( )is spelled without
the vav because God judges men with mercy, for if He judged them severely,
the world could not exist for more than an hour.54
This midrash is extant in several variants. Some twenty manuscript sources
have survived, most of which are Genizah fragments of Middle Eastern
origin.55 The majority of these variants differ from one another not only in
their wording, but also in the order in which the different explanations appear.

53 Farhi Codex, pp. 92108, with an interruption on p. 105.


54 Ibid., p. 92.
55 Those held in Oxford, for example, were described in the Bodleian catalogue as written in
Syrian character, Adolf Neubauer and A.E. Cowley, Catalogue of the Hebrew Manuscripts
of the Bodleian Library (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 18961906), vol. 2, nos. 2659, 2856.
Scholarly Interests of a Scribe & Mapmaker in 14th-Century Majorca 161

For example, a Yemenite recension of four manuscripts lists the different


explanations in biblical order; this arrangement seems to be typical only for
the Yemenite tradition and was unknown elsewhere.56
Even though scholars argue that no one manuscript of this text is identical
to any other, the Farhi version has three close relatives. The order in two of
the Genizah fragments is almost identical to the order of the Farhi version,
and for those explanations that survive in the fragments, the wording is very
close. One of the fragments was published by Solomon Wertheimer in 1893,57
and the other, now in Cambridge, was edited by Bernard Keller in 1966.58 The
latter not only shares the Farhi wording and, with one exception, the order
of the explanations, but it is followed by the beginning of the same short
text, entitled Tiqqun soferim, that we find in the Farhi Codex after the ninety-
third paragraph of the midrash. After this section in the codex there are forty
more midrashic explanations. Tiqqun soferim is a list of eighteen cases in the
Bible where the text was changed so that God would not appear in a negative
light.59 This list was already known in the rabbinic period and exists in dif-
ferent arrangements. The masoretic treatise Okhlah ve-okhlah includes it as
well, and the arrangement there follows the canonical order of the Bible.60 The
same applies to the Cambridge fragment61 and the Farhi Codex. The third close
relative is a manuscript from the fifteenth or sixteenth century in Sephardi
script, now in Paris,62 in which the wording is similar and the order of explana-
tions is very close. Moreover, Tiqqun soferim is inserted between two sections
of the midrash in the same place as in the Farhi Codex. Hence we can perhaps

56 Midrash haserot vi-yterot shel ha-torah ha-temimah, ed. Joseph Tovi (Jerusalem: Makhon
Shalom, 1993), introduction.
57 Bate midrashot (Jerusalem: Lilienthal, 189396), 1:3245.
58 Cambridge, University Library, T.S.D. 1, 61, fols. 1r3v; Bernard Keller, Fragment dun
trait dexgse massortique, Textus 5 (1966): 6084. Keller did not recognize the text
as Midrash haserot vi-yterot but described it as an independent masoretic treatise, whose
author relied on classical midrashim for some of his commentaries. Moreover, he was
apparently not aware of either Wertheimers edition or of Midrash haserot vi-yterot, ed.
Abraham Marmorstein (London: Luzac & Co., 1917), which published three more manu-
script sources.
59 For some background on Tiqqun soferim, see Yeivin, Masorah, 49; see also earlier Carmel
McCarthy, The Tiqunne sopherim and Other Theological Corrections in the Masoretic Text
of the Old Testament (Basel: Universittsverlag, 1981).
60 This is the case in Zalman Frensdorffs edition (Hannover: Hahnsche Hofbuchhandlung,
1864), 158.
61 Keller, Fragment, 8083.
62 Bibliothque nationale de France, Hbreu 769.
162 Kogman-Appel

assume that there was a Middle Eastern and Sephardi tradition that combined
the Midrash haserot vi-yterot with the Tiqqun soferim and that Elisha followed
that tradition for the Farhi Codex.
We have no information regarding the provenance of these Genizah frag-
ments. When Wertheimer published the first one, it did not belong to any
particular collection and did not bear a signature. Hence it cannot be identi-
fied with any of the catalogued Genizah fragments; furthermore, none of the
latter fits Wertheimers description, which says nothing about the paleogra-
phy. We can only assume that it was of Middle Eastern or Sephardi origin. The
Cambridge fragment, Keller argued, is datable to any time between 1000 and
1300 and its script is a Middle Eastern cursive.
These observations tell us something about Elishas interests and his
sources. The midrash, which both combines and contrasts masoretic, philo-
logical knowledge with traditional midrashic exegesis and gematria, postdates
the Masoretes, and a version of it was known to Hai Gaon in the early eleventh
century.63 The relatively large number (eleven) of Genizah fragments demon-
strates that the midrash must have been quite popular in the early medieval
Middle East. There are also the four Yemenite and three Sephardi manu-
scripts I mentioned above, among which is the relative of the Farhi version.
Several Sephardi scholars were familiar with the midrash, including Moses the
Preacher, Abraham ibn Ezra (d. 1169), Maimonides (d. 1204), and Bahya ben
Asher.64 Only two of the surviving manuscript sources are of Ashkenazi origin,
somewhat contradicting the assumption of nineteenth-century scholars that
the midrash was particularly popular among Ashkenazi scholars, a conclusion
drawn from the fact that Simhah of Vitry (eleventh century), Moses of Coucy
(early thirteenth century), and Asher ben Jehiel also knew of it.65 In any event,
the version of this midrash in the Farhi Codex seems to be of either Middle
Eastern or Sephardi origin.66

63 Wertheimer, Bate midrashot, introduction.


64 Ibid. One of the three Sephardi sources is an appendix to a Bible that was sold in 1280 in
Toledo, Madrid, Biblioteca de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, MS BH 1, described
recently in Biblias de SefaradBibles of Sepharad, ed. Esperanza Alfonso, et al., (Madrid:
Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa, 2012), 18689.
65 Leopold Zunz, Die gottesdienstlichen Vortrge der Juden historisch entwickelt: Ein Beitrag
zur Alterthumskunde und biblischen Kritik, zur Literatur- und Religionsgeschichte (Berlin:
Asher, 1832), 284; Isaac Benjacob, The Treasure of Books [Hebrew] (Vilna: Reem, 1880),
300, note 584.
66 On the margins of pp. 16676 there are two other small midrashic works related to maso-
retic matters, Alfa beta rabbati (Large Letters) and Alfa beta zeira (Small Letters). They list
Scholarly Interests of a Scribe & Mapmaker in 14th-Century Majorca 163

Apart from this focus on midrashim that can be associated with the
Masorah, Elishas midrashic concerns were quite eclectic. The first sign
of his interest in biblical narrative is a depiction of Jericho as a maze and a
display of the tents of Jacobs four wives, followed by a list of wives of some
biblical men whose names are not mentioned in the Bible.67 More explicit
midrashic interest is apparent from a text entitled Hiddushe torah, of unknown
authorship.68 Its title, novellae, and its selected use of sources might indicate
that it was thought of as a homiletical guide or handbook. We know that Elisha
took an interest in that sort of book from the fact that one of the volumes he
bought from Mosconis library was entitled Laquotot (Collection) and might
very well have been a haggadic compendium. These interests fit well with the
nature of the Farhi Bible itself, which Elisha considered a study text rather than a
liturgical book. The biblical books are not arranged according to the reading cycles
of haftarot, but rather follow the traditional canonical order of the books.69 The
exegetical text as it appears there has no parallel in the rabbinic literature of
the time. We might speculate that it constituted a collection of exegetical ref-
erences that had belonged to Elishas rabbinical ancestors. Occasional refer-
ences can be found to Rashi, Asher ben Jehiel, and Bahya ben Asher. One of the
most dominant sources appears to be Jacob ben Ashers Commentary on the
Torah, which the text under discussion refers to frequently, often paraphrasing
it but hardly ever citing it directly. Moreover, parts of this commentary appear
together with the Masorah on the margins of the Farhi Bible.
Most striking are some links to the introduction to Abraham ibn Ezras
Commentary on the Torah.70 As is well known, Ibn Ezra pursued a rationalist,
mostly philologically oriented exegetical approach to the Bible. In his intro-
duction he laid out five different methods of biblical commentary, four of
which he dismissed critically as follows: the first was pursued by the Geonim
and led them occasionally to the truth; the second, which is erroneous, was
followed by the Karaites; the third, the path of darkness and black gloom, is
the method of the Christian allegorists; the forth method is derash; and the

the large and small letters in a way similar to the better-known Alfa beta de-rabbi akiva,
but the midrashic explanations are different.
67 Farhi Codex, pp. 2224.
68 Ibid., 12139.
69 There are marginal notes referring to the haftarot throughout the biblical part of the
codex.
70 Perush ha-torah le-rabbenu abraham ibn ezra, ed. Asher Weiser (Jerusalem: Mossad ha-
Rav Kook, 2005), Haqdamah, 110; for an English version of Ibn Ezras introduction, see
Deconstructing the Bible: Abraham ibn Ezras Introduction to the Torah, ed. Irene Lancaster
(London: Routledge, 2007), 14375.
164 Kogman-Appel

fifth, his own method, is that of grammatical, philological interpretation. Of


the methods that Ibn Ezra criticized, it was the midrashic approach that he
elaborated on using several examples. He noted that as it was pursued by the
Sages, there is no need to repeat it. Whereas he was willing to accept the author-
ity of the classical midrash as part of the talmudic tradition, he was fiercely
critical of contemporary midrashic endeavor. He attached a short list of what
he considered the most typical examples of this approach, for which he could
not muster much enthusiasm. The author of Hiddushe torah, perhaps Elisha
himself (see below), borrowed freely from this series of negative exegetical
examples, often using the same wording; this was especially true for the first
pericope of the Bible (Bereshit).
The appearance of exactly these examples seems to indicate that the author
of this short treatise made some sort of exegetical statement and undertook
an active, somewhat polemical conversation with Ibn Ezras criticism. This
author, by the way, could not have been much older than Elisha himself, as
Jacob ben Ashers commentary, which serves as another dominant source, was
written some time during the first half of the fourteenth century. Jacob ben
Asher died in 1343 and hence belonged roughly to Elishas fathers generation.
The collection also includes a very short midrashic text of less than two
pages, which discusses the stones of the high priests breastplate (Taame
avne hoshen ve-efod).71 It offers a midrashic explanation for the links made
in Jewish tradition between the names of the stones and the names of the
tribes, which is actually an abridged paraphrase of a similar section in Bahya
ben Ashers commentary.72 Hence it follows the methodological line taken
in the Hiddushe torah section, namely the midrashic approach as it was pur-
sued by late-thirteenth- and early-fourteenth-century Sephardi commentators
with their declared interest in Ashkenazi and northern French scholarship.
A depiction of the breastplate appears some forty pages later as part of a series
of illustrations related to the Temple (fig. 6.1). In accordance with another
tradition, also included in Bahya ben Ashers commentary, it is made up of
twelve compartments inscribed with the names of the tribes and additional
lettersaltogether seventy-two; they equate, as the commentary explains, to
the seventy-two-lettered name of God.73

71 Farhi Codex, pp. 13940.


72 Biur al ha-torah, Exod. 28; for some background on Jewish and Christian approaches
to the stones, see Samuel S. Kottek, Precious Stones in Jewish and Christian Medieval
Literature: Natural and/or Occult Sciences?, Korot 16 (2002): 89110.
73 For details, see Katrin Kogman-Appel, The Role of Hebrew Letters in Making the Divine
Visible, in Sign and Design, ed. Jeffrey Hamburger and Brigitte Bedos-Rezak (Cambridge,
ma: Harvard Univ. Press, forthcoming).
Scholarly Interests of a Scribe & Mapmaker in 14th-Century Majorca 165

A similar approach was also chosen in the section about the way the tribes
were arranged in the desert (Siddur ha-shevatim).74 It starts out with a para-
graph about the letters written on the four standards: on the first there is an
expression formed by a combination of the first letter of each patriarchs name:
alef for Abraham, yod for Isaac, and yod for Jacob; the second standard bears
the second letters of each patriarchs name: bet, tsade, ayin, and so on. This is
based on Midrash aggadah, a rather late midrashic piece, perhaps from the
thirteenth century, which borrows from Moses the Preachers work, Rashis
commentary, and from the likewise late midrashic compilation Leqah tov.75
The second section of Siddur ha-shevatim, which is also based on Midrash
aggadah, links the names of the tribes to appropriate biblical verses.76 The
third paragraph quotes Leqah tov and explains the order of the tribes names
as they appeared on the two stones of the ephod: according to the midrash,
they were arranged in the order of the births of Jacobs sons, but in two rows,
each of which consisted of twenty-five letters.77 Elisha offered a graphic ren-
dering in the form of two columns decoratively framed with filigree (fig. 6.2):
the names Judah, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Dan, and Naphtali appear to the right
and do form a total of twenty-five letters; in the left row, however, there is an
extra letter in the names Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulon, Joseph, and Benjamin.
The two illustrations and the speculations concerning the letters that stand
behind them indicate that Elisha was quite familiar with the genre of medieval
midrash collections of the sort that were so fiercely criticized by Ibn Ezra.
Further matters of biblical exegesis appear in a lengthy section consisting of
various notes and explanations (teamim and hiddushim).78 Several subjects
turn up, among which the Tabernacle and Temple figure prominently. This sec-
tion is somewhat similar in structure to the Hiddushe torah discussed above,
another somewhat eclectic collection of rather associative exegetical sayings
in no apparent order. It begins with some thoughts about Abraham, but soon
jumps to the book of Esther and then back to the Pentateuch. The text draws
from a whole range of sources that must have been available to its author
in one way or another: classical midrashic sources such as the Babylonian
Talmud, Vayyiqra rabbah, and Midrash tanhuma; later midrashic works, such
as the later part of Shemot rabbah and Leqah tov; Sephardi exegeses, such as
Sefer abudarham; and Ashkenazi sources, such as commentaries attributed to

74 Farhi Codex, pp. 14041.


75 Midrash aggadah, Bamidbar 2:2; for background, see Strack and Stemberger, Introduction
to the Talmud, 31011.
76 Midrash aggadah, ibid., see also Bahya ben Ashers Biur al ha-torah, Exod. 1.
77 Leqah tov, Tetsave 28:10.
78 Farhi Codex, pp. 14853.
166 Kogman-Appel

Asher ben Jehiel (Hadar zeqenim) and the Pentateuch commentary by Haim
Paltiel, a disciple of Meir ben Baruch of Rothenburg.
The exegetical section also includes a pictorial rendering of a prophetic
vision described in the fourth chapter of the book of Zechariah (fig. 6.3). On
the next page, there is an explanation of the image opening as follows: Since
this book is precious in my eyes, I painted the form of the lamp which the
Prophet Zechariah saw. In order for the spectator to fully understand it, I shall
offer here an explanation... This explanation links Zechariahs vision with the
rebuilding of the Temple and is, of course, also linked to the Temple diagram
at the end of the collection.79 The explanation offered by Elisha is a variant of
Ibn Ezras commentary on the relevant chapters in Zechariah, which was also
known to David Kimhi and Rashi.80
All the parts of the Temple diagram (figs. 6.46.5) contain explanatory cap-
tions within the painted work based on a variety of sources. These citations fit
well with the kind of books that underlie the exegetical elements in the Farhi
collection. A few of these citations originated in the Mishnah and the Talmud,
and the whole series of diagrams is, in fact, followed by two passages from the
Mishnah that describe the Temple and its measurements in detail.81 Several
citations are based on Maimonidess discussions of the Temple, its parts, and
its vessels in Mishne torah and his Mishnah commentary. Other sources were
Bible commentaries from the French school, such as Rashi, his student and
grandson Samuel ben Meir, and Ezekiah ben Manoah, a thirteenth-century
northern French scholar about whom we know very little.82 Bahya ben Ashers
commentary is also cited, as are Bamidbar rabbah, Midrash aggadah, Yalqut
shimoni, and Leqah tov. The fact that there is some correspondence between
these latter sources and those that nourished much of the exegetical material
in the Farhi Codex suggests that Elisha himself may very well have been respon-
sible not only for including these elements in the visual exegesis of his dia-
grams, but also for putting together the compilations included in the codex.83

79 Ibid., 18287.
80 Perush ha-torah le-rabbenu abraham ibn ezra, Zech. 4:13; Rashi, Zech. 4:13; David Kimhi,
Zech. 4:13.
81 Farhi Codex, pp. 18892.
82 For some background, see Sara Japhet, The Hizquni Commentary to the Pentateuch:
Its Nature and Its Goals [Hebrew], in Jubilee Volume for R. Mordechai Breuer, ed. Moshe
Bar-Asher (Jerusalem: Akademon, 1992): 1:91111; repr. in Sara Japhet, Collected Studies in
Biblical Exegesis (Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 2008): 36482.
83 A more detailed discussion of the diagrams as an integral component of the icono-
graphic program of the Codex will be included in Katrin Kogman-Appel, Elisha Cresques
ben Abraham: Scribe, Illuminator and Mapmaker in Fourteenth-Century Mallorca (in
preparation).
Scholarly Interests of a Scribe & Mapmaker in 14th-Century Majorca 167

4 Gematria

Finally, one last element can be discerned as one of Elishas scholarly inter-
ests: gematria. In the colophon to the Farhi Codex, Elisha, noting that 5143 was
the year in which he completed his project, linked the number 143 by way of
gematria to 2 Kings 3:15: but now bring me a minstrel (143 being the numeri-
cal value of the letters mem-nun-gimel-nun for minstrelmenagen). At the
end of the colophon he equated the numerical value of his Hebrew name
Elisha421to that of the expression: zeh hu helqi be-khol amali (this is my
reward [lit: my part] for my work). His Catalan name Cresques, as written in
Hebrew, equates to the numerical value of 1000, and that of its atbash is 15,
which stands for YH, who helped Elisha in his endeavors. He comes back to
this interest in gematria toward the end of the collection with a list of different
words explained by means of numerology.84

In conclusion, the production of the Farhi Codex occupied Elisha ben Abraham
Bevenisti Cresques for much of his later adult life. He was forty-one years old
when he began the project in 1366 and fifty-eight when he completed it in
1383, four years before he died. He might have planned the codex as a study
Bible, but over the years he decided to turn it into a book that would contain
the cultural heritage he wanted to pass on to his descendants. We know that
Elisha must have owned books; as I noted earlier, he purchased several that
had belonged to Lle Mosconis collection. However, it is unlikely that he
owned copies of all of the books that he included in the Farhi Codex and those
that he borrowed from for the short exegetical collections. Avriel Bar-Levav
demonstrated recently that medieval Jewish scholars often owned books, but
that their knowledge was also largely based on memorized texts. Scholars
used to exchange books and to memorize them before they returned them.85
The act of memorization was, in fact, an act of taking possession of a book.
This may well have been Elishas practice with regard to some of the texts that
we catch glimpses of in his miscellany in one way or another.
These texts, Elishas private bookcase so to speak, open quite a wide window
onto his interests. The approach to historical data anchored in non-Jewish his-
tory tells us something about his awareness of non-Jewish chronology. His full
command of the Occitan language and the observation that in all likelihood

84 Farhi Codex, pp. 19092.


85 Avriel Bar-Levav, The Archaeology of Hidden Libraries in Medieval and Modern Jewish
Culture [Hebrew], in Ut videant et contingent: Essays on Pilgrimage and Sacred Space in
Honour of Ora Limor, ed. Yitzhak Hen and Iris Shagrir (Raanana: The Open Univ. of Israel,
2011), 3068.
168 Kogman-Appel

he was able to use this language not only in Hebrew transcription but also in
professional Latin script is likewise indicative of his level of acculturation to
his non-Jewish milieu. This facility also suggests a degree of cultural flexibility
that enabled him to develop a professional career that was not aimed solely at
providing for the spiritual needs of the Jewish community, but alsoat least in
economic termsat satisfying the scientific interests of the court. Knowledge
of non-Jewish sources is clearly apparent in the Catalan mappamundi,
which makes abundant reference to a variety of sources, including Honorius
Augustodunensis Imago mundi and Marco Polos Il millione.86 Moreover, the
mappamundi displays rich historical data with occasional echoes in the chron-
ological framework created in the Farhi colophon.
At first sight the Farhi collection seems not to be in any particular thematic
order. A closer look, however, reveals that Elisha did arrange the sections in
thematic clusters; often though, a particular issue seems to have created an
association with other matters, inducing him to jump in a different direction
only to return later to some subject that had received attention earlier. For
example, the texts of calendrical interest are part of such a thematic cluster;
in fact, they form the most coherent of these blocks. From there Elisha turned
to issues of biblical narration (Jericho and the depiction of the tents), a point
that apparently led him to think of the order of biblical books and to the large
cluster of masoretic themes. The latter is not finished at that point, and after
several departures Elisha returned to the Masorah later on. This kind of asso-
ciative clustering is typical of the entire collection.
Despite this somewhat associative arrangement, there are some clear schol-
arly foci that crystallize from this analysis of the treatises. Elishas masoretic
knowledge was rich, and the relevant sections reflect an interest that went
beyond the traditional training of a masran, an individual who was trained to
copy the Masorah (often not the same person who wrote the main text). Elisha
knew of the work of Aaron ben Asher, David Kimhi, and Ibn Janah, and he was
aware not only of the differences between Ben Asher and Ben Naphtali, but
also of those between Babylonian and Palestinian reading practices. Moreover,
his interests in these matters went even further into more-obscure realms,
such as the midrashic explanations of plene and defective reading.
From here one might conclude that Elisha had enjoyed the traditional edu-
cation of a typical member of the Sephardi elite with its leanings toward the
Jewish-Islamic symbiosis of the earlier Middle Ages and rationalist scholarship,
as it was rooted in the Middle East. Several further characteristics of his library

86 On sources used for the Catalan mappamundi, see the literature on the map, especially
recently, Edson, World Map, 7989.
Scholarly Interests of a Scribe & Mapmaker in 14th-Century Majorca 169

point to this conclusion. He had a relatively broad knowledge of the calendar


and related sciences, as they had been disseminated among Sephardi intellec-
tuals by Ibn Ezra. He developed the tradition of the typical Sephardi Temple
diagram, which reflected Maimonidess views on the messianic Temple. These
views had their roots in a rational approach to the messianic scenario, and as
Elisha was familiar with Maimonidess description of the Temple, he may also
have been aware of the broader context of rationalist messianism.87
Finally, two of the books that were bought by Elisha and Jafud at the
auction of Mosconis collection shed further light on their interests in the
Maimonidean tradition of rationalist scholarship: Elisha bought Adne kesef, a
commentary of hidden elements in the Hagiographa by Joseph ben Kaspi, an
early-fourteenth-century southern French rationalist and a defender of phi-
losophy; and Jafud took an interest in Abraham ibn Hisdais Ben ha-melekh
ve-ha-nazir (twelfth century), a Hebrew revision of the story of Buddha, which
includes a large number of ethical elements.
As noted, Elisha and Jafud signed as witnesses when Mosconis books were
sold. This indicates that they were fairly familiar with the collection, probably
before it was put at auction. Apart from the aforementioned books, this collec-
tion also comprised an entire corpus of astronomical treatises, several of which
also included chapters of geographic interest. Such treatises, as Abraham bar
Hiyyas (d. 1145) Tsurat ha-arets (The Shape of the Earth), for example, and
others of Islamic origin, but translated into Hebrew, are all rooted in some way
or another in Claudius Ptolemys Almagest, two copies of whichin Hebrew
translationwere also owned by Mosconi. The Almagest, composed in the
second century CE, was one of the cornerstones of medieval Islamic astron-
omy. Since the thirteenth century it was also known to Western scientists.
A detailed discussion of this corpus and the ways it must have affected Elishas
cartographic work goes beyond the framework of this paper and will appear
elsewhere.88 The presence of this corpus within Elishas neighborhood cer-
tainly sheds additional light on his scholarly interests under discussion here.
Finally, the thirty carpet pages, with their great debt to contemporary
Islamic art, created a suitable framework for these aspects of Elishas cultural
background. As I have shown elsewhere, they reflect contemporary trends

87 For background on rationalist messianism, typical of Sephardi culture, see Aviezer


Ravitzky, To the Utmost of Human Capacity: Maimonides on the Days of the Messiah,
in Perspectives on Maimonides: Philosophical and Historical Studies, ed. Joel L. Kraemer
(Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1991): 22156; Dov Schwartz, Messianism in Medieval Jewish
Thought [Hebrew] (Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan Univ. Press, 1997), chap. 3
88 This will be discussed in chapter 2 in Kogman-Appel, Elisha Cresques ben Abraham.
170 Kogman-Appel

in Nasrid or Maghrebi book art with a formal repertoire that has numerous
parallels in fourteenth-century Islamic manuscripts and other artistic media (fig.
6.6). Hence they testify to an ongoing dialogue with contemporaneous Islamic
culture.89 It is also remarkable that, despite the fact that Elisha was clearly
interested in figural miniatures (judging from the rich iconographic repertoire
of the mappamundi, one can certainly assume that he would have had the
skills to create pictorial narratives), he makes a clear point in sticking to the
non-figural mode of decoration that by the time he completed the Farhi Codex
had been characteristic of Sephardi Bibles for 150 years.
As much as Elisha belongs to the traditional culture of the Sephardi elite,
he seems to have had an even broader background and took an interest in
the works of those who were opposed to rationalist philosophy or favored the
midrashic revival. The aforementioned conversation with Ibn Ezra regard-
ing matters of biblical exegesis speaks for itself. He knew Ibn Ezra, was aware
of the different methodological options, and made his choice. His dominant
sources are relatively late midrashim, such as Leqah tov, which he relied on
time and again. Rashis and Bahya ben Ashers works were known to him, as
was the commentary of Jacob ben Asher. Even more intriguing is his use of
Meir ben Baruchs commentary on the Masorah, which leads us even deeper
into Ashkenazi scholarship than what Asher ben Jehiel and his sons conveyed
to Iberia. In other words, Elisha must have known Meirs text first hand.
This material belongs to a different sort of intellectual background. It is typi-
cal for scholars who were close to the midrashic revival school that flourished
in Iberia from the second half of the thirteenth century. Elsewhere I argue that
during the thirteenth century and at the beginning of the fourteenth, the art
of illumination seems to reflect the changing interests of Sephardi culture, and
patrons and artists of Bibles tended rather to the more abstract and aniconic
modes of decoration of the Islamic tradition. The fact that all these Bibles post-
date the Christian reconquest further underscores the cultural preferences of
these patrons. In contrast to these patrons and their attachment to Islamic
culture, those who were involved in the production of illuminated haggadot
adapted Christian models and creatively coped with rich pictorial narratives.90
The coexistence of these two different artistic languages seems be a remote
echo of the Maimonidean controversy that shook Sephardi culture between
the 1230s and the early fourteenth century. Elishas artistic choices, together
with large parts of his bookcase, speak very clearly of his strong ties to the
Jewish-Islamic symbiosis and its associated cultural values. But the 1370s were

89 Kogman-Appel, Jewish Book Art, 15054.


90 Ibid., chap. 6.
Scholarly Interests of a Scribe & Mapmaker in 14th-Century Majorca 171

no longer a time of fierce controversy, and finding works by Joseph ben Kaspi
on the same bookshelf with midrashic texts like Leqah tov was no longer neces-
sarily a contradiction.91
Throughout his life Elisha must have been well aware of the rapidly deterio-
rating situation of Sephardi Jews among Christians, especially after the crisis
of the plague year (1348/49). These experiences may have led him to create a
particular legacy for his descendants. He wanted them to possess a Biblenot
just a Bible, but a book with great aesthetic value. He added an entire corpus of
knowledge that reflected his traditional Sephardi background, some of his car-
tographic and scientific interests, and other aspects of scholarship that fit less
well into the image of an erudite rationalist with some scientific background.
He also seems to have been concerned about his childrens and grandchil-
drens Hebrew skills and added the dictionary, not a learned Hebrew-Hebrew
dictionary for the scholar to come to grips with Hebrew roots, but rather a
Hebrew-Occitan dictionary, which may have been conceived as an aid for his
descendants in reading the Bible. Perhaps he feared that his offspring would
no longer want to or be able to memorize their own library, hence the neces-
sity of putting it into writing in order to pass it on to future generations. Only
four years after Elishas death, an unprecedented wave of persecutions shook
the Sephardi communities (1391) and his entire family was baptized. Clearly,
then, Elishas forebodings were more than justified, since it is doubtful that
this beautiful book was ever actually used in the education of his descendants.
Not only were they all baptized; after the riots the familys economic situation
deteriorated and Elishas widow, Settadar, who had taken the Christian name
Anna, gave away one Bible as collateral and sold another, decorated with the
Temple of Solomon, to the convert Bernat de Mon Ros.92

91 See, for example, the recent remarks by Maud Kozodoy summarizing this situation
concisely, No Perpetual Enemies: Maimonideanism at the Beginning of the Fifteenth
Century, in The Cultures of Maimonideanism: New Approaches to the History of Jewish
Thought, ed. James T. Robinson (Leiden: Brill, 2009), 151. As Kozodoy shows, the contro-
versy revived later on, during the fifteenth century.
92 Archivo Capitular de Mallorca, Not. Num. 14707, n.d., Llompart i Moragues, Testamento,
appendix, no. 16; Llompart i Moragues, Pintura medieval mallorquina, vol. 4, document
no. 493.
172 Kogman-Appel

FIGURE 6.1 Farhi Codex, p. 184.


Reproduced by permission of the Sassoon family.
Scholarly Interests of a Scribe & Mapmaker in 14th-Century Majorca 173

FIGURE 6.2 Farhi Codex, Table with tribes.


Reproduced by permission of the Sassoon family.
174 Kogman-Appel

FIGURE 6.3 Farhi Codex, p. 150.


Reproduced by permission of the Sassoon family.
FIGURE 6.4 Farhi Codex, p. 18283.
Scholarly Interests of a Scribe & Mapmaker in 14th-Century Majorca 175

Reproduced by permission of the Sassoon family.


176 Kogman-Appel

FIGURE 6.5 Farhi Codex, p. 186.


Reproduced by permission of the Sassoon family.
Scholarly Interests of a Scribe & Mapmaker in 14th-Century Majorca 177

FIGURE 6.6 Farhi Codex, p. 59.


Reproduced by permission of the Sassoon family.
178 Kogman-Appel

Bibliography

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Palma de Mallorca, Archivo Capitular de Mallorca, Not. Num. 14621.
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Paris, Bibliothque nationale de France, Esp. 30.
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Honor of Eliezer Touati, 23144. Iyyune miqra u-farshanut 8. Ramat Gan: Bar-Ilan
Univ. Press, 2008.
180 Kogman-Appel

. Rashis Use of Masoretic Notes in His Commentary to the Bible [Hebrew].


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91111. Jerusalem: Akademon, 1992. Reprinted in Japhet, Sarah. Collected Studies in
Biblical Exegesis, 36482. Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 2008.
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. Observations on the Work of Elisha ben Abraham Cresques. Ars Judaica 10
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Scholarly Interests of a Scribe & Mapmaker in 14th-Century Majorca 181

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geschichte. Berlin: Asher, 1832.
CHAPTER 7

Leazim in David Kimhis Sefer ha-shorashim:


Scribes and Printers through Space and Time

Judith Kogel
Institut de Recherche et dHistoire des Textes, CNRS, Paris

There are different means to identify the place where manuscripts were cop-
ied; the most evident is the colophon inserted by the scribe, which may contain
mention of the commissioner, the place, and the date of copy. Other paleo-
graphical and codicological details can help us to localize the area where the
manuscript was copied, though without any certainty: these are script, parch-
ment, etc. This study will examine a chapter in the history of a famous text,
David Kimhis Sefer ha-shorashim, through an analysis of its most vulnerable
elements, the vernacular glosses or leazim. Because scribes and later, editors,
as I shall demonstrate, did not consider the leazim part of the text itself, they
did not refrain from adapting them to their vernacular and even from inserting
new glosses. In doing so, they acted as Hansel and Gretel, sowing throughout
the codices clues about the place they lived in, or the place they came from,
and the language they spoke. Beyond this information, the pebbles they left
behind also give us clear indications concerning the relationships between
manuscripts and therefore constitute a significant contribution for the trac-
ing of a stemma. Through the analysis of some vernacular glosses inserted in
a manuscript held in Paris, Bibliothque nationale de France (BNF), Hbreu
1236, we shall try to demonstrate how these specific elements contribute to
a better knowledge of the material conditions in which the copy was made,
namely what kind of codex served as a model and which vernacular was spo-
ken in this specific Jewish milieu. The same applies to the printed editions of
Sefer ha-shorashim. By exploring some leazim in the most recent edition of
the text (Biesenthal and Lebrecht, 1847), it is possible to better understand
the approach and the choices of the editors and to highlight the importance
of the first Venetian editions. The last part of this article will be devoted to
a unique gloss present in two different codices whose relationship shall
be discussed.

koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 5|doi .63/9789004306103_009


Le azim in David Kimhi s Sefer ha-shorashim 183

1 The Importance of Vernacular Glosses

1.1 Languages in Contact


The Sefer ha-shorashim, which was written in Narbonne (Provence), circa 1210,
is extant in about eighty manuscripts, kept in different libraries throughout the
world.1 A first survey of twenty-two of the oldest manuscripts indicates that
David Kimhi probably had originally inserted 280 Provenal glosses, which
reflects the language spoken in Narbonne at the very beginning of the thir-
teenth century. The dictionary also includes Arabic glosses whose tradition
goes back either to Hai ben Sherira Gaon, or to Jonah ibn Janah or even to
David Kimhis father, Joseph. Finally, Kimhi includes some French leazim that
originated from Rashis commentary.
The previously mentioned manuscript, Paris, BNF, Hbreu 1236,2 contains
a colophon indicating the name of the copyist, Shem Tov de Faro Sefardi; the
name of the commissioner, Judah ben Shalom of Meldola (near Cesena, Italy);
and the date and place of the copy, Cesena 1397. The copyist was probably
trained in Italy since his handwriting is Italian. Some of the non-Provenal
leazim of this codex are particularly interesting. The vernacular gloss
(guantes)3 for gloves sounds clearly Spanish, which is also true of the name
of the jay (the bird), ( GYYW), which is documented in medieval Spanish.4
However, a clue to better understand the context in which the copy was made
seems to be provided by the following phrase, appearing with the root ,
quail (fol. 228r) and which seems to put side by side words with different
origins: ( QWLYY' and in Spanish QWDWRNYZ).5 The
original Provenal gloss inserted by Kimhi, calha,6 was probably transcribed

1 To which one must add about 150 fragments (from 1 to 70 fols.) listed in the different libraries
all over the world. See the online catalogue of the National Library of Israel, http://web.nli
.org.il.
2 Hermann Zotenberg, and Moritz Steinschneider, Manuscrits orientaux: Catalogues des
manuscrits hebreux et samaritains de la Bibliotheque imperiale (Paris: Imprimerie imperiale,
1866), 226.
3 Root ( Paris, BNF, Hbreu 1236, fol. 75v). Joan Corominas and Jose A. Pascual, Diccionario
critico etimologico castellano e hispanico (hereinafter DCECH), vol. 3, G-MA (Madrid: Gredos,
1980), s.v. guante.
4 Root ( Paris, BNF, Hbreu 1236, fol. 149r). From Late Latin gaius or gaudium. See Coromi-
nas and Pascual, DCECH, vol. 3, s.v. gayo. The original Provenal gloss was most probably
GYYT for gaiet. See Emil Levy, Petit dictionnaire provencal-francais (Nimes: C. Lacour, 2005), 200.
5 Old Castilian, coalla; codorniz from Lat. cotrnix. See Corominas and Pascual, DCECH, vol. 2,
s.v. codorniz.
6 Levy, Petit dictionnaire, 60.
184 Kogel

( QL) or ( QLY), as attested by the oldest dated manuscripts.7 The


presence of a vav in is unusual and is also found in the Italian printed
editions;8 it may therefore be an Italianization of the word.9 The second part of
the phrase and in Spanish QWDWRNYZ [codorniz], clearly an interpolation,
was almost certainly present in the obviously Spanish manuscript that served
as a model for Shem Tov de Faro. De Faro copied it accurately, but, consciously
or not, adapted to Italian pronunciation the Provenal gloss inserted by Kimhi,
by adding a vav. Since the copyist and the commissioner belonged to a Jewish
community of Iberian origin, as attested by the name Sefardi, living in Italy, it
is not surprising that their books bear both marks: the country they come from
and the country they live in.

1.2 Biesenthal and Lebrechts Edition


The same phenomenatransformation and addition of vernacular glosses
can be observed to an even greater extent in the printed editions of the work;
their detection should contribute to a better understanding of how the editors
worked and help us to distinguish between the different editions and establish
links between them.
Sefer ha-shorashim was printed three times before 1500: first in Rome10
(between 1469 and 1472) and then twice in Naples11 (in 1490 and in 1491).12 During

7  is the most frequent written form and appears in particular in Padua, Biblioteca del
Seminario Vescovile (BSV), MS Ebraico 210 (Rome, 1286); Paris, BNF, Hbreu 1233 (1292);
and Prague, Narodni Knihovna v Praze (NKP), MS Saraval 6 (1301).
8  in Bomberg 1529 (col. 530), Bomberg edition with 1546 title page (see further note
15) (col. 530), Giustiniani edition (col. 511); Bomberg 1546 revised edition (col. 533) has

. Compare to Paris, BNF, Hbreu 1235; and Naples, Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio
Emanuele MS III, 6: .
9 See Wilhelm Meyer-Lbke, Romanisches etymologisches Wrterbuch (hereinafter REW)
(Heidelberg: Winters Universittsbuchhandlung, 1935), s.v. coacula; and Manlio Cortelazzo
and Paolo Zolli, Dizionario etimologico della lingua italiana (Bologna: Zanichelli, 197988),
s.v. quglia. Medieval Latin of Bologna (1250) qualia; It. quaglia and Sp. coalla originate
from Prov. calha. My gratitude to Erica Baricci for the fruitful discussions we had and to Pro-
fessor Fabio Zinelli for his careful checking of the Italian glosses mentioned in this article.
10 Sefer ha-shorashim [Rome?: Obadiah (b. Moses?), Manasseh and Benjamin of Rome,
between 1469 and 1472].
11 Sefer ha-shorashim (Naples: [Azriel ben Joseph Ashkenazi Gunzenhauser], Elul 5250
[= August 18September 15, 1490]) and (Naples: Joshua Solomon Soncino, for Isaac ben
Judah ben David de Quatorze?, 5 Adar 5251 [= 10 or 11 Feb. 1491]).
12 Joshua Bloch, Hebrew Printing in Naples, in Hebrew Printing and Bibliography, ed.
Charles Berlin and Joshua Bloch (New York: New York Public Library, 1976). About the
Katorzo imprint, see Alexander Marx, Hebrew Incunabula, review of Incunaboli Ebraici
Le azim in David Kimhi s Sefer ha-shorashim 185

the sixteenth century, although there were editions in Constantinople13 and


Salonica,14 I will only focus on the Italian ones: the Bomberg edition of 1529,

a Firenze by Umberto Cassuto and Hebrische Inkunabeln 14751490 by Ludwig Rosenthal,


The Jewish Quarterly Review, n.s., 11, no. 1 (July 1920), 98115, esp. 108.
13 Sefer ha-shorashim (Constantinople: Samuel Rikomin and Astruc de Toulon, 1513).
14 Sefer ha-shorashim [Salonica: G. Soncino, ante 1530?]. Gershom Soncino (d. 1534), who
was probably compelled to leave Italy, continued printing first in Salonica (152930) and
then in Constantinople (after 1533). In his article, Gershom sontsino, ha-madpis ha-rene-
sansi ve-hakhme saloniqi, in Festschrift to Menachem Schmeltzer (New York: Jewish Theo-
logical Seminary of America, forthcoming), Joseph Hacker concludes that the book was
printed before 1530. He summarizes at first the different opinions and the reasons which
led researchers to believe that the book was not printed before 1532. As Moses Marx put it
in Gershom Soncino: Contributions to the History of His Life and His Printing, in Sefer
ha-yovel li-khevod profesor aleksander marks bi-meleot arbaim shanah li-kehunato be-tor
safran be-yisrael, ed. David Frnkel (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America,
1943), ix, there is a strange confusion about the place of his death, and, along with it,
about the date of the printing of the Shorashim edition. Because the colophon of Sefer
ha-shorashim mentions that this book followed the printing of the Mikhlol, De Rossi and
Steinschneider concluded that the book could not have been printed before the year
1532, when the printing of the Mikhlol (153234) began. See Giovanni Bernardo De Rossi,
Annales Hebraeo-typographici sec. XV (Parmae [Italia]: ex Regio typographeo, 1795), 46,
no. 20; and Moritz Steinschneider, Catalogus librorum hebraeorum in bibliotheca Bodlei-
ana (Berolini: typis Ad. Friedlaender, 185260), no. 9287, cols. 305456. They therefore
dated the printing of Sefer ha-shorashim after 1532 (De Rossi) or 153233 (Steinschneider),
in Salonica, where they assumed that Gershom Soncino had returned before his death.
See also Abraham Meir Habermann, Ha-madpisim bene sontsino (Vienna: Buchhandlung
David Frankel, 1933), 65. In fact, Hacker stresses, they ignored the existence of a previ-
ous almost unknown Mikhlol edition, which had appeared shortly before the Salonica
Shorashim, without mention of either printer or place; two copies have been identified,
one held by Christian D. Ginsburg and another preserved in the Library of the Jewish
Theological Seminary (JTS) in New York. They are two different copies, as demonstrated
by Menahem Schmeltzer, editor of the JTS Register; see Alexander Marx, Bibliographical
Studies and Notes on Rare Books and Manuscripts in the Library of the Jewish Theological
Seminary of America (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1977), 31. To
this first point, one should add that, in some copies of the Salonica Sefer ha-shorashim,
the colophon mentions that the book was printed with the help of Solomon Cavallero, a
famous figure of the Jewish community in Salonica, who died on Monday 25 Sivan [5]290
(1530), as evidenced by the inscription on his tombstone. See Isaac Samuel Emmanuel,
Matsevot saloniqi: be-tseruf toledot hayyehem shel gedole qehilah (Jerusalem: Ben-Zvi
Institute and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 196368), 1: 5253, no. 72; concern-
ing the different versions of the colophon that either do or do not include the name of
the patron, Solomon Cavallero, see Ytzhaq Rivkind, Diqduqe sefarim, in Sefer ha-yovel
li-khevod aleksander marks: li-meleat lo shivim shana. 1, Heleq ivri, ed. Saul Lieberman
186 Kogel

another Bomberg edition dated 1546,15 and the Guistiniani edition also dated
1546 (six months later). The most recent edition of Sefer ha-shorashim was
published in Berlin, in 1847, by Johann Heinrich Biesenthal and Fuerchtegott
Lebrecht.16 In a brief introduction to their work, the editors announce that they
used the Naples edition from 1490 and three different manuscripts:17 a Spanish
codex and a German codex,18 both belonging to Heimann Joseph Michael in
Hamburg and acquired in 1848 by the Bodleian Library (Oxford),19 where they
currently have call numbers Mich. 7576 and Mich. 83; the third manuscript,
manuscriptum jenense, is still preserved in the Thringer Universitts und
Landesbibliothek, in Jena, MS rec. adj. 6.20 Although Biesenthal and Lebrecht
did not explicitly mention it in the introduction,21 they consulted other early
printings. Their edition, mainly based on the Venice editions dated from 1546
(the Bomberg revised edition, as well as Guistinianis with Elijah Levitas anno-
tations), includes many more vernacular glosses than what is found in most

and Alexander Marx (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1950), 414, no.
16. My gratitude to Joseph Hacker who generously shared his article with me before its
publication.
15 Although Steinschneider (Catalogus, 874) considers that the books bearing the mentions
"and "were both copies of the 1529 edition, this is only partly true. The presence
of additional Italian leazim and the technique of fingerprints in some volumes proved
that there was a revised edition in 1546. Venice 1529: ", , , ,;
Venice 1546 (1): ", , , , ;Venice 1546 (2): , , , ,
"and ", , , ,. There is no mention of these details in Marvin
J. Heller, The Sixteenth Century Hebrew Book: An Abridged Thesaurus (Leiden: Brill, 2004),
2:197, or in Shimeon Brisman, A History and Guide to Judaic Dictionaries and Concordances
(Hoboken, NJ: Ktav Publishing House, 2000), 161 and 277, note 78. I intend to devote a spe-
cific study to the 1546 Venetian editions. However, it appears that, in 1546, Bomberg issued
a new title page bearing the date of "and a revised edition. I suggest the following
hypothesis: having still copies of the previous edition, he bound them with this "
title page, while the revised edition was marketed with the "title page and probably
later with a new title page ".
16 Johann Heinrich Biesenthal and Fuerchtegott Schemaja Lebrecht, eds., Sefer ha-
shorashim (Berlin: G. Bethge, 1847).
17 Ibid., 444.
18 Codicem Hispanensem and codicem Germanicum.
19 Binyamin Richler, Guide to Hebrew Manuscript Collections (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of
Sciences and Humanities, 1994), 12021.
20 Biesenthal and Lebrecht, Shorashim, 444: quod ex illa bibliotheca summa cum liberali-
tate ad tempus mihi concessum est; and Ernst Roth, Leo Prijs, Hans Striedl, and Lothar
Tetzner, Hebraeische Handschriften (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 1965), no. 218.
21 Faithfully noted by Brisman, A History and Guide, 27.
Le azim in David Kimhi s Sefer ha-shorashim 187

manuscripts, including the three mentioned above, and in the Naples editions.
In fact, the editors have introduced in the text-block the additional Italian
leazim present in the 1546 Bomberg revised edition and, occasionally in the
footnotes, the Latin terms that appear in the margin of the second Giustiniani
edition, also dated from 1546,22 as the following example will show.
In the entry , Biesenthal and Lebrecht have included three words in
brackets,23 ( that is to say piombin),24 which do not appear
either in any of the manuscripts they claim to have used, or in the Naples edi-
tions (1490 or 1491),25 but those words do appear in the 1546 Bomberg revised
edition (col. 37),26 and the footnote ad locum quotes the expression perpen-
diculum plumbeum, present in the margin of the Guistiniani edition.
Nevertheless, Biesenthal and Lebrechts edition is not a compilation of all
the variants and possibilities that are to be found in the previous editions.
Surprisingly, it seems that they selected from among the possible leazim the
ones they considered most suitable, either because they were present in a
Provenal dictionary, or in an Italian one, or because they recognized a possible
root. The result is thus strange and not always reliable. To translate the expres-
sions ( Isa. 57:6) and ( 1 Sam. 17:40) and therefore to
explain the use of the root .. in this specific context, Kimhi introduced the
term codols (from the Latin cotlus), which is well attested in the Emil Levys

22 See Brisman, A History and Guide, 161: another edition by Giustiniani with Latin transla-
tion of the Hebrew entries and an added title in Latin, 1548. Brisman proposes the date of
1548 which is the date given in the colophon (Adar 1548), in contrast to that shown on the
first page (Marheshvan 1546). Adar 1548 does not appear in the copies I have consulted,
but some volumes are made of quires originating from the first and the second edition, as
will be demonstrated in a forthcoming article. The marginal Latin glosses note the various
meanings of the root and follow Kimhis discussion.
23 Biesenthal and Lebrecht do not always insert brackets to indicate the additions of the
Bomberg 1546 edition: in the entry ( 183), they incorporated the vernacular gloss
"without brackets, although it only appears in the Bomberg revised edition
(col. 264:
with vowels); there is no laaz in the 1529 Bomberg edition, the Giustiniani
editions, the Naples 1490 edition, or the three manuscripts they consulted.
24 Cortelazzo and Zolli, Dizionario, s.v. pimbo: piombino (fourteenth century); Carlo Bat-
tisti and Giovanni Alessio, Dizionario etimologico italiano (Firenze: Barbra, 195057), s.v.
piombino (from Lat. plumbino); piombin documented in Veneto, see Karl Jaberg, et al.,
Sprach- und Sachatlas Italiens und der Sudschweiz (hereinafter AIS) (Zofingen: Ringier,
192840), vol. 2, map 408.
25 See Joshua Bloch, Hebrew Printing in Naples, 11242.
26 These words are not included in the 1529 Bomberg edition (col. 37), nor in the Guistiniani
edition (col. 36).
188 Kogel

Provenal dictionary27 and which means pebbles, small stones. This gloss
is present in most manuscripts, with some variants,28 some of them replac-
ing dalet with resh, as often happens. The Naples edition of 1490, which has
( QWRWLS) (fol. 38r), was probably based on such a faulty manuscript.
The Bomberg edition of 1529 (col. 157) as well as the Guistiniani edition (col.
151) have an unexpected ( QWQWLS), which is probably a typographical
error.29 The 1546 Bomberg revised edition has ( QWGWLS), which corre-
sponds to the Venetian cuogolo/cogolo,30 from the same Latin etymon cotlus,
and might have been a Venetian correction of the previous edition. Biesenthal
and Lebrecht, ignoring this Italian word, adapted this last laaz in "
(QWGLS), dismissing the second vav to fit a possible etymology from the Greek
kuklos (circular), as indicated in the footnote.31 Very interesting also is the last

27 Levy, Petit dictionnaire, 87.


28 
(Qoduls) (Cambridge, St. Johns College, MS I 10);
(QWDULS) (Prague, NKP,
MS Saraval 6); ( QWDWLS) (Paris, BNF, Hbreu 1233 and Hbreu 1360; Oxford,
Bodleian Library [Bodl.], MSS Mich. 7576, Hunt. 15; Parma, Biblioteca Palatina [BP], Cod.
Parm. 3282; Hamburg, Staats- und Universittsbibliothek, MS Levy 106; Naples, Biblioteca
Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele, MS III 6); ( QWDLS) (Parma, BP, Cod. Parm. 2476; Vat-
ican, Biblioteca Apostolica [BA], MS ebr. 529; Jena, Universittsbibliothek, MS rec., adj. 6);
( QWDWL) (Paris, BNF, Hbreu 1237); ( QWDYLWS) (Paris, BNF, Hbreu
1235); ( QLWWS) (Oxford, Bodl., MS Can. Or. 67); ( Q LLWS) (Oxford,
Bodl., MS Mich. 83); ( QWRLS) (Padua, BSV, MS Ebraico 210; Paris, BNF, Hbreu
1234 and Hbreu 1236; Oxford, Bodl., MS Can. Or. 80); ( QWRWLS) (Nmes, Biblio-
thque Municipale, MS Sguier 43). ( Oxford, Bodl., Mich. 83) is probably chal-
los or challous; chaillous is documented at the end of the twelfth century; see Benoit de
Sainte-Maure, Carin Fahlin, O sten Sodergard, and Sven Sandqvist, Chronique des ducs de
Normandie: Publiee dapres le manuscrit de Tours avec les variantes du manuscrit de Londres
(Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksells boktr, 195179), line 20732; while chailos is already attested
in the eleventh century, in Rashis commentary on the Talmud; see Arsene Darmesteter
and David S. Blondheim, Les gloses francaises dans les commentaires talmudiques de
Raschi, vol. 1, Texte des gloses (Paris: Champion, 1929), 22, 179.
29 Although Meyer-Lbke, REW, s.v. cochlea, reports the existence of Sicilian kkula
and Abruzzo kkl meaning von flieendem Wasser abgeschliffener runder Stein or
Kiesel.
30 Cortelazzo and Zolli, Dizionario, s.v. cogolo; Meyer-Lbke, REW, s.v. cochlea (Venetian
kgolo). The morphological ending of the laaz, which does not match the Italian plural
-i (cogoli), may be a contamination of the Provenal gloss or of the previous edition.
Jaberg and Jud report the existence of cdol, cgol(o) for cobbled road, in Veneto and east
Lombardia; see Jaberg, et al., AIS, vol. 4, map 844.
31 Biesenthal and Lebrecht, Shorashim, 107, note 1.
Le azim in David Kimhi s Sefer ha-shorashim 189

part of their annotation: although most editions have ( QWQWLS), one


should probably read ( QLQWLWS) from the Latin calculus, pebble.32
This tiny gloss serves as a paradigm for the vernacular glosses included in the
printed books. While the Naples editions faithfully printed the leazim included
in the manuscript(s) they relied upon, the 1529 Venetian edition adapted some
of them to local vernacular. This last edition has two kind of descendants: the
Guistiniani editions (1546), which reproduce the vernacular glosses almost as
they are in the 1529 edition;33 and the revised Bomberg edition (1546), in which
the leazim were amended and additional ones were inserted.

2 Laaz and Stemma

As in the case of the editions, the presence of an unusual gloss can also be a
way to identify families of manuscripts and try to establish the type of relation-
ship between one manuscript and another. The case which will be discussed
in this second part deals with two Italian manuscripts: Padua, BSV, MS Ebraico
210, which will be described in detail; and Paris, BNF, Hbreu 1234, both con-
taining a unique laaz in Roman dialect, as indicated in the text itself.

2.1 Description of Padua, BSV, MS Ebraico 210


The oldest dated manuscript of Sefer ha-shorashim (1286), preserved in Padua,
BSV, MS Ebraico 210, was briefly described by Giulanio Tamani,34 in 1970.
The text is copied on beautiful goatskin parchment, nearly white. The man-
uscript is made up of 287 folios: 29 quires of 5 bifolios:35 the first bifolio is

32 fortasse legendum est.


33 There seem to be nevertheless some differences between the two Giustiniani editions.
34 Guiliano Tamani, Manoscritti ebraici nella biblioteca del Seminario vescovile di Padova,
in special issue (Serie orientale 1), Annali Ca Foscari 9, no. 3 (1970), 910.
35 The manuscript, 310 220 mm, has 287 folios with a guard-leaf at the beginning and at
the end. There is a catchword at the end of each quire, in the bottom margin, except
for the first quire whose last folio is missing. The copyist numbered the quires with
Hebrew letters ( )under the catchword, but this signature is lacking in the first and
last quires. The very scrupulous scribe also foliated the manuscript with Hebrew letters,
starting again for each new initial letter: alef ( ;)bet ( ;)gimel ( ;)dalet (;)
he (no foliation); he ( ;)vav (two entries only); zayin ( ;)het ( ;)tet (;)
yod ( ;)kaf ( ;)lamed ( ;)mem (this last folio bears two numbers, and
;)nun ( ;)samekh ( ;)ayin ( ;)pe ( ;)tsade ( ;)qof ( ;)resh (;)
shin ( ;)tav (). There is a later foliation which doesnt take into consideration the
absence of the two missing folios, the first one and last one of the first quire (fol. 9).
190 Kogel

missing, and therefore we are lacking the front page (which might have been
decorated) and a folio at the end of the first quire (the only lacuna in the text);
there is also one folio missing at the end of the volume but it was probably
blank. The ruling is done by hard point, the text is written in an Italian square
handwriting, and the entries are copied in a bigger size. The text is written on
long lines, 31 on each page, and very rare words are vocalized, among them,
some leazim. The work is that of a professionalthe copy is extremely metic-
ulous; the copyist inscribed catchwords at the end of each quire and then num-
bered them. He pointed out his name, Isaac, on several occasions: folios 142v,
148v, 163r, 187r, 190r, 199v, 214v.
The manuscript was censored in 1597 by Dominico Irosolom[ita]no, who
signed his name at the end of the volume.36 In the entry ( fol. 183v), the
censor blotted out the polemic phrase in which David Kimhi explains that the
word is used in the Bible either for a maiden or for a married woman, an
explanation that challenges the virginity of Mary. He also censored the sen-
tence about Joseph Kimhis polemic work: "
( and my father
mentioned formal evidences against the Christians concerning this term in the
Sefer ha-berit that he composed in response to them).37

36 In his work, Sefer ha-ziqquq, whose first version was written in Mantua, in 1596 (MS Paris,
Alliance Isralite Universelle, H80A), Dominico Irosolomitano indeed recommended to
blot out , the major part of the passage beginning with and
ending with . Curiously enough, he himself only censored four sen-
tences in this manuscript: ; [ .
; .]
and the one quoted in the body of the text. Irosolomitano indi-
cated seven (nine in MS Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica, ebr. 273) other roots where words
had to be removed or replaced, which was not done in this particular manuscript. See Gila
Prebor, Sefer ha-ziqquq shel dominico, Italia:studi e ricerche sulla cultura e sulla lettera-
tura degli ebrei dItalia 18 (2007): 93. For further details about this Index expurgatorius, see
Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, The Censor, the Editor, and the Text: The Catholic Church and the
Shaping of the Jewish Canon in the Sixteenth Century (Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania
Press, 2007) and Gila Prebor, Domenico Yerushalmi: His Life, Writings and Work as a
Censor, Materia giudaica XVXVI, nos. 12 (201011): 46781.
37 The entire extract is present in the 1529 Bomberg edition and in the Guistiani edition; the
1546 Bomberg revised edition does not include the expressions and
, nor does Biesenthal and Lebrechts edition.
Le azim in David Kimhi s Sefer ha-shorashim 191

2.2 The Roman Origin of Padua, BSV, MS Ebraico 210


The manuscript includes two elements indicating a Roman origin: the name of
the commissioner, which appears in the colophon (fig. 7.1), and a vernacular
gloss in Roman dialect (fig. 7.2).
Although the copyist did not mention the place where the copy was exe-
cuted, only the date, it has been possible to deduce it from the name of the
commissioner:

, \ , ' ' ",


, , ' \ ,"
. \ , \
, \ , ' ' "
, \ , , \ ,
, \ ,
\ . , , \ . ,
. , ,

(I, Isaac, grandson of Isaac son of Hananel of blessed memory, wrote this
book, Shorashim, on Tuesday fifteenth of Tammuz, in the year 5046 from
the creation of the world [1286], in the year 1218 from the destruction of
the Temple, may it be rebuilt promptly and in our days. And I copied it for
Rabbi Shabbetai, son of Rabbi Mattathias of blessed memory...)

While the name of the copyist, Isaac grandson of Isaac ben Hananel, has not
been identified in other manuscripts, according to the data collected by the
Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts in Jerusalem and by Giulio Busi,38
the name of the commissioner is well known. Shabbetai ben Mattathias was the
patron of one of the most famous scribes in Rome, Abraham ben Yom Tov ha-
Kohen,39 who copied for him three codices: in 1283, a More nevukhim which
is currently in London, British Library, MS Harley 7586; in 1284, a beautiful
Bible today preserved in Cambridge, Emmanuel College, I.I.57/1; and in 1285,
Maimonidess Sefer ha-mitsvot now in Parma, BP, Cod. Parm. 2460. A year later,
according to the colophon mentioned above, in 1286, Isaac, grandson of Isaac
ben Hananel, completed for Shabbetai ben Mattathias the Sefer ha-shorashim,
the only extant manuscript of that book copied in Rome at that time.

38 Giulio Busi, Libri e scrittori nella Roma Ebraica del medioevo (Rimini: Luis editore, 1990).
39 Ibid., 3637; Malachi Beit-Ari, The Cryptic Name of the Scribe Avraham ben Yom Tov
ha-Cohen, Israel Oriental Studies 2 (1972): 5156; Beit-Ari, More on the Scribe Avraham
ben Yom Tov ha-Cohen, Kiryat sefer 56 (1981): 54647.
192 Kogel

Although the mention of the city, Rome, only appears in the Bible colophon,
Abraham ben Yom Tov ha-Kohen probably copied all his books in the same
place. Busi has described in detail this school of copyists, established in Rome,
which included among its professionals a woman, Paola bat Abraham ha-Sofer
(ben Yoav),40 who copied at least four manuscripts between 1288 and 1306. The
physical characteristics of the manuscripts in Oxford, Bodleian Library, Can.
Or. 8990, copied by Paola, and their handwriting are very close to those of
Padua, BSV, MS Ebraico 210. No doubt, the latter was also copied in Rome.
The second indication of a Roman origin is extremely discreeta vernacu-
lar gloss added in the entry . There are only two occurrences of the term
in the Bible, in Isaiah 38:14, and in Jeremiah 8:7,
, with a qere-ketiv ( / ). According to the context, is a bird,
but opinions differ as to which bird it is. Kimhi quotes the Targum translation
and establishes a parallel with the talmudic ( TB Shabbath 77b),
both of them rendered as glistening swallow by Jastrow;41 Kimhi then men-
tions the Arabic translation of Hai Gaon and finally a Provenal gloss,
irondola, which is the common name for swallow.42 What follows only appears
in the two manuscripts I have consulted: , and in Roman
[dialect], renna (fol. 173r, fig. 7.2).
Indeed, Meyer-Lbke reports the existence of a variant, rennn, in Nea
politan dialect and rnena in Campobassan,43 and Jaberg and Jud, of the form
rennena in Gargano (Northern Apulia) and rnnina in Sicily.44 The form would
be derived from the Italian word rondina, following a series of evolutions, most
notably because of the progressive assimilation, already in medieval times, of
the sequence of phonemes /nd/ > /nn/ which is typical of south-central Italy,

40 Hermann Vogelstein and Paul Rieger, Geschichte der Juden in Rom (Berlin: Mayer & Muller,
189596), 1:279; Aron Freimann, Jewish Scribes in Medieval Italy, in Alexander Marx
Jubilee Volume (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1950), 308, note 397.
41 Marcus Jastrow, A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the
Midrashic Literature (New York: Pardes, 1950), 1005.
42 Wartburg has noted the existence of two old Provenal forms: ironda and irondela. See
Walther von Wartburg, Franzsisches etymologisches Wrterbuch: Eine Darstellung des
galloromanischen Sprachschatzes (hereinafter FEW) (Basel: Zbinden Druck und Verlag,
1950), s.v. hirndo; and Levy, Petit dictionnaire, 27: arendla, arindla, irendla, and 28:
arnda, arnde, irnda.
43 Meyer-Lbke, REW, s.v. hirndo: Sicilian rinnina; Apulian rindena. In his dictionary,
Wartburg also reports the existence of a variant rinnina in Sicily and Calabria and adds
that the term whose basic vowel was /e/ existed in Lower Italy and probably even as far
north as Middle Italy. See Wartburg, FEW, s.v. hirndo, -inis.
44 Jaberg, et al., AIS, vol. 3, map 499.
Le azim in David Kimhi s Sefer ha-shorashim 193

in the Marche, Umbria, and Lazio and the first stage of the Roman dialect.45
For unknown reasons, a scribe who lived in Lazio, at the end of the thirteenth
century, felt it necessary to add to the Provenal gloss inserted by Kimhi, the
vernacular name of the bird in Roman dialect, renna.

2.3 Gloss as a Marker to Establish a Stemma


The presence of this Roman gloss in two different manuscripts calls for a full
examination of both of them to determine if Padua, BSV, MS Ebraico 210 could
have served as a model for Paris, BNF, Hbreu 1234, copied in Lugo (Italy) a
hundred years later, in 1383 (date certified by the colophon). If this were the
case, one could probably assume that the copyist of the former, Isaac grandson
of Isaac, was the one who inserted the additional words when he was copying
Sefer ha-shorashim for Shabbetai ben Mattathias. Although this seems to be a
logical conclusion, one should be cautious. In the later manuscript, the laaz
appears unvocalized and with an extra yod, ( RYNYN) (fol. 142r), and the
Provenal gloss that precedes is no longer irondola but ironda,46 which is a
Provenal variant of the same word: .
Furthermore, the comparison of the glosses collected in these two witnesses
lead us to the following conclusions: some glosses, absent from the manuscript
copied in 1286, Padua, BSV, MS Ebraico 210at the root , for example
are to be found in Paris, BNF, Hbreu 1234; others incorrectly written in the
older manuscript appear restored in Paris, BNF, Hbreu 1234, as the following
table shows:

Hebrew Root English Provenal BSV 210 BNF 1234

( Isa. 13:21) .. Swift Martina



( Isa. 56:10) .. Lacuna
( Lev. 19:4) .. Vain thing Nulha
( Jer. 2:22) .. Soap Sabon
( Gen. 37:25) .. Chestnuts Castanha

45 See Ugo Vignuzzi, Die einzelnen romanischen Sprachen und Sprachgebiete vom Mittelalter
bis zur Renaissance = Les differentes langues romanes et leurs regions dimplantation du
Moyen ge a la Renaissance, vol. 2.2, Lexikon der Romanistischen Linguistik, ed. Gunter
Holtus, Michael Metzeltin, and Christian Schmitt (Tubingen: Niemeyer, 1987), 157.
46 See note 42.
194 Kogel

It seems therefore difficult to believe that the manuscript copied in Rome was
the model for the Lugo manuscript, which consequently means that we can-
not know who completed the entry , though we are almost certain he was
Roman. If it was Isaac grandson of Isaac, we must assume that the scribe of
Lugo had at his disposal, besides the Rome manuscript or any of its descen-
dants, a second manuscript that allowed him to complete and correct lacunas
and errors. However, Padua, BSV, MS Ebraico 210 could already be the copy
of an earlier Roman manuscript of Sefer ha-shorashim, containing the gloss
renna; if that is the case, the two manuscripts we examined would belong to
parallel branches of the same family, without any relation of filiation.

3 Conclusion

This research on leazim, which might be called the micro-forms of exege-


sis, is therefore a significant contribution to the history of Kimhis Sefer ha-
shorashim. These vernacular glosses may reflect the background of a commu-
nity, as in Paris, BNF, Hbreu 1236. Indeed, some leazim confirm the Iberian
roots of the milieu, with its precious books copied in the Iberian Peninsula and
brought to Italy. Other elements introduced in the codex, namely the hand-
writing and the spelling of some glosses, are specific to the new environment.
The vernacular glosses, serving as markers, also provide valuable evidence
for the filiations not only between manuscripts, but also between editions.
Indeed, the presence of a unique vernacular gloss in Roman dialect allowed us
to regroup two witnesses of Kimhis Sefer ha-shorashim toward the prospect of
elaborating a stemma: Padua, BSV, MS Ebraico 210 and Paris, BNF, Hbreu 1234.
These results will no doubt be corroborated by a comparative analysis of the
Hebrew text. Likewise, it was possible to establish that the editors of the 1847
edition of Sefer ha-shorashim relied heavily on the Bomberg revised edition
dated from 1546, although they did not acknowledge it. Thus, the study of the
vernacular glosses will not only enrich the corpus of the Romance languages,
as did Rashis French glosses, but will also contribute to the history of the text
and the transmission of knowledge.
Le azim in David Kimhi s Sefer ha-shorashim 195

FIGURE 7.1 Padua, Biblioteca del Seminario Vescovile, MS Ebraico 210, fol. 287r.
Reproduced by permission of the Biblioteca del Seminario Vescovile di
Padova.
196 Kogel

FIGURE 7.2 Padua, Biblioteca del Seminario Vescovile, MS Ebraico 210, fol. 173r.
Reproduced by permission of the Biblioteca del Seminario Vescovile di
Padova.
Le azim in David Kimhi s Sefer ha-shorashim 197

Bibliography

Manuscripts
Cambridge, Emmanuel College, MS I.I.57/1.
Cambridge, St. Johns College, MS I 10.
Hamburg, Staats- und Universittsbibliothek, MS Levy 106.
Jena, Thringer Universitts und Landesbibliothek, MS rec. adj. 6.
London, British Library, MS Harley 7586.
Naples, Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele MS III, 6.
Nmes, Bibliothque Municipale, MS Sguier 43.
Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Can. Or. 67.
, MS Can. Or. 80.
, MS Can. Or. 8990.
, MS Hunt. 15.
, MS Mich. 7576.
, MS Mich. 83.
Padua, Biblioteca del Seminario Vescovile, MS Ebraico 210.
Paris, Alliance Isralite Universelle, MS H80A.
Paris, Bibliothque nationale de France, Hbreu 1233.
, Hbreu 1234.
, Hbreu 1235.
, Hbreu 1236.
, Hbreu 1237.
, Hbreu 1360.
Parma, Biblioteca Palatina, Cod. Parm. 2460.
, Cod. Parm. 2476.
, Cod. Parm. 3282.
Prague, Narodni Knihovna v Praze, MS Saraval 6.
Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica, MS ebr. 273.
, MS ebr. 529.

Primary Sources
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des ducs de Normandie: Publiee dapres le manuscrit de Tours avec les variantes du
manuscrit de Londres. 3 vols. Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksells boktr, 19511979.
David Kimhi. Sefer ha-shorashim. [Rome?: Obadiah (b. Moses?), Manasseh and
Benjamin of Rome, between 1469 and 1472].
. Sefer ha-shorashim. Naples: [Azriel ben Joseph Ashkenazi Gunzenhauser],
1490.
. Sefer ha-shorashim. Naples: Joshua Solomon Soncino, for Isaac ben Judah ben
David de Quatorze?, 1491.
198 Kogel

. Sefer ha-shorashim. Constantinople: Samuel Rikomin and Astruc de Toulon,


1513.
. Sefer ha-shorashim. [Salonica: G. Soncino, ante 1530?].
. Sefer ha-shorashim. Venice: Bomberg, 1529.
. Sefer ha-shorashim. Edited by Isaiah Ben Eleazar Parnas and with notes by
Elijah Levita. Venice: Cornelius Adelkind for Daniel Bomberg, 1546.
. Sefer ha-shorashim. With notes by Elijah Levita. Venice: Marco Antonio
Giustiniani, 1546.
. Sefer ha-shorashim. Edited by Johann Heinrich Biesenthal and Fuerchtegott
Schemaja Lebrecht. Berlin: G. Bethge, 1847.

Secondary Literature
Battisti, Carlo, and Giovanni Alessio. Dizionario etimologico italiano. 5 vols. Firenze:
Barbra, 195057.
Beit-Ari, Malachi. The Cryptic Name of the Scribe Avraham ben Yom Tov ha-Cohen.
Israel Oriental Studies 2 (1972): 5156.
. More on the Scribe Avraham ben Yom Tov ha-Cohen [Hebrew], Qiryat sefer
56 (1981): 54647.
Bloch, Joshua. Hebrew Printing in Naples. New York: New York Public Library, 1942.
Rep. in Hebrew Printing and Bibliography, edited by Charles Berlin and Joshua
Bloch, 11338. New York: New York Public Library, 1976.
Brisman, Shimeon. A History and Guide to Judaic Dictionaries and Concordances.
Hoboken, NJ: Ktav Publishing House, 2000.
Busi, Giulio. Libri e scrittori nella Roma Ebraica del medioevo. Rimini: Luis editore,
1990.
Corominas, Joan, and Jose A. Pascual. Diccionario critico etimologico castellano e
hispanico. 6 vols. Madrid: Gredos, 1980.
Cortelazzo, Manlio, and Paolo Zolli, Dizionario etimologico della lingua italiana.
Bologna: Zanichelli, 19791988.
Darmesteter, Arsne, and David S. Blondheim. Les gloses francaises dans les commen-
taires talmudiques de Raschi. Vol. 1, Texte des gloses. Paris: Champion, 1929.
De Rossi, Giovanni Bernardo. Annales Hebraeo-typographici sec. XV. Parma: ex Regio
typographeo, 1795.
Emmanuel, Isaac Samuel. Matsevot saloniqi: be-tseruf toledot hayehem shel gedole
qehilah. 2 vols. Mehkarim u-meqorot shel mekhon ben-tsevi. Jerusalem: Ben-Zvi
Institute and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 196368.
Freimann, Aron. Jewish Scribes in Medieval Italy. In Alexander Marx Jubilee Volume,
231342. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1950.
Habermann, Abraham Meir. Ha-madpisim bene sontsino. Vienna: Buchhandlung David
Frankel, 1933.
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Hacker, Joseph. Gershom sontsino, ha-madpis ha-renesansi ve-hakhme saloniqi.


In Festschrift to Menahem Schmeltzer. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary,
forthcoming.
Heller, Marvin J. The Sixteenth Century Hebrew Book: An Abridged Thesaurus. 2 vols.
Brills Series in Jewish Studies 33. Leiden: Brill, 2004.
Jaberg, Karl, Jakob Jud, and Paul Scheuermeier. Sprach- und Sachatlas Italiens und der
Sudschweiz. 8 vols. Zofingen: Ringier, 192840.
Jastrow, Marcus. A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and
the Midrashic Literature. 2 vols. New York: Pardes, 1950.
Levy, Emil. Petit dictionnaire provencal-francais. Nimes: C. Lacour, 2005.
Marx, Alexander. Bibliographical Studies and Notes on Rare Books and Manuscripts
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Universittsbuchhandlung, 1935.
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giudaica XVXVI, nos. 12 (201011): 467481.
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Vignuzzi, Ugo. Die einzelnen romanischen Sprachen und Sprachgebiete vom Mittelalter
bis zur Renaissance = Les differentes langues romanes et leurs regions dimplantation
du Moyen ge a la Renaissance. Vol. 2.2, Lexikon der Romanistischen Linguistik.
Edited by Gunter Holtus, Michael Metzeltin, and Christian Schmitt. Tubingen:
Niemeyer, 1987.
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Mayer & Muller, 189596.
Wartburg, Walther von. Franzosisches etymologisches Worterbuch: Eine Darstellung des
galloromanischen Sprachschatzes. Basel: Zbinden Druck und Verlag, 1950.
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manuscrits hebreux et samaritains de la Bibliotheque imperiale. Paris: Imprimerie
imperiale, 1866.
Section 3
Crossing Linguistic and Religious Boundaries


CHAPTER 8

Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations from


Hebrew Literature

Sonia Fellous
Institut de Recherche et dHistoire des Textes, CNRS, Paris

The first decades of the fifteenth century are characterized by the resumption
of the tradition of translating the Iberian literary heritage1 into Castilian, in
particular during the reign of Juan II (14061454). The king himself was a spon-
sor of many translations or copies of literary and religious works. Projecting
the splendor of Christian Spain was a major concern of the period toward the
end of the Reconquista, and establishing Castilian as the hegemonic language
was one of the priorities of the rulers of Castile, who were eager to impose
their control over the other Christian kingdoms in the Peninsula. Thus, Juan II
ordered a translation of the De moribus of Seneca, a very popular medieval
author in medieval Iberia, especially since he had been born in Cordoba. The
nobles of Castile did likewise:2 the De ira, also by Seneca, was translated some-
time before 1445 for Luis de Guzmns wife, Ins de Torres, by her chaplain,
Friar Gonzalo.3
In 1419, Pedro de Toledo produced the first translation from Hebrew
and Arabic into Castilian of Maimonidess More nevukhim or Guide for the

1 By Iberian literary heritage I mean the literature produced by famous or acclaimed authors
born or presumably born in the Iberian Peninsula.
2 Fernando del Pulgar, a converso, stated in De los claros varones de Espaa: the king was
pleased to hear and learn about the explanations and secrets of the Sacred Scriptures.
Cited in Americo Castro, Espaa en su historia: cristianos, moros y judos (Barcelona: Crtica,
1984), 19396, 51718, 54344; Jos Llamas, Biblias medievales romanceadas: Biblia medi-
eval romanceada judo-cristiana (Madrid: Instituto Francisco Surez, 1950), 1:x; Margherita
Morreale, Vernacular Scriptures in Spain, in The Cambridge History of the Bible, vol. 2, The
West from the Fathers to the Reformation, ed. G. W. H. Lampe (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ.
Press, 1969), 48890.
3 This manuscript reappeared in the library of the Marquis of Santillana and is now held by
the Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa (BNE). See Mario Schiff, La bibliothque du marquis de
Santillane (Paris: E. Bouillon, 1905), 12431, especially 12829.

koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 5|doi .63/9789004306103_010


204 Fellous

Perplexed.4 In 1422, a new translation of the Old Testament into Castilian was
ordered by the same Luis de Guzmn5 who commissioned the Seneca transla-
tion. The project was entrusted to a Jew, Moses Arragel, born in Guadalajara and
renowned for his skills as a translator and his knowledge of rabbinical sources.
This Bible (known as the Alba Bible) was to be translated along with com-
mentaries by rabinos modernos, contemporaryand probably Castilian
Jewish scholars who had not yet come to the attention of the Christians. It
seems, therefore, that some Jewish works had sufficient reputation in certain
Christian circles as to be included among the translations into Castilian.
What was the reason for this enthusiasm for translation? Could these proj-
ects have been initiated by converted Jews, some of them occupying lofty posi-
tions in the clergy and the royal court?6 In any case, the historical contextthe
death of King Fernando I of Aragon and the election of a new pope, Martin V
led to a change in the political climate for the Jews. Martin V was known for
being favorable to the Jews;7 he revoked anti-Jewish edicts and edited two bulls,
dated 1421 and 1422, in which he reiterated that forced baptism was contrary
to Church doctrine and that any further persecution of Jews would be severely
condemned. The translation project of the fifteenth century and its contribu-
tion to the modernization of the Spanish language and Iberian culture are to
be understood against this historical background.
In this paper, I will focus on four manuscripts, all located in Madrid. Three
of them are held in the Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa (BNE), and one belongs
to the Casa de Alba (Palacio de Liria). They contain the original Castilian text
or the Castilian translation of works originally written in Hebrew or Arabic
between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. The translations of the Alba
Bible and of the Guide are from the 15th century. Maimonidess Guide for

4 See Gad Freudenthal, Pour le dossier de la traduction latine mdivale du Guide des gars,
Revue des tudes juives 147 (1988): 16772.
5 Commissioning Castilian translations was a common practice at that time: also in 1422,
Alonso de Guzmn, Count of Niebla, commissioned a Franciscan to translate Nicholas of
Lyras Postillae super totam Bibliam (Madrid, BNE, MS KK38).
6 See Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed: A 15th Century Spanish Translation by Pedro de
Toledo (Ms. 10289, B.N. Madrid), ed. Moshe Lazar, technical ed. Robert Dilligan (Culver City,
CA: Labyrinthos, 1989), xiixiii, and in particular quoting Amrico Castro, The major Lords
of the 15th century continued to live in the intellectual milieu of the Jews and the converts
[...] because an intellectually curious class of men has yet to emerge. La realidad histrica
de Espaa (Mexico City: Porra, 1954), 467.
7 See Tarsicio de Azcona, La eleccin y reforma del episcopado espaol (Madrid: Instituto
P. Enrquez Flrez, 1960), 6366; Flix Vernet, Le Pape Martin V et les Juifs, Revue des
Questions Historiques 51 (1892): 373423.
Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations 205

the Perplexed, originally written in Arabic in the twelfth century, was trans-
lated into Hebrew twiceonce during his lifetime and once shortly after his
deathand into Castilian by Pedro de Toledo between 1419 and 1432 (BNE,
MS 10289). The Alba Bible (Madrid, Archivo y Biblioteca del Palacio de Liria)
was translated by Moses Arragel of Guadalajara between 1422 and 1433.8 The
Sefer ha-kuzari by Judah ha-Levi was originally written in Judeo-Arabic in the
twelfth century; although we cannot be sure when the translation was under-
taken, the only extant manuscript in Castilian is from the fifteenth century
(Madrid, BNE, MS 17812). Finally, the Proverbios morales by Shem Tov (Santob)
de Carrin9 (Madrid, BNE, MS 9216; fols. 61r81v) were originally written in
Castilian in the fourteenth century for King Pedro I.

1 Texts, Translators, Authors, and Sponsors

The works of Maimonides and Judah ha-Levi were written during a period of
anxiety for survivors of the persecution and the destruction of Jewish commu-
nities by the Almohads in the twelfth century. Philosophical discussions pitted
some rabbis against the followers of Averroes, the former accusing the latter of
abetting the conversion of Jews to Christianity with their teachings. Moreover,
Neo-Averroism was as hotly debated among Christians as it was among Jews.
A similar state of affairs existed in the fifteenth century; complaints arose
against rationalism and Averroism, which, according to some Jewish preach-
ers, undermined the foundations of faith and morality.10 For them, these philo-
sophical movements were a factor in the destruction of Jewish religious and
national unity and promoted apostasy at a critical moment in Spanish Jewish

8 According to the colophon (fol. 513v), the copy of the Bible and its commentaries was
completed on Friday, June 2, 1430, in Maqueda. But in the prologue, Moses Arragel says
that he worked on the manuscript for eleven years (fol. 20v). This would suggest that
the work was fully completed, including the prologue, and was officially presented to his
patron about three years later, who in fact never received it. See Sonia Fellous, Tolde
14221433: Histoire de la Bible de Mose Arragel: Quand un rabbin interprte la Bible pour les
Chrtiens (Paris: Somogy, 2001), 73, 7879.
9 See Sem Tob de Carrin, Proverbios morales, ed. Marcella Ciceri (Modena: Mucchi, 1998),
1418.
10 On Jewish Averroism, see Georges Vajda, A propos de laverroisme juif, Sefarad 12 (1952):
329; Vajda, Introduction la pense juive du Moyen ge (Paris: Vrin, 1947); Colette Sirat,
La philosophie juive mdivale en terre dIslam (Paris: Centre National de la Recherche
Scientifique, 1988); Maurice-Ruben Hayoun and Alain de Libera, Averros et laverrosme
(Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1991).
206 Fellous

history.11 In fact, many apostates remained Averroistic in their outlook, which


was a source of conflict in their new religion as well, since Christian theolo-
gians also opposed this philosophy. These debates were important for both reli-
gions and seem to have encouraged a revival of Jewish-Christian intellectual
interaction, in particular during the reigns of Juan II of Castile and Alfonso V
of Aragon (14161458), who were more interested in secular culture than in
religious matters. With the blessing of the new pope, Martin V, both kings tried
to restore the rights and wealth of the Jewish community, as much out of eco-
nomic as intellectual considerations, which might account for the increased
interest in the translations of Jewish religious and philosophical works.12

1.1 The Alba Bible


The first of these manuscripts that came to my attention was the Alba Bible.13
This illuminated manuscript of the Old Testament in Castilian was translated
from Hebrew and Aramaic, and in a few places from Latin. Accompanied by
commentaries that reference Jewish sources, the work resembles a volume of
the Miqraot gedolot in its form and content,14 except here the Jewish commen-
taries are sometimes followed by Christian ones. The translators good reputa-
tion as a scholar was apparently well known by the sponsor. Arragel worked in
Maqueda (Toledo) between 1422 and 1430 for Luis de Guzmn, Grand Master of
the Order of Calatrava, one of the three most important religious and military

11 Since Averroism taught that man can expect no reward in the afterlife, why should the
Jews suffer to preserve their faith if all beliefs are equal? In their sermons and their writ-
ings, Joseph Albo and Isaac Arama (late fifteenth century) combated the spread of this
philosophy which, according to them, was one of the major causes of Jewish apostasy in
Spain. See Daniel J. Lasker, Averroistic Trends in Jewish-Christian Polemics in the Late
Middle Ages, Speculum 55 (1980): 294304; Yitzhak Baer, A History of the Jews in Christian
Spain (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1978), 2:51015.
12 See Sonia Fellous, Toledo 14221433: La Bibla de Alba: De cmo Mos Arragel interpreta la
Biblia para el gran maestre de Calatrava (Paris: Somogy, 2001), 4749.
13 This manuscript was the subject of my thesis: Sonia Fellous, La Bible dAlbe: Mose
Arragel de Guadalajara: Contribution ltude des rapports entre Juifs et Chrtiens en
Espagne mdivale (PhD diss., Universit Lille 3 and cole Pratique des Hautes tudes,
V section, 1993); and of my books Tolde and Toledo. See also my articles in the compan-
ion to the facsimile, including Sonia Fellous, The Biblia de Alba and Its Times, in La
Biblia de Alba: An Illustrated Manuscript Bible in Castilian, ed. Jeremy Schonfield (Madrid:
Fundacin Amigos de Sefarad, 1992), 3548; The Biblia de Alba: Its Patron, Author, and
Ideas, in La Biblia de Alba, 4964; The Artists of the Biblia de Alba, in La Biblia de Alba,
6578; and Catalogue Raisonn of the Miniatures, in La Biblia de Alba, 79146.
14 See Esperanza Alfonso, et al., eds., Biblias de SefaradBibles of Sepharad (Madrid:
Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa, 2012), 28892, and illustration on 292.
Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations 207

orders of the Spanish Christian kingdoms.15 From the very beginning, Arragel
introduces himself as faithful to his religion. He sets out Maimonidess thir-
teen principles of faith to which he will refer in his work. He thanks Adonay
nuestro dios (Adonay our God) for the help He will bring him in this enter-
prise, a formulation which is a topos in Jewish prologues but nevertheless very
important here, as it situates Arragels translation among other Jewish works.
In the prologue, Arragel claims the authorship of his work, but his name is not
mentioned in the colophon of the manuscript (fols. 1r, 513v).16 Then he reveals
to his readers the details of his collaboration with two Christians, cousins of
the sponsorFriar Arias de Encinas, the superior of the Franciscan convent of
Toledo, and Vasco de Guzmn,17 archdeacon of the city of Toledo.
Another Franciscan, Friar Johan de Zamora, was probably put in charge of
the final examination of the translation. The unconventional circumstances
surrounding the preparation of the translation led Arragel to add a lengthy
prologue in which he included his entire correspondence with the Franciscans
and which he divided into three parts: the first one is devoted to the genesis
of the work; the second is a discourse on his method for the translation, fol-
lowed by a glossary; the third part is dedicated to the ceremony that took place
when the manuscript was brought to the Franciscan convent of Toledo for its

15 The Order of Calatrava was founded in 1158 by two Cistercian monks who participated
in the struggle against the Moors. It is one of the most illustrious Spanish religious and
military orders and played an important role in the Reconquista. See Francis Gutton,
La chevalerie militaire en Espagne: Lordre de Calatrava, Commission dHistoire de lordre
de Cteaux 4 (Paris: P. Lethielleux, 1955), 9397 in particular concerning Luis de Guzmn.
16 See Alba Bible, fol. 513v: Es complida esta obra de esta biblia de rromanar e de glos-
sar a seruicio de nuestro Seor Dios, [...]e a serviio del muy alto et noble Seor, muy
catholico con Dios, don Luys de Guzman maestre de la Caualleria e orden de Calatraua.
La cual se acabo en la su villa de Maqueda en viernes dos dias del mes de Junio, ao del
nasimiento de Jhesu xpo, de mill e quatroientos e treynta aos, e en la era del Sesar de
mill e cuatroientos e sesenta e ocho aos, e en la era del creamiento del mundo de inco
mill e ciento e nouenta aos; e en la era de Mahomad, de ochoientos e treinta e tres aos.
[...] E estaba el dicho Seor Maestre en la su villa de Pastrana, e el muy noble cauallero
don [blank] de Guzman Comendador mayor de Calatraua recogiendo muy mucha gente
para la gerra contra el rey de Aragon, e contra su hermano el rey de Nauarra. Plega a
muestro Seor Dios complirle al dicho seor maestre todos los sus buenos deseos, [...],
e en quanto a lo temporal el aya sienpre victoria sobre aquellos que el a Dios demandare,
como ayude adelante leuar la Corona de Castilla, e por causa suya la Casa et Caualleria de
Calatraua siempre puje en gloria. [...] amen, amen amen.
17 Vasco de Guzmn is mentioned as an owner or a translator of some books in the library of
the Marquis of Santillana during the same period. It is uncertain if this is the same man.
See Schiff, Santillane, 69.
208 Fellous

public examination. According to Francisco Javier Pueyo Mena,18 the Alba


Bible could have been kept for a time in the library of Lope Garca de Salazar
around 1471. Thereafter, the manuscript more or less disappeared until 1624,
when it was confiscated by the Inquisition.19
According to the prologue, Luis de Guzmn ordered an illuminated and
commented translation of the Hebrew Bible in the letter he sent to Arragel
(fol. 1r). Guzmn also wanted the manuscript to be accompanied by glosses
for two main reasons: una, que las biblias que oy sson falladas el su romane
es muy corrupto; segunda, que los tales como nos auemos nesesario la glosa
para los passos obscuros (first, because the Castilian of the Bibles in use is
very corrupted; second, because we need the gloss [to understand] the obscure
parts of the text) (fol. 2r).20
Guzmn did not specify which commentaries he wanted the translator to
use for these glosses, but he appealed to Moses Arragel because he had heard
about his erudition in Jewish science, meaning Jewish exegesis. Friar Arias
altered the project substantially by adding two requests to Guzmns initial
order. First, Arragel was instructed to choose Jewish commentaries that were
not known to Nicholas of Lyra, in other words, commentaries other than
Rashis. This suggests that Arias had some knowledge of the extent of rabbinic
literature either directly or through someone in his entourage. Second, since
Arias probably did not want this work to be a product exclusively of Jews, he
asked Arragel to include the commentaries of the Church Fathers whenever

18 See Francisco Javier Pueyo Mena, La Biblia de Alba de Mos Arragel en las Bienandanzas
e Fortunas de Lope Garca de Salazar, in Judasmo Hispano: Estudios en memoria de
Jos Luis Lacave Riao, ed. Elena Romero (Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones
Cientificas, 2002), 2:22742.
19 See Sonia Fellous, Dialogue et Prologue dans la Bible dAlbe, in Entrer en matire: Les
prologues, ed. Bernard Roussel and Jean-Daniel Dubois (Paris: Cerf, 1998), 35976; Fellous,
Tolde, 35657.
20 In this letter, Arragel, who was known for his scholarship in rabbinic exegesis and his
knowledge of Castilian, is addressed with respect and even with certain deference, and
his name is preceded by the word Rraby, indicating that he is recognized by his peers as
a scholar. See Alba Bible, Prologue, fol. 2r: Nos el Maestre de Calatrava enbiamos mucho
saludar a vos, rraby Mose Arragel, nuestro bassallo en la nuestra villa de Maqueda, (...).
Es nos dicho que soys muy sabio en la ley de los judios, e que ha poco que ende venistes
morar. (...) Rraby Mose: sabed que auemos cobdiia de vna biblia en rromane, glosada
e ystoriada, lo qual nos dizen que soys para la fazer assy muy bastante. See Fellous, Tolde,
8285.
Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations 209

Jews and Christians diverged on the interpretation of the scriptures.21 And


indeed, Christian glosses are added after the Jewish sources, mostly when the
subject is polemical. The prologue suggests that it was Ariass decision alone to
introduce the Christian commentaries. This is how the Alba Bible became the
only extant manuscript of the Bible that compares Jewish and Christian doc-
trines. The prologue describes the exact intellectual and religious context in
which this translation was prepared. The translation itself is a stylistic tour-de-
force that offers a version of the scriptures that is, at least at first sight, accept-
able to both Jews and Christians.
My work on the Alba Bible led me to seek out other translations of Hebrew
texts into Castilian characterized by Judeo-Christian collaboration (on any
level). None of them was as extraordinary as the Alba Bible, but the transla-
tions I have been able to consult reflect the deep influence of Jewish literature
and thought on contemporary Iberian culture and the penetration or the per-
sistence of Hebraisms in Castilian. Sometimes neologisms were created based
on Hebrew words to express concepts that had no equivalents in Castilian;
sometimes Hebrew syntax underlies the Castilian versions, indicating that the
translator followed the Hebrew original closely regardless of who the patron
of the work was.

21 Alba Bible, fols. 11v12r: el seor Maestre demanda esta obra, non por falta de sabios que
sean en la christiandat,...mas a fin de saber e veer e se enformar en la biblia de glosas
de los vuestros doctores modernos los que non alcano nin vido Niculao de Lyra, que en
quanto toca a los puntos e glosas que segund la egleja romana se deuen tener e escreuir e
poner, yo dello...vos yo dare registro de todo ello, de guisa que quando llegaredes al capi-
tulo sobre la opinion ebrea, pornedes lo que vos yo diere,...de las opiniones de la fe rro-
mana;...quando llegaredes al capitulo do non vos diere opinion de los latinos, vos muy
plenariamente podedes vuestras glosas poner. E en esto non auedes ningun miedo,...e
assy sy vos conplazer seruir vos al dicho sseor amades, assy vos podedes saluar de amas
dos nasiones....; printed in Biblia (Antiguo Testamento), traducida del hebreo al castel-
lano por Rabi Mos Arragel de Guadalajara, 14221433, ed. Antonio Paz y Meli and Julin
Paz (Madrid: Imprenta Artstica, 19201922), 1:1415.
210 Fellous

1.2 Guide for the Perplexed: BNE, MS 10289


This first and only translation22 of an abridged version of the Guide for the
Perplexed into the vernacular is the work of Pedro de Toledo,23 chaplain of
the Marquis of Santillana, canon in Toledo before becoming bishop of Malaga
(14871497).24 Pedro de Toledo was the son of Juan del Castillo, an apostate
Jew who was perhaps formerly named Juan el Viejo de Toledo, who converted
in 1391.25
Little more is known about Pedro de Toledo. Deborah Rosenblatt thinks
he is the master Pedro who was named alcalde y juez mayor of the Jews
of Toledo in 1395 by the archbishop of the city and the diocese.26 According
to Yitzhak Baer, De Toledo was the personal physician of the archbishop and
could have taken the name of his patron after his conversion. As a doctor he
might have been familiar with the medical treatises of Maimonides, but this
remains a speculation. Jos Mara Mills Vallicrosa, on the other hand, thought

22 This translation of the More nevukhim or Gua de los descarriados is mentioned in the
catalog of the library of the Counts of Benavente and in the ndice de Fernando Coln.
See ngel Canellas, Exempla scripturarum latinarum in usum scholarum: Pars altera
(Saragossa: Librera general, 1966), 11617, plate lxxvi; Elena E. Rodrguez Daz, La man-
ufactura del libro en la Castilla cristiana: Artesanos judos y conversos (ss. XIIIXV),
Gazette du livre mdival 33 (1998): 2934; Fernando Valera, Estudio preliminar, in
Maimnides, Gua de los descarriados: Tratado del conocimiento de Dios, trans. and ed.
Fernando Valera (Mexico City: Orin, 1947); Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa, Inventario
general de manuscritos de la Bibioteca Nacional, XV (1020111000) (Madrid: Biblioteca
Nacional de Espaa, 2001); Centro de Estudios y Actividades Culturales, El Marqus de
Santillana y su poca: Exposicin commemorativa del sexto centenario de su nacimiento
(13981998) (Madrid: Comunidad de Madrid, 1998), 3561; Jos Mara Rocamora, Catalogo
abreviado de los manuscritos de la biblioteca del Excmo. Senor duque de Osuna e Infantado
(Madrid: Fortanet, 1882), 4142, no. 162; Mario Schiff, La bibliothque, 42836, no. lxxx;
Esperanza Alfonso et al., Biblias de Sefarad, 32427.
23 See Klaus Reinhardt and Horacio Santiago-Otero, Biblioteca bblica ibrica medieval
(Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientficas, 1986), 26263; Maimonides,
Guide, ed. Lazar, xix.
24 See Freudenthal, Pour le dossier, 16772.
25 In 1416 he wrote an anti-Jewish treatise, Memorial sobre Jesucristo, on the refusal of the
Jews to recognize Jesus as the Messiah (Madrid, BNE, MS 9369). Pedro de Toledo is recog-
nized by some as the author of a dialogue written in 1433 (?), De causa ob quam angeli in
diversis loci similar esse non possunt. See Maimonides, Guide, ed. Lazar, xvi.
26 See Deborah Rosenblatt, Mostrador e enseador de los turbados: The First Spanish
Translation of Maimonidess Guide of the Perplexed, in Studies in Honour of M. J.
Benardete, ed. Izaak A. Lagnas and Barton Scholod (New York: Las Americas Publishing
Company, 1965), 4782.
Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations 211

that De Toledo was a Jew and Amrico Castro, a convert.27 In any case, if Pedro
de Toledo was already an apostate in 1419, he maintained strong ties to Jewish
culture and was very familiar with the work of Maimonides that he translated
from Hebrew. He also preserved in his translation a very large number of trans-
literations from Hebrew.
Pedro de Toledo wrote a prologue that is quite similar in style and content
to that of Moses Arragel and probably other prologues of the time introduc-
ing the translation of a literary work. He provides information on himself, his
patron, Maimonidess genealogy, his method of translation, and the works he
consulted. He states (fol. 1r):

En el nombre de dios todo poderoso yo maestre pedro de Toledo fijo de


maestre iohn del castillo fue rrogado e mandado por mj seor gomes
suares de figueroa fijo del muy alto cauallero don loreno suares de
figueroa maestre que fue de la muy onrrada a alta orden de la caualleria
de Santiago q romanase el muy altsimo libro del more q fiso el muy
famoso sabio Maestre moysen de Egipto el cortoui fijo del grande juez
rabi maymon de cordoua en la muy alta sienia e sapiencia de la phi-
losofia e meta fsica e delas profeias e ley santa de moysen.

Then comes the copy of a letter from Maimonides to his disciple Joseph ibn
Aknin (fol. 2r) and Maimonidess preface (fol. 2r6r). The translation of Part I
begins on folio 6r.
The work is mentioned in this preface as the more, the abbreviated Hebrew
title of the More nevukhim, and this is the only mention of Maimonides in
De Toledos work. As for the sponsor, Gmez Surez de Figueroa was Lord of
afra (Zafra) and Feria in Extremadura, in southwestern Castile; his father was
Master of the Order of Santiago, a religious and military order. According to
Moshe Lazar, Surez de Figueroa died in 1429, three years before the comple-
tion of the manuscript. It was completed under the patronage of his brother-
in-law,28 igo Lpez de Mendoza, Marquis of Santillana (13981458), who was
married to Surez de Figueroas sister; thus its presence in Santillanas library.
The Castilian translation was copied in Zafra and Seville between 1419 and
1432, almost at the same time as the Alba Bible (14221430 or 1433). The copy
was completed in Seville, in 1432, by the scribe Alfonso Prez de Cceres. It

27 See Jos Mara Mills Vallicrosa, Nuevas aportaciones para el estudio de los manuscritos
hebraicos de la Biblioteca Nacional de Madrid, Sefarad 3 (1943), 300301.
28 See Maimonides, Guide, ed. Lazar, xvxvi; Schiff, La bibliothque, 42844.
212 Fellous

took eight to eleven years for Moses Arragel to finish his work and thirteen
years for De Toledo to complete this abridged version of the Guide.
Alfonso Prez de Cceres signed the last part of the copy. The manuscript
passed through many hands, as evidenced by the marginal notes, before or
after joining the collection of the Duke of Osuna (former call number Plut. I lit
N. n7)29 and before entering the BNE. The title of the work is reported on folio
3r: El More en castellano traducido por el maestre Pedro de Toledo.
Three colophons and the incipit of the preface that we have already seen
give the names of the sponsor and the translator (fols. 1r, 49v, 90v, 141r) and
help us to track the phases of the copy and the translation. The first rubricated
colophon (fol. 49v) mentions the translator and the title of the work identified
by one transliterated Hebrew word alone, el more, signaling thereby the pop-
ularity of the work at the time. Moreover, the translator says he translated from
the Hebrew version. According to Moshe Lazar, Pedro de Toledo used Judah
al-Harizis version and sometimes Ibn Tibbons, but De Toledo does not specify
any of this. He only says, in the introduction, that he used four manuscripts,30
and in the colophon to Book I (fol. 49v), that he translated from Hebrew:

Dise maestre pedro de toledo aqui es la fin dela trasladaion q fise del
pmro libro del more de ebrayco a romane [...] La qual trasladaion fise
con muy grant trabajo que enl plogo q fise en comieno deste dicho libro
son contenidas. E si alguna error o errores enel ouiere i las emendare
algunt perfecto varon de dios aun galardn.

The second colophon, at the end of Book II, gives the same information, in
addition to a date and a city (fol. 90v):

Dize maestre Pedro de Toledo: aqui es la fin de la trasladaion de la


seconda parte del More en romane e geneciose oy viernes veynte e inco
dias [blank] en la villa afra ao del Seor de mill e quatroientos e diez
e nueve aos.

Book II was completed in the year 1419 in the town of Zafra, in Extremadura,
near Badajoz; the day is stated, Friday 25, then a space is left blank, leaving one
to wonder why the month was not mentioned. The final colophon at the end

29 See Rocamora, Catlogo, 4142, n 162.


30 E por quela v[uest]ra meret sea mas contenta, aviendo o venjendo algu[n]t maldezidor
q[ue] se faze sabio letrado, la vu[est]ra meret sea de mandar leer el capitulo del ebrayco
de qual qujer trasladaion de quatro q[ue] fasta oy son. (fol. 1v).
Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations 213

of Book III contains the only mention of the name of the scribe Alfonso de
Cceres (fol. 141r):

Aqu es el fin dela tercera pte del more. Onde es todo acabado dios sea
loado amen. i acabose vierrnes ocho dias del mes de febrero ao del
naamiento del ntro senor Ihu Xpo de mill i quatroientos i treyna i dos
aos enla muy noble ibdat de Seuilla el qual libro escrivio Alfonses de
Caeres vesino de la dicha ibdat. Dios sea loado por siempre amen.

Did Alfonso write the entire volume or only the third book? The beginning
of the manuscript was copied in Zafra and the previous two colophons do
not mention his name. The end of the book was copied in Seville, close to the
place where Alfonso Prez de Cceres the scribe lived31 (fig. 8.1). Could the
translator himself have copied the beginning of the manuscript? The death of
the sponsor, Gmez Surez de Figueroa, three years before the completion
of the manuscript and the patronage of the Marquis of Santillana could have
been the reason for this change. The only place where his genealogy is men-
tioned is in the incipit of the preface, as we have already seen, together with
the genealogy of Maimonides and Pedro de Toledo.

1.3 Sefer ha-kuzari: BNE, MS 17812


The anonymous copy of the Sefer ha-kuzari dates from a few decades later than
the Guide and the Alba Bible, according to Manuel Snchez Mariana.32 This
translation is also an abridged version that focuses on the didactic aspects of
the work, condensing the philosophical chapters and lingering over the theo-
logical and eschatological parts.
Neither the patron nor the copyist/translator is named, the manuscript
being incomplete. And the question remains as to whether this manuscript

31 According to Moshe Lazar, Alfonso Prez de Cceres wrote other manuscripts. I hope to
be able to locate them and include them in a future research project.
32 See Judah ha-Levi, El Cuzari, Edicion facsimil del Ms. 17812 (s. XV) de la Biblioteca Nacional,
ed. Antonio Jos Escudero Ros, with an introduction by Carlos del Valle, and epilogue by
Manuel Snchez Mariana (Madrid: Ladino, 1996); in Carlos del Valles introduction to this
edition, he presents a general study of the author and the text rather than an analysis of
the manuscript and its marginal annotations. Snchez Mariana, on the other hand, pro-
vides some information about its codicological aspects; see also Mills Vallicrosa, Nuevas
aportaciones, 300301, and the edition of Judah ha-Levi, Book of the Kuzari: A Book
of Proof and Argument in Defense of a Despised Faith: A 15th-Century Ladino Translation
(Ms. 17812, B.N. Madrid), ed. Moshe Lazar (Culver City, CA: Labyrinthos, 1990).
214 Fellous

is a copy of an earlier translation or the first translation into the vernacular of


the Kuzari.
The original work written in Arabic was translated into Hebrew by Judah ibn
Tibbon in 1167. There are forty-two medieval manuscripts of this Hebrew ver-
sion. Only ten manuscripts remain of another, almost contemporary Hebrew
version by Judah ben Isaac Cardinal.33 The Castilian text of the Kuzari in our
manuscript, as well as another Spanish text from the seventeenth century,
were translated from Ibn Tibbons version.34
The text of the Kuzari is missing in some parts of the manuscript because
of damaged folios (fols. 1rv, 7374). The fragmentary incipit (fol. 1r) begins:
Y cada un indivjduo tiene otros yndiujduos mediante los quales sea cabra su
generaion y ay alguno que sus cabras son perfectas y vino en perfecion. And
the end of the text reads as follows (fol. 165r): Te quelo dixo selomo en los
exenplos la lus del justo es como la lus del alua andando y el claresiendo fasta
con ponerse el dia.
The manuscript passed through several hands as evidenced by marginal
annotations from different periods. One of them added a little colophon in a
smaller module than that of the text but in the same script (fol. 165r) (fig. 8.2):
Tamose el libro gracias a nro seor ayudador e ynfluidor de la ienia y de la
graia bandito El amen con amen.
This very regular semi-cursive (or hybrid) hand in brown ink also added sev-
eral marginal comments (fols. 50r, 51r, 61v, 75v, 76r, until the end). These could
have been written by the main scribe, the sponsor, or any of the successive
owners.
Many other annotations characterized by the constant use of the as well
as numerous references to the Bible, the Talmud, and even the Zohar suggest
a Jewish owner. References to Boethiuss De consolatione philosophiaea very
popular book among Jewish readers in the Middle Ages due to its philosophi-
cal and poetic echoes of Ha-Levireinforce this impression.35 Other marginal
inscriptions in Latin (for instance in fols. 59r, 60v, 66r, 68, 69v, 70), in black ink,

33 See Charles Touati, Le Kuzari: Apologie de la religion mprise par Juda Hallevi (Paris:
Verdier, 1994), xi; Adam Shear, The Kuzari and the Shaping of Jewish Identity (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 2008), xiixiii and 121, and for the list of the manuscripts,
31718.
34 A translation by Jacob Abendana (16301695) was prepared in Amsterdam in 1663 and
reprinted several times; it was reedited in Madrid in 1910, in Buenos Aires in 1943, and
in Madrid again in 1979. For this most recent edition, see Judah ha-Levi, El Cuzar, trans.
Jacob Abendana (Madrid: Editora Nacional, 1979). Many commentaries on this work were
written between 1422 and 1714.
35 See Manuel Snchez Mariana, Eplogo, in Judah ha-Levi, El Cuzari, ed. Escudero Ros.
Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations 215

are added with a fine quill, in the same cursive used to add the title headings
(fol. 69). Other notes contain Latinisms and Hebraisms and annotations in
Castilian written in Hebrew script on the back of the last leaf. Among them is a
list of philosophical and religious works written in Latin in a cursive handwrit-
ing from the sixteenth century and one Hebrew inscription. Could the manu-
script have belonged to a Christian scholar or to a crypto-Jew before entering
the BNE?

1.4 Proverbios morales: BNE, MS 9216


This study includes the fifteenth-century copy of Proverbios morales36 for
a variety of reasons. Santob de Carrin (Shem Tov ben Isaac Ardutiel) was a
Castilian poet and troubadour. He was born around the end of the thirteenth
century at Carrin de los Condes,37 in Old Castile, whence his cognomen.
He lived during the reigns of Alfonso XI (13311350) and his son and succes-
sor, Pedro I (13501369), with both of whom he was in high favor. His work,
originally written in Castilian (using Latin script), contains a series of poems
about virtues and ethical and intellectual vices. The Proverbios morales, whose
original title in the BNE manuscript is Prohemio y carta, deal with the misfor-
tunes of the righteous and the rewards of the wicked.38 He was an opponent
of the apostate Abner de Burgos (12701340),39 and like Moses Arragel, he was
a committed Jew who never converted to Christianity. Shem Tov dedicated his

36 See the critical edition of Proverbios Morales, ed. Ciceri, 1318; Ignacio Gonzlez Llubera,
The Text and Language of Santob de Carrions Proverbios Morales, Hispanic Review
8 (1940): 11324; Gonzlez Llubera, A Transcription of MS C of Santob de Carrins
Proverbios Morales, Romance Philology 4 (1950): 21756.
37 See T. Anthony Perry, The Moral Proverbs of Santob de Carrin: Jewish Wisdom in Christian
Spain (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1987); John Zemke, Critical Approaches to the
Proverbios Morales of Shem Tov de Carrin: An Annotated Bibliography (Newark: Juan de
la Cuesta, 1997).
38 Shem Tov was also a translator of the Arabic poetry of Israel ha-Israeli, a disciple of Asher
ben Jehiel. Israel ha-Israeli was the author of Mitsvot zemaniyot. See Eleazar Gutwirth,
Oro de Ofir: El rabe y Don Shem Tov de Carrin, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 77 (2000),
27585.
39 Alfonso de Valladolid or Abner de Burgos or Alfonso de Burgos was a Jewish physician
who converted in 1321. He is the first Iberian apostate to formulate an ideological justi-
fication for conversion. He rejects the rationalist interpretations of the Torah and was
engaged in oral controversy with Jewish scholars. His More tsedeq is preserved in Castilian
with the title Mostrador de justicia. See Robert Chazan, Maestre Alfonso of Valladolid
and the New Missionizing, Revue des tudes juives 143 (1984): 8394; Gilbert Dahan, Les
intellectuels chrtiens et les juifs au Moyen ge (Paris: Cerf, 1990), 11922; Jeremy Cohen,
The Friars and the Jews: The Evolution of Medieaval Anti-Judaism (Ithaca: Cornell Univ.
216 Fellous

proverbios or coplas to King Alfonso XI, after the war he waged against the
Grand Master of Calatrava, and to Pedro I. Very popular among Jews40 and
Christians alike, the work survived in aljamiado. His poetry is quoted by both
Abraham Saba, the kabbalist, and the Marquis of Santillana, for whom Shem
Tov is one of the greatest troubadours in the country. He is the only Jewish poet
of the time whose verses were preserved in Spanish.
This particular text seems to have enjoyed some longevity since there are
four more copies from the fifteenth century in addition to the one in the BNE.
The other four manuscripts containing the Proverbios morales are: San Lorenzo
de El Escorial, Real Biblioteca, MS B.IV.21; Cambridge, University Library, MS
Add 3355 (in aljamiado); Madrid, Real Academia Espaola (RAE), RM 73; and
Cuenca, Archivo diocesano, legajo 6, N 125, which comprises relatively few
verses that survived in an inquisitorial record.
The manuscript in the BNE (MS 9216, fols. 61r81v), dated 1426, the Marquis
of Santillanas copy, is contemporary with the translations of the Alba Bible
and the Guide for the Perplexed and is written in a hybrid scriptbastarda tex-
tualsimilar to that of Arragels Bible and the Guide. It is a partial copy of the
text, and it is included in a collection of texts from the fifteenth century. The
title Libro de los sabios judios was written on a front page (fol. I bis r) in light
brown ink, and a rubricated title, estos dichos de sabios, was also added on
the first folio (fol. 1r).41 The text of the coplas is composed of stanzas of four
heptasyllables with alternating rhyme (abab), known in Spanish as cuartetas.
This manuscript, which was the only one consulted for this study,42 contains
627 stanzas and is surpassed in length only by the manuscript in El Escorial.43

Press, 1986), 12969; Baer, A History, 1:32754; Andr Vauchez and Catherine Vincent, eds.,
Dictionnaire encyclopdique du Moyen ge Chrtien, 2 vols. (Paris: Cerf, 1998).
40 His piyyut, Ribbono shel olam bi-reoti behurotai, was added to the Sephardi liturgy of Yom
Kippur.
41 See Antonio Paz y Meli, La Biblioteca fundada por el Conde de Haro en 1455, Revista de
Archivos, Bibliotecas y Museos 1 (1897), 161. I hope to deal in more detail with this manu-
script in a future project that will focus in particular on why the title libro de los sabios
judos was added on the front page and by whom.
42 The modern editions are preceded by a prologue in prose that advocates the dissemina-
tion of knowledge, which is also present in BNE, MS 9216. The subject of this text is the
need to broaden understanding and to become detached from material things. Shem Tov
concluded with a defense of the Scriptures, but he also reminds the king of the debt owed
to his father, which he presumably wished to collect.
43 The Cambridge manuscript has 560 stanzas and the El Escorial manuscript, 689. The El
Escorial manuscript title is Comienzan los versos del rabi don Santo al Rey Don Pedro,
the incipit of the coplas is Sennor Rey, noble, alto, Oy este sermon Que vyene desyr
Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations 217

The fragment held in Cuenca deserves further comment. It is a quire of


15 folios, acephale, and contains only 219 stanzas. It was copied by Ferrn
Verde, accused of being a Judaizer by the Inquisition in 1492 for reading the
Proverbios. While in jail, Ferrn wrote from memory the extracts found in this
manuscript in order to try to demonstrate to the inquisitors that the coplas
de rrabi were not condemnable. Their order does not correspond to that of
any of the manuscripts, but according to Marcella Ciceri it is close to that
of the El Escorial manuscript. The incipit is Si no es lo que quiero (v. 107),
and the explicit, Y ansy quedo besando las manos de vuestra reverencia.44
Given that Ferrn Verde was imprisoned for reading the Proverbios, it is clear
that the work was considered by the Inquisition in the late fifteenth century as
a condemnable Jewish work. Yet it was popular enough in the first decades of
the same century to have generated several copies.
According to Marcella Ciceri, the Proverbios as found in the manuscripts
of El Escorial and the BNE are alike in content but differ in wording; more-
over, the latter consists of 627 coplas, the former, of 689.45 The BNE manuscript
has an introduction by an anonymous author written in prose (fols. 61r62r).
There, a declaration echoes Arragels prologue in the Alba Bible; the author
explains that he will introduce glosses to the coplas that might seem obscure,
exactly the formulation of Luis de Guzmn when explaining his expectations
for Arragels commentaries: nos auemos nesesario la glosa para los passos
obscuros (fol. 2r). In his prologue, Shem Tov sometimes uses the wording used
by Arragel to introduce his glossary en algunas partes que paresen escuras
(fol. 61v). Arragel insisted in his own prologue, in the glossary in particular, on
the need to understand the real meaning of the words and criticizes polemics

Santob Judio de Carrion, and the conclusion, Deo graias. There are 609 stanzas in the
acephalous manuscript of the RAE, whose explicit deo gratias et virgini immaculate et
anne eius genetrici beate and script, a cursive livresque, point to a Christian scribe and
sponsor.
44 See Proverbios morales, ed. Ciceri, 1517, 2122, 180.
45 BNE, MS 9216 was copied by George Ticknor in his History of Spanish Literature (London:
Murray, 1855), 3:42236; The El Escorial manuscript was published for the first time, with
a collation of the BNE text and under the title Proverbios morales del rabbi Don Sem
Tob, in Poetas castellanos anteriores al s. XV, Biblioteca de Autores Espaoles 58 (Madrid:
Rivadeneyra, 1864), 33172. Several verses have been translated into German by Meyer
Kayserling in his Sephardim: Romanische Poesien der Juden in Spanien. Ein Beitrag zur
Literatur und Geschichte der spanisch-portugiesischen Juden (Hildesheim: G. Olms, 1972);
and also by Johannes Fastenrath, Immortellen aus Toledo: Romanzen und Sonette (Leipzig:
E. H. Mayer, 1869).
218 Fellous

based on false interpretations (fol. 15v).46 He defends himself from those that
would read this text and criticize it only because they do not understand it as
they should: mal entender busca varaja; e con entender las partes e la lengua,
es escusada toda habuminasion e seran conformes. And this echoes Shem
Tovs prologue: E esto quiero dezir y trabajar en declarer con la ayuda de Dios
para algunos que pueden ser que leeran e non entenderan sin que otri ge las
declare como algunas vezes la he ya visto esto. In the incipit of his prologue,
Shem Tov mentions the literary model he will follow in his work:

Come qeria que dieze salamon i dise verdat nel libro de los prouerbios
qen acrecieta ienia acreienta dolor pero que yo entyendo q aesto qd
llama dolor que es trabajo del coraon i del entendimi[ento]...

And in the explicit, he explains the form (fol. 61ra):

Por quanto syn dubda las dichas trovas son muy notable escritura que
todo ome la deviera de corar en esta fue la entenio del sabio raby que los
fizo por q escritura rimada es mejor de corada. Que no la q va por testo
llano e dize asy el prologo de sus rymas es veynte i tres coplas fasta do
quiero desyl del mundo.

In the incipit (where the initial S is missing) Shem Tov addresses the king and
signs his work (fol.62r):

[S]eor rey noble alto / Oy este sermn / Que viene desyr sto [santob] /
Judo de carrio // Comunalmente trovado / De glosas moral mente / De la
filosofa sacado / Segut aq va sygiente.

Just as Arragel did in 1422, Shem Tov claims his Jewishness in the incipit and
reaffirms it in the explicit, whose last stanza was written in a larger module
(fol. 81v) (fig. 8.3):

E la merced q el noble / su padre prometio / La terrna como cunple / Al


santob el judo // Aqu acaba el rab / Don santob dios SSea / Loado.

This work was composed in Castilian for none other than Pedro I of Castile by
a renowned Jewish scholar imitating the style of the Proverbs. The high level of
the language, in addition to the works popularity in the fifteenth century, led

46 See Fellous, Toledo, 15152 and note 379.


Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations 219

me to include this text in the present study, although it is prior to the others
in its composition and is not a translation. Indeed, the fact that all the extant
copies are from the fifteenth century, even though the Proverbios morales was
considered a Jewish workso Jewish that the Inquisition decreed its reading
condemnable at the end of the centurygives us a better understanding of
the intellectual milieu of this period.
The BNE manuscripts of the Proverbios and the Guide both come from the
collection of the Marquis of Santillana,47 and both are written in the same
script, a hybrid script (bastarda textual), which is one of the guidelines of my
research. The script of the Alba Bible, in Latin characters, bears the mark of
Jewish scribes who were used to writing Hebrew, as the Latin letters are sus-
pended from the ruled line, in accordance with contemporary Sephardi scribal
practices in Hebrew manuscripts.48 Evidence of Jewish scribal practice in the
copies of the other works discussed here remains to be determined, but some
characteristics common to all four works can be observed and will be devel-
oped below.

2 Material Approach

2.1 The Alba Bible


The Alba Bible49 was, until 1992, considered a Christian Bible produced in
a workshop of scribes with the collaboration of Toledan painters. However,
paleographic analysis indicates that it was copied in its entirety by scribes
used to writing Hebrew; semantic analysis offers further proof for the same

47 At an unknown date the BNE manuscript of the Proverbios entered the Library of the
Count of Haro, but some marginal inscriptions seem to indicate that the manuscript
belonged to a different owner at least until the sixteenth or the seventeenth century.
48 See ngel Canellas, Exempla. The handwriting in this manuscript is similar to that of BNE,
MS 10289; see also Malachi Beit-Ari, Hebrew Codicology: Tentative Typology of Technical
Practices Employed in Hebrew Dated Medieval Manuscripts, rev. ed. (Jerusalem: Israel
Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1981), 7576.
49 There are only fourteen manuscripts of the Bible in the Castilian vernacular, many of
them fragmentary. Most are kept in San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Real Biblioteca, listed
by the shelfmark I.j followed by a number; another one is BNE, MS 10288; another
incomplete Bible is in Madrid, Real Academia de la Historia, MS 87; and the Alba Bible,
in Madrid, Archivo y Biblioteca de la Casa de Alba. San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Real
Biblioteca, I.j.6 is from the thirteenth century. Most of the others were written between
the late fourteenth century and the mid-fifteenth. Three are complete: two manuscripts
in El Escorial (I.j.34) and the Alba Bible.
220 Fellous

c onclusion. Jews also performed part of the illumination and participated in


the development of the iconography.50
The script used in the Alba Bible is characterized by the use of cursive
strokes, which makes it very similar to that of BNE, MS 10289, containing the
Guide. I would therefore suggest describing the script of the Alba Bible with
the same term used by ngel Canellas, which is bastarda of Hispanic style.51
The bar of the d is inclined to the left; the s is very similar to the f, without
the transversal bar, and dips well below the line extending into the interlinear
space, except for in the middle or at the end of a word, when it is placed above
the line and its loops are often fully closed; j is a simple straight bar that dips
below the line; the cedilla in is placed well below the letter; and the shaft of
the h curves down into the interlinear space toward the left. Nevertheless, the
script, in brown ink, is suspended from the top line of ruling for the entire text:
prologue, Bible, commentaries, rubricated or gilded captions and titles. Iberian
Hebrew manuscripts inherited this tradition, which was exported from the
East and perpetuated by Jewish scribes in the Peninsulaand even in exile
until the invention of printing. However, this is the only manuscript in Latin
characters, to my knowledge, that presents this feature. No professional scribe
in Latin seems to have had a hand in the copy, and the calligraphy comes from
the hand of a professional in Hebrew script. It took at least eight years, from
1422 to 1430, for the biblical text and comments to be copied, and yet the entire
manuscript, from beginning to end, is surprisingly homogeneous. For example,
folios 60r and 100r illustrate the technique of suspending the letters from the
ruling in the biblical text as well as to the glosses and captions (fig. 8.4).
The caption above the scene representing Moses facing the angel at the
burning bush (Exod. 3:2) is copied in rubricated ink, and the caption above the
miniature representing the sacrifice of two tied goats to illustrate the sacrifices
of Yom Kippur (Lev. 16:68) is copied in gold ink. In both cases, the writing is
suspended from the ruled line traced in ink. It should also be noted that, in
the golden caption, the name of God is left in Hebrew in the transliterated
form Adonay.
There are almost no marginal additions except in the prologue. Nevertheless,
several contemporary annotations written in a light-brown ink comment on
the translation and present a Christian interpretation. They were probably
inserted by one of the collaborators involved in the project, Friar Arias de
Encinas or Friar Johan de Zamora, to restore some balance in a text consid-

50 See Fellous, Tolde, 34043.


51 See Canellas, Exempla, 11677, plate lxxvi. The script of this manuscript looks like that of
BNE, MS 10289.
Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations 221

ered by both too attached to the Jewish tradition, as reflected in an annota-


tion stating that the Christians thought God was at the burning bush and not
the angel as translated and represented in the miniature and according to the
Hebrew Bible (fig. 8.5).52 These paleographical details are consistent with the
technique of Jewish scribes trained in Hebrew. However, the question remains:
Was this script used exclusively by Jewish scribes writing in the vernacular in
the Iberian Peninsula? Or could it possibly be a technical choice intended to
identify this translation as both sacred and profane? Sacred because originally
in Hebrew and profane because now in vernacular.53

2.2 Guide for the Perplexed: BNE, MS 10289


The codex54 written on paper measures 410 mm 279289 mm (290298 mm
200201 mm) and is composed of II + (I) + 141 + II folios.55 The text is framed
in two columns of 3845 lines each (4045 lines at the beginning, 3839 at the
end), written in black ink lightening to dark brown. Nine quires are composed
of 16 sheets, except for I1+16 and IX12. Catchwords at the end of each quire con-
sist of one or two words written horizontally and placed in a double frame
section (ex. fols. 49v, 65v). Brief annotations in brown ink, contemporary with
the copy, are added throughout the manuscript. Ruling is set in lead pencil,
and pricking is visible. Vertical ruling of 1 + 2 + 1 lines and only 1 + 1 horizontal
lines still remain delimitating the frame of the justification traced in the red
color. The beginning of the manuscript is damaged; several folios are detached
from the quires and some have been restored. Remains of heels or reinforce-
ments at the seams (fols. 6, 89, etc.) are visible, especially in the first quire
(fols. 117). The manuscript is in better condition thereafter. A flyleaf was
pasted on the last page of the manuscript.
The same type of hybrid script or bastarda56 is used here as in the Alba
Bible. In the few places where horizontal ruling is appreciable, the writing is
suspended, as in folios 69v70r, 75r and 78v, but it is not suspended in folios
83r and 88r. Lines are sleek and rounded, and certain letters sometimes extend
below the ruling line in the lower margin to form a decorative shape (fols. 40r,

52 See Fellous, Tolde, 14749.


53 For further details on the codicological and paleographical aspects of the manuscript,
see Adrian Keller, The Making of the Biblia de Alba, in La Biblia de Alba, ed. Schonfield,
14756; Fellous, Toledo, 10919.
54 See Canellas, Exempla, 11617, note 31, plate lxxvi; Rodrguez Daz, La manufactura del
libro; Valera, Estudio preliminar.
55 Folio III at the beginning is detached from the binding.
56 According to ngel Canellass terminology; Exempla, 11677, plate lxxvi.
222 Fellous

41r [last line], 42r). This practice appears especially on folios 2642 and much
less frequently thereafter. The manuscript was written over a period of thirteen
years, and the script of the scribe could have changed, unless a second scribe
intervened after 1419, the date of the second colophon (fol. 90v). There is a
watermark representing a crown on the fifth wire-line at the bottom center of
the page (fols. 49, 140).
The manuscripts illumination includes full vegetal borders and decorated
initials. Luxurious at the beginning, the ornamentation becomes less sophis-
ticated after folio 5 and much cruder from folio 123 on. Pages 1 and 2 contain
the translators and authors prologues framed in two columns, each enclosed
by a border made of blue, red, and gold bars and surrounded by decorative
acanthus leaves proliferating in the margins. The borders are decorated on the
two long sides of the frame on folio 1r, and on all four sides on folio 2. Beautiful
golden and colored initialsalternating blue and redare adorned with plant
motifs. A decorated initial on a golden background is painted in blue, orange,
and pink by the same hand as the one that did the outer border of the same
folio (1r). Elongated foliage painted in blue, pink, and orange alternately are
punctuated by golden leaves and circles enhanced with fine white lines. The
two columns of text are framed by blue and pink alternated I stripes, figured
out with gold and embellished with white scrolled foliage. They end in prolifer-
ating foliage in the French style in the three margins (top, bottom and interior).
On folio 2r, two initials are decorated on a gold background in the French style
(as on fol. 1r). The text of each column is framed with alternating blue and pink
bands along a golden complete border adorned with vegetal scrolls rooted in
the border and evolving as rounded foliage, executed in the same style.
Beginning with folio 5r there are large, bright alternating red and blue ini-
tials (up to 4 lines). Beginning with folio 98r (Book III, chapter VII), larger
alternating red and purple initials on filigree background are introduced (fols.
98r, 99v, 100v) (fig. 8.1). From folio 123r to 135r, initials are smaller (up to 2 or
3 lines). Blue is used for larger initials, and red, blue, or green for the smaller
ones. Many passages, as well as initials, titles, colophons, and numbers of chap-
ters are rubricated (fols. 40v, 49v, 90v91r). Also rubricated are the pilcrows
added after the copy, duplicating the ones written in the ink of the copy; some-
times two parallel diagonal lines have been added to the pilcrows or the diago-
nal lines accompanying them to distinguish them from the text.
This decoration seems to confirm the hypothesis that there were two differ-
ent sponsors. More luxurious at the beginning, the decoration must have been
finished under other, less generous auspices. The original Mudjar binding has
been restored. The leather covering the wooden boards bears traces of blind-
Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations 223

tooling on the two short sides of the original torn binding. There are five nerves
on the spine.
The manuscript comes from the library of the Duke of Osuna, with an old
call number, plut. I lit N. n7, followed by 42 inscribed in a circle (fol. Iv,
top right); this number may refer to the manuscripts inventory number before
entering the collection of the duke and the BNE. There is also a former call
number from the BNE (olim KK.9) and stamps on folios Iv, 1r, 50r, 8r, 15r, 26r,
40r, 87r, 98r, 121r, 134r, 141r, 140v.57 On the inside of the front cover, a modern
label is stuck in the upper left corner inscribed with the current shelf num-
ber of the manuscript: MSS 10289 and 10289 KK.9 in pencil. A particular note,
maybe an initialling, is present on folio 113v.
The foliation begins at folio 1r; it is of later date and inscribed in Roman
numerals and light brown ink in the upper margin between the two columns.
Another modern numbering was added in pencil in the upper right corner, in
Arabic numerals.
The trace of another, barely visible numbering system (maybe of the
quires?) can be seen in the bottom margin beginning on folio I. The signature
of the quires is visible in the lower margin of the recto, starting with the second
quire (fol. 19r) and formed by a letter and a number: B1. These signatures are
not fully trimmed and still visible up to folio 89.
The manuscript has many additions and marginal and interlinear annota-
tions written in two or three different hands. The first hand, a regular script
in the same ink used by the scribe, comments more specifically on the trans-
lation itself and extends throughout the manuscript. It explains the words
transliterated from Hebrew and clarifies them with a brief definition. Another
handa denser cursive in black ink that is slightly later than the copyhas
made interlinear annotations up to folio 20v. According to Mario Schiff, this
reader harshly criticizes the translation from a linguistic point of view. On folio
6r, and perhaps also on 12r, a third hand can be detected. The marginal com-
mentaries were added after the painting of the borders, but they seem to have
preceded the gilding of the margins (as in fol. 1r), since the gold encroaches
on the marginal text. Traces of Arabic and Hebrew appear in the outer lateral
margins. The words that are discussed in the margins by the commentator are
highlighted in the text with three points.

57 Rocamora, Catlogo, 4142, no. 162.


224 Fellous

2.3 Sefer ha-kuzari: BNE, MS 17812


This manuscript measuring 280 210 mm (190196 134142 mm)58 has II +
165 + II folios and is only slightly damaged. The manuscript has been restored,
which makes counting the quires difficult. The text is written in two columns,
wider towards the outer margin59 and denser in the first sheet (278280
210214 mm), and is placed between two lines of ruling. The script tends to
cursive and could be defined as a semi-cursive, or bastarda of Hispanic style
(fourteenthfifteenth century). Round and curved, it is typical of Castilian
manuscripts of the fifteenth century, although it was already being used in the
fourteenth.60 The dark-brown, almost black ink contains ferrous sulfate that
makes it corrosive (fols. 6, 7, 9, 11, 157, 163, 164). The ruling by stylus is overlined
with lead pencil (1 + [1 + 1] + 1 vertical lines and one more for written horizontal
lines). The number of lines varies from 23 to 36.61 Pricking is noticeable near
the justification that does not entirely perforate the paper: four prickings in
the upper margin and in the lower, and in the center of the page (1 + 1) + (1 + 1).
The text is partly damaged (fol. 1rv, 7374). Wormholes are visible.
Space was left for decorated initials but most of them were never finished.
An old foliation is inscribed in ink in the center of the bottom margin, maybe
contemporary with the copy. An error of foliation appears beginning at
folio 81. Another modern foliation was added in pencil at the top of the folios.
The manuscript was clipped by the binder in some places.
Judging by the watermarks identified by Snchez Mariana (similar to
Briquet 10713, 3670, 10708), the manuscript can be dated between 1475 and
1489.62 However, even if those dates are confirmed, the Castilian translation
might be closer to the third quarter or to the middle of the fifteenth century.
The binding, in beige to light-brown leather, is decorated with blind-tooling in
imitation of the Renaissance style. It was probably made when the manuscript
entered the BNE. The manuscript was acquired in the nineteenth century
by the famous Arabist, scholar, and bibliophile Pascual de Gayangos (Seville

58 Beginning, 190191 139142 mm; middle and end, 191196 134139 mm.
59 6162 mm (int) and 65 mm (ext).
60 See Manuel Snchez Mariana, Eplogo, in Judah ha-Levi, El Cuzari, ed. Escudero Ros.
61 There are 3536 written lines for 36 ruling lines on fol. 3r; 30 lines on fols. 712r; 26 lines
on average. The number of lines varies even between the two columns on the same page
(which was probably intended to be decorated).
62 The watermarks are: (1) Hand with a star, similar to Briquet 10713 (fol. 14), dated 147889;
(2) scissors similar to Briquet 3670 (fol. 70), dated 145060; (3) hand with flower and oth-
ers similar to Briquet 10708, dated 1478. See Briquet Online, sterreichische Akademie
der Wissenschaften, accessed August 1, 2013, http://www.ksbm.oeaw.ac.at/_scripts/php/
BR.php.
Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations 225

1809London 1897).63 His library was purchased by the state in 1899 and the
manuscript entered the BNE, which affixed its red rectangular stamp (fol. 1r).
The scribe added some marginal annotations in Castilian in a script of
smaller size. Other annotations by two or three different hands, one prob-
ably contemporary, suggest that the manuscript belonged to Jews only until
the addition of the Latin title headings. Some folios are covered with marginal
glosses. They usually involve the translation and tend to clarify the meaning of
words sometimes left in Hebrew (fols. 123, 128, etc: goya, nesica, horbana,
Adonay, etc.). Were they added by the translator or were they inserted at the
initiative of the scribe? If the latter, he knew Hebrew and was able to translate
it into Castilian.
A Castilian commentary inscribed with a wider pen in gray ink in a
fifteenth-century cursive (fols. 71, 68v, 65r, 60v, 75r) could be from the hand of
a Jew, as the Castilian text is full of Hebraisms; the same hand probably wrote
with a finer pen on folios 57v, 58r, 73v. On folio 73v, some notes in Castilian from
the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century are added in brown ink. There are
other cursive inscriptions in both Castilian and Latin that could be from the
sixteenth century. Another cursive appears in the upper margin of folio 51v. On
folio 165r, three lines are written in Castilian with Hebrew characters in light-
brown ink. Some marginal notes are in a humanist script (sixteenthseven-
teenth century). Marginal Latin cursive inscriptions in black ink (fols. 59r, 60v,
66r, 68, 69v, 70) are written with a fine pen; this is the same hand that added
the title headings (fol. 69). These notes demonstrate that the manuscript had
several readers and at least two owners, the first one and Gayangos. A list of
books written in gray ink on folio 165v has yet to be deciphered.

63 Pedro Roca, who apparently did not recognize the work, wrote the title Exposicin y
declaracin de la secta judaica in his catalogue of the manuscripts that belonged to
Gayangos: Exposicin y declaracin de la secta judaica. Dialogo entre un rey et un filo-
sofo de autor indudablemente judo. Es del siglo XV. 165 h., fol. falto de principio. Perg.
Pedro Roca, Catlogo de los manuscritos que pertenecieron a D. Pascual de Gayangos, exis-
tentes hoy en la Biblioteca Nacional (Madrid: Tip. de la Revista de archivos, bibliotecas y
museos, 1904), no. 985. See also Pascual de Gayangos, Catalogue of the Manuscripts in the
Spanish Language in the British Museum, 4 vols. (London: Trustees of the British Library,
18771893); Rocamora, Catlogo, 313, note 7; Mills Vallicrosa, Nuevas aportaciones, 300
301; Ha-Levi, Book of the Kuzari, ed. Lazar.
226 Fellous

2.4 Proverbios morales: BNE, MS 9216


The manuscript includes four texts,64 the third of which is the Proverbios of
Shem Tov de Carrin (fols. 6181v). The restored manuscript written on paper
has III + II + 191 + III folios and measures 286 205211 mm (198206
156165 mm, and 211214 148154 mm from fol. 33). The text is arranged in
two columns, of 32 to 33 (prologue) lines each. The Proverbios are made up of
four-verse stanzas with each column containing eight stanzas, or sixteen per
page. A rubric at the end of each chapter announces the title and the num-
ber of the next chapter. The Spanish hybrid scriptsimilar to the Alba Bible
and De Toledos Guideis characterized by the following: the bar of the d is
inclined to the left; the s is very similar to the f, without the transversal bar,
and dips well below the line, and when placed in the middle or at the end of a
word, s is placed above the line and its loops are often fully closed; j is a simple
straight bar dipping below the line; and g dips below the line and makes a loop
up toward left. The script is suspended from the ruled line in folios 1v2r and
73rv.
The ink is light brown at the beginning and darker and corrosive begin-
ning at folio 37, damaging folio 80. The script on folios 6181 and 8389 is
quite similar. Ruling, made with a stylus, is almost invisible now, tracing 1 +
(1 + 1) + 1 vertical lines and 1 + 1 horizontal lines. Foliation is in the upper right
corner in Roman numerals. The initials are missing at the beginning of the
prologue and at the beginning of the stanzas (fols. 61r and 62r); a blank space
was left for an adorned letter of larger module (3 lines high), which was never
put in. There are blank sheets on folios 56r60v, 82rv, 91v93v, in addition to
the III modern pages added during the restoration of the binding.
On folio Ir, the title libro de los sabios judos was written by the scribe
or very soon after the copy of the text. The binding is in Bordeaux leather, on
cardboard. The spine has five entrenerfs, each decorated with two flowers. At
the center of the front and back covers an oval pattern embellished with a
double contour of plant foliage is decorated with a three- or four-leaf clover
tooled into the leather. The manuscript, formerly in the library of the Count de
Haro, entered the BNE, where it received the call number Olim B6.82 and two
different stamps, the older red one, and the more-recent purple one. A modern

64 (1) Libro de los cien captulos, fols. 14v; (2) Libro del consejo e de los consejos, fols. 556
[Pedro Gmez Barroso]; (3) Sem Tob de Carrin, Proverbios morales, fols. 6181v; (4) Libro
de la Consolacion de Espaa, fols. 8391. See Gonzlez Llubera, The Text; and Gonzlez
Llubera, A Transcription.
Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations 227

label is inscribed 4R16 (fol. Iv). No marginal annotations have been made in
the Proverbios.65

3 The Translations

The three translated texts presented here have in common an original text
from Jewish literature, translated into Castilian from Hebrew by Jewish or
convert translators. They are characterized by a large number of translitera-
tions and Hebraisms left in the text, either with or without explanation. In the
Guide there are marginal notes explaining and sometimes translating some of
these transliterations, whereas in the Alba Bible, a more ambitious project, the
translator wrote a glossary in which he provides definitions of new words or
transliterations, which makes sense since the sponsor is Christian. In the trans-
lation, however, of the Sefer ha-kuzari, where transliterations are even more
numerous, no marginal notes elucidate the sometimes esoteric or obscure
vocabulary for an uninformed reader. This leaves no doubt that the manuscript
was intended for a Jew and a scholar. What follows is an analysis of some of
these transliterations and neologisms.

3.1 The Alba Bible


The translation of the Alba Bible was the subject of a previous research project
of mine.66 Nevertheless, some examples will be recalled here to support the
comparison with the other translations considered in this article.
In the Alba Bible, the use of certain words points to the Jewish tradition of
biblical translation. Arragel translates such terms for the first occurrence and
transcribes for subsequent occurrences, sometimes playing on the homoph-
ony of the original word in Hebrew and a similar-sounding word in Castilian.
An example is the translation of the Hebrew almah in Isaiah 7:14. In choos-
ing the Spanish word alma (soul) instead of the more-literal virgen (virgin),
which had been written and then erased in the manuscript, the translator
takes advantage of a synecdoche connecting the abstract meaning of alma
a soulto a young female. Alma invokes the notion of purity and there-
fore implies virginity for Christians, while it preserves the same word sounds

65 Some marginal annotations in a very different script, possibly from the sixteenth or sev-
enteenth century, are found in the margins of the other texts included in this manuscript.
66 See Fellous, Tolde, 12753.
228 Fellous

through transliteration of the original Hebrew almah for Jews.67 The problem
of translation, which reflects the fundamental opposition between the two
dogmas, was bypassed here; Arragels rendering has the advantage of making
the reading acceptable for both religions.
The various names of God in the Alba Bible are transliterated Elohim
(), Adonay ebaoth () most often transcribing the tsade
( )with a or the transcription of the Hebrew reading Adonay ().
Nevertheless, the words Dios (God) and El Seor (The Lord) are also used.
It must be noted that, in general, the words that are not translated but trans-
literated are defined in Moses Arragels glossary included in the prologue
(fig. 8.6). The beginning of Genesis (1:13) offers some very characteristic
examples of his method of translation:

En el principio crio el Seor los ielos e la tierra. E la tierra era vana e


vazia e tenebra sobre fazes del abismo. E el spiritu de del [sic] Seor era
rretraydo sobre fazes de las aguas. Dixo el Seor: fecha sea lux, e fecha
fue lux.

El Seor here renders the plural form of the name of God Elohim in the singu-
lar; los ielos renders the Hebrew shamayim respecting the plural and mov-
ing away from the Latin caelum. E la tierra is consistent with the Hebrew,
whereas the Latin uses the emphatic conjunction autem (terra autem). Vana e
vazia, here as in the Guide, is a parallel translation to the Latin inanis et vacua.
The same expression, vana y vazya, will figure in the Ferrara Bible.68 The
word tenebra renders the singular Hebrew hoshekh, as does escuridad in
the Ferrara Bible, while the Latin chooses the plural tenebre. Similarly sobre
fazes follows the plural Hebrew al pne and differs from the singular Latin
super faciem; abismo and spiritu both follow the Latin abyssi and spiritus. In
contrast, era rretraydo (was removed) is an original version that differs from

67 See Fellous, Catalogue Raisonn of the Miniatures, ill. 231; Fellous, Tolde, 195200;
Biblia, ed. Paz y Meli, vol. 2, Isaiah, gloss 95.
68 The Ferrara Bible was probably compiled, at least in part, from materials translated by
and circulating among Jews from as far back as the thirteenth or fourteenth century. It
was published by Abraham Usque and Yom Tob Attias in Ferrara in 1553 and is very faith-
ful to the Hebrew syntax. It has different editions for Jews and Christians, diverging in
particular on the translation of the word almah (Isa. 7:14). In Christian editions, virgen
is used, whereas moa or alma is used in the Jewish editions of the marrano communi-
ties of Amsterdam. See Stanley Rypins, The Ferrara Bible at Press, The Library, 5th ser., 10
(1955): 25658; Actas del primer simposio de estudios sefardies, ed. Jacob Hassan (Madrid:
Instituto Arias Montano, 1970).
Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations 229

the Hebrew merahefet (hovering) and the Latin ferebatur (was brought) and
moves away from both Jewish and Christian exegesis. De del Seor repro-
duces the Latin genitive Dei, but the addition of the preposition de is a calque
translation of the Hebrew construct ruah Elohim. Sobre fazes de las aguas
is literally the Hebrew al-pne ha-mayim, respecting both plurals. The preposi-
tion al (in Latin super) is translated sobre in the Castilian as in all Judeo-
Spanish Bibles.
The translator (and scribe?) follows the Hebrew and rabbinical commentar-
ies closely. The systematic preservation in Castilian of the grammatical number
in Hebrew is the hallmark of a Jewish translator. These examples demonstrate
that the translation is faithful to the meaning, syntax, and phrasing of the
Hebrew. Its adaptation in Romance reflects choices that are generally intended
to clarify the biblical text, sometimes through semantic borrowings from Latin.
Moses Arragel did not want to write a calque translation of the Hebrew text,
but rather to produce a text that was as consistent as possible with the original
and comprehensible for a Spanish reader, with many paraphrastic additions.
His desire not to betray the original text leads to a very close translation of the
Hebrew where the intelligibility of the text is not compromised.69
Hebrew words written in Hebrew characters are also found in the text, the
miniatures, the commentaries, and the glosses. For instance, in the commen-
tary on the massacre of the men in Jerusalem (Ezek. 9:6, fol. 323v), Arragel
explains the shape of the sign (tav) marking the foreheads of the men. As he
has done repeatedly, he first explains the key words of the verse: tav (the let-
ter tav), which is the first letter in the other two key words in the verse, tihye
(you live) and tamut (you die). He writes them in Hebrew for the discerning
reader, then in Latin, and finally he translates them to Castilian to clarify his
explanation.70
Another Hebrew inscription in the center fold of a bifolio, written before
the pages were sewn, was probably used as an indication to the illuminators
to insert the right miniature into the space left in the page (fol. 199v). Hebrew
words are inserted in the miniatures and in the captions, as in the depiction
of Mosess rod according to the midrash (Exod. 4:26) (fig. 8.7).The letters
inscribed on Mosess rod are the Hebrew initials of the ten plagues transliter-
ated and followed by the Hebrew initials: dalet of dam, tsade of tsefardea,
kaf of kinim, ayin of arov, dalet of davar, shin of shahin, bet of barad,
alef of arbe, het of hoshekh, and the space was missing for the last one, the

69 See Fellous, Tolde, 12753.


70 See Fellous, Tolde, 21215.
230 Fellous

bet of bekhorot. The same initials, this time in Hebrew, are also copied in the
rubricated caption describing the miniature:

Figura de Moysen como mete su mano en su seno y la fara laprosa y figura


del blago y de la serpiente y en el blago que estaua asy escripto en el en
letra judiega estas letras atales .

Although this scripture is not accompanied by marginal glosses, this is


undoubtedly the text of Pirqe de-rabbi eliezer 40, which contributed to the con-
ception of the miniature and the caption.71
Even though the order of the scriptures includes variants that differ from
the masoretic order, the absence of division into chapters and the insertion of
a colophon stating the number of verses at the end of each book correspond
to Jewish practice. These verse counts do not appear systematically and some
even contain the Jewish and Christian reckoning side by side, as at the end of
the book of Joshua (fol. 178v): Son los versos de aq[ues]te libro 644 son capito-
los [chris]tianos = XI judiegos IX deo graia. But often this accounting and the
phraseology of the colophon strictly follow the Jewish tradition, as at the end
of the book of Kings (fol. 264v): Sson los versos de estos dos postrimeros libros
de los reyes mill y quinientos y treynta quatro. A dios muchas laudas y gracias
gloreficado el su nonbre por sienpre sea. Amen, amen. Thus the two poles of
the text provide the following information: at the opening of the books, bilin-
gual or trilingual titlesin Hebrew using Latin characters, in Latin and some-
times in Romanceemphasize the target languages of the translation; at the
end of the books, the insertion of the number of verses emphasizes the Jewish
tradition, albeit adapted to the Christian context by adding the Christian reck-
oning when it differs from that of the Jews.

3.2 Guide for the Perplexed


According to Moshe Lazar, Pedro de Toledo, a converso, worked from two dif-
ferent Hebrew translations of the original Judeo-Arabic, one by Samuel ibn
Tibbon and the other by Judah al-Harizi. Nevertheless, in his prologue De
Toledo declares that he used four manuscripts. He complains in the margins
about too many scribal errors that have marred the manuscripts of the Hebrew
translations and the considerable discrepancies between the various trans-
lations. Moreover, De Toledos translation differs from that of Al-Harizi and
Ibn Tibbon. According to Moshe Lazar, it is unclear in many cases whether
De Toledo mistranslated or followed a Hebrew manuscript that did not come

71 See Fellous, Tolde, 13032.


Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations 231

down to us. Or was it because he consulted a copy of the original Judeo-


Arabic text?
I have noted the frequent use of among Jewish translators even when a z
is expected; that is to say, in general terms Jewish translators use much more
often than Christian scribes do. De Toledo chooses not to translate the title
of the work into Castilian and leaves many transliterations of Hebrew words.
This leads me to wonder if the sponsor was familiar with this terminology and
whether not only the translator but also the scribe were Jewish. For instance,
mispatim, avodazara, Adonay (fols. 12, 113), libro de softim, corban,
azazel, beresid rraba are left without translation or explanation. On the other
hand, tesuua in the text is explained in the margin: tesuua es torrnar a Dios
(fol. 121v); likewise, nesica is copied in the margin and translated: nesica
besamiento (fol. 128r); thohu is explained in the gloss: tohu [sic in the gloss]
es asi cosa vana i vazia, translating the latin inanis et vacua (fol. 133v). Also, the
word horbana (fol. 90v) in en dias de anherib que horbana is used instead
of the word destruir (to destroy) to describe horban ha-baitthe destruction
of the Templebecause there simply was no other word a Jew could use to
refer to what was at the time the worst catastrophe of Jewish history.
Could the scribe have simply introduced the translators notes (fols. 2r, 9, 40,
and 70) or did he know Hebrew, well enough at least to add the definitions that
would facilitate reading by a Christian?
In the Guide it seems that the scribe was trying to make the text more acces-
sible to the reader as he was copying. A thorough review of the manuscript will
be needed before I can come to more-definite conclusions on this point. In any
case, a very large number of words are left in Hebrew, often without explana-
tory marginal glosses, which suggests that the translator was working for an
informed reader.
Like Moses Arragel, Pedro de Toledo promises not to give rise to criticism
from those who know the book, granting that criticism might come from those
who do not know the work and who are driven by evil intentions, a point that
is made by one Alixa[n]dre Alfaradosi, who is mentioned by De Toledo.72
Then he lists a number of scholars: Abu Hamid al-Ghazali and his book el
peso delas costunbres, Abu Faraje and his doctrinas, Zecaria Mohamad Abu
Nacer Alfarauj, and Aristotle, whose Metaphysics is quoted in the Arabic trans-
lation (De Toledo says so specifically). As in the Alba Bible, literary references
are numerous and the scholars mentioned belong to the three religions. Like
Moses Arragel, Pedro de Toledo has no qualms about attaching more value to
Maimonides than to Christian scholars. It seems that the time was favorable

72 I have not identified him.


232 Fellous

to interreligious dialogue,73 and a Jew could be allowed to stand out in the


pantheon of scholars.
In addition to the title and the words in the text that have been left in Hebrew,
the terminology of Jewish mysticismcommon in the work of Maimonides
is systematically left untranslated (maae mercaua, fol. 91r).74 Those words
might have been comprehensible to a Christian intellectual, but other special-
ized words which are also left in Hebrew definitely would not have been. This
is the case in the Alba Bible, the Guide, the Kuzari and the Proverbios.

3.3 Sefer ha-kuzari


My work on the translation in this manuscript is still at a preliminary stage.
However, my initial observations induced me to include it in this group of
translations. The manuscript of the Sefer ha-kuzari has annotations in the mar-
gins by about eight different hands. Running titles were added in Hebrew after
the copy, some in a light-gray ink in a hand used to writing Hebrew:
(fols. 55v, 58v, 59r, etc), ( fol. 57v), ( fol. 58r),
(fol. 58v).
Additions in the margins are also written in Spanish to explain trans-
literated Hebrew words or phrases left in the main text: templo (fol. 59v);
sacrificios (fols. 60r, 62r); hebreos spes (fols. 61v and 62r, 63rv, 64v); mosos
(fol. 89r); el nombre dell seor bendito (fol. 99v). Other added sentences mix
Castilian and Hebrew words and suggest that the author of these annotations
was Jewish and possessed a good knowledge of the liturgy and Hebrew litera-
ture. Also, in the sentence en la orao que dezimos amida ay esta rregla (in
the prayer we call amida..., fol. 12v), the author of the annotations uses the

73 The Council of Constance, which convened in November 1414, deposed the antipope
Benedict XIII. The death of King Fernando I of Aragon and the election of Pope Martin V,
who was favorable to the Jews, signalled a profound change in attitude towards them.
This change in attitude contributed to a process of economic reconstruction in a coun-
try marked a century of profound social transformation and devastated by the incessant
wars waged by the nobilty against the crown. See Charles Joseph Hefele, Histoire des con-
ciles daprs les documents originaux, trans. Henri Leclercq (Paris: Letouzey et An, 1907
1952), 7:48081. On the Council of Constance, see Conciliorum oecumenicorum decreta,
ed. Guiseppe Alberigo et al. (Bologna: Istituto per le scienze religiose, 1973), 40351 and
43738. On the removal of Benedict XIII, see Gian Domenico Mansi, Sacrorum concilio-
rum...amplissima collectio (Venice: Antonium Zatta, 17591798; Paris: H. Welter, 1901
1927), vol. 27, chap. 529, c. 1040ff.
74 Incipit of the third part (fol. 91r): i agora comenare rromanar la terera parte del more
[...]. Esta terera parte tracta enlos secretos de maae mercaua [...] y agora comenare
rromanar este dicho terero libro del more enel nonbre de dios amen.
Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations 233

first person plural dezimos (we call), clearly identifying him as a Jew. Many
references to the Talmud and the Bible confirm this conclusion: dixeron los
sabios en el [talmud] quie[n] ascresientade fablar o conferir con la mujer se
priua de las palabras de la ley y sus secretos (fol. 75r, the Talmud is also quoted
on fols. 2v, 8v).
The text is rife with Hebraisms as well as terms that are used more com-
monly by Jewish translators than among Christians, such as meldar (to trans-
late, read the Torah), darsar (to teach), and badcar (to try). The Jews also
use muncho rather than mucho, se conturba instead of se revuelve, and
zerah or machas instead of simiente (fol. 76r), which is also used by Moses
Arragel (machas negras).
Another characteristic is the Castilianizing of Hebrew words. There are
numerous cases of Castilianized Hebraisms in the text as well as in the mar-
ginal notes, as for instance, in folio 111v:

Dixo enel talmud que subio mose [...] y pregunto q obra fazer rrespon-
dioles sobre estas verrna onbre q darsara mill liios desta mana va las
cosas al talmud como es dicho en cohelet Palabras delos sabios.

Here, apart from the title of the books (Qohelet, Talmud), there is the con-
spicuous use of the verb darsar in the future tense in Castilian: the infinitive
form darsar plus the ending -a: darsara. Others words or groups of words
are left in Hebrew, such as la uca y el lulab (fol. 110v), ucot, arrayhan,
yod, vaf, situf, cames xe[r]e, guet, erub, zerah, quipur, azazel, vaf
de gahon, caraym, mipi ha guebura, peloni, mesumadim, malsines
(Castilianized plural of the Hebrew malsin), casa del midras, mezuza, talit,
tefilin, rrebi, rrebeno, rraban, rabanan, corban, cohanim, agadot,
talmidim, perequim, and avodazara (also found in the Guide). Of the three
translations considered here, this text contains the most-numerous translitera-
tions. Also, the frequency of to transcribe the samekh and the tsade is remark-
able: moos (fol. 75r), inay (fol. 110v), pacuim, el maoeret (fol. 111v),
y la uca (fol. 110v), and others.
Last but not least, there is the issue of how the name of God is rendered. In
Castilian manuscripts in general, it is usually with the singular Dio. However,
it is very often given as Adonay in the Guide (fols. 113rv) and in the Alba
Bible, where it is even gilded (fig. 8.4). In the Kuzari, Adonay is used almost
exclusively (Adonay aj tu dio, fol. 64r). All these observations lead me to the
conclusion that the text of the Kuzari was translated by a Jew.
Drawing conclusions about the intended reader is more difficult because
the manuscript lacks both incipit and colophon. The question of readership
234 Fellous

is further complicated by the socio-historical circumstance of an increasing


number of converts in Iberian society. Nevertheless, to understand this transla-
tion a reader would have needed extensive knowledge of Jewish culture and a
good knowledge of Hebrew. Therefore, it could only have been intended for a
Jew, a convert, or a marrano.

3.4 Proverbios morales


The Proverbios morales is not a translation, as the work was originally com-
posed in Spanish, but some elements identified after an initial examination
of the paleography and the language of the manuscript at the BNE, MS 9216,
and Marcella Ciceris critical edition lead me to conclusions similar to those
I arrived at after examining the paleography and the language of the transla-
tions considered above.
There is a particularly striking case of Hebraism in line 82: Ala los ojos,
cata: / e sobre las sus cuestas / andar las cosas muertas / e yazen afondadas /
en l piedras presiadas (fol. 63v). The word afondadas75 was created
from the Hebrew tsafon (), meaning North, or from tsafun, which also has
the connotation of obscure, hidden, particularly in Jeremiah 16:15: from the
land of the North () .76 It seems that Shem Tov chose to create a word
using the original Hebrew because he found no appropriate word in Castilian
that simultaneously suggested the notions of dark and disturbing.
Here, like in the three translations we have considered, many words point
to the Jewish translating tradition: fazer oraion (fol. 62v), provecho
and aprovecha (fol. 62), cobdiia (fol. 73), and in particular the name of
God, Adonay (fol. 67).

4 Conclusions

The similar features shared by these manuscriptsHebraisms; Castilianization


and transliterations of Hebrew words; syntactic structure influenced by
Hebrew or semantic loans; use of a particular type of writing, a hybrid script
(bastarda); and an iconography fully or partially inspired by Jewish sources
along with their contemporaneous dates of production, (14191432 for the
Guide, 14221433 for the Alba Bible, 1426 for the BNE copy of the Proverbios

75 Proverbios morales, ed. Ciceri, 35.


76 This meaning is reinforced by the historical context of the book of Jeremiah: the events
taking place after the destruction of the kingdom of Israel, just before the destruction of
the kingdom of Judah, threatened on the north by Assyria.
Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations 235

morales, and probably the second half of the fifteenth century for the manu-
script of the Kuzari) lead me to believe that there might be other translations
into Castilian from the same period either by Jews or conversos and character-
ized by the same features.77
After paleographical and textual examination of these manuscripts, the
similarities that have emerged in their writing and translation techniques
leads me to propose the existence of workshops78 or groups of Jewishor
convertscribes, specializing in the translation of Jewish works for Jews,
Christians, New Christians, crypto-Jews or collectors of Jewish works written
in the vernacular.79
As has already been presented in detail above, three of these worksthe
Alba Bible, the Guide, and the Proverbioshave much in common: they were
intended for high-ranking figures of the kingdom of Castile (the king, the
Grand Master of the Order of Calatrava, and the son of the Grand Master of the
Order of Santiago); they were produced by Jews renowned as the best scholars
and translators of their time; and they were intended to transmit to Christians
(old and new) the essential texts of contemporary Iberian Judaism.
The Alba Bible and the Guide have more in common than one might think
at first sight, in particular the prominence of their authors, sponsors, and other
collaborators. Each involved the participation of one of the great military
orders of the Iberian Peninsula (Calatrava in the case of the Alba Bible and
Santiago in the case of the Guide). Moreover, the Franciscans and Dominicans
were also involved in the production of the Alba Bible. The two translations are
almost contemporary with each other and were written over a relatively long
period of time (eight to thirteen years). Both are decorated, although the Alba
Bible is a much more luxurious manuscript; the Guide has only a few deco-
rated borders and initials. Neither of the two works sponsors ever received
their manuscripts, which came by different routes to their current locations:

77 Pueyo Mena considers the Alba Bible to be a possible source for the first nine chapters
of Genesis in Lope Garca de Salazars Bienandanzas y fortunas. See Pueyo Mena, Biblia
de Alba. However, the biblical translation in the Bienandazas is not an exact copy of the
Alba Bible. Therefore we have to consider the possibility of the existence of other, related
translations.
78 The term workshop is used here not in the sense of an actual established workshop
in the service of eventual customers, but to refer to a group of Jews involved in book
productionparchment makers, scribes, illuminators, bookbinders, translatorswork-
ing together to serve a common patron in the fulfillment of a particular commission. See
Salomon Mitrani-Samarian, Un typographe juif en Espagne avant 1482, Revue des tudes
juives 54 (1907): 24652; Rodrguez Daz, La manufactura del libro.
79 See Reinhardt and Santiago-Otero, Biblioteca bblica, 2125, 2834.
236 Fellous

one in the library of the Marquis of Santillana, kept now in the BNE; the other
was confiscated by the Inquisition, later claimed by Count-Duke of Olivares in
1624, and kept in his family by his descendents, the dukes of Alba.
A similar script, many Hebraisms, explanatory glosses or literal transla-
tions of wordsin Arragels glossary and in marginal explanations in Pedro
de Toledoconnect the Alba Bible and the Guide in their shape and outlook.
The prologues of the two translations, even though not of equal lengthsince
Arragels prologue is exceptionally long, almost a book in itselfboth name
the other collaborators involved in the projects and give the reader clues to
situate those works politically and historically. Both are remarkable for hav-
ing compiled or used other sources for their translations or comments whose
manuscripts did not survive or have not yet been identified. Arragel quotes
numerous sources not otherwise identified.
As far as the Alba Bible and the Proverbios are concerned, they were pro-
duced by self-declared fervent and faithful Jews. Arragels sponsor guaranteed
that he would be able to work freely. Even so, his work was to include Jewish
and Christian interpretations side by side and was to be supervised by the
superior of the Franciscan convent in Toledo and possibly others. This is prob-
ably why Arragel was initially reticent to accept such a commission and then
took so many precautions and described his working methods in such detail.80
The translation of the Kuzari presents other problems. Likely executed
for a Jewor a recent conversothe manuscript seems to be written by a
professional hand that inscribes the Latin characters in between the ruling.
Nevertheless, the translation is full of Hebraisms, with marginal notes in
Castilian and also in Hebrew. The copyist and the translator were probably two
different people in this case, as in the case of the Guide.
All four works translated into or composed in Castilian, reveal the richness
of Jewish culture and therefore the value of Jewish scholars. One might reason-
ably suppose that they contributed to the process of convincing Jews to convert
by Castilianizing Jewish culture. On the other hand, these translations may also
have reassured Jews who did not convert that they were nonetheless members
of Iberian society, since the manuscripts proved that Jewish tradition could be
integrated into Spanish culture. In my opinion, these translations were part
of an ideological movement that promoted a resurgence of Alfonso Xs mis-
sion to impose Castilian as the hegemonic language of the Iberian Peninsula
and to unify and pacify the Hispanic kingdoms, which had endured a century
of endemic warfare. Jews and Christians, Franciscans and Dominicans, led by

80 See Fellous, Dialogue; Fellous, Tolde, 71102.


Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations 237

the king of Castile, were exhorted to turn to the same enemy, the occupier of
Granada.
These observations raise interesting questions regarding the language of the
intellectuals of the time. What kind of Castilian did erudite people write? Were
Jews and Christians of the same scholarly field familiar with the same vocabu-
lary? Could the word afondada in the Proverbios be easily understood by
someone who did not know Hebrew? This same question could also be asked
of the three translations, all of which were commissioned by noble and power-
ful sponsors. Were there other vernacular translations of these texts and other
texts? If these kinds of works were of interest to erudite aristocrats, we have to
assume that the field of Jewish literary production in Castilian was much more
important than the texts that have come down to us seem to suggest.
Other manuscripts are probably yet to be discovered.81 Some went into exile
with their owners. Others, because written in Castilian or hidden in private
collections, have perhaps not yet been identified.

FIGURE 8.1 Maimonides, Guide for the Perplexed. Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa,
MS 10289, fol. 141v. Colophon by Alfonso Prez de Cceres, written in Seville.
Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa.

81 Alfonso de Zamora, a converso, translated David Kimhis Sefer mikhlol into Castilian in
1523 for Fray Juan de Azcona. See Alfonso et al., Biblias de Sefarad, 22831.
238 Fellous

FIGURE 8.2 Judah ha-Levi, Sefer ha-kuzari. Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa, MS 17812,
fol. 165r. Colophon.
Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa.
Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations 239

FIGURE 8.3 Shem Tov de Carrin, Proverbios morales. Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa,
MS 9216, fol. 81v. Colophon.
Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa.
240 Fellous

FIGURE 8.4 Alba Bible. Madrid, Archivo y Biblioteca del Palacio de Liria, Biblia romanceada,
fol. 100r. The sacrifice on Yom kippur (Lev. 16:68).
Reproduced by permission of the Fundacin Casa de Alba.
Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations 241

FIGURE 8.5 Alba Bible. Madrid, Archivo y Biblioteca del Palacio de Liria, Biblia romanceada,
fol. 60r. Moses and the burning bush (Exod. 3:2).
Reproduced by permission of the Fundacin Casa de Alba.
242 Fellous

FIGURE 8.6 Alba Bible. Madrid, Archivo y Biblioteca del Palacio de Liria, Biblia romanceada,
fol. 15v16r. Prologue, glossary. Photography: Sonia Fellous, with kind permission
of the Fundacin Casa de Alba.
Reproduced by permission of the Fundacin Casa de Alba.
Fifteenth-Century Castilian Translations 243

FIGURE 8.7 Alba Bible. Madrid, Archivo y Biblioteca del Palacio de Liria, Biblia romanceada,
fol. 60v. Mosess rod (Exod. 4:26).
Reproduced by permission of the Fundacin Casa de Alba.
244 Fellous

Bibliography

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Cambridge, University Library, MS Add 3355.
Cuenca, Archivo diocesano, legajo 6, N 125.
Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa, MS 9216.
, MS 9369.
, MS 10288.
, MS 10289.
, MS 17812.
, MS KK38.
Madrid, Archivo y Biblioteca del Palacio de Liria, Biblia romanceada.
Madrid, Real Academia Espaola, MS RM 73.
Madrid, Real Academia de la Historia, MS 87.
San Lorenzo de El Escorial, Real Biblioteca, MS B.IV.21.
, MS I.j.3.
, MS I.j.4.
, MS I.j.6.

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Biblia (Antiguo Testamento), traducida del hebreo al castellano por Rabi Mos Arragel de
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Madrid: Imprenta Artstica, 19201922.
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Moshe Lazar. Culver City, CA: Labyrinthos, 1990.
. El Cuzar. Translated by Jacob Abendana. Madrid: Editora Nacional, 1979.
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Llamas, Jos. Biblias medievales romanceadas: Biblia medieval romanceada judo-cristi-
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Maimonides. Guide for the Perplexed: A 15th Century Spanish Translation by Pedro de
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Mansi, Gian Domenico, Philippe Labbe, Gabriel Cossart, Nicol Coleti, Jean Baptiste
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Schonfield, Jeremy, ed. La Biblia de Alba: An Illustrated Manuscript Bible in Castilian.
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. Proverbios morales del rabbi Don Sem Tob. In Poetas castellanos anteriores al
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2012.
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Beit-Ari, Malachi. Hebrew Codicology: Tentative Typology of Technical Practices
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of Sciences and Humanities, 1981.
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Canellas, ngel. Exempla scripturarum latinarum in usum scholarum: Pars altera.
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Comunidad de Madrid, 1998.
Chazan, Robert. Maestre Alfonso of Valladolid and the New Missionizing. Revue des
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Cornell Univ. Press, 1986.
Dahan, Gilbert. Les intellectuels chrtiens et les juifs au Moyen ge. Paris: Cerf, 1990.
Fastenrath, Johannes. Immortellen aus Toledo: Romanzen und Sonette. Leipzig: E. H.
Mayer, 1869.
246 Fellous

Fellous, Sonia. The Artists of the Biblia de Alba. In Schonfield, La Biblia de Alba: An
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. La Bible dAlbe: Mose Arragel de Guadalajara: Contribution ltude des rap-
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. The Biblia de Alba: Its Patron, Author, and Ideas. In Schonfield, La Biblia de
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CHAPTER 9

The Artist of the Barcelona Haggadah


Evelyn M. Cohen
Independent scholar, New York

Several luxurious illuminated haggadot were produced in fourteenth-century


Sepharad. Unlike many lavishly decorated Bibles from the same time and
place,1 none includes a colophon. No information exists, therefore, concerning
their makers and patrons, or the city and year in which they were produced.
One of these manuscripts is the Barcelona Haggadah, housed in London,
British Library, MS Add. 14761.2
A distinctive feature of this haggadah is the numerous scenes of contempo-
rary seder practices that are represented. Aside from light-hearted images that
portray animals and grotesques performing religious rites, twelve illustrations

* This article is dedicated to the memory of David Rosand. I am grateful to the anonymous
reviewers and to Jon Whitman for their insightful comments.
1 For example, the Cervera Bible (Lisbon, Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, MS Il. 72), copied
between 1299 and 1300, which contains not only the colophon of the scribe, but that of
the illuminator. Similar identification is found more than a century later in the Kennicott
Bible, completed in 1476 (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Kenn. 1). This Bible, which appears to
be based in part on the earlier one, includes colophons by both the copyist and the artist. The
manuscript is reproduced in a facsimile edition, The Kennicott Bible, with an introduction by
Bezalel Narkiss and Aliza Cohen-Mushlin (London: Facsimile Editions, 1985). Many of the
pages are included in Bezalel Narkiss, Aliza Cohen-Mushlin, and Anat Tcherikover, Hebrew
Illuminated Manuscripts in the British Isles, vol. 1, The Spanish and Portuguese Manuscripts
(Jerusalem and London: The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the British
Academy, 1982), pt. 1, no. 48, 15359, and pt. 2, figs. 44186.
 For the sake of convenience, when possible, manuscripts will be referred to by the names
that often have been ascribed to them, even though the nomenclature may not be accepted
universally.
2 The manuscript is reproduced in a facsimile edition, The Barcelona Haggadah: An Illuminated
Passover Compendium from 14th-Century Catalonia in Facsimile (MS British Library Additional
14761), ed. Jeremy Schonfield (London: Facsimile Editions, 1992). Many of its illustrations are
also available in the online catalogue of the British Librarys illuminated manuscripts. The
haggadah is also described in Narkiss et al., Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts, pt. 1, no. 13,
7884, and pt. 2, figs. 20945.

koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 5|doi .63/9789004306103_011


250 cohen

of seder rituals are depicted, ten of which appear within illuminated initial
word panels.3

1 Distinguishing Features in the Barcelona Haggadah

With its extensive inclusion of approximately sixty text illustrations, the


Barcelona Haggadah differs from most of the lavishly decorated haggadot from
fourteenth-century Sepharad. With the exception of the Sassoon Haggadah in
Jerusalem, Israel Museum, MS 181/041, the other nine illuminated haggadot,
while containing relatively few scenes portraying seder rituals, include a cycle
of biblical scenes that are depicted outside of the text of the haggadah.4

3 For a description of the illustrations in the manuscripts, see Evelyn M. Cohen, The
Decoration, in The Barcelona Haggadah, 2443; and Narkiss et al., Hebrew Illuminated
Manuscripts, pt. 1, no. 13, 7983.
4 Although most of the cycles appear at the beginning of the codices, before the text of the
haggadah, some are placedin sequencein other parts of the books. These manuscripts
are: the Hispano-Moresque Haggadah (London, British Library, MS Or. 2737), discussed in
Narkiss et al., Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts, pt. 1, no. 9, 4551, and pt. 2, figs. 79104; the
Golden Haggadah (London, British Library, MS Add. 27210), reproduced in a facsimile edi-
tion, The Golden Haggadah: A Fourteenth-Century Illuminated Hebrew Manuscript, intro-
duced by Bezalel Narkiss (London: Eugrammia Press, 1970), and later in Bezalel Narkiss, The
Golden Haggadah (London: British Library, 1997). It is also described in Narkiss et al., Hebrew
Illuminated Manuscripts, pt. 1, no. 11, 5867, and pt. 2, figs. 12354; the iconographically related
Sister of the Golden Haggadah (London, British Library, MS Or. 2884), Narkiss et al., Hebrew
Illuminated Manuscripts, pt. 1, no. 12, 6778, and pt. 2, figs. 155208; the Rylands Haggadah
(Manchester, University of Manchester Library, MS Heb. 6), reproduced in a facsimile edi-
tion, The Rylands Haggadah: A Medieval Sephardi Masterpiece in Facsimile: An Illuminated
Passover Compendium from Mid-14th-Century Catalonia in the Collection of the John Rylands
Library of Manchester, with a Commentary and a Cycle of Poems, intro. Raphael Loewe (New
York: Abrams, 1988), and discussed in Narkiss et al., Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts, pt. 1,
no. 15, 8693, and pt. 2, figs. 25082; the iconographically related Brother Haggadah (London,
British Library, MS Or. 1404), reproduced in facsimile as Saltellus Haggadah (Northwood,
Ill.: Saltellus Press, 2002), and described in Narkiss et al., Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts,
pt. 1, no. 16, 9399, and pt. 2, figs. 283305; the unfinished Prato Haggadah (New York, The
Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary, MS 9478), reproduced in a facsimile edition,
The Prato Haggadah, ed. Naomi S. Steinberger (New York: The Jewish Theological Seminary,
2007); the Sarajevo Haggadah (Sarajevo, Zemaljski Muzej Bosne i Hercegovine), which was
first reproduced in a landmark publication with a companion volume authored by David
Heinrich Mller, Julius von Schlosser, and David Kaufmann, Die Haggadah von Sarajevo: Eine
spanische-jdische Bilderhandschrift des Mittelalters (Vienna: Alfred Hlder, 1898); subse-
quent facsimile editions include, Cecil Roth, The Sarajevo Haggadah (New York: W. H. Allen,
The Artist Of The Barcelona Haggadah 251

In contrast to scenes that are within cycles in these manuscripts, biblical


events depicted in the Barcelona Haggadah are placed near the haggadah text
to which they refer, rather than in a separate part of the volume. The midrash
about Abraham and Nimrod, for example, is presented as two scenes on
folio 36v. In the first, Abraham appears within the decorated initial word panel
containing the word , the first word of the passage In the beginning
[our fathers were idolators]. Still holding the stick he used to smash his fathers
idols, Abraham stands facing the large figure of Nimrod, who is seated at the
left, in the inner margin of the page. The depiction of Abraham is typical of
the approach used in representing figures in this manuscript. His head is posed
in a three-quarter view, while his eyes are misaligned. The next episode in this
legend appears in the bottom border of the page. In the center, Nimrod, wear-
ing a coronet as before but now standing, stares at the fiery furnace in which
the diminutive figure of Abraham is flanked by the angels who will rescue him.
In the Golden Haggadah, by contrast, the illustration of Abraham before
Nimrod is portrayed as part of the biblical cycle that precedes the haggadah
(fol. 3r). It has no relation to the text of the haggadah, which begins much
later in the manuscript. Instead, it appears at the bottom right of a page that
includes three other scenes from the Bible: the drunkenness of Noah, the
building of the tower of Babel, and Abraham and the three angels.
The placement of biblical scenes within cycles outside of the text of the hag-
gadah was typical of most of the richly illuminated haggadot from Sepharad.

1963), Eugen Verber, The Sarajevo Haggadah (Belgrade: Prosveta, 1983), and Jakob Finci and
Eugen Verber, The Sarajevo Haggadah (Sarajevo: Rabic, 2010); the haggadah in the Bologna-
Modena Mahzor (Bologna, Biblioteca Universitaria, MS 2559); and the Kaufmann Haggadah
(Budapest, Magyar Tudomnyos Akadmia Knyvtra, MS A 422), reproduced in two fac-
simile editions: Alexander Scheiber, The Kaufmann Haggadah. Facsimile of Ms 422 of the
Kaufmann Collection in the Oriental Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Budapest:
Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 1957) and The Kaufmann Haggadah: A 14th Century Hebrew
Manuscript from the Oriental Collection of the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
(Budapest: Kultura International, 1990) with a commentary volume by Gabrielle Sed-Rajna.
Many of these haggadot are also discussed in Katrin Kogman-Appel, Illuminated Haggadot
from Medieval Spain: Biblical Imagery and the Passover Holiday (University Park, Pa.: Penn
State Univ. Press, 2006).
 Most of the illustrations in the haggadot in the British Library may be found on its web-
site http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts. The Prato Haggadah is on the
website of the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary http://www.jtslibrarytreasures.
org/, and the Kaufmann Haggadah can be seen on the website of Dvid Kaufmann and his
collection of Medieval Hebrew manuscripts in the Oriental Collection of the Library of the
Hungarian Academy of Sciences, http://kaufmann.mtak.hu/en/ms422/ms422-coll1.htm.
252 cohen

Another example, the illustration of the Israelites leaving Egypt with their arms
outstretched as described in Deuteronomy 26:8, appears as part of the bibli-
cal cycle in the Kaufmann Haggadah (fol. 3v) and in the Sarajevo Haggadah
(p. 27). In the Barcelona Haggadah, however, this scene is incorporated into a
historiated initial word panel illustrating this verse '
( And the Lord freed us from Egypt by a mighty hand, and an out-
stretched arm) at the beginning of a passage in the haggadah on folio 46r. The
procession of standing men extends into the outer margin at the left. The style
of the figures is similar to that of the representations of Abraham and Nimrod;
the heads are depicted in three-quarter view and the eyes are portrayed as
bulging.
Among the other biblical scenes that appear within the margins of the text
of the Barcelona Haggadah are: Jacob and his family going to Egypt, illustrating
the passage ( He went down to Egypt [Deut. 26:5]), in the bottom
border of folio 40r; the Israelite slaves building the garrison cities of Pitom and
Raamses (Exod. 1:11) in the lower-left-quarter of folio 43r; and, the Israelites
leaving Egypt, illustrating the text from Hallel that begins
(When Israel went forth from Egypt [Ps. 114:1]) on folio 66v. In this example,
the scene appears between the initial word panel and the next line of text.
In the Barcelona Haggadah, therefore, biblical episodes are employed in
a manner more in keeping with the tradition found in illustrated haggadot
from Ashkenaz, beginning with the Birds Head Haggadah (Jerusalem, Israel
Museum MS 180/057), from circa 1300. For example, the building of Pitom and
Raamses illustrated in the outer margin of folio 15r accompanies the same
text as it does in the Barcelona Haggadah. Placing illustrations within the
margins of pages adjacent to the text to which they refer became the norm in
Ashkenazic haggadot through the fifteenth century.
The Barcelona Haggadah contains some unusual, though not unique, non-
biblical images. Included among these is the depiction of the matzah (fol. 61r)
in an elaborate presentation in which musicians, at the bottom, play to the
accompaniment a trumpet-blowing figure at each of the four corners. These
nude youths may personify the Four Winds. A related representation appears
in a simpler form in the Kaufmann Haggadah (fol. 39r).5
Likewise, the unusual image of ( Pour out your fury [on the
nations that do not know you] [Ps. 79:6]) on folio 71v, in which an angel pours
a liquid from a vessel onto a group of people below, is portrayed also in the

5 For a further discussion of this image, see Cohen, The Decoration, 36.
The Artist Of The Barcelona Haggadah 253

Kaufmann Haggadah (fol. 47r) and in the Sassoon Haggadah (p. 128).6 The
Sassoon Haggadah is similar to the Barcelona Haggadah in both the inclu-
sion of many scenes of seder rituals and the placement of biblical scenes near
the haggadah text they illustrate. They differ, however, in that the images
in the Sassoon Haggadah are less detailed and more emblematic. In most
examples, only one or two figures are portrayed within the initial word panels.
The decorative program of the Kaufmann Haggadah differs greatly from that
of the Barcelona Haggadah. In the former, no scenes are depicted within the
borders of the pages, while in the latter many narrative elements are placed in
the margins just outside the text.
Some of the illustrations in the Barcelona Haggadah have no parallel in other
extant haggadot, as seen in the images that run across folios 27v28r, where ten
male figures illustrate the order of the seder listed in the text. Another unique
example is the illustration on the next page, folio 28v, under the initial words
( This bread of affliction), in which the Sephardi custom of pass-
ing the seder basket from one person to the other is depicted (fig. 9.1). Here, as
in many other miniatures in the manuscript, the faces are portrayed in three-
quarter view; the eye that is further from the picture plane bulges. The eyes
of some of the figures are misaligned and at times look as though they focus
in different directions. In some other illustrations, the figures are posed awk-
wardly. The style of the images in the Barcelona Haggadah has not been noted
previously in any other Hebrew or non-Hebrew manuscript.

2 Artistic Style in Illuminated Hebrew Manuscripts from Sepharad

The art of only one Christian workshop has been associated convincingly with
that found in a group of related Hebrew manuscripts from Sepharad. The most
important of these codices is Maimonidess Guide for the Perplexed, specifically
the More nevukhim in Copenhagen, Det Kongelige Bibliotek, Cod. Heb. 37.7 In
the colophon, on folio 316r, the scribe Levi bar Isaac Figo Caro of Salamanca

6 On the relationship among these three manuscripts, see Evelyn M. Cohen, Three Sephardic
Haggadot and a Possible Missing Link, Proceedings of the Fifth Congress of Jewish Studies
in Copenhagen 1994 under the Auspices of the European Association for Jewish Studies
(Copenhagen: C. A. Reitzel A/S International Publishers, 1998), 14251.
7 See Bezalel Narkiss, Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts (Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House,
1992), 76, and Ulf Haxen, Kings and Citizens: The History of the Jews in Denmark 16221983,
vol. 2, Manuscripts and Printed Books from the Collection of the Royal Library, Copenhagen
(New York: The Jewish Museum, 1983), no. 6, 1819.
254 cohen

wrote that he copied the manuscript for the physician Menahem Bezalel in
Barcelona, in [5]108, which is either 1347 or 1348. Similarities between the art
in this manuscript and that found in other Christian works, both manuscripts
and panel paintings, were noted by Francis Wormald in 1953 and associated
with the Workshop of the Master of Saint Mark, which had been studied exten-
sively in a publication by Millard Meiss in 1941.8 The main artist of the work-
shop was Ferrer Bassa, who has been researched further in recent years.9

3 Likely Date and Localization of the Barcelona Haggadah

As stated above, The Barcelona Haggadah has no colophon. Based on both


codicological and literary evidence, the main text of the manuscript has been
localized by Malachi Beit-Ari to Northern Spain, not earlier than the 1360s,
with the handwriting suggesting the second half of the fourteenth century.10
Later additions to the manuscript, of the Provenal rite, have been discussed
by both Beit-Ari and Menahem Schmelzer.11 It is only the original part of the
manuscript, however, that was illuminated.

4 The Artistic Style of the Barcelona Haggadah

The brightly colored Barcelona Haggadah has more than one scene of slav-
ery. In addition to the building of Pitom and Raamses on folio 43r, there is a
historiated initial word panel for the words ( We were slaves [unto
Pharaoh in Egypt]) on folio 30v (fig. 9.2). The bodies of the figures, especially

8 Francis Wormald, Afterthoughts on the Stockholm Exhibition, Konsthistorisk tidskrift 22


(December 1953): 7584; and Millard Meiss, Italian Style in Catalonia and a Fourteenth
Century Catalan Workshop, Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 4 (1941): 4587.
9 See Gabrielle Sed-Rajna, Hebrew Manuscripts of Fourteenth-Century Catalonia and the
Workshop of the Master of St. Mark, Jewish Art 18 (1992): 11728; Rosa Alcoy i Pedrs,
The Artists of the Marginal Decorations of the Copenhagen Maimonides, Jewish Art 18
(1992): 12939; Dalia-Ruth Halperin, A Jew among Us: The Catalan Micrography Mazor
Artist and the Ferrer Bassa Atelier, Ars Judaica 3 (2007): 1930; and Vivian B. Mann, Jews
and Altarpieces in Medieval Spain, in Uneasy Communion: Jews, Christians, and the
Altarpieces of Medieval Spain (New York: Museum of Biblical Art, 2010), 109.
10 See Malachi Beit-Ari, The Making of the Book: A Codicological Study, in The Barcelona
Haggadah, 1423.
11 See Menahem Schmelzer, The Poems: A Literary Study, ibid., 6574.
The Artist Of The Barcelona Haggadah 255

the man ascending a ladder, are noticeably disproportionate. Their faces are
depicted primarily in three-quarter view, while their eyes are aligned strangely.
Similar distortions and unusual features are found in the scene of Israelites
making bricks that appears at the bottom of the page. The figure of the slave
at the right is striking in both the unnatural proportions of his body and
the awkward, unrealistic pose of his right arm. His bulging right eye is a feature
he shares with many figures in this manuscript. The appearance of his cloth-
ing, in which folds of drapery fall down in simple, straight patterns, is typical of
the manner in which fabrics are rendered in this manuscript. Until the present
study, the style of the illustrations has not been associated with that found in
any other medieval works.

5 Stylistic Similarities with a Copy of the Roman de la Rose

The distinctive stylistic features in the illustrations of the Barcelona Haggadah


are evident in another portrayal of the construction of a building. The image is
found in a manuscript that is neither a liturgical work, nor a Hebrew text. The
depiction is of three workmen building the castle where Bel Accueil will be
imprisoned by Jealousy; it appears in a copy of the Roman de la Rose, written in
French. The figural style is similar to that of the Barcelona Haggadah, as is the
rendering of the garments. The man laying bricks at the top right has an elon-
gated, misshapen right arm that recalls the distortion found in the brick maker
in the scene of the Israelite slaves. Both figures bend their arms oddly in awk-
ward positions that are physically impossible. The head of each man is posed
in a three-quarter view turned toward the left of the composition; the right
eye of each is overly large, misaligned, and bulging. In both works, pigments
are applied somewhat crudely, allowing the underdrawings to show through
uneven layers of paint. As unusual as each image is, there is an uncanny simi-
larity between them.
The Roman de la Rose, a French allegorical dream vision of love and lore
written in verse, was begun about 1230 and completed over forty years later.
One of the most influential vernacular works of the Middle Ages, it is extant
in hundreds of complete or partial manuscripts. This specific copy, which con-
tains sixty-eight illustrations, is neither dated nor localized.12 It was described

12 The manuscript is described in The Astor Collection of Illuminated Manuscripts: Twenty


Manuscripts from the Celebrated Collection of William Waldorf Astor (18481919), First
Viscount Astor, from the Library at Cliveden, and Subsequently Part of the Astor Deposit at
256 cohen

by Bernard Quaritch in 1874.13 He wrote: The volume may date from about the
year 1360, as plainly appears from the character of the writing and the costume
that is depicted in the miniatures. Believing it was from France he continued:

But it will be allowed that the curious miniatures form the most attrac-
tive features of the volume. They are in striking contrast to the uniform
style, and the stereotyped designs that appear in most French MSS., even
the very finest; there being something in them of a singular and unusual
type. The colouring, the disposition of the figures, the character of the
designs, produce at once upon the eye an impression of strangeness and
peculiarity of style which stamp the volume as in some measure unique.

In Christopher de Hamels description of the work in the Sothebys auc-


tion catalogue he wrote Probably the unusual style of this remarkably rich
manuscript can be explained by the suggestion of a Spanish or Pyreneen
provenance.14 He believed that the principal miniatures in the manuscript
are in a purer Spanish style of towards the middle of the fourteenth century.
He also cited an inscribed motto in Castilian on folio 100v as evidence that
it was in Spanish hands during the Middle Ages. De Hamel pointed out
that the fact that the manuscript is in French, rather than Spanish, is not prob-
lematic, as the Roman de la Rose was read in French in many parts of Europe.
He believed the southern vellum, purple ink, and vigorous style and deep
colours are all consistent with a Spanish origin,15 while for provenance the
manuscript was listed as made in Spain or in the far south west of France
under strong Spanish influence.16
There are many striking similarities between the rendering of figures in this
copy of the Roman de la Rose and that of the Barcelona Haggadah. The depic-
tions of the adults and children in the scene of the hiding of the afikomen dur-
ing the seder in the haggadah (fol. 20v, fig. 9.3) are typical of the approach used
in both manuscripts. Most of the faces are portrayed in three-quarter view;
the eye that is furthest from the picture plane is consistently misaligned and

the Bodleian Library, Sold by Order of the Trustees of the Astor Family (London: Sothebys
sale 21 June 1988), lot 51, 915.
13 Bernard Quaritch, A General Catalogue of Books Offered to the Public at the Affixed Prices
(London: [G. Norman & Son], 1874) no. 18767, 1534.
14 The Astor Collection of Illuminated Manuscripts, 12.
15 Ibid.
16 Ibid., 9.
The Artist Of The Barcelona Haggadah 257

usually bulges. The colors are applied in a pedestrian manner. Instead of being
blended skillfully, the distinct strokes of different shades of color are clearly
visible. White highlights, especially on the faces of the men at either end of the
table, create an unnatural, masklike effect.
Individual brushstrokes are plainly visible on the faces of the figures in the
Roman de la Rose as well. In the scene depicting Danger, personified, carrying
a club and guarding a castle as he is approached by Shame and Fear (fol. 32v),
there is no attempt to blend white highlights with the darker contours around
the eyes. The faces, therefore, have the same artificial quality as those in the
seder scene. The heads of Danger, Shame, and Fear are rendered in three-
quarter view, which draws attention to their misaligned eyes. Their drapery
folds are rendered crudely, primarily by means of coarsely applied black lines
and white highlights. All of these stylistic elements are noticeably similar to
those in the Barcelona Haggadah.
In the somewhat damaged historiated initial word panel at the beginning
of the passage about the five Rabbis of Bnei Brak in the Barcelona Haggadah
(fol. 31v, fig. 9.4), the simple drapery folds, disproportionate eyes, and long
pointing fingers so typical of this manuscript are comparable to those in
the Roman de la Rose. In the scene of Amant finding Ami and Richesse under
a tree (fol. 84v), the figures point with their overly long index fingers. All
the faces are positioned in three-quarter views. The misaligned eyes of the
seated figures recall those of many people in the Barcelona Haggadah. It
seems likely that even though these two manuscripts were written in different
languagesHebrew and Frenchand contained different genres of text
Jewish liturgy and secular literaturethe same fourteenth-century workshop
illuminated both.
I first came upon an image from this Roman de la Rose when it appeared in
a border design of a calendar decorated with images of women in the Middle
Ages. It was an adaptation of the Dance of Love from folio 11v. The only infor-
mation provided was a credit line stating Sothebys London, with no further
identification. I wrote to Christopher de Hamel, enclosing a photocopy, and
inquired if he knew the manuscript. He replied immediately that he had cata-
logued it in preparation for its being placed at auction at Sothebys London in
1988 as part of the Astor Collection of illuminated manuscripts. He wrote that
it had been purchased by a private individual in Germany.
According to the Sothebys catalogue, this Roman de la Rose was considered
to be unique in style. I was pleased to see that it had been dated and localized
in a manner consistent with the cataloguing of the Barcelona Haggadah in the
facsimile edition of 1992. It is unfortunate that additional comparisons cannot
258 cohen

be made presently, but the manuscript is not available for study because it
has been stolen.17 In the absence of the original, further research into its rela-
tionship to the Barcelona Haggadah cannot be completed. Both of these four-
teenth-century manuscripts seem to have been illuminated by more than one
hand, but only select images from this Roman de la Rose have been published.
It is impossible to study its decorative program as a whole, let alone carry out
side-by-side analyses between the two manuscripts regarding technique, pal-
ette, and type of pigments used.
To date, the identification of artists who produced both Hebrew and non-
Hebrew manuscripts in Sepharad has been extremely limited. In the case of
the workshop of Ferrer Bassa, a likely connection has been made. The work-
shop responsible for the Roman de la Rose and the Barcelona Haggadah may
provide another example of an artist, or artists, who decorated both Hebrew
and non-Hebrew texts. Both manuscripts display an unusual style that has
been dated and localized in a similar fashion, in each case by scholars who
were working independently of one another and unaware of the existence of
the other codex. Unless the Roman de la Rose resurfaces, little more can be
done to compare it to the Barcelona Haggadah. What is certain, however, is
that the last word on the relationship between the illumination of Hebrew and
non-Hebrew manuscripts from Sepharad has yet to be written.

17 The original having been stolen, the only available images of this manuscript are those
published in the Sothebys catalogue The Astor Collection of Illuminated Manuscripts.
Both Javier del Barco, editor of this volume, and I have requested permission from the
Sothebys office in London to publish three images from their catalogue. It is regrettable
that permission has been denied, even for use in a scholarly publication. A comparison
of the figures in the Barcelona Haggadah published here and the referenced images from
the Roman de la Rose can be made, therefore, only by consulting this article along with
The Astor Collection of Illuminated Manuscripts.
The Artist Of The Barcelona Haggadah 259

FIGURE 9.1 Seder scene, Barcelona Haggadah, MS Add. 14761, fol. 28v.
The British Library Board.
260 cohen

FIGURE 9.2 Scene of slavery, Barcelona Haggadah, MS Add. 14761, fol. 30v.
The British Library Board.
The Artist Of The Barcelona Haggadah 261

FIGURE 9.3 Hiding of the afikomen, Barcelona Haggadah, MS Add. 14761, fol. 20v.
The British Library Board.
262 cohen

FIGURE 9.4 Rabbis of Bnei Brak, Barcelona Haggadah, MS Add. 14761, fol. 31v.
The British Library Board.
The Artist Of The Barcelona Haggadah 263

Bibliography

Manuscripts
Bologna, Biblioteca Universitaria, MS 2559 (Bologna-Modena Mahzor).
Budapest, Magyar Tudomnyos Akadmia Knyvtra, MS A 422 (Kaufmann Haggadah).
Copenhagen, Det Kongelige Bibliotek, Cod. Heb. 37.
Jerusalem, Israel Museum, MS 181/041 (Sassoon Haggadah).
, MS 180/057 (Birds Head Haggadah).
Lisbon, Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal, MS Il. 72 (Cervera Bible).
London, British Library, MS Add. 14761 (Barcelona Haggadah).
, MS Add. 27210 (Golden Haggadah).
, MS Or. 1404 (Brother Haggadah or Saltellus Haggadah).
, MS Or. 2737 (Hispano-Moresque Haggadah).
, MS Or. 2884 (Sister of the Golden Haggadah).
Manchester, University of Manchester Library, MS Heb. 6 (Rylands Haggadah).
New York, The Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary, MS 9478 (Prato Haggadah).
Oxford, Boldleian Library, MS Kenn. 1 (Kennicott Bible).
Roman de la Rose, unlocalized, previously in the Astor Collection.
Sarajevo, Zemaljski Muzej Bosne i Hercegovine (Sarajevo Haggadah).

Primary Sources
The Barcelona Haggadah: An Illuminated Passover Compendium from 14th-Century
Catalonia in Facsimile (MS British Library Additional 14761). Edited by Jeremy
Schonfield. London: Facsimile Editions, 1992. http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/
illuminatedmanuscripts.
The Golden Haggadah: A Fourteenth-Century Illuminated Hebrew Manuscript. Facsimile
edition, with an introduction by Bezalel Narkiss. London: Eugrammia Press, 1970.
The Kaufmann Haggadah. Facsimile of Ms 422 of the Kaufmann Collection in the Oriental
Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Edited by Alexander Scheiber.
Budapest: Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 1957.
The Kaufmann Haggadah: A 14th Century Hebrew Manuscript from the Oriental
Collection of the Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Facsimile edition,
with a commentary volume by Gabrielle Sed-Rajna. Budapest: Kultura International,
1990. http://kaufmann.mtak.hu/en/ms422/ms422-coll1.htm
The Kennicott Bible. Introduction by Bezalel Narkiss and Aliza Cohen-Mushlin. London:
Facsimile Editions, 1985.
The Prato Haggadah. Facsimile edition, edited by Naomi S. Steinberger. New York:
The Jewish Theological Seminary, 2007. http://www.jtslibrarytreasures.org/
The Rylands Haggadah: A Medieval Sephardi Masterpiece in Facsimile: An Illuminated
Passover Compendium from Mid-14th-Century Catalonia in the Collection of the John
264 cohen

Rylands Library of Manchester, with a Commentary and a Cycle of Poems. Facsimile


edition, with an introduction by Raphael Loewe. New York: Abrams, 1988.
Saltellus Haggadah. Facsimile edition. Northwood, Ill.: Saltellus Press, 2002.
The Sarajevo Haggadah. Facsimile edition, edited by Cecil Roth. New York: W. H. Allen,
1963.
The Sarajevo Haggadah. Facsimile edition, edited by Eugen Verber. Belgrade: Prosveta,
1983.
The Sarajevo Haggadah. Facsimile edition, edited by Jakob Finci and Eugen Verber.
Sarajevo: Rabic, 2010.

Secondary Literature
Alcoy i Pedrs, Rosa. The Artists of the Marginal Decorations of the Copenhagen
Maimonides. Jewish Art 18 (1992): 12939.
The Astor Collection of Illuminated Manuscripts: Twenty Manuscripts from the Celebrated
Collection of William Waldorf Astor (18481919), First Viscount Astor, from the Library
at Cliveden, and Subsequently Part of the Astor Deposit at the Bodleian Library, Sold
by Order of the Trustees of the Astor Family. London: Sothebys sale, 21 June 1988.
Beit-Ari, Malachi. The Making of the Book: A Codicological Study. In Schonfield, ed.,
The Barcelona Haggadah, 1423.
Cohen, Evelyn M. The Decoration. In Schonfield, ed., The Barcelona Haggadah,
2443.
. Three Sephardic Haggadot and a Possible Missing Link. In Proceedings of
the Fifth Congress of Jewish Studies in Copenhagen 1994 under the Auspices of the
European Association for Jewish Studies, 14251. Copenhagen: C. A. Reitzel A/S
International Publishers, 1998.
Halperin, Dalia-Ruth. A Jew among Us: The Catalan Micrography Mazor Artist and
the Ferrer Bassa Atelier. Ars Judaica 3 (2007): 1930.
Haxen, Ulf. Kings and Citizens: The History of the Jews in Denmark 16221983. Vol. 2,
Manuscripts and Printed Books from the Collection of the Royal Library, Copenhagen.
New York: The Jewish Museum, 1983.
Kogman-Appel, Katrin. Illuminated Haggadot from Medieval Spain: Biblical Imagery
and the Passover Holiday. University Park, Pa.: Penn State Univ. Press, 2006.
Mann, Vivian B. Jews and Altarpieces in Medieval Spain. In Uneasy Communion:
Jews, Christians, and the Altarpieces of Medieval Spain. New York: Museum of Biblical
Art, 2010.
Meiss, Millard. Italian Style in Catalonia and a Fourteenth Century Catalan Workshop.
Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 4 (1941): 4587.
Mller, David Heinrich, Julius von Schlosser, and David Kaufmann, Die Haggadah von
Sarajevo: Eine spanische-jdische Bilderhandschrift des Mittelalters. Vienna: Alfred
Hlder, 1898.
The Artist Of The Barcelona Haggadah 265

Narkiss, Bezalel. Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts. Jerusalem: Keter Publishing House,


1992.
. The Golden Haggadah. London: British Library, 1997.
Narkiss, Bezalel, Aliza Cohen-Mushlin, and Anat Tcherikover. Hebrew Illuminated
Manuscripts in the British Isles. Vol. 1, The Spanish and Portuguese Manuscripts.
Jerusalem and London: The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the
British Academy, 1982.
Quaritch, Bernard. A General Catalogue of Books Offered to the Public at the Affixed
Prices. London: [G. Norman & Son], 1874.
Schmelzer, Menahem. The Poems: A Literary Study. In Schonfield, ed., The Barcelona
Haggadah, 6574.
Sed-Rajna, Gabrielle. Hebrew Manuscripts of Fourteenth-Century Catalonia and the
Workshop of the Master of St. Mark. Jewish Art 18 (1992): 11728.
Wormald, Francis. Afterthoughts on the Stockholm Exhibition. Konsthistorisk tidskrift
22 (December 1953): 7584.
CHAPTER 10

Quotations, Translations, and Uses of Jewish Texts


in Ramon Marts Pugio fidei

Philippe Bobichon
Institut de Recherche et dHistoire des Textes, CNRS, Paris

1 Introduction

Ramon Marts discourse in the Pugio fidei is replete with quotations, often
unacknowledged and sometimes very extensive, which contribute to the
works function and are revealing of its authors method. These quotations
come from a variety of fields (Greek and Latin classical literature, Arabic
literature, the Bible, Christian literature, rabbinical literature) and are very
often given in the original language before being translated. They are so intri-
cately interwoven that setting them apart distorts their function to some
extent; it is nevertheless necessary in order to identify them.
A survey of the Arabic quotations has been undertaken by Miguel Asn
Palacios, ngel Cortabarra, and now by Ryan Szpiech and Damien Traveletti;1
I have recently published a study on Marts Latin sources.2 Hebrew quotations
have occasioned some in-depth studies, which are sometimes very controver-
sial, yet limited to one aspect of Marts work.
An exhaustive study of Jewish sources is, of course, out of the question in
the present paper. Such a study should be based on a complete edition of the
Pugio fidei, taking into account the entire manuscript tradition. At this stage of
our common research, this article aims at providing an overview of the sources
and describing their treatment. It will conclude with a comparison with other
sources employed by Mart, which will allow us to determine whether the

1 See the sources cited in Ryan Szpiech, Citas rabes en caracteres hebreos en el Pugio fidei del
Dominico Ramon Mart: Entre la autenticidad y la autoridad, Al-Qantara 32, no. 1 (2011), 81,
note 31.
2 Philippe Bobichon, La bibliothque de Raymond Martin au couvent Sainte-Catherine
de Barcelone: Sources antiques et chrtiennes du Pugio fidei (ca 1278), in Entre stabilit et
itinrance: Livres et culture des ordres mendiants, XIIIeXVe sicle, ed. Nicole Briou, Martin
Morard and Donatella Nebbiai-Dalla Guarda, Bibliologia 37 (Brepols: Turnhout, 2014),
32966.

koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 5|doi .63/9789004306103_012


Quotations, Translations, and Uses of Jewish Texts 267

elements that are constantly interwoven in his discourse are treated differently
in his argumentative strategy.

2 The Pugio fidei

Composed by a former fellow student of Thomas Aquinas,3 the Pugio fidei (The
Dagger of Faith) is a veritable summa intended to be used for preaching and
polemical debate. It was conceived as part of the Dominican effort to convert
Jews and Muslims. Beginning in the middle of the thirteenth century, this
effort had been bolstered by the foundation of the Studia Linguarum, in which
the clergy being trained for missionary service were taught Arabic and Hebrew
language and culture.
We are dealing with a vast work: the text of the Leipzig edition4 amounts
to 641 pages, and the manuscript in Paris, Bibliothque Sainte-Genevive,
MS 1405 (hereinafter the BSG manuscript)the oldest and most complete
has 428 folios and 851 pages (excluding the guard leaves). Following a prologue
in which the author introduces the circumstances of the works composition
and his intentions, the body of the Pugio fidei is divided into three parts of
unequal length:

A first part (Prima pars), made up of 26 chapters and dedicated to the refu-
tation of the opinions of the philosophers (as well as those of certain
Christian heretics) on theological questions (such as Gods existence,
the supreme good, the immortality of the soul, the eternity of the world,
divine providence and the knowledge of particulars, the resurrection of the
dead, etc.)
A second part (Secunda pars), made up of 15 chapters and dedicated to the
tribes of Israel and to the different Jewish sects in Jesuss time (chapters 1
and 2), then to questions related to the messianic advent (chapters 3 to 15).

3 The date usually given for the completion of Pugio fidei (1278) is inaccurate, since it is based
on a note occurring in the middle of the book (chap. II, 10, p. 395 in the Leipzig edition; see
following note).
4 Raymundi Martini Pugio fidei adversus Mauros et Judaeos hebraice et latine cum observationi-
bus Josephi de Voisin et introductione J. B. Carpzovii, qui simul appendicis loco Hermanni Judaei
opusculum de sua conversione ex manuscripto Bibliothecae Paulinae Academiae Lipsiensis
recensuit (Leipzig: sumptibus haeredum Friderici Lanckisi, typis viduae Johannis Wittigav,
1687), reprinted in facsimile (Farnborough: Gregg, 1967).
268 bobichon

A third part (Tertia pars), made up of 43 chapters subdivided into 3 distinc-


tiones. This last part, which is less clearly structured than the first two, deals
with different issues related to Christian theology or the articles of the
Creed: divine unity, the Trinity, original sin or the theology of Redemption;
the double nature of the Messiah, the creation of man in Gods image, the
different stages of the Christological mission; the status of the Jews and of
the commandments after Christs coming.

None of the surviving manuscripts nor those used for the edition has a conclu-
sion. The numbering of the three parts, of the distinctiones, and of the chap-
ters was present from the genesis of the work, since it is mentioned both in
the prologue and in the introduction written by the copyist of the manuscript
in the Bibliothque Sainte-Foix de Toulouse,5 and it is already present in the
BSG manuscript (the numbering of the first part of this manuscript also shows
visible signs of correction).
The big questions addressed in this work (the Messiah, divine unity, the
Trinity, and the status of Israel) are the same ones that structure (to differ-
ent degrees) most polemical texts, whether Jewish or Christian. The order
adopted in this case reflects the relative importance of the issues at the his-
torical moment in which the Pugio fidei was written: the lawwhich had been
a priority during the early centuries of Christianityis confined to the last
chapters and receives cursory treatment, whereas one of the distinctiones is
dedicated entirely to the theology of Redemptiona theme hardly ever men-
tioned in older polemical texts but which would occupy a central position in
the Jewish-Christian debates of the thirteenth century.
In the manuscripts,6 as well as in the existing editions, numerous and pre-
cise cross-references are imbedded in the structure of the text. This suggests
that Ramon Mart had a clear-cut idea as to the works organization even as he
was writing it.

5 This manuscript is lost, but a copy, now in Paris, Bibliothque Mazarine, MS 796 (2138), was
made in the seventeenth century for Joseph de Voisins edition of the Pugio fideiRaymundi
Martini Pugio fidei adversus Mauros et Judaeos hebraice et latine cum observationibus Josephi
de Voisin (Paris: Matth. et Jean Henault, 1651).
6 On manuscripts and editions, see Szpiech, Citas rabes, 7680; Grge K. Hasselhoff,
Towards an Edition of Ramon Marts Pugio fidei, Bulletin de philosophie mdivale 55 (2013):
4556; Raimundus Martini, Texte zur Gotteslehre. Pugio fidei IIII, 16. LateinischHebrisch /
AramischDeutsch, ed. and trans. Grge K. Hasselhoff, HBPhMA Bd. 31 (Freiburg et al.:
Herder, 2014), 3438 and 4042.
Quotations, Translations, and Uses of Jewish Texts 269

3 Method for the Study of Jewish Sources

The study of Jewish sources is based mainly on the Leipzig edition, but I have
also consulted the BSG manuscript, which is, to this day, the richest and oldest
copy of the Pugio fidei. In a more complete version, my research will include
all the quotations present in this manuscript (mainly in the margins or on
appended folios) and absent from the manuscripts on which the edition is
based. Moreover, it would not be impossible to find in other manuscripts ele-
ments that are absent from the manuscripts used for the edition.
The description of the following corpus is accompanied by precise figures
representing the number of quotations for each category of texts. The account-
ing has been done with as much precision as possible, but it goes without say-
ing that it cannot be exact. What can be interpreted as a quotationin the
Pugio fidei and in medieval literature generallydepends on how one defines
quotation: explicit and clearly delimited quotations; implicit quotations;
paraphrases; summaries; allusions; fragmented quotations alternating with
heterogeneous elements or commentaries; repetitions of previously quoted
fragments; very long quotations (sometimes extending over several pages) or
quotations comprising only a few words, etc. For Jewish (or Hebrew) sources,
only the explicit quotations have been taken into consideration, since this
gives us an exact idea of their number and importance. Moreover, Hebrew
quotations tend to be clearly delimitedand even identifiedin Ramon
Marts discourse, which is already an indication of their function. For the
Latin sources, such a method would have been inappropriate, because the
Christian quotations (and those borrowed from ancient Greek and Latin lit-
erature by Christian authors) are usually implicit. Even though Jewish, Arabic,
and Latin sources are constantly interwoven in the Pugio fidei, they do not all
have the same function: only those clearly identified and presented as quota-
tions by the author can be considered as part of his argumentative strategy.
The others, meant solely for the reader capable of identifying them, have no
specific function in this strategy.
The issue of the authenticity of some midrashic quotations cannot be
addressed here. It has not been demonstrated (as yet) whether the concerned
passages are the result of a forgery, and in any case, they are not singled out as
such by the author.7 This means that they were invested with the same func-
tion as all the other passages reproduced in this manner.

7 On the question of Marts alleged forgeries, the bibliography is extensive. See Leopold Zunz,
Die Gottesdienstlichen Vortrge der Juden (Berlin: Asher, 1832), 28793; Samuel Rolles Driver,
Adolf Neubauer, and Edward Bouverie Pusey, The Fifty-Third Chapter of Isaiah According to the
270 bobichon

Among the Jewish quotations, some could not be identified with certainty
(admitting that it is possible to identify them with certainty). Nevertheless,
this does not affect their treatment, since the author himself does not distin-
guish them.

4 General Description of the Corpus

The quotations identified according to these principles can be classified as


follows:

1395 biblical quotations, of which 1272 are from the Old Testament and 123
from the New Testament (94 quotations from the Gospels, of which 10 are in
Hebrew;8 one quotation from Acts; 28 quotations from the Epistles).

Jewish Interpreters (Oxford: J. Parker, 1877); Adolf Neubauer, ed., The Book of Tobit: A Chaldee
Text from a Unique Ms. in the Bodleian Library, with Other Rabbinical Texts, English Translation
and the Itala (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1878), viix and xxxxv; Salomon M. Schiller-Szinessy,
The Pugio Fidei, Cambridge Journal of Philology 16 (1887): 13152; Adolf Neubauer, Jewish
Controversy and the Pugio fidei, The Expositor 7 (1888): 81106 and 17997; Abraham Epstein,
Bereschit-rabbati (Handschrift der Prager jd. Gemeinde). Dessen Verhltniss zu Rabba-
rabbati, Moses ha-Darschan und Pugio Fidei, Magazin fr die Wissenschaft des Judenthums
15 (1888): 6569; Isral Levi, review of Bereschit Rabbati, dessen Verhltniss zu Rabba Rabbati,
Moses ha-Darschan und Pugio Fidei, by Abraham Epstein, Revue des tudes juives 17 (1888):
31317; Saul Liebermann, Shkiin: A Few Words on Some Jewish Legends, Customs, and Literary
Sources Found in Karaite and Christian Works (Including an Index of the Jewish Books Cited in
Pugio Fidei of Raymund Martini) [Hebrew] (Jerusalem: Bamberger and Wahrmann, 1939);
Yitzhak Baer, The Forged Midrashim of Raymond Martini and Their Place in the Religious
Controversies in the Middle Ages [Hebrew], in Studies in Memory of Asher Gulak and Samuel
Klein (Jerusalem: Hebrew Univ. Press Association, 1942), 2849; Saul Liebermann, Raymund
Martini and His Alleged Forgeries, Historia Judaica 5 (1943): 87102; Alejandro Dez Macho,
Acerca de los midrasim falsificados de R. Mart, Sefarad 9 (1949): 16596; Jeremy Cohen,
The Friars and the Jews: The Evolution of Medieval Anti-Judaism (Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press,
1982), 135 and notes 1213; Domingo Muoz Len, Targum, Midrash y Talmud en la obra
Pugio Fidei de Raimundo Mart: los nombres y atributos divinos del Nio-Hijo de Is. 9:56,
in Biblia, exgesis y cultura: Estudios en honor del Prof. D. Jos Mara Casciaro, ed. Gonzalo
Aranda, Claudio Basevi, and Juan Chapa (Pamplona: EUNSA, 1994), 44762; Ursula Ragacs,
The Forged Midrashim of Raymond MartiniReconsidered, Henoch 19, no. 1 (1997): 5968.
8 See Judah Rosenthal, Early Hebrew Translations of the Gospels [Hebrew], Tarbiz 32
(196263): 4866; Pinchas E. Lapide, Hebrew in the Church: The Foundations of Jewish-
Christian Dialogue (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1984), 1316; Ryan Szpiech, The Aura of an
Alphabet: Interpreting the Hebrew Gospels in Ramon Marts Dagger of Faith (1278), Numen:
International Review for the History of Religions (2014): 33463.
Quotations, Translations, and Uses of Jewish Texts 271

1 quotation from the Masorah (according to Aaron ben Asher).


225 quotations from the Targum Onkelos or Targum Jonathan (the two are
not always clearly differentiated).
276 quotations from biblical commentators: 237 from Rashi; 35 from
Abraham ibn Ezra; 4 from David Kimhi.
43 quotations from grammarians: 2 from Jonah ibn Janahs Sefer ha-sho-
rashim; and 41 from David Kimhis Mikhlol.
475 quotations from different midrashim; the most massively quoted are the
Genesis Rabbah (150 quotations) and the Psalms Rabbah (143 quotations).
261 quotations from the Mishnah or the Talmud, not always clearly differen-
tiated. Maimonidess Mishne torah is quoted 5 times in the edition and at
least 6 times in the BSG manuscript.
17 quotations from historiographical works: 15 from the Seder olam, 2 from
Joseph ben Gurions Sefer yosippon.
Maimonidess Guide for the Perplexed is quoted or mentioned 14 times in the
edition and at least 15 times in the BSG manuscript.
Nahmanidess Sefer ha-geullah (Book of Redemption) is quoted twice; the
Toldot yeshu, twice.

The Jewish sources used in the Pugio fidei are extremely diverse and cover
almost all fields related to the study of the Bible and the interpretation of the
history of the Jewish people: tradition and translations of the Bible, halakhic,
midrashic and grammatical commentaries, historiography, philosophy, and
theology. Within each category, the texts are equally diverse: at least ten dif-
ferent midrashim, Rashis commentaries on almost every book of the Bible,9
and talmudic quotations from twenty-eight different tractates (out of sixty-
three). Excepting the introductory chapters, these miscellaneous quotations
are equally distributed in the Pugio fidei and always integrated into composite
ensembles. This means that their sources were constantly used, in one manner
or another, during the twenty years that it took for this work to be completed.
During the preparatory stages or during the entire writing process, Ramon
Mart must have had at his disposal at least one manuscript copy of each of
these texts. The number of manuscripts is considerably augmented if we take
into account the fact that for the Talmud, for instance, different tractates were
always copied separately during the Middle Ages.

9 With the exception of Leviticus, for the Pentateuch.


272 bobichon

5 Detailed Analysis

5.1 Biblical Quotations


The identification of biblical quotations takes into account exclusively those
presented as such by Mart; those incorporated into Christian or rabbinical
quotations are only retained when they are commented upon by the author
at the conclusion of the quotations. The references given in the edition are
always incomplete, since whenever several consecutive (or non-consecutive
but belonging to the same passage) verses are being quoted, only the reference
to the first verse is given. The same phenomenon can be observed in the BSG
manuscript, where only the number of the chapter is indicated.10 Both in the
edition and the manuscripts, allusions to previously mentioned biblical quota-
tions (very numerous) are never referenced.
Besides the Pentateuch, the most-often quoted biblical books are Isaiah
(300 quotations), Jeremiah (121), and the book of Psalms (225). Among the
evangelists, Matthew is the most often quoted (42 times); Mark, Luke, and
John are sometimes quoted in Hebrew.11 Baruch, Esther, the Apocalypse, as
well as some of the Epistles are never quoted. The most frequently cited verses
are those which are traditionally a source of controversy between Jews and
Christians: for instance, Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:6; Isaiah 5253 (on the suffering
servant); and Proverbs 8:22.
In accordance with the method explained in his introduction, Ramon Mart
gives priority to the Hebrew text, quoted almost systematically before propos-
ing a translation different from that of Jerome, which is, according to Mart,
contested by the Jews. In the passage of the introduction concerning this
issue,12 Mart employs the future tense (non septuaginta sequar...). It should
be understood, therefore, as a declaration of intention that preceded and was
decisive for the composition of the text.

10 For instance, Exod. 20:3, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17: Pugio fidei (1687), 77475; BSG, MS 1405,
fol. 299r.
11 Some of these Hebrew quotations may be found only in manuscripts.
12 Caeterum, inducendo authoritatem textus ubicumque ab Hebraico fuerit desumptum,
non septuaginta sequar, nec interpretem alium, et quod majoris praesumptionis videb-
itur, non ipsum etiam in hoc reverebor Hieronymum, nec tolerabilem linguae Latinae
vitabo improprietatem, ut eorum quae apud Hebraeos sunt, ex verbo in verbo quoties-
cumque servari hoc potuit/poterit transferam veritatem. Per hoc enim Judaeis falsiloquis
lata valde spatiosaque subterfugiendi praecluditur via, et minime poterunt dicere non
sic haberi apud eos, ut a nostris contra ipsos me interprete, veritas inducetur. Pugio fidei
(1687), Prooemium, X: 4.
Quotations, Translations, and Uses of Jewish Texts 273

Hebrew quotations are almost always vocalized in the BSG manuscript, and,
except for some details, the vocalization is identical for different occurrences
of the same verse. In this manuscript, the quotations are often accompanied
by cantillation signs and masoretic indications (for instance, the number of
occurrences of a word in the Bible or the qere and ketiv: the read form as it
differs from the written form). These notations are all the more remarkable
as they appear very erratically and are never taken into consideration in
the argumentation. They are the result either of a non-critical use of various
Bible manuscripts or of the scribes peculiarities. They do not appear in the
manuscript in Coimbra, Biblioteca Geral da Universidade, MS 720, from the
fourteenth or the fifteenth century.
In all the cases examined, the length of the quotations and the proposed
Latin translation vary according to the context. Ramon Mart quotes only that
which is necessary to the argumentation in a given context. The translation
itself is never identical for the same verse used in different contexts, and it can
even vary significantly from one context to another. The passages are trans-
lated each time anew and this phenomenon cannot be explained by the edit-
ing process (based on several manuscripts), since it is already present in the
BSG manuscript, as shown in the appendix. The pervasiveness of alternative
translations for the same word or expression is another proof that the Latin
translation is the work of the author of the Pugio fidei and that the text pre-
serves the traces of its composition.
Since the Hebrew text itself is never perfectly identical, the hypothesis of
quotations written from memory should not be totally dismissed. In any case,
it is obvious that Ramon Mart does not follow faithfully one single copy of
the Hebrew text. The form taken by the biblical quotations in the Pugio fidei
proves that its author mastered the details of the Hebrew Bible sufficiently to
free himself from its letter and from a univocal interpretation.

5.2 The Tradition of the Biblical Text


The main explicit reference to the Masorah (III, iii, 21, 1)13 is accompanied by
considerations on Ben Asher and Ben Naphtali, punctuators of the biblical
text; it concerns one passage (Hos. 9:12) whose punctuation is interpreted as
an attempted occultation of the prophecy of the incarnation. The allusions
to the corrections of the scribes (tiqqune soferim: correctiones scribarum)
are quite abundant in the Pugio fidei14 and are generally associated with the
Masorah. The most important among thema series of instances of forged

13 Pugio fidei (1687), 895.


14 Ibid., 27779, 610, 695, 859.
274 bobichon

s cripturesare found in II, 3, 9.15 In this instance, Mart reveals his sources:
different midrashim, the Diqduqe ha-teamim (a treatise on the Masoretic
Text of the Bible that was established by Ben Asher of the Tiberian school of
Masoretes, around 930). Mart does not clearly distinguish the Masorah, which
concern the entire biblical text, from the scribal corrections (tiqqune soferim),
which are limited in number and served mainly to remove potentially blasphe-
mous elements from the text. It is impossible to know whether this confusion
is involuntary or deliberate.
The 225 references to ancient Aramaic translations of the Bible (Targum)
are generally precise enough for the author or the translated passage (Psalms,
Song of Songs, Lamentations) to be mentioned in the introductory formula
(these formulae are quite diverse). Nevertheless, the exceptions are numerous:
in the edition, eleven of these references are simply preceded by formulae such
as Targum or in the Targum. The Targum Onkelos (for the Pentateuch), the
Targum Jonathan (ben Uzziel) (for the Prophets), and that of Pseudo Jonathan,
Targum Yerushalmi (for the Pentateuch) are not always clearly differentiated.
In some instances, Onkelos is even identified as the author of the Aramaic
translation of the Psalms, both in the BSG manuscript and in the edition.16
The Targum Onkelos is presented in a few lines when discussing Genesis
37:3517 and Genesis 49:10;18 that of Jonathan filius Uzielis, with more details,
when discussing Hillel the Elder,19 Jonathans teacher, according to the tradi-
tion he reproduces (TB Baba Bathra). For the same verse, the Aramaic text

15 Ibid., 27779.
16 Ibid., 955; BSG, MS 1405, fol. 456v.
17 Cuius falsitatem, omniumque eius sequacium evidenter refellit Onkelos interpretes
apud eos totius Pentateuchi Chaldaicus, qui hunc locum de Hebraico in Chaldaicum ita
interpretatus est. Pugio fidei (1687), 610.
18 ...ostenditur per Targum, id est translationem Chaldaicam a quodam proselyte sapi-
ente nomine Encalos de toto Pentateucho longe ante adventum Salvatoris factam, quae
inter Judaeos tantam auctoritatem obtinet, quod a nullo eorum praesumitur contraduci.
(Ibid., 312).
19 Nota quod iste transtulit de Hebraico in Chaldaicum totum vetus Testamentum praeter
Pentateuchum, quem ante eum transtulerat Onkelos proselytus, et haec translationes
dicuntur Targumim. Minor vero omnium Rabba, Jochanan ben Zaccai, de quo dixerunt
quod non dimisit scire Scripturam, et Talmud, sive Mischnam et Traditiones, et Agadot,
Decisiones legis, Decisiones scribarum, argumenta a majori ad minus, etc., parabolas
vulpium, narrationes daemonum, narrationes palmarum, et narrationes angelorum
administratoriorum, etc. Si igitur ise minor erat ita magnus sapiens, quanto magis alii?,
de Jochanan filio Uzielis dixerunt quod illa hora qua ipse studebat in lege, quodcunque
volabat super eum exurabatur. (Ibid., 317; see also 698).
Quotations, Translations, and Uses of Jewish Texts 275

is generally quoted only for the first occurrence. However, for the Targum on
Isaiah 42:1, the Aramaic text is quoted three times (in a slightly different way
for the two first quotations).20
The accusation of forging the Scriptures is a topos of the argumentation in
Judeo-Christian polemical literature. It is a very ancient one, since it is already
observed in the second century, and from the beginning it was reciprocal.21 In
the Pugio fidei, the quotations from the Targum aim explicitly at underlining
the fact that the veritas hebraica can only be fully rendered in the Christian
interpretation of the Scriptures. This is why Ramon Mart repeatedly empha-
sizes the authority of these Aramaic versions in the Jewish tradition.22
Some of the quotations introduced as targumic could not be identified.
A few of them are only Hebrew paraphrases of the verse previously quoted.
The text the author labels, in three passages (Cant. 8:1 and 8:2; Lam. 2:22;
Eccles. 1:11),23 as the Targum Hierosolomytanum, which is associated with an
editio vulgata in the last of these occurrences,24 are still to be identified.
If we can prove that Pseudo Jonathans Targum is quoted in the Pugio fidei,
we would have an exceptional document, since it is generally accepted that
this text is posterior to Rashis commentary (who doesnt mention it) and since
the only extant manuscript was probably copied in the sixteenth century.25
As for Onkelos translation, Ramon Mart may have used a French or German
Bible, since the Sephardi Bibles did not include it.26 Generally speaking, a

20 Ibid., 66061, 672, 889.


21 For instance, in Justin Martyrs Dialogue with Trypho, trans. and ed. Philippe Bobichon
(Fribourg: Academic Press Fribourg, 2003), 1:7173 and 37985, 2:76572.
22 For instance, Targum, cui apud Judaeos nefas est contradicere. Pugio fidei (1687), 539.
23 Ibid., 663, 651, and 780, respectively.
24 Et nota quod hoc Targum Hierosolymitanum est illud forte quod a nostris dicitur editio
vulgata, cujus autor ignotus ad utilitatem simplicium exponentis modum magis quam
interpretis dignoscitur habuisse. (Ibid., 780)
25 Among the 67 translations of verses from the Prophets attributed to Jonathan (Isaiah,
Jeremiah, Hosea, Amos, Obadiah, Micah, Zephaniah, Habacuc, Zecharia, Malachi), only
8 are attributed to Jonathan ben Uziel; the 59 others are attributed to Jonathan. It is
only the Targum on the Prophets that is attributed to Jonathan ben Uzziel, yet six other
translations of verses from the Psalms and a verse from Samuel (!) are attributed to
Jonathan, which corresponds to what is stated at p. 317. The formulas used in this con-
text are not different from those introducing other translations of the Prophets.
26 Even so, there are some Sephardi manuscripts with the text of the Targum only; for exam-
ple, the manuscript in Madrid, Biblioteca de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid,
BH MS 6, a Sephardi codex from the thirteenth or fourteenth century containing the
Targum Onkelos.
276 bobichon

thorough examination should allow us to identify with precision the targumic


manuscripts Ramon Mart had at his disposal.

5.3 Biblical Commentaries


Only three Bible commentaries are quoted in the Pugio fidei: Rashi (237 occur-
rences), Abraham ibn Ezra (35 occurrences) and David Kimhi (4 occurrences).
Rashis commentary is pervasive and covers most of the books of the Bible;
that of Abraham ibn Ezra is quoted much less frequently and irregularly and
solely with reference to the Psalms and the Prophets (the Sefer ha-yashar, a
very popular commentary on the Pentateuch, is never quoted).
The quotations from Rashi are generally quite long; those from Abraham
ibn Ezra are shorter. In many cases, different commentaries on the same verse
are quoted together and mixed with talmudic and midrashic passages. In such
cases, we are dealing with genuine exegetical chains assembled around one
verse, and it is implausible that Mart could have found them already united as
such in a document. They must be his work, and in any case, it is certain that
he used different manuscripts. Because the Hebrew text of the same passage is
never perfectly homogeneous in these different occurrences (see, for instance,
the commentaries on Isa. 11:3 and Mal. 2:15, tables 10.1 and 10.2), the hypothesis
of a diverse documentation (at least two distinct copies) or of quotation from
memory is quite plausible. It is worth mentioning that in these two examples,
the Latin translation takes into account the Hebrew variants, meaning that, in
this case as well, Mart translated each quotation afresh.
The introductory formulae are stereotyped enough (Glossa R. Salomonis
[Jarchi]; Dixit r. Abraham Aben Esra in expositione sua super...; Aben Esra
sic exponit; glossa r. David Kimhi) and generally neutral. It is noteworthy
that quotations from Abraham ibn Ezra are preceded by praise,27 whereas
Rashi and David Kimhi are not favored with the same treatment.28 Ramon
Mart was probably not ignorant of the fact that David Kimhi had authored
anti-Christian treatises (Teshuvot la-notsrim; Vikkuah ha-RaDaK) and that his
exegesis, condemned by the Inquisition, was often a response to the Christian
exegesis. It is also possible that the author of the Pugio fidei might not have
been totally indifferent to Abraham ibn Ezras Spanish origins.

27 On Mal. 1:1011, Qualiter autem hoc totum sit intelligendum ostendit eleganter
R. Abraham abec Esra in sua expositione in hunc modum... (Ibid., 816); on Isa. 2:2, Et
hoc quidem multo clarius R. Abraham Aben Esra super Michaeam exponendo...ait...
(Ibid., 43334).
28 Sciendum, quod r. Salomoh, unus de modernis versipellis (non modicum, exponit istud
sic,... (Ibid., 537).
Quotations, Translations, and Uses of Jewish Texts 277

In any case, the mention of the three commentators aims at emphasiz-


ing elements interpreted as a confirmation of Christian exegesis (in particu-
lar, admitting the messianic connotations of some verses is tantamount to
acknowledging Christ himself).
Rashi and Abraham ibn Ezra are mistaken for one another at least once, in a
curious introductory formula, also present in the BSG manuscript: Dixit Rabbi
Selomo et Rabbi Abraham Aben Azraa (Mal. 2:15, second quotation).29
These different commentaries and the passages they refer to were probably
copied from different manuscripts. Javier del Barco, whom I consulted on this
subject, is not aware of the existence of any Bible including the commentaries
of Rashi and Ibn Ezra copied in Sepharad during the thirteenth century (this
phenomenon begins to spread during the fourteenth century, under the influ-
ence of Nicholas of Lyras Postilla).

5.4 Grammar
Concerning grammar, Ramon Mart must have had at his disposal at least
one copy each of the Heleq ha-diqduq, the first part of David Kimhis Mikhlol
(quoted twice), and the Sefer ha-shorashim, the second part of this work (quoted
39 times). These quotations are scattered throughout the entire Pugio fidei. As
for the Sefer ha-shorashim (The Book of Roots), the 34 adduced words or roots
cover the whole alphabet. The book must have been regularly used, in a com-
plete version, throughout the composition of the Pugio fidei. The introductory
formula used twice for two different quotations from the Mikhlol30 (in Michlol
parte prima quae dicitur Dikduc [sive Grammatica]) demonstrates that Mart
was familiar with the subdivision of this work.
Mart must have also had at his disposal a copy of the Hebrew translation
(prepared in Lunel by Judah ibn Tibbon) of the work of the Andalusi grammar-
ian and lexicographer Jonah ibn Janah (ca. 990ca. 1050). This work is quoted
only twice, but the quotationsalluding to explanations actually found in Ibn
Janahs bookmay be first hand. This is probably also true of the quotations
from David Kimhis Sefer ha-shorashim.
In order to explain the word beushim (spinae) from Isaiah 5:2, Mart resorts
to Ibn Janah and David Kimhi.31 Since David Kimhi does not mention Ibn Janah
when discussing this word (as he does quite often for other roots), the associa-
tion of the two interpretations should be attributed to the Pugio fideis author.

29 Ibid., 758; BSG, MS 1405, fol. 286v.


30 Ibid., 378 and 460.
31 Ibid., 851.
278 bobichon

The use of these grammatical references is analogous to that of all the other
rabbinic sources: it aims at confirming the Christian interpretation of the verse
in question. For instance, the explanation of the word lehem (bread, flesh, sac-
rifice) reinforces the Eucharistic significance given to Leviticus 21:8: Et sanc-
tificabis eum, quia carnem Dei tui (lehem elohekha) ipse erit sacrificans...
(III, iii, 15, 8).32 The argument, based on grammatical and lexicographical
considerations, is always interwoven with other kinds of arguments (Rashis
commentaries, Aramaic translation, midrashic commentary, etc.). In this case
as well, when the same explanation is quoted several times, the Hebrew text is
identical, but there are always some variations in the Latin translation.
According to the Institute for Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts in the
National Library of Israel, only six manuscripts of the Sefer ha-riqmah (the first
part of Ibn Janahs work in Judah ibn Tibbons Hebrew translation) have been
preserved and they were all copied after 1300; nine manuscripts of the Sefer
ha-shorashim (Judah ibn Tibbons translation of the second part of Ibn Janahs
work) were copied before 1286; only one manuscript of the Mikhlol might have
been copied before 1300 (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Laud. 293).

5.5 Midrash
The examination of the midrashic sources in the Pugio fidei raises specific
problems, such as the authenticity of some of them, and particularly of those
attributed to Moses ha-Darshan, or the identification of Rabbi Rachmon.33 As
I mentioned in the Introduction, these complex questions cannot be discussed
here. Besides, whatever the answers to these questions, all the midrashic quo-
tations have the same status and the same use in the Pugio fidei. From the
point of view that concerns us here, there are no differences among them.
The midrashic quotations are very abundant in the Pugio fidei: at least 475
(according to the edition), from various sources and of varying lengths. They
have a central role in Marts argumentation.
Thus, we can count 150 midrashic quotations on Genesis, 8 on Exodus,
10 on Leviticus, 4 on Numbers, 7 on Deuteronomy. Other midrashim are explic-
itly quoted: the midrash on the book of Ruth (8 times), that on Song of Songs
(47 times), that on Lamentations (29 times), that on Ecclesiastes (30 times)
and that on the Psalms (143 times); the Sifre on Numbers and Deuteronomy
(4 times); the Midrash tanhuma (9 times); and the Mekhilta of Rabbi Simeon
bar Yohai (19 times). The quotations from the same midrash are never limited
to one of its parts and, as with the quotations from grammarians, they are

32 Ibid., 839.
33 See the bibliography, above, note 7.
Quotations, Translations, and Uses of Jewish Texts 279

d istributed all over the Pugio fidei. This proves that Mart had at his disposal
at least one copy of each of these texts or of their subdivisions (in the case of
subdivisions copied separately).
The midrashim on the Pentateuch cover all the books, but first and foremost
the book of Genesis. Mart refers to the midrashim on Genesis in many differ-
ent ways: in Bereschit Rabba minori, in Bereschit Rabba, in Bereschit ket-
anna, in Bereschit Rabah R. Moseh haddarschan, in Bereschit minori, in
Bereschit Rabba majore, & minore, in Bereschit Ketanna, sive Glossa minori,
in Bereschit Rabba Ketannah, in Bereschit Rabba, seu Glossa majore, In
Bereschit Rabah priore...id est in Bereschit Rabah R. Mosis Hadarsan,
in Bereschit Rabba Kethana, ugedolah, id est minori, & majori, in magna
Bereschit Rabba, in magna expositione R. Moseh haddarschan, in antiqua
Bereschit Raba.
Some of these different denominations introduce a quotation of the same
text, as for instance that of Genesis 19:34: in Bereschit ketanna, id est minore
expositione Geneseos...;34 in Bereschit Rabba taliter scriptum est super
illud Genes. 19 vers. 34.35 Other very similar formulae seem to introduce
different texts: for example on Genesis 46:28: in Bereschit Rabba, ubi R. Moseh
haddarschan sic dicit super illud quod dicitur Gen. 46 v. 28;36 in Bereschit
Rabba super illud Genes. 46. vers. 28.37 What is identified as the Midrasch
Vajikra, sive Glossa, super Levit (or the equivalents) seems to correspond to
different sources: the quotations on pages 55355, for instance, correspond
only partially (the first 12 lines) to Midrash rabbah on Leviticus, the rest of the
fragment being taken from Midrash tehilim. Certain quotations introduced
as passages from Midrash tanhuma could not be found in the edition of this
text, but in the Yalqut shimoni. The association (or the confusion?) of different
midrashim is a phenomenon noticeable in many passages of the Pugio fidei.
Mart might have used anthologies which were not preserved; he might also
have compiled the texts himself (as he does with certain Latin sources). Only a
thorough examination would allow us to provide a definite answer.
Only some references to the midrash on Genesis are seemingly more precise;
but when compared, they prove to be equally ambiguous: the same midrash on
Genesis 1:12, for instance, is twice introduced by the formula in Bereschit
Rabba minori, Paraschah 238 and once by the formula in Bereschit Rabba

34 Pugio fidei (1687), 354.


35 Ibid., 71415.
36 Ibid., 599.
37 Ibid., 768.
38 Ibid., 383.
280 bobichon

majore, & minore in Parascha 2.39 In the original, it is the same parashah, but
the passages are not always identical. It is obvious, nevertheless, that Mart had
at his disposal a copy of this midrash with a division of the parashiyyot.
As with other sources, different quotations of the same midrashic passage
(very numerous in the Pugio fidei for this category of texts) are not always of the
same length and their Latin translations, which are never identical, can differ
in significant ways. In this case as well, the quotation and its translation have
been adapted to different contexts. The hypothesis of a documentation made
up of index cards invariably reproduced is invalidated by this observation.
The references to parallel passages, very frequent in the Pugio fidei, also
prove that Mart had direct access to the sources. The following details are
given, for instance, in reference to passages in close proximity: Ex Talmud
Hierosolomytano in libro Taanith, distinctione Bischloscha peraqim et in
Echa Rabati, id est Glossa magna super lamentationes Jeremiae super illud;40
Hucusque verba Talmud ? Et nota quod hoc idem habetur apud eos in Echa
Rabati super illud Threnorum primo;41 in libro Taanit Ierosolymitano et in
Echa Rabbati et in Midrasch koheleth.42
The use of midrashic texts does not differ from that of other rabbinic
sources: it aims at confirming the Christian interpretation of the Scriptures
(or of history), in particular of the verses bearing messianic connotations. For
example, on the theme of the Messiah as a rock, Mart advances different bib-
lical verses, such as Isaiah 28:16 (even bohan, cornerstone), while quoting as
a confirmation of his Christological interpretation Rashis commentary, the
Targum, and the Midrash shir ha-shirim on Song of Songs 1:34 (
: thou shall be our delight and joy). The ending line of this midrash runs:
/( thou shall be our delight and joy: in you,
i.e., in your redemption/in the fear of you). Only is retained and the
translation proposed for this word is in te, id est in Jesu vel in salutari tuo.
The edition I consulted (Responsa) reads: , , .
In the Pugio fidei, the cases of Christianization of the midrash, at least through
translation, are abundant.
The fact that they can be easily Christianized explains the importance of
midrashic quotations in this treatise. Mart is aware that, in the Jewish tradi-
tion, the authority of the midrash and the haggadic passages (of the Talmud)

39 Ibid., 545.
40 Ibid., 325.
41 Ibid., 349.
42 Ibid., 89899.
Quotations, Translations, and Uses of Jewish Texts 281

is inferior to that of the halakhic commentaries,43 but (unlike some of his suc-
cessors) he does not take into account these distinctions when constructing
his argumentation.
The identification of the midrashic sources used in the Pugio is theoretically
vital for an analysis of this work and for its indexing. If ever undertaken, such
an enterprise would demand a considerable effort.

5.6 Mishnah, Talmud


In the case of the halakhah, the edition of the Pugio fidei contains 261 talmu-
dic quotations: 237 from the Babylonian Talmud and 24 from the Jerusalem
Talmud. The Jerusalem Talmud is always identified by introductory formu-
lae such as: in libro Beracot Jerosolymitano, in distinctione Maimatai korin.
The Babylonian one is not systematically introduced as such: for instance,
for a quotation from Yoma 21a,44 the introductory formula is: in Talmud
Babylonico in libro Joma distinctione quae incipit Scheba Jamim. Everywhere
else, in the case of quotations from the Babylonian Talmud, only the tractate
and the chapter are mentioned; for instance, in the presentation of an extract
from Sanhedrin 37a: in libro Sanhedrin, in distinctione quae incipit Dine
mamonoth.
For the Babylonian Talmud, these quotations are taken from twenty-eight
different tractates, as well as from the Pirqe avot. Most of the tractates quoted
belong to the orders Moed (11 quoted out of a total of 12 tractates), Nashim
(5 out of 7) and Neziqin (7 out of 10). Two tractates are quoted from the order
Zeraim, three from Qodashin, none from Tohorot. The most frequently quoted
tractates are Sanhedrin (79 quotations, most of them from the chapter Heleq),
Avoda Zara (13), Baba Bathra (12), Berakhot (8), Hagiga (9), Shabbat (12), Yoma
(20). This distribution is similar to that found in most of the polemical litera-
ture that makes use of talmudic sources.

43 Ramon Mart uses the books accepted by the Jewish scriptural canon, the Talmud and
all the books considered as authentic by the Jews, the midrashim and the rabbinical com-
mentaries (glosae): ...vel etiam de Talmud ac reliquis scriptis suis apus eos authenti-
cis (Prooemium, III, 2). These traditions are not rejected, but rather wilfully accepted,
since nothing is more appropriate to convince the audience of his writings and to refute
their errors: Non ergo respuamus traditiones ejusmodi, sed potius amplectamur, tum
propter ea quae dicta sunt, tum quod nihil tam validum ad confutandam Judaeorum
impudentiam reperitur, nihil ad eorum convincendam nequitiam tam efficax invenitur
(Prooemium, IX, 34). But he mentions elsewhere that these traditions have to be consid-
ered and used with proper judgment (see below).
44 Pugio fidei (1687), 371.
282 bobichon

A similarly typical distribution can be found in the quotations from


the Jerusalem Talmud, from which only the tractates Avoda Zara, Berakhot,
Bikkurim, Makot, Sanhedrin, Shabbat, Taanit and Yoma are cited.
Since these tractates were usually copied separately during the Middle Ages,
Mart must have had at his disposal (and maybe he had compiled himself) at
least one manuscript copy of each.
The introductory formulae are very stereotyped, but some of them contain
details that can be interpreted as signs of a direct contact with the source: this
one, for instance, introducing a quotation from Sanhedrin 38b: in Masseschet
Sanhedrin distinctione Echad dine Mamonoth circa finem.45 Nevertheless,
such a degree of precision is rather rare.
Mart doesnt clearly distinguish between the Mishnah and the Talmud. We
can even find the formula Mishnae, id est Talmud.46 But it is the Talmud that
is generally quoted.
The quotations from the Talmud are often very lengthy, as are those from
the midrash, but the forms are diverse. Most of the time, they are reproduced
in an extensive manner; but they can also be summarized or abridged accord-
ing to different procedures, such as when they take the form (continuous or
not) of a series of elements originating in the same passage but interspersed
with interruptions. Extracts from the same page of the Talmud are not always
grouped together, and when they are, they are not always given in the original
order. Quite frequently, two consecutive parts from the same talmudic pas-
sage are reproduced in two ways in different contexts: 1) by clearly delimiting
them; 2) by superposing some elements of the end of the first passage and of
the beginning of the second one.
In all the cases examined, the length and the details of the quotation are
adapted to the context. Mart quotes only what is necessary for his argu-
ment. This methodological choice becomes particularly evident when com-
paring different quotations of the same talmudic passage (accompanied by
their translations). The parallel passages are frequently signaled and some-
times reproduced. Mart must have consulted the texts several times and he
clearly mastered their contents. Thus he is free not to found his argumentation
exclusively on the quoted passages. For example, in relation to the chap-
ter Heleq from the tractate Sanhedrin he writes: scriptum est igitur in libro
Sanhedrin, distinctione quae incipit Chelek, ubi multa valde alia de Messia
dicuntur (III, i, 10, 1).47

45 Ibid., 485.
46 Ibid., 320; BSG, MS 1405, fol. 50v.
47 Ibid., 534.
Quotations, Translations, and Uses of Jewish Texts 283

These different operations can only proceed from an intelligent process of


selection, based on a constant rereading of the texts (or on their being quoted
from memory). This result could not have been achieved using only second-
hand documentation.
The phenomenon of Christianization, another form of conscious inter-
ference with the contents of the text, is quite frequent when it comes to the
Talmud as well. For example, in the BSG manuscript but not in the edition, a
quotation from Sanhedrin 17a ends up in Hebrew and in Latin with an explicit
reference to Jesus: sic Yeshu Nori et Yesus Nazarenus.48 Another one, from
Sota, containsin the edition (but not in the BSG manuscript)among other
examples of Christianization, the translation of yetser ha-ra (lit.: the evil
penchant) as peccatum originale and the substitution of only child (yahid)
with first-born (bekhor).49
The question of Rashis commentaries inserted in different places in lengthy
talmudic quotations (a very frequent phenomenon) is very complex. In most
of the cases, these quotations concern the verses brought up in the talmudic
passage (and not the talmudic commentary itself). Mart could not have had
at his disposal a copy of the Talmud presenting things in this way. This means
that he authored (in one way or another) this form of alteration with the objec-
tive of confirming his argumentation.
The use made of talmudic quotations is analogous to that of all the other
rabbinic sources, with which they are constantly interwoven. However, the
judgments of the haggadic parts of the Talmud are sometimes very polemical.
For example, Mart cites a passage from the tractate Avoda Zara to state that
the Talmud encourages the murder of Christians (III, iii, 22, 22),50 and in the
same line of argument,51 he introduces several haggadot which he considers
insanities (insaniae), absurdities (absurditates), and lies (mendacia): such
is the case of the passage stating that, at the end of the day, God plays with the
Leviathan (Ps. 104:26); likewise for the one stating that Mosess stature was ten
cubits (4.5 m), and that of Og, king of Basan, was 30 cubits (13.5 m). The author
concludes by saying that he should stop staining the parchment with these
insanities (nolui plus de pergamino talibus insaniis denigrare).52 The ques-
tion of the relation between these lines of argument and the extractions from

48 BSG, MS 1405, fol. 47v, l. 38. The corresponding quotation in the 1687 edition is on page 315.
49 Pugio fidei (1687), 855; BSG, MS 1405, fol. 357r.
50 Pugio fidei (1687), 936.
51 Ibid., 930.
52 Ibid., 940.
284 bobichon

the Talmud, which can be found elsewhere in thirteenth-century Christian


literature, remains to be studied.

5.7 Historiography
Two treatises of Jewish historiography are quoted in the Pugio fidei: the Seder
olam (rabbah), a biblical and Jewish chronology from the second century; and
the Sefer yosippon, a chronicle attributed to Joseph ben Gurion, dated to the
tenth century and covering a period from Adam to Titus.
The Seder olam is quoted fifteen times; these quotations are taken from
throughout the book, but they are sometimes grouped or linked in the Pugio
fidei. Quotations from the same book are not necessarily from the same pas-
sage. Moreover, as in the case of the Talmud or other writings, extracts from the
same passage are not always preserved in their original order; as elsewhere,
the occurrences reproduce an almost identical text (there are two such exam-
ples), but the translations are notably different. The references to the original
are sometimes accompanied by details indicating direct access to the text: in
fine libri; capitulo quod incipit Verba Nehemiae estque ultimum. The Seder
olam is often quoted in the Talmud, and some of Marts quotations might
have used this intermediary text (this hypothesis has not been systematically
verified as yet), but everything indicates that most of the timeif not all the
timethey are firsthand.
The two quotations from the Sefer yosippon are very lengthy: a range of pas-
sages covering 44 pages in David Flussers edition. Had their original order
been perfectly respected, the last passage should have been placed between
the first and the second. The Latin translations of the Sefer yosippon date to the
sixteenth century;53 the translation proposed by Mart is therefore an origi-
nal, like all the other Latin translations of Jewish sources in the Pugio fidei.
He explicitly acknowledges this on page 324 of the edition, specifying that the
manuscripts used had only a Hebrew version in their margins. This may mean
that these manuscripts bore the Latin version of Flavius Josephuss Jewish War,
and, in the margins, the corresponding passages in Joseph ben Gurion.

5.8 Philosophy and Theology


I wont insist here on the references to and quotations from Maimonidesand
more specifically on the Guide for the Perplexed (14)since they have already

53 
See Mortiz Steinschneider, Die Geschichtsliteratur der Juden in Druckwerken und
Handschriften (Frankfurt: Kauffmann, 1905), 2833.
Quotations, Translations, and Uses of Jewish Texts 285

been studied by Grge K. Hasselhoff.54 It is sufficient to mention several


featuresoften shared with the other Jewish quotationsin the Pugio fidei:
the fidelity of the translation; the pervasiveness of alternatives for the same
word or expression; the fact that quotations are taken from all over the book,
are sometimes rearranged, and are of different lengths and concerning differ-
ent topics (God, the Messiah, the law); the vocalization of Hebrew texts.
The Guide for the Perplexed is quoted in the Arabic original in Hebrew char-
acters (a specifically Jewish practice), and in Samuel ibn Tibbons and Judah
al-Harizis Hebrew translations (both produced in the thirteenth century,
several years after Maimonidess death). This means that Mart must have
had at his disposal at least three different copies of this treatise. Concerning
the three quotations from Al-Harizis translation, the text in the Pugio differs
significantly from the only extant copy of this version (Paris, Bibliothque
nationale de France, Hbreu 682), a manuscript copied in Italy at the end of
the thirteenth century.55
The 1687 edition of the Pugio fidei also contains five quotations from the
Mishne torah, with at least one more quotation from this work present in
the BSG manuscript.
We should mention as well two quotations from Nahmanidess Sefer ha-
geulah (on the arrival of the Messiah) and (at least?) one from the Toldot
yeshu.56 This is a topic that remains to be studied in more depth.

5.9 Differences from the Latin Sources


In contrast with many Latin sources, quotations taken from the Jewish tradi-
tion are always presented as such; they are constitutive of the discourse but
are always carefully distinguished from it and reduced to the function of argu-
ments. They are addressed to readers who are not familiar with this tradition
and this explains the pervasiveness of second-degree introductory formulae.

54 See Grge K. Hasselhoff, The Reception of Maimonides in the Latin World: The Evidence
of the Latin Translations in the 13th15th Centuries, Materia giudaica 6, no. 2 (2001): 258
80; Hasselhoff, Some Remarks on Raymond Martinis (c. 1215/30c. 1284/94) Use of Moses
Maimonides, Trumah 12 (2002): 13348; Hasselhoff, Dicit Rabbi Moyses: Studien zum Bild
von Moses Maimonides im lateinischen Westen vom 13. bis zum 15. Jahrhundert (Wrzburg:
Knigshausen & Neumann, 2004).
55 For a description of this manuscript, see Philippe Bobichon, Bibliothque nationale de
France. Hbreu 669 703. Manuscrits de thologie. Catalogues des manuscrits en carac-
tres hbreux conservs dans les bibliothques de France (CMCH) I (Turnhout: Brepols,
2008), 15360.
56 Pugio fidei (1687), 36264 and possibly 87172.
286 bobichon

The numerous Latin (especially Christian) quotations are not always identified
by similar formulae.
Nevertheless, the Pugios author has an in-depth knowledge of the Jewish
sources he uses and this knowledge is not merely the result of study, but also of
long practice. The different treatment of Latin and Jewish sources in the Pugio
fidei does not necessarily reflect the authors greater intimacy with the one or
the other. It only reflects their different function within this work.
The function of Jewish sources is ambiguous, as they are used both nega-
tively (to critique Judaism) and positively (in defense of Christianity). In his
introduction, Ramon Mart defines the texts that can be used in defense of
Christianity as pearls on a huge heap of dung (tamquam margaritas de max-
imo fimario).

6 Summary and Conclusions

The analysis of Jewish sources and their treatment in the Pugio fidei provides
precious clues as to the authors documentation and method. Concerning the
method, these clues are consistent with the conclusions reached through
the analysis of Latin sources:

1.The Jewish sources are very wide-ranging. We can conclude therefore that
Mart had at his disposal, in one form or another, a considerable number of
Jewish documents.
2. Jewish sources are constantly interwoven, according to various modes
of composition, with quotations from all manner of sources (ancient Greek
and Latin authors, Christian authors, New Testament, etc.). In this extremely
heterogeneous ensemble, there is absolutely no sign of hierarchy. Only the
biblical quotations, common to both Judaism and Christianity and considered
as revelation in both traditions, escape this lack of differentiation. But Mart
quotes the New Testament as he quotes the Old Testament and he seems not
to ask the question whether the two have the same persuasive value for the
audience (direct or indirect) of his writings.
3. Regardless of the nature of the texts cited, the quotations vary in length
(some of them extend to several pages), even when they are a repetition of the
same passage in the source. In the BSG manuscript, the textual additions
which are almost exclusively additional quotationsare copied on partial
folios inserted into the quires when the space in the margins was insufficient.
4. In all the cases examined, the extent of the quotation, the form in which
it is given, and often even the wording of the text correspond exactly to their
Quotations, Translations, and Uses of Jewish Texts 287

function given the context. This feature becomes clear by comparing several
quotations of the same passage.
5. The Hebrew (or Aramaic) is almost systematically given with the first
occurrence of a quote, and it is frequently repeated in subsequent occurrences.
When it is not repeated, the commentary is based solely on the Latin text, but
this is the case almost exclusively for the biblical quotations. It is one more
piece of evidence in support of Marts mastery of the text, since the Hebrew is
repeated only when he considers it necessary.
6. In the BSG manuscript (as well as in that from Coimbra mentioned
above), the Hebrew is almost always vocalized, which is very surprising since,
among Jewish sources, only biblical text is vocalized in medieval manuscripts,
and then only sometimes. This vocalization should constitute the object of
a specific analysis, since it might reveal important aspects of the text and its
composition. The scribe of the BSG manuscript vocalized the texts after having
copied them, which suggests that he did not rely on them to understand the
text as he was copying it. And, more important, he couldnt have had at his
disposal a vocalized copy for each text. In conclusion, the vocalization can
and should be attributed to him. All the more so since, in some instances, the
same passage presents significant differences which could only be explained
otherwise by the use of more than one vocalized model for each text, some-
thing thoroughly impossible. And one is justified in concluding that this vocal-
izationundoubtedly intended for the Pugio fideis readersis proof of an
in-depth knowledge of Hebrew grammar rules.
7. The numerous variants in the quotation of the same passage (in all the
categories of texts quoted) prove that the quotation is never the servile copy
of the same model. In some of the cases we looked at, they correspond to
different forms of intervention in the text. And because, in all probability, Mart
(or his team/school) could not have preserved, consulted, indexed, and copied
several copies of each text, the hypothesis of quotations from memory should
not be systematically rejected. The adaptation to the context, which seems to
be systematic in the Pugio fidei, could be easily explained by this hypothesis;
it becomes far more difficult to explain if we stick to the written sources (or to
the anthology) hypothesis.
8. As Ramon Mart explicitly states in his introduction, the Latin transla-
tions are entirely his work, and in all the cases examined, they correspond to
the original text as it has just been quoted. Therefore, they are translated each
time and as required by the context.
9. Most of the observations made during this study indicate that the texts
were directly consulted, either in the manuscript or from the authors memory,
and that the Pugio fidei is not therefore the result of a preliminary work done
288 bobichon

by others. It is not impossible that Ramon Mart may have had collaborators,
but the characteristics emerging from the study of the Jewish (and Christian)
sources are those of a personal enterprise.
10. The sum of these observations, alongside those which can be drawn
from the study of the BSG manuscript57 (undoubtedly autograph, in both Latin
and Hebrew) lead to the following conclusion: Ramon Mart could not have
acquired the whole of his knowledge and skills set at work in the copy, transla-
tion, and multifarious use of Jewish sources in his Pugio fidei during his adult
years only (even if this included many years of study). These skills and this
knowledge must have been acquired much earlier. The Dominicans work has
to be approached in the light of this conclusion resulting from the codicologi-
cal, paleographical, and textual analyses of the Pugio fidei.58

Appendix

TABLE 10.1 Commentary on Malachi 2:15

II, 9, 7: fol. 70v " Glossa Rabbi Selomo:


Quidam exponunt hoc
secundum narrationem qua dicitur
quod venerunt ad prophetam
quidam qui duxerant alienigenas,
dixeruntque illi:
Nonne Abraham fecit sic,
qui ducit Agar super uxorem
suam?
Dixit eis:
Alius spiritus erat illi;
non fuit intentio sua ut intentio

57 A thorough description of this manuscript by the author of this contribution is to be


published soon.
58 Ramon Marts Jewish origins were sometimes presumed in older scholarship, but this
theory has been lately ruled out or forgotten (it was based exclusively on his exceptional
knowledge of Jewish sources, while the way they are used has never been studied; the
data provided by the BSG manuscriptnot used in the editionhave not been taken
into account either).
Quotations, Translations, and Uses of Jewish Texts 289

vestra: nequaquam dedit oculos


suos in eam,
aliam intentionem habuit quam
vos. Dixerunt ei:
Et quid unus? Id est Abraham fuit
quaerens? Et quam intentionem
habuit?
Ait eis:
ut esset ei semen Dei
vel semen Deus,
Ps. 105. v. 6: Semen Abraham servi
sui, filiorum Jacob electorum ejus,
ipsorum Dominus Deus noster.

III, III, 8, 4: Dixit Rabbi Selomo et Rabbi


fol. 286v Abraham Aben Aazra [sic!]:
Magistri nostri exposuerunt hoc
secundum relationem qua dictum
est
quod venerunt conjuges
alienigenarum ad prophetam,
et dixerunt ei:
Et nonne Abraham fecit sit,
qui duxit Agar super uxorem
suam?
Ait eis propheta:
Alius spiritus erat ei;
non erat intentio ejus sicut
intentio vestra, non enim dedit
oculos suos in eam. Dixerunt: Et
quid ipse unus erat quaerens,
quae fuit intentio ejus?
Ait eis:
ut esset ei zera elohim, id est semen
Dei, vel semen Deus.
290 bobichon

TABLE 10.2 Commentary on Isaiah 11:3

II, 12, 18: Non ad visionem oculorum


fol. 100v suorum judicabit:
" Rex Messias,
sed cum sapientia Dei sancti et
benedicti,
quae in medio ejus erit
et sciet et intelliget
quis fuerit culpabilis, vel reus, et
quis innocens.
Et arguet in aequitate:
id est cum lingua quieta et tenera.
' Et percutiet terram in virga oris
sui:
istud intelligendum est secundum
suum Targum,
id est translationem, quae talis est:
Et delebit reos terrae cum verbo
oris sui
Et in spiritu labiorum suorum, etc.
Et in sermone labiorum ipsius erit
mortuus impius. Et erit justitia
cingulum lumborum ejus et erunt
justi circumcirca ei: id est,
adhaerentes ei sicut lumbare, vel
cingulum.
Haec R. Salomo

III, III, 9, Non ad visionem oculorum


5: fol. 295r " suorum judicabit:
in sapientia enim Dei sancti et
benedicti,
quae erit in medio ejus,
cognoscet et intelliget
reum et innocentem.
Et arguet in aequitate humilibus
terrae:
id est cum lingua tranquilla et
Quotations, Translations, and Uses of Jewish Texts 291

tenera:
' Et percutiet terram:
hoc est exponendum secundum
Targum:
Et delebit peccatores, vel
culpabiles terrae cum verbo oris
sui.
Et cum sermone labiorum ejus erit
mortuus impius.
Et erit justitia, etc.:
Et erunt justi circumquaque ei, id
est conjuncti cum eo, et
adhaerentes ei ut cinctorium.
Haec R. Salomoh.

Bibliography

Manuscripts
Coimbra, Biblioteca Geral da Universidade, MS 720.
Madrid, Biblioteca de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, BH MS 6.
Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Laud. 293.
Paris, Bibliothque Mazarine, MS 796 (2138).
Paris, Bibliothque nationale de France, Hbreu 682.
Paris, Bibliothque Sainte-Genevive, MS 1405.

Primary Sources
Flusser, David, ed. The Josippon, or, Josephus Gorionides [Hebrew]. 2 vols. Jerusalem:
Bialik Institute, 1978.
Justin Martyr. Dialogue avec Trypho. Translated and edited by Philippe Bobichon.
2 vols. Fribourg: Academic Press Fribourg, 2003.
Neubauer, Adolf, ed. The Book of Tobit: A Chaldee Text from a Unique Ms. in the Bodleian
Library, with Other Rabbinical Texts, English Translation and the Itala. Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1878.
Ramon Mart. Raimundus Martini, Texte zur Gotteslehre. Pugio fidei IIII, 16.
LateinischHebrisch / AramischDeutsch. Translated and edited by Grge K.
Hasselhoff. HBPhMA Bd. 31. Freiburg et al.: Herder, 2014.
292 bobichon

. Raymundi Martini Pugio fidei adversus Mauros et Judaeos hebraice et latine


cum observationibus Josephi de Voisin et introductione J. B. Carpzovii, qui simul appen-
dicis loco Hermanni Judaei opusculum de sua conversione ex manuscripto Bibliothecae
Paulinae Academiae Lipsiensis recensuit. Leipzig: sumptibus haeredum Friderici
Lanckisi, typis viduae Johannis Wittigav, 1687. Facsimile reprint, Farnborough:
Gregg, 1967.
. Raymundi Martini Pugio fidei adversus Mauros et Judaeos hebraice et latine
cum observationibus Josephi de Voisin. Paris: Matth. et Jean Henault, 1651.

Secondary Literature
Baer, Yitzhak. The Forged Midrashim of Raymond Martini and Their Place in the
Religious Controversies in the Middle Ages [Hebrew]. In Studies in Memory of
Asher Gulak and Samuel Klein, 2849. Jerusalem: Hebrew Univ. Press Association,
1942.
Bobichon, Philippe. La bibliothque de Raymond Martin au couvent Sainte-Catherine
de Barcelone: Sources antiques et chrtiennes du Pugio fidei (ca 1278). In Entre sta-
bilit et itinrance. Livres et culture des ordres mendiants, XIIIeXVe sicle, edited by
Nicole Briou, Martin Morard and Donatella Nebbiai-Dalla Guarda, 329366.
Bibliologia 37. Brepols: Turnhout, 2014.
. Bibliothque nationale de France. Hbreu 669 703. Manuscrits de thologie.
Catalogues des manuscrits en caractres hbreu conservs dans les bibliothques
de France (CMCH) I. Turnhout: Brepols, 2008.
Cohen, Jeremy. The Friars and the Jews: The Evolution of Medieval Anti-Judaism. Ithaca:
Cornell Univ. Press, 1982.
Dez Macho, Alejandro. Acerca de los midrasim falsificados de R. Mart. Sefarad 9
(1949): 16596.
Driver, Samuel Rolles, Adolf Neubauer, and Edward Bouverie Pusey. The Fifty-Third
Chapter of Isaiah according to the Jewish Interpreters. Oxford: J. Parker, 1877.
Epstein, Abraham. Bereschit-rabbati (Handschrift der Prager jd. Gemeinde). Dessen
Verhltniss zu Rabba-rabbati, Moses ha-Darschan und Pugio Fidei. Magazin fr die
Wissenschaft des Judenthums 15 (1888): 5699. Reprinted as book, Bereschit Rabbati,
dessen Verhltniss zu Rabba Rabbati, Moses ha-Darschan und Pugio Fidei. Berlin:
Julius Benzian, 1888.
Hasselhoff, Grge K. Dicit Rabbi Moyses: Studien zum Bild von Moses Maimonides im
lateinischen Westen vom 13. bis zum 15. Jahrhundert. Wrzburg: Knigshausen &
Neumann, 2004.
. The Reception of Maimonides in the Latin World: The Evidence of the Latin
Translations in the 13th15th Centuries. Materia giudaica 6, no. 2 (2001): 25880.
. Some Remarks on Raymond Martinis (c. 1215/30c. 1284/94) Use of Moses
Maimonides. Trumah, 12 (2002): 13348.
Quotations, Translations, and Uses of Jewish Texts 293

. Towards an Edition of Ramon Marts Pugio Fidei. Bulletin de philosophie


mdivale 55 (2013): 4556.
Lapide, Pinchas E. Hebrew in the Church: The Foundations of Jewish-Christian Dialogue.
Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1984.
Levi, Isral. Review of Bereschit Rabbati, dessen Verhltniss zu Rabba Rabbati, Moses
ha-Darschan und Pugio Fidei, by Abraham Epstein. Revue des tudes juives 17 (1888):
31317.
Liebermann, Saul. Shkiin: A Few Words on Some Jewish Legends, Customs, and Literary
Sources Found in Karaite and Christian Works (Including an Index of the Jewish Books
Cited in Pugio Fidei of Raymund Martini) [Hebrew]. Jerusalem: Bamberger and
Wahrmann, 1939.
. Raymund Martini and His Alleged Forgeries. Historia Judaica 5 (1943): 87102.
Reprinted in Text and Studies, 285300. New York: Ktav, 1974.
Muoz Len, Domingo. Targum, Midrash y Talmud en la obra Pugio Fidei de Raimundo
Mart: los nombres y atributos divinos del Nio-Hijo de Is. 9:56. In Biblia, exgesis
y cultura: Estudios en honor del Prof. D. Jos Mara Casciaro, edited by Gonzalo
Aranda, Claudio Basevi, and Juan Chapa, 44762. Pamplona: EUNSA, 1994.
Neubauer, Adolf. Jewish Controversy and the Pugio Fidei. The Expositor 7 (1888):
81106 and 17997.
Ragacs, Ursula. The Forged Midrashim of Raymond MartiniReconsidered. Henoch
19, no. 1 (1997): 5968.
Rosenthal, Judah M. Early Hebrew Translations of the Gospels [Hebrew] Tarbiz 32
(196263): 4866.
Schiller-Szinessy, Salomon M. The Pugio Fidei. Cambridge Journal of Philology 16
(1888): 13152.
Steinschneider, Moritz. Die Geschichtsliteratur der Juden in Druckwerken und
Handschriften. Frankfurt: Kauffmann, 1905.
Szpiech, Ryan. The Aura of an Alphabet: Interpreting the Hebrew Gospels in Ramon
Marts Dagger of Faith (1278). Numen: International Review for the History of
Religions (2014): 334363.
. Citas rabes en caracteres hebreos en el Pugio Fidei del dominico Ramon
Mart: Entre la autenticidad y la autoridad. Al-Qantara 32, no. 1 (2011): 71107.
Zunz, Leopold. Die Gottesdienstlichen Vortrge der Juden. Berlin: Asher, 1832.
Section 4
Printing in Hebrew on the
Eve of the Iberian Expulsion


CHAPTER 11

Unknown Sephardi Incunabula


Shimon M. Iakerson
Institute of Oriental Manuscripts, Saint Petersburg, and State University
of Saint Petersburg

/
/
/
/
/
/
1 /

Hebrew book printing appeared in the fifteenth century. Jewish masters very
quickly recognized the importance of Johann Gutenbergs brilliant invention
and learned the new craft of making books be-khamah qulmosim le-lo maase
nissim (with a number of pens without a miracle).2 Indeed, Gutenbergs
famous 42-line Bible supposedly dates to 1455, and very soon thereafter we see
the emergence of Hebrew printing, around the end of the 1460s. However, it is
worth mentioning that it wasnt in Gutenbergs homeland where Hebrew book
printing first appeared. During the fifteenth century, Jews printed books only

1 Former Prophets: Commentary by David Kimhi and Levi ben Gershom [Hebrew] (Leiria:
Samuel Dortas, 1494), fol. 620v, colophon:
Praised the God who has helped us / To begin and to end [the printing] of the statute of
the Torah;
New ones have recently come / Son from father never studied it;
For ask of the early days / From the days of man he read;
Was there ever a thing such as this / A writing hand turned the number;
The lowly was raised up and the high brought low / And the writer with pen of iron and
lead;
And after He made all this known to us / Applied to us they wrote for you the poem;
Of the making of many books there is no end / And all for making teaching great.
English translation from Shimon M. Iakerson, Catalogue of Hebrew Incunabula from the
Collection of the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (New York and
Jerusalem: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 20042005), 1:xxxiii.
2 According to the definition by the Mantua printer Abraham Conat.

koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 5|doi .63/9789004306103_013


298 iakerson

in the territories of Italy, the Iberian Peninsula (Castile, Aragon, and Portugal),
and the Ottoman Empire (one book only, as far as we know).
If we consider the phenomenon of Hebrew book printing and its distribu-
tion in the fifteenth century within the Jewish book tradition, using the criteria
for analyzing Hebrew manuscripts of the Hebrew Palaeography Project,3 we
notice that Hebrew book printing spread throughout two geo-cultural zones:
Sepharad and Italy. We should assume that books were printed not for the per-
sonal use of the printers but for a relatively wide circle of readers. That is why
the first printed books seem to reflect the taste of Jewish readers from those
two geo-cultural regions. However, book printing reflected the Ashkenazi tra-
dition as well, as Ashkenazi printers who worked in Italy contributed to its dis-
tribution.4 In fact, in the fifteenth century, the first Jewish printers used fonts
that developed out of these three manuscript traditions: Italian square and
semi-cursive scripts; Ashkenazi square and semi-cursive scripts; and Sephardi
square and semi-cursive scripts.5 Of course, each printing house would work
out its own typefaces, and therefore one can observe a rich diversity of variants
of square and semi-cursive letters that were in use in the fifteenth century.
Setting aside the development of Italian and Ashkenazi book printing,6 we
will focus our attention on printing activity in Sepharad. It is a fact that the
first dated Hebrew incunable was a Sephardi one. It was Rashis Commentary
on the Pentateuch, printed by Abraham ben Garton and finished on 2 Adar 5235
(February 17, 1475) in Reggio di Calabria.7 The Calabria region, in the Southern

3 Established in 1965 by the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Institut de
Recherche et dHistoire des Textes of the C.N.R.S. (France).
4 Geo-cultural zones defined by distinct Hebrew scribal traditions were formulated by Malachi
Beit-Ari in his Hebrew Codicology: Tentative Typology of Technical Practices Employed in
Hebrew Dated Medieval Manuscripts (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities,
1981), 17. Today they are a commonly accepted concept in Hebrew codicology.
5 For more detail about the influence of handwriting styles on the first typefaces, see Beit-
Ari, The Makings of the Medieval Hebrew Book: Studies in Palaeography and Codicology
(Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1993), 25560.
6 See the rather detailed survey of the origin and development of book printing in Italy in the
fifteenth century in my Introduction to the Catalogue, 1:ivxx.
7 In folio. 118(?) fols. See Adri K. Offenberg, Hebrew Incunabula in Public Collections: A First
International Census, Bibliotheca Humanistica & Reformatorica 47 (Nieuwkoop: De Graaf
Publishers, 1990), no. 112; Iakerson, Catalogue, no. 9; Facsimile edition: Rashi, Commentary
on the Pentateuch [Hebrew], ed. J. Joseph Cohen (Jerusalem: Makor Publishing House, 1968).
Hereinafter I will mostly limit myself to bibliographic references to Census and Catalogue as
these publications provide full bibliographic information about the issues discussed here.
I also refer to Short List of Hebrew Incunabula Printed in the Iberian Peninsula, attached to
my article Early Hebrew Printing in Sepharad (ca. 14751497?), in Biblias de SefaradBibles
Unknown Sephardi Incunabula 299

Apennines, was at that time under the cultural and political influence of the
Kingdom of Aragon, and in fact Hebrew book printing in the Iberian Peninsula
began at approximately the same time. The earliest dated Hebrew book printed
in the Peninsula seems to have appeared in Castile, in Guadalajara in 1476. This
first dated Hebrew incunable was also Rashis Commentary on the Pentateuch.8
Real historical events such as the expulsion of the Jews from Castile and
Aragon (in 1492) and Portugal (in 1497) served as the terminus ante quem for the
development of Hebrew book printing in the Iberian Peninsula. Subsequently,
Sephardi book printing developed in centers with large numbers of exiles from
Spain and Portugal, predominantly in North Africa and Turkey. It is impor-
tant to note that, in the Ottoman Empire, the Nahmias brothersexiles from
Spainestablished a Hebrew printing house as early as the fifteenth century.
In 1493 they printed in Constantinople Jacob ben Ashers Arbaah turim in four
volumes.9
As for Hebrew printing in Iberia, we know a number of things: First, there
were at least six places in the Iberian Peninsula with Hebrew printing houses
in the fifteenth century (Guadalajara, Hjar, Zamora, Faro, Lisbon, and Leiria).
In four of them (Guadalajara, Hjar, Faro, and Leiria), the only printing houses
were for Hebrew material; there were none for any other language. Second,
we know the names of sixteen people who were in some way connected with
the production of Hebrew books in the Iberian Peninsula during the fifteenth
century.10 And third, most Sephardi incunables were either halakhic literature,
texts of the Hebrew Bible, or separate tractates of the Babylonian Talmud.
A scheme formulated by me some time ago for characterizing the biggest
collection of Hebrew incunables (that of the Library of the Jewish Theological
Seminary of America [JTS]) can be used to illustrate the thematic distribution

 of Sepharad, ed. Esperanza Alfonso et al. (Madrid: Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa, 2012),
12547.
8  Printer: Solomon ben Moses ha-Levi Alkabez; type-cutting: Pedro de Guadalajara.
September 5, 1476(?). In folio. 190 fols. (Offenberg, Census, no. 113: Iakerson, Catalogue,
no. 81; Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 1). The date is given in the colophon as gema-
tria and may also be interpreted (less likely) as 1471. For more details about different
readings of the date given in the colophon of the edition, see Iakerson, Catalogue, no. 81,
note 1.
9 Jacob ben Asher, Arbaah turim, 4 vols. (Constantinople: Brothers David and Samuel ibn
Nahmias, 1493). See also Offenberg, Census, 63; and Iakerson, Catalogue, 125.
10 I include in this number the mystical marrano Juan de Lucena, who is considered by
some researchers to have been a real participant in book printing in Spain. For more
details on his biography see, for example, Joshua Bloch, Early Hebrew Printing in Spain
and Portugal (New York: New York Public Library, 1938). See also below, note 24.
300 iakerson

of Spanish and Portuguese incunabula. The JTS collection contains 44 titles,


divided among the following categories: Biblethirteen editions; halakhah
sixteen editions; Babylonian Talmudnine editions; Bible commentaries
five editions; prayerone edition.11
Numerous scholarly publications and several detailed bibliographical
descriptions have been dedicated to Sephardi incunabula. It is these studies
mainly the works of Konrad Haebler, Isaiah Sonne, Joshua Bloch, Haim Zalman
Dimitrovsky, Peretz Tishby, and Adri K. Offenberg12that allow us to form a
general picture of how Hebrew presses developed in the Iberian Peninsula.13
The most problematic question remaining is the number of publications
printed in the region during this period. Today there is no widely accepted
opinion about the number of preserved publications that can be localized
to Castile, Aragon, and Portugal and dated back to the fifteenth century. This
is understandable given the general instability at the edge of exile, as well
as the existence of numerous anonymous publications that are undoubtedly
Sephardi, the precise dating (incunabula or palaeotypes?) and localization
(Iberian Peninsula or exile shelters) of which give rise to reasonable uncer-
tainty among researchers.
However, our knowledge about Sephardi incunabula has grown over the
last hundred years, leading us to hope that more of them will be identified
in the future. Jacobss List of Incunabula from the 1904 edition of the Jewish

11 For a detailed examination of the variety of editions listed in the JTS collection, see
Iakerson, Catalogue, 1:lxlxiv.
12 See Konrad Haebler, Bibliografia ibrica del siglo XV, 2 vols. (The Hague: Nijhoff, 190317.
Reprint, New York: Burt Franklin, 1963); Haebler, Typographie ibrique du quinzime sicle:
Reproduction en facsimile de tous les caractres typographiques employs en Espagne et en
Portugal jusqu lanne 1500. Avec notices critiques et biographiques (The Hague: Nijhoff,
1901); Isaiah Sonne, Le-reshito shel ha-defus ha-ivri bi-sefarad (inqunabul ivri sefaradi
mi-shenat rlv), Kiryat sefer 14 (19371938): 36878; Bloch, Early Hebrew Printing; Haim
Zalman Dimitrovsky, Sridei Bavli: An Historical and Bibliographical Introduction [Hebrew]
(New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1979); Peretz Tishby, Hebrew
Incunables: Spain and Portugal (Guadalajara) [Hebrew], Kiryat sefer 61 (19861987):
52146; Offenberg, Census; Offenberg, Catalogue of Books Printed in the XV Century Now in
the British Library, pt. 13, Hebraica (t Goy-Houten: Hes & De Graaf, 2004).
13 Regarding Offenbergs contribution, I mean specifically his extremely interesting paper
presented in Madrid on March 6, 2012, What Do We Know about Hebrew Printing at
Guadalajara, Hjar and Zamora?, as well as his chapter in this volume.
Unknown Sephardi Incunabula 301

Encyclopedia contained only nineteen books issued in Spain and Portugal,14


but today we are aware of about fifty editions printed in Castile, Aragon, and
Portugal.15 My list of incunabula from Spain and Portugal includes forty-nine
titles,16 and we have some evidence for at least three more editions unknown
to us today.
For a closer look at two of these editions, we will turn our attention to the
production of the first printer from Zamora, Samuel ben Musa. We have no
clear idea when Hebrew printing began in Zamora. Only one copy of a book
printed by him has survivedRashis Commentary on the Pentateuch. The date
of completion is marked in the colophon as gematria in the word . Such
gematria can be read in two ways: by the full era (the year 5247, i.e., 1486/87) or
by abbreviation count (the year 5252, i.e., 1491/92).17 It is possible that Samuel
ben Musa and the famous scribe Samuel ben Samuel ben Musa were the same
person.18 We do not have any direct evidence for this, but as I have mentioned
in the foreword to my Catalogue, the description of the book-printing process
in the colophon of the edition expresses a reaction that a scribe likely would
have had to the new invention: surely it was written without fingers, in square
[script], without the drawing of a straight line on it / ink came to paper in an
unusual way and no quill touched it anywhere.19 This would also support the
edition dating of 14911492, because dating by abbreviation count was more

14 The list reflects the number of Hebrew incunabula identified by the early twentieth cen-
tury. It includes 101 editions, only 19 of which were issued in Spain and Portugal (nos. 26,
27, 35, 44, 45, 49, 59, 63, 65, 66, 67, 68, 79, 82, 83, 88, 93, 98, 99). See Incunabula, in The
Jewish Encyclopedia (New York: Funk and Wagnalls, 1904), 6:57879.
15 It should be noted that in the most authoritative consolidated description of Hebrew
incunabula, Offenberg includes forty-five titles (Census, 18693).
16 Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, nos. 149.
17 Rashi, Commentary on the Pentateuch [Hebrew] (Zamora: printing and type-cutting:
Samuel ben Musa; typesetting: Immanuel, 1486[?]1487[?] or 14911492). In folio. 100
fols. (Offenberg, Census, no. 114bis; Iakerson, Catalogue, no. 97; Iakerson, Printing in
Sepharad, no. 21).
 On the problem of identifying the date in the colophon of this edition, see Iakerson,
Catalogue, 2:375, no. 1. On the history of this sole existing copy, see ibid., 2:377.
18 We know of at least four manuscripts that were copied by Samuel ben Samuel ben Musa.
He worked during the same period in the Iberian Peninsula and afterwards in southern
Italy.
19 Iakerson, Catalogue, 1:xxviii, no. 99. Hebrew text:
/ .
302 iakerson

common among scribes and early printers.20 In any case, in the context of
the present article what is more important is that Samuel ben Musa states in
the colophon that this edition of the Commentary was not his first attempt at
printing. He writes in the colophon:

Bereshit also Prayers to the Lord were produced, the third [book]the
main commentary by Rabbi Solomon21

In the language of modern bibliography, this line is equivalent to the pub-


lishers catalogue of printed books, which comprised two previous editions:
Bereshit is most likely an edition of the Pentateuch in some variation,22
although it is possible that this word is an acronym for the entire Bible; and
Prayers to the Lord is a type of prayer book. Unlike the books of the Bible or
Rashis Commentary, which have been preserved in several editions, very few
early Sephardi printed prayer books have survived to the present day. The only
two known cases are unique incunables: Prayers for the Day of Atonement23
and part of a prayer book (?) with Passover haggadah.24 But now we are pre-
sented with printed evidence of at least one more edition of this type.

20 For details, see Beit-Ari, Makings, 264, note 47. See also: Iakerson, Catalogue, no. 97,
note 1.
21 Rashi, Commentary on the Pentateuch, fol. 100.
22 In the fifteenth century, the Pentateuch was published in Spain and Portugal in the
following variations: Pentateuch only; Pentateuch with Targum Onkelos and Rashis
Commentary; Pentateuch with Five Scrolls and Haftarot. For details about Sephardi Bible
manuscripts, see David Stern, The Hebrew Bible in Sepharad: An Introduction, in Biblias
de SefaradBibles of Sepharad, ed. Esperanza Alfonso et al. (Madrid: Biblioteca Nacional
de Espaa, 2012), 4985.
23 Prayer book for the Day of Atonement [Hebrew] (s.l.: s.n., n.d. [Iberian Peninsula, ca. 1490]). In
quarto. Oblong. 180 fols. See Offenberg, Books in British Museum, lxxi; Offenberg, Census,
no. 84; Iakerson, Catalogue, no. 112; Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 38. Unique copy
of the Library of the JTS in New York.
24 (Prayer Book) Passover Service of the Sephardic Rite with Scroll of Antiochos, Prayer for
Travellers, Benedictions and Other Texts [Hebrew] (Guadalajara: Solomon ben Moses ha-Levi
Alkabez, n.d.). In folio. (Offenberg, Books in British Museum, lxx; Offenberg, Census, no. 53;
Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 15). Unique copy of the National Library of Israel in
Jerusalem. I have already mentioned the legendary converso printer Juan de Lucena.
When he found himself in danger, Lucena managed to escape to neighbouring Portugal,
and then to Papal Italy, where the Inquisition could not reach him. But from the interro-
gations of his family members, neighbors, and servants that began in 1481 and continued
Unknown Sephardi Incunabula 303

It should be noted that mentioning previously published books (as well as


earlier copied manuscripts) is absolutely uncharacteristic of Hebrew medieval
colophons. Although there are no known extant copies of Samuel ben Musas
first two editions, this unique piece of evidence enables us to add two more
books to our list of Sephardi incunabula. And it is not impossible that we will
someday come across them physically.
The third Sephardi incunable of which there are no extant copies is men-
tioned in Suleyman ha-Kohens book list that I found while describing the
collection of Hebrew incunables at the JTS. This book list has been pub-
lished and analyzed by me several times,25 so this chapter will focus only on
the details that are directly related to the present subject. I would point out
that the document mentions two places where the books were boughtthe
Spanish city of Almazn and the Portuguese city of Faroand one date:
15 Adar II [5]252 (March 14, 1492). The book list includes twenty-eight books,
among which there are eight incunables (mi-defus, from a press). It is also
important to note that there were significant differences among editions pub-
lished by Italian, Sephardi, and Ashkenazi Jews, which make it very unlikely
that the list contains Italian editions. Unfortunately, the list does not provide
sufficient bibliographic information to link the items with any of the known
Sephardi editions. Nevertheless, we can argue (more or less confidently) that
it would be logical to associate six of these (no. 16 below) with well-known
editions. There are two more items in the list that, in my opinion, clarify the
dating of one doubtful incunable and point to another, unknown incunable
(no. 78 below):

1 and 2. Tur orah hayyim, by Jacob ben Asher. This title is mentioned twice in
the list, which probably means there were two different editions (otherwise

for fifty (!) years, it appears that in the early 1470s Juan de Lucena was secretly printing
Hebrew books, first in his hometown of Toledo, and then in Montalbn. But despite the
fact that the inquisitors conducted interrogations with torture, going deeply into all pos-
sible details of treason, the minutes of these interrogations do not reveal any particular
facts connected with Lucenas alleged book printing (not even the titles of the books).
The only exception might be the evidence of his neighbour Ins de allas, who recalled
at the inquiry that she was once visited by Juan de Lucenas daughters who left a Jewish
prayer book in her bedroom (Bloch, Early Hebrew Printing). However, this does not neces-
sarily imply that the prayer was printed. Nevertheless, given the lack of documents, this
evidence can be considered an indirect source of bibliographic information.
25 See Iakerson, An Unknown List of Hebrew Books, Manuscripta Orientalia 4, no. 1 (March
1988): 1725; Iakerson, Reshimat sefarim bilti-yeduah mi-tequfat gerush sefarad, Madae
ha-yahadut 40 (2000): 161171; Iakerson, Catalogue, 1:livlvii.
304 iakerson

the list would just make a note about two copies).26 There are exactly two
incunabula editions that have been preserved.27
3. Tur yore deah, by the same author. The book list under discussion is writ-
ten on the blank leaf of the Hjar edition of the Tur.28
4. Tur hoshen mishpat. We know of only one incunable edition of this book,
printed in Guadalajara in 1480.29
5. The Pentateuch with Targum Onkelos and Rashis Commentary. It is safe
to assume this is either the Hjar or Lisbon edition.30
6. Rambans Commentary on the Pentateuch. This edition was printed in
Lisbon in 1489.31
7. Sefer ha-madda and Sefer ahavah, by Maimonides. The list author says:
madda ve-ahavah bi-defus be-qobets ehad ([the books] Madda and Ahavah
printed in one volume). The famous work of Maimonides Mishne torah was
extraordinarily popular. Today we know of seven early editions of this book:
two full editions, both of Italian origin, and five editions of some fragments, of

26 This is the wording Suleyman ha-Kohen, the author of the list, used to specify that
he had four copies of the Hagiographa: yesh li arba peamim kol ketuvim (All of the
Hagiographa I have in four copies).
27 Jacob ben Asher, Tur orah hayyim [Path of Life] (Hjar: Eliezer ben Abraham Alantansi,
August 1485). In folio. 169 fols. (Offenberg, Census, no. 65; Iakerson, Catalogue, no. 93;
Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 16); Jacob ben Asher, Tur orah hayyim [Path of Life]
(s.l.: s.n., n.d. [Iberian Peninsula, ca. 14801490]. In folio. 204 fols. (Offenberg, Census, no.
66; Iakerson, Catalogue, no. 122; Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 47).
28 Jacob ben Asher, Tur yore deah [Teacher of Knowledge] (Hjar: Eliezer ben Abraham
Alantansi, 1487). In folio. 138 fols. (Offenberg, Census, no. 72; Iakerson, Catalogue, no. 94;
Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 17).
29 Jacob ben Asher, Tur hoshen mishpat [Breastplate of Judgment] (Guadalajara: Solomon
ben Moses ha-Levi Alkabez, December 2429, 1480). In folio. 272 fols. (Offenberg, Census,
no. 137; Iakerson, Catalogue, no. 84; Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 4).
30 Pentateuch with Targum Onkelos and Commentary by Rashi [Hebrew] (Hjar: Eliezer ben
Abraham Alantansi; proofreading: Abraham ben Isaac ben David; financier: Solomon ben
Maimon Zalmati, August 19September 17, 1490). In folio. 265 fols. (Offenberg, Census,
no. 16; Iakerson, Catalogue, no. 96; Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 20); Pentateuch
with Targum Onkelos and Commentary by Rashi [Hebrew] (Lisbon: Eliezer Toledano,
July 8August 6, 1491). In folio. 2 vols. 456 fols. (Offenberg, Census, no. 17; Iakerson,
Catalogue, no. 102; Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 27).
31 Nahmanides, Commentary on the Pentateuch [Hebrew] (Lisbon: Eliezer Toledano, July 16,
1489). In folio. 301 fols. (Offenberg, Census, no. 97; Iakerson, Catalogue, no. 100; Iakerson,
Printing in Sepharad, no. 25).
Unknown Sephardi Incunabula 305

Sephardi origin.32 Among the latter editions, there is only one that comprises
the two parts mentioned above. Some researchers are doubtful about the attri-
bution of this edition to the incunabula period. For instance, Abraham Yaari
considered it Constantinople palaeotype33 and Offenberg did not include
it in his Census. On the other hand, it is included in the Thesaurus of Aron
Freimann and Moses Marx,34 as well as in the list of incunabula from Israeli
collections published by Peretz Tishby.35 However, if we identify it as the edi-
tion of the two Mishne torah books mentioned in Suleyman ha-Kohens list, we
must necessarily consider it an incunable dated before 1492. If, on the other
hand, Yaari and Offenberg are correct and this edition is a palaeotype, then our
book list mentions not just one, but two unknown editions.
8. Tractate Gittin. On the very last line of the list is written qaniti gemara
mi-gittin mi-defus be-almasan (I bought the print tractate Gittin in Almazn).
We know of two incunabula editions of this tractate: an Italian one and a
Portuguese one. However, in my opinion, neither of them can be identified as
the edition mentioned in the list. On one hand, the Italian tractate was printed
in Soncino in 1488 together with explanatory notes characteristic of Ashkenazi
editions (tosafot and pisqe tosafot).36 This kind of Talmud edition was not

32 Three of these partial editions do not correspond to our target: (1) Introduction (with-
out continuation) (s.l.: s.n., n.d. [Iberian Peninsula: press of Orhot hayyim, ca. 1480
1490]). In octavo. (Iakerson, Catalogue, no. 116; Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 41);
(2) Sefer ahavah (same press). In folio. (Offenberg, Census, no. 90; Iakerson, Catalogue,
no. 117; Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 42); (3) Maimonides, Hilkhot shehitah [Laws
of Slaughtering] (Lisbon: Eliezer Toledano, ca. 1492). In octavo. (Offenberg, Census, no. 85;
Iakerson, Catalogue, no. 105; Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 30). One of these edi-
tions has an extra book (number three): Sefer ha-madda, Sefer ahavah, Sefer zemannim
(s.l. [Iberian Peninsula]: Moses ben Shealtiel, n.d. [ca. 14911492]). In folio. (Offenberg,
Census, no. 89; Iakerson, Catalogue, nos. 112 and 37). The remaining edition is the one
mentioned in the list: Maimonides, Sefer ha-madda [Book of Knowledge], Sefer ahavah
[Book of Love] (s.l.: s.n., n.d. [Iberian Peninsula, ante ca. 1492]). In folio. 106 fols. (Iakerson,
Catalogue, no. 123).
33 Abraham Yaari, Ha-defus ha-ivri be-qushta: toledot ha-defus ha-ivri be-qushta me-
reshito ad perots milhemet ha-olam ha-sheniyah u-reshimat ha-sefarim she-nidpesu bah
(Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, 1967).
34 Aron Freimann and Moses Marx, eds., Thesaurus typographiae hebraicae saeculi XV
(Berlin: Wilmersdorf Marx, 1924), B 41.
35 Peretz Tishby, The Hebrew Incunabula in Israel [Hebrew], Kiryat sefer 59, no. 4 (1984):
94658, no. 40.
36 Tractate Gittin [Divorce] with commentary by Rashi, tosafot and piske tosafot ([Soncino:
Joshua Solomon ben Israel Nathan Soncino], February 18, 1488) (Offenberg, Census, no.
123; Iakerson, Catalogue, no. 34).
306 iakerson

customary in Spain or Portugal, since tosafot and pisqe tosafot were not used
in the Sephardi tradition of talmudic studies. The text of the tractate itself
and, most importantly, the page layout, also differed significantly between the
Ashkenazi and Sephardi versions.37 Of course, it is possible that an Ashkenazi
version of the Talmud made its way to the Iberian Peninsula, but if the edition
in the list were an Ashkenazi version, it would surely be explicitly stated (see
below about the style of this text). On the other hand, the Portuguese tractate
with Rashis commentary was printed in Faro.38 Only five fragments of this
tractate have been preserved. The fragment belonging to the collection of the
JTSthe one I describedincludes the page with the colophon:39

[] '''' /
/ ' ''

It was finished [in the week] of the section from the Pentateuch There,
the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel [Genesis 49:24] in the year and come to
Zion with singing [Isaiah 51:11] by the noble Don Samuel Porteiro, may
his Creator and Redeemer protect him, in the city of Faro.

The period of completion referenced in the colophon is the pericope va-yehi,


which falls during the week of 6 to 12 Tevet. The year is conveyed with a chro-
nogram, . As has already been noted, such chronograms can be read by
the full era or according to the abbreviation count. If read by the full era, the
publication date would be in the period December 1116, 1491. If read accord-
ing to the abbreviation count, the edition was finished in the period December
1116, 1496.40 If we use the first interpretation of the date, we can suppose that
it is the edition mentioned in our book list. If we use the second, then the book
list contains an unknown edition of the tractate. In my opinion, it makes more
sense to read according to the abbreviation count. After carefully studying the
fragment with colophon in the collection of the JTS, I can say with confidence

37 See Dimitrovsky, Sridei Bavli.


38 Tractate Gittin, with commentary by Rashi (Faro: for Samuel Porteiro, December 17,
1496). In folio. The number of leaves is unknown. (Offenberg, Census, no. 124; Iakerson,
Catalogue, no. 99; Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 24).
39 It was discovered and described by S. Seeligman in Ein portugiesischer Talmuddruck,
Zeitschrift fr hebrische Bibliographie 12 (1908): 1619.
40 It is evidently the last Hebrew book printed in the Iberian Peninsula as its production was
finished several days after the Decree of the Expulsion of Jews from Portugal had been
issued on December 4, 1496.
Unknown Sephardi Incunabula 307

that all the letters in the chronogram are equally emphasized, and therefore,
they should be read according to the abbreviation count. In addition, we do
not know of any Sephardi incunabula in which the year is indicated by the full
era without specifying the order. One example of the same chronogram indi-
cating the date by the full era in a Sephardi incunable can be found in the colo-
phon of David Abudarhams Commentary on the Benedictions and the Prayers:41
( ''' in the year 255, of which 5 is thousands).
Another argument in favour of the hypothesis that the book list refers to an
edition different from the one printed in Faro is the wording itself. The book
descriptions in our list are very precise. In particular, they indicate if there
were additional elements in editions of classical texts, such as, for example,
humash, targum ve-rashi mi-defus (Pentateuch, Targum and Rashi from the
press). It is therefore hard to imagine that, in listing the only Talmud tractate,
Suleyman ha-Kohen would have neglected to mention that it was printed with
Rashis commentary. This is compelling evidence that the edition contained
only the tractate itself. And as a matter of fact, this is not the only instance of
this kind of Talmud edition; the Hullin tractate was printed without any addi-
tional material by the anonymous Sephardi printer known as Printer of Orhot
hayyim (see below).42
As far as I can judge, this is all the information we now have about unknown
Sephardi incunabula. However, the rapid development of Jewish bibliographic
studies in general makes me optimistic about the discovery of new sources on
Hebrew incunabula printed in the Iberian Peninsula.
For example, it is probable that unknown editions will be ascribed to already
known presses, as well as to anonymous presses not known to us so far. One
example is a group of anonymous editions that were determined, according to
some indirect evidence, to have been printed in Iberia. All these editions were
printed with the same types (square Sephardi letters), using a common simple
printing technique, and have been preserved only in fragments, which con-
tinue to pop up even today.43 These editions were placed in Gesamtkatalog der

41 David ben Joseph Abudarham, Perush ha-berakhot ve-ha-tefillot [Commentary on the


Benedictions and the Prayers] (Lisbon: Eliezer Toledano, November 23, 1489), fol. 170r, line
10. (Offenberg, Census, no. 1; Iakerson, Catalogue, no. 101; Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad,
no. 26).
42 Tractate Hullin [Ordinary Things] (s.l., n.d. [Iberian Peninsula, ca. 14801490]). In folio.
(Offenberg, Census, no. 127; Iakerson, Catalogue, no. 118; Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad,
no. 43). For details about this edition, see Dimitrovsky, Sridei Bavli, 7778.
43 For example, the Library of the JTS has recently managed to obtain six new folios from
Hilkhot massekhet berakhot of Isaac Alfasi, which were described for the first time in my
308 iakerson

Wiegendrcke because of their typographical unity with the unicum copy of


Orhot hayyim 44 in the JTS collection and were described as Drucker des Orhot
hajjim. Currently we know of eight editions from this group.45 The primitive
printing methods and the use of simple types allow us to speculate that they
were produced in the early 1470s1480s. Our unknown tractate Gittin, as well
as Hullin, may also belong to this group. It is not at all unlikely that one day we
will find the colophon of one of them; we may even find, to our surprise, that
these books were printed by the legendary marrano Juan de Lucena.
Moreover, single editions that are localized to the Sephardi region due to
some indirect evidence and dated to the fifteenth century will also certainly
be identified. As was shown above, localization and dating of marginal edi-
tions (incunable/palaeotype?) is a very complicated and contentious issue.
However, at least in the case of editions printed on paper, research on and
inventories of watermarks in Spanish and Portuguese incunabula should aid
in identifying some editions.46 The editions of prayer books and perhaps the
Sefer madda and the Sefer ahavah from Mishne torah already mentioned above
belong to such a group of anonymous unique editions.
Another useful method for identifying incunables from the Iberian Peninsula
will be to compare the printing characteristics of known Sephardi editions
with those of newly discovered editions lacking year and place of publication.
In recent decades, there have been no new discoveries of incunabula, but
this does not mean that there will not be any in the future. My modest opti-
mism is based on the discovery of numerous documents directly or indirectly
related to the history of Hebrew book printing in the fifteenth century, such as

Catalogue. Four of these folios are unique and are not mentioned in any previous bibliog-
raphy. See Iakerson, Catalogue, no. 115, Group 2.
44 Aaron ben Jacob ha-Kohen, Orhot hayyim [Paths of Life] (Sepharad, ca. 14801490).
In folio. (Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrcke, no. 486; Offenberg, Census, no. 2; Iakerson,
Catalogue, no. 114; Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 39).
45 Offenberg in Census notes six editions (nos. 2, 4, 23, 33, 90, 127) and calls them Printer of
Alfasis Halakhot, while in my opinion, nos. 23 and 33 are parts of one edition (Iakerson,
Catalogue, no. 120, note 1). In the JTS collection, I managed to uncover and describe eight
editions from this group (ibid., nos. 114121). On the difficulties in identifying the frag-
ments of this group and various opinions about attribution of the fragments to particular
editions, see ibid., no. 114, note 1; no. 116, note 1, no. 120, note 1.
46 See WIES (Watermarks in Incunabula printed in Espaa), available on the internet: http://
www.ksbm.oeaw.ac.at/wies.
Unknown Sephardi Incunabula 309

the archival materials about the early days of book printing in Naples that were
brought to researchers attention by Yitzhak Yudlov.47
Furthermore, we will have access to the materials unearthed by scholars
collaborating on the European Genizah project.48 This project is aimed at
revealing fragments of Hebrew texts in secondary use, predominantly as book-
binding material in later periods. Although the project is focused on finding
handwriting samples, I have no doubt that if printed text is found it will not
be ignored. I am especially looking forward (if I may say so) to the stage when
conservators start systematically opening the bindings from the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries, since even now it is clear that bindings were often filled
with the folios of printed books that were no longer being used. Some of these
folios taken out of book bindings are in the collection of the Library of the JTS
and are described in my Catalogue.49
We know of about fifty editions of Hebrew incunabula from the Iberian
Peninsula. However, there is no doubt that there were more. Some of the pre-
served editions are presented in several copies, some as unica, and some (quite
a large proportion) are only in small fragments.
Apart from these editions, there are two incunabula that were published in
the Sephardi book tradition in Reggio di Calabria and in Constantinople and
can also be considered Sephardi. In addition to extant incunabula, two books
that have not survived are mentioned in the colophon of the Zamora edition
of Rashis Commentary to the Pentateuch, and one Talmud tractate, Gittin, is
mentioned in the book list from the year 1492.
Thanks to the fast-paced progress of contemporary Jewish bibliographic
studies, I believe that we can expect to extend our knowledge about Sephardi
incunabula in the future, as we find more evidence (in archives, etc.) about
editions that have not survived or, perhaps, as a result of modern methods in
medieval book studies, uncover some that have.50

47 Yitzhak Yudlov, Teudah bi-devar mekhirat sifre inqunabula be-napoli ba-meah ha-
hamesh-esre, Asufot 10 (1997): 7189.
48 European network Hebrew Fragments in European Libraries, http://www.hebrew
manuscript.com/.
49 For example: Pentateuch with Haftarot and Five Scrolls, corrected according to the Hillel
Codex. (s.l.: s.n., n.d. [Guadalajara: Solomon ben Moses ha-Levi Alkabez, before 1492]).
Fragment of four leaves. Fol. 1: part of a leaf taken from a book binding. The fragment is
soiled and covered with remnants of adhesive (Iakerson, Catalogue, no. 92).
50 My colleague Javier del Barco sent me the galley proof of my article together with a PDF
copy of his own article, written together with Ignacio Panizo Santos, which unfortunately
I had not seen before: Javier del Barco and Ignacio Panizo Santos, Fragmentos de incuna-
bles hebreos en documentos inquisitoriales del Tribunal de Calahorra-Logroo, Huarte
310 iakerson

Bibliography

Primary Sources
Aaron ben Jacob ha-Kohen. Orhot hayyim. Sepharad: s.n., ca. 14801490.
David ben Joseph Abudarham. Perush ha-berakhot ve-ha-tefillot. Lisbon:
Eliezer Toledano, 1489.
Former Prophets: Commentary by David Kimhi and Levi ben Gershom. [Hebrew]. Leiria:
Samuel Dortas, 1494.
Gittin, with commentary by Rashi [Hebrew]. Faro: for Samuel Porteiro, 1496.
Gittin, with commentary by Rashi, tosafot and pisqe tosafot [Hebrew]. s.l.: s.n., 1488
[Soncino: Joshua Solomon ben Israel Nathan Soncino].
Hullin. s.l.: press of Orhot Hayyim, n.d. [Iberian Peninsula, ca. 14801490].
Isaac Alfasi. Hilkhot massekhet berakhot. s.l.: s.n., n.d. [Iberian Peninsula, ca.
14801490].
Jacob ben Asher. Arbaah turim. 4 vols. Constantinople: Brothers David and Samuel ibn
Nahmias, 1493.
. Tur hoshen mishpat. Guadalajara: Solomon ben Moses ha-Levi Alkabez, 1480.
. Tur orah hayyim. Hjar: Eliezer ben Abraham Alantansi, 1485.
. Tur orah hayyim. s.l.: s.n., n.d. [Iberian Peninsula, ca. 14801490].
. Tur yore deah. Hjar: Eliezer ben Abraham Alantansi, 1487.
Maimonides. Hilkhot shehitah. Lisbon: Eliezer Toledano, ca. 1492.
. Mishne Torah: haqdamah. s.l.: s.n., n.d. [Iberian Peninsula: press of Orhot
Hayyim, ca. 14801490].
. Sefer ahavah. s.l.: s.n., n.d. [Iberian Peninsula: press of Orhot Hayyim].
. Sefer ha-madda, Sefer ahavah. s.l.: s.n., n.d. [Iberian Peninsula, ante ca. 1492].
. Sefer ha-madda, Sefer ahavah, Sefer zemannim. s.l.: Moses ben Shealtiel, n.d.
[Iberian Peninsula, ca. 14911492].
Nahmanides. Commentary on the Pentateuch [Hebrew]. Lisbon: Eliezer Toledano, 1489.
Passover Service of the Sephardic Rite with Scroll of Antiochos, Prayer for Travellers,
Benedictions and Other Texts [Hebrew]. Guadalajara: Solomon ben Moses ha-Levi
Alkabez, n.d.

de San Juan: Geografa e Historia 17 (2010): 295308. This publication introduces four frag-
ments of biblical text printed on parchment. Even without any precise identification of
the editions, one can see that all four fragments belong to the printing house of Eliezer
Alantansi in Hjar. In any case, this publication confirms my belief that modern biblio-
graphical research can yield unexpected results.
Unknown Sephardi Incunabula 311

Pentateuch with Haftarot and Five Scrolls, corrected according to the Hillel Codex
[Hebrew]. s.l.: s.n, n.d. [Guadalajara: Solomon ben Moses ha-Levi Alkabez, ante
1492].
Pentateuch with Targum Onkelos and Commentary by Rashi [Hebrew]. Hjar: Eliezer
ben Abraham Alantansi, 1490.
Pentateuch with Targum Onkelos and Commentary by Rashi [Hebrew]. Lisbon: Eliezer
Toledano, 1491.
Prayer book for the Day of Atonement [Hebrew]. s.l.: s.n., n.d. [Iberian Peninsula,
ca. 1490].
Rashi. Commentary on the Pentateuch [Hebrew]. s.n.: Solomon ben Moses ha-Levi
Alkabez, 1476?
. Commentary on the Pentateuch [Hebrew]. Zamora: Samuel ben Musa, 1486?
1487? or 14911492.
. Commentary on the Pentateuch [Hebrew]. Facsimile of the first edition (Reggio:
Abraham ben Garton, 1475). Edited by J. Joseph Cohen. Jerusalem: Makor Publishing
House, 1968.

Secondary Literature
Beit-Ari, Malachi. Hebrew Codicology: Tentative Typology of Technical Practices
Employed in Hebrew Dated Medieval Manuscripts. Jerusalem: Israel Academy of
Sciences and Humanities, 1981.
. The Makings of the Medieval Hebrew Book: Studies in Palaeography and
Codicology. Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1993.
Bloch, Joshua. Early Hebrew Printing in Spain and Portugal. New York: New York Public
Library, 1938.
Del Barco, Javier, and Ignacio Panizo Santos. Fragmentos de incunables hebreos en
documentos inquisitoriales del Tribunal de Calahorra-Logroo. Huarte de San
Juan: Geografa e Historia 17 (2010): 295308.
Dimitrovsky, Haim Zalman. Sridei Bavli: An Historical and Bibliographical Introduction
[Hebrew]. New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1979.
Freimann, Aron, and Moses Marx, eds. Thesaurus typographiae hebraicae saeculi XV.
Berlin: Wilmersdorf Marx, 19241931, Band. 18.
Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrcke. Vols. 18 (AFlhe). Leipzig: K. W. Hiersemann,
192878. Reprint, Stuttgart: Hiersemann, 1968.
Haebler, Konrad. Bibliografia ibrica del siglo XV. 2 vols. The Hague: Nijhoff, 190317.
Reprint, New York: Burt Franklin, 1963.
. Typographie ibrique du quinzime sicle: Reproduction en facsimile de tous les
caractres typographiques employs en Espagne et en Portugal jusqu lanne 1500.
Avec notices critiques et biographiques. The Hague: Nijhoff, 1901.
312 iakerson

Iakerson, Shimon. Catalogue of Hebrew Incunabula from the Collection of the Library of
the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. 2 vols. New York and Jerusalem: Jewish
Theological Seminary of America, 20042005.
. Early Hebrew Printing in Sepharad (ca. 14751497?). In Biblias de Sefarad
Bibles of Sepharad, edited by Esperanza Alfonso, Javier del Barco, M. Teresa Ortega
Monasterio, and Arturo Prats, 12547. Madrid: Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa, 2012.
. Reshimat sefarim bilti-yeduah mi-tequfat gerush sefarad. Madae ha-yahadut
40 (2000): 161171.
. An Unknown List of Hebrew Books. Manuscripta Orientalia 4, no. 1 (March
1998): 1725.
Jacobs, J. Incunabula. In The Jewish Encyclopedia, 6:57879. New York: Funk and
Wagnalls, 1904.
Offenberg, Adri K. Catalogue of Books Printed in the XV Century Now in the British
Library. Pt. 13, Hebraica. t Goy-Houten: Hes & De Graaf, 2004.
. Hebrew Incunabula in Public Collections: A First International Census. In col-
laboration with C. Moed-Van Walraven. Bibliotheca Humanistica & Reformatorica
47. Nieuwkoop: De Graaf Publishers, 1990.
Seeligman, S. Ein portugiesischer Talmuddruck. Zeitschrift fr hebrische Bibliographie
12 (1908): 1619.
Sonne, Isaiah. Le-reshito shel ha-defus ha-ivri bi-sefarad (inqunabul ivri sefaradi mi-
shenat rlv), Kiryat sefer 14 (19371938): 368378.
Stern, David. The Hebrew Bible in Sepharad: An Introduction. In Biblias de Sefarad
Bibles of Sepharad, edited by Esperanza Alfonso, Javier del Barco, M. Teresa Ortega
Monasterio, and Arturo Prats, 4985. Madrid: Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa, 2012.
Tishby, Peretz. The Hebrew Incunabula in Israel [Hebrew]. Kiryat sefer 59, no. 4
(1984): 94658.
. Hebrew incunables: Spain and Portugal (Guadalajara) [Hebrew]. Kiryat sefer
61 (19861987): 52146.
Yaari, Abraham. Ha-defus ha-ivri be-qushta: toledot ha-defus ha-ivri be-qushta me-
reshito ad perots milhemet ha-olam ha-sheniyah u-reshimat ha-sefarim she-nidpesu
bah. Jerusalem: The Magnes Press, 1967.
Yudlov, Yitzhak, Teudah bi-devar mekhirat sifre inqunabula be-napoli ba-meah
ha-hamesh-esre, Asufot 1997: 7189.
CHAPTER 12

What Do We Know about Hebrew Printing in


Guadalajara, Hjar, and Zamora?

Adri K. Offenberg
Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, University of Amsterdam

Information on Hebrew book production in Spain during the fifteenth century


is scant. Much historical evidence disappeared as a result of the destructive
actions of the Inquisition, culminating in the expulsion of the Jews from the
Hispanic Kingdoms in 1492 (excluding Navarre) by Fernando II of Aragon and
Isabel I of Castile.
The tenth part of the famous Catalogue of Books Printed in the XVth Century
Now in the British Museum of 1971 describes the Spanish and Portuguese
incunabula in the collection in London, with the exception of the Hebrew
books.1 However, in the Introduction to the Presses, with reference to Konrad
Haeblers two volume Bibliografia ibrica of 1903 and 1917, two Hebrew frag-
ments are conjecturally assigned to the somewhat mysterious Jewish printer
Juan de Lucena, assisted by his ostensibly Christian daughtersBeatriz,
Catalina, Teresa, and Juanain Montalbn or Toledo. De Lucenas name is
mentioned in several records of the Spanish Inquisition from the years 1481,
1485, and 1530. Witnesses reported that he had published and sold Hebrew
printed books (ebrayco de molde).2 Still, it is not possible with the help of
this information to attribute specific Hebrew books or fragments to a press
belonging to De Lucena. Apparently, one was not aware in 1971 in the British
Museum that complete colophoned copies of the editions to which these two
single-leaf fragments belonged (Rashis Commentary on the Pentateuch and
Jacob ben Ashers Tur hoshen mishpat) had already been discovered in 1937

* Dedicated to the memory of my good colleague Gerard van Thienen (19392015).


1 Leslie A. Sheppard, et al., eds., Catalogue of Books Printed in the XVth Century Now in the British
Museum, pt. 10, Spain, Portugal (London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1971). Hebrew
books are described in Adri K. Offenberg, Catalogue of Books Printed in the XVth Century Now
in the British Library, pt. 13, Hebraica (t Goy-Houten: Hes & De Graaf, 2004), lxlxii, 8292,
22839. Hereinafter referred to as BMC 13.
2 Joshua Bloch, Early Hebrew Printing in Spain and Portugal, Bulletin of the New York Public
Library 42 (1938): 916.

koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 5|doi .63/9789004306103_014


314 offenberg

by Isaiah Sonne3 and in 1934 by Aron Freimann,4 respectively. They appear to


have been printed in Guadalajara in Castile, an important and wealthy center
of Jewish learning, by Solomon ben Moses ha-Levi Alkabez. The first work is a
signed edition of Rashis Perush ha-torah from September 5, 1476, which actu-
ally has to be considered the earliest known dated Iberian Hebrew book.5 Like
the first dated Italian Hebrew book, which happens to be the same text, it is
known from only one complete copy, discovered in the 1930s in the Biblioteca
Capitolare at Verona by Isaiah Sonne. The semi-cursive text types used have
much in common with the Sephardi handwritten script of the period, requir-
ing numerous ligatures and kerning (or overhanging) types (fig. 12.1). In the
colophon a type-cutter, Pedro de Guadalajara, is mentioned by name. Sonne
probably correctly doubted whether this Pedro should be identified with the
wandering Christian printer Petrus Brun from Geneva, whom Haebler iden-
tified as the Maestre de talla Pedro, mentioned in a colophon by Antonio
Martnez from Seville in 1486.
The next known dated and signed production of the press, from which
Haebler only knew one leaf and which he attributed to Juan de Lucena in
Toledo or Montalbn, appeared during the week of December 2430, 1480. It
is the first separate edition of Jacob ben Ashers Tur hoshen mishpat, a copy of
which Aron Freimann had discovered in the Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana
in 1934.6 Hoshen mishpat was followed by two other separate parts of Jacob ben
Ashers Turim, this time without the name of the printer or place, and undated:
the Tur yore deah, of which again only one complete copy is known, in the

3 Isaiah Sonne, Un incunabolo ebraico spagnuolo del 1476 nella Biblioteca Capitolare di
Verona, La Bibliofilia 39 (1937): 195204.
4 Aron Freimann, Two Incunabula at the Vatican [Hebrew], Alim. Bltter fr Bibliographie
und Geschichte des Judentums 1 (1934): 1216.
5 Indice generale degli incunaboli delle biblioteche dItalia, comp. E. Valenziani et al., 6 vols.
(Rome: Libreria dello stato, 194381), E 69. Hereinafter referred to as IGI; Shimon Iakerson,
Early Hebrew Printing in Sepharad (ca. 14751497?), in Biblias de SefaradBibles of
Sepharad, ed. Esperanza Alfonso et al. (Madrid: Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa, 2012), no. 1.
Hereinafter referred to as Printing in Sepharad; Adri K. Offenberg, Hebrew Incunabula in
Public Collections: A First International Census, Bibliotheca Humanistica & Reformatorica 47
(Nieuwkoop: De Graaf Publishers, 1990), no. 113. Hereinafter referred to as Census.
6 Bibliothecae Apostolicae Vaticanae incunabula, ed. Willam J. Sheehan (Vatican: Biblioteca
Apostolica Vaticana, 1997), Heb-20; Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 4; Offenberg, Census,
no. 74.
What Do We Know about Hebrew Printing ? 315

Biblioteca de El Escorial,7 and the Tur even ha-ezer, whose only complete copy
is held at Oxford in the Bodleian Library.8
We also know from the types used that the press of Alkabez published at
least eight tractates of the Babylonian Talmud with Rashis commentary sine
nota (no place, no date, no printer), sometimes preserved in only a few leaves.
Of these very rare tractates the British Library possesses four copies, one of
them complete and the other three of substantial length: Massekhet Yoma
has 74 leaves, lacking a number of leaves at the frontno complete copy is
known; Hagigah has 42 leaves and is the only complete copy known; Taanit
has 45 leaves, lacking a few at the end, and is the only copy known; Qiddushin
has about 140 leaves (fig. 12.2), lacking about ten leavesonly some twenty-
odd other leaves are known.9 The provenance of these tractates is remark-
able: Qiddushin was exchanged in 1899 with the scholar of the Hebrew Bible
C. D. Ginsburg for a facsimile edition of the famous Codex Alexandrinus, pub-
lished by the British Museum in 18791883. It is the only Hebrew incunable
in the British Library that was acquired not by donation or purchase, but by
exchange. The three other tractates were purchased in 1952 from the collection
of Elkan N. Adler, son of the Chief Rabbi of the British Empire, and offered for
sale by the Amsterdam antiquarian book dealer S. S. Meijer. He first offered
these unique tractates to the Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, my former place of
employment, but regretfully the curator declined the offer. The story goes that
these tractates were discovered in India by a rabbinical judge from Jerusalem,
who was sent to India to assist a Jewish widow in a lawsuit.
From the other known tractates published by AlkabezBerakhot, Betsah,
Moed qatan and Ketubbotonly a few leaves have been preserved, mainly at
Cambridge University Library in the Genizah collection from Cairo.10 They all
belong to three sedarim of the Babylonian Talmud, Zeraim, Moed, and Nashim,

7 Catlogo general de incunables en bibliotecas espaolas, coordinated and directed by


Francisco Garca Craviotto (Madrid 198990), no. 6251; Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad,
no. 2; Offenberg, Census, no. 71. See also Carlos del Valle, Dos nuevos incunables hebreos
espaoles y su censo, Sefarad 51 (1991): 199202 and 453.
8 Alan Coates et al., A Catalogue of Books Printed in the Fifteenth Century Now in the Bodleian
Library, vol. 6, T-Z, Hebraica, Indexes, and Appendices, with an inventory of Hebrew incu-
nabula by Silke Schaeper (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2005), Heb-41; Iakerson, Printing in
Sepharad, no. 3; Offenberg, Census, no. 73.
9 Offenberg, BMC 13, 8284: Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, nos. 6, 8, 11, 12; Offenberg,
Census, nos. 137, 125, 132, 136.
10 Haim Zalman Dimitrovsky, ed., Sridei Bavli: Fragments from Spanish and Portuguese
Incunabula and Sixteenth-Century Printings of the Babylonian Talmud and Alfasi [Hebrew]
(New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1979), plates 38, 2728, 4142,
316 offenberg

apparently because these were the tractates included in the curriculum of the
Iberian yeshivot.
With the exception of Ketubbot, all these tractates, the commentary of Rashi
on the Pentateuch, and two parts of Jacob ben Ashers Turim were printed in
semi-cursive type 1 (fig. 12.3) with a characteristic final letter pe and the device
of the tetragrammaton, together with square type 2, both in use until 1481. The
tractates may consequently be dated roughly around the year 1480. Apparently
out of a desire to imitate handwritten books as exactly as possible, use was
made of many ligatures and kerning types for the semi-cursive type. This proce-
dure made the job of the compositors very complicated and time-consuming.
New fonts came into use in the course of 1481, cast on the same body height
as type 1 and 2. But the number of ligatures and kerning types was reduced
drastically, and the shape of the final pe and device of the tetragrammaton was
changed. The height of the letter lamed of type 4 is 6.5 mm, whereas the height
of the lamed of the earlier type 2 measures 4.5 mm.
Since Haebler in 1917 only knew of two Guadalajara editions using the new
fonts of 14811482 it is perhaps understandable that he assigned the newfound
fragments of Hoshen mishpat and Rashis Commentary on the Torah to Juan de
Lucena. But that the British Museum Catalogue in 1971 was not aware of the
fact that complete copies of these two books indicating place, printer, and year
had been found and described already in the 1930s is less understandable.
The most complete copy of David Kimhis Perush al neviim aharonim,
lacking only one leaf, is in the library of the Valmadonna Trust in London.11
It contains 315 leaves. The copy in the British Library consists of Ezekiel and
the Minor Prophets only,12 but in the center of the book an almost complete
blank folio has been preserved. On the verso of this leaf a contemporary deed
of sale is found, partly in Hebrew and partly in Old Spanish in tiny Sephardi
handwriting, dated 14 Shevat 5242 (January 4, 1482). The signed colophon says
that the book was published in the Jewish year 5242 (between August 25, 1481,
and September 13, 1482). In bibliographical literature, therefore, the edition has

4346, 5356, 197215, 24061; Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, nos. 5, 7, 10; Offenberg,
Census, nos. 118, 121, 130.
11 Adri K. Offenberg, The Honeycombs Flow: Hebrew Incunables in the Valmadonna Trust
Library, in Treasures of the Valmadonna Trust Library: A Catalogue of 15th-Century Books
and Five Centuries of Deluxe Hebrew Printing, ed. David Sclar with bibliographic studies by
Brad Sabin Hill, Adri K. Offenberg, and Isaac Yudlov (London and New York: Valmadonna
Trust Library, 2011): 42, no. 53; Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 13; Offenberg, Census,
no. 103.
12 Offenberg, BMC 13, 84.
What Do We Know about Hebrew Printing ? 317

been dated 1482. With the new information gleaned from the blank folio in
the British Library copy, it is possible now to date the edition more precisely:
it appeared between August 25, 1481, and January 4, 1482, most probably in the
last quarter of the year 1481. My reading of the inscription is:

" / ' ' /


. ' "/ ' ' / "

Yo Yonah ha-Levi atorgo [sic] que recib de este libro 70 [setenta]


mar[avedes]. Hayah zeh 14 li-shevat shenat 5242. Estos dine[ros] dichos
recib de vos seor R. Yehudah ibn Shiqah.

I Jonah ha-Levi declare to have received for this book 70 maravedes. This
happened on the 14 of Shevat 5242 [4 January 1482]. This said money
I have received from you, sir, Mr. Judah ibn Shiqah.

Seventy maravedes was in this period equivalent to between 4 and 5 silver


reales. This amount seems to agree with a sum of three silver coins, paid in
1498 for a book, printed in Murcia in 1487. Possibly, Jonah ha-Levi was a relative
of the printer Solomon ha-Levi Alkabez and involved in one way or another in
the printing press.13
An unsigned unicum haggadah according to the Sephardi rite, with other
texts (such as Megillat antiokhos and Tefilat ha-derekh), presumably forming
part of a prayer book in square types only, is held by the National Library of
Israel in Jerusalem. Judging by the types used, it can be dated to between 1476
and 1481. A facsimile was published by Abraham Yaari.14
A Torah im haftarot ve-hamesh megillot in square types, also sine nota and
also datable between 1476 and 1481, is preserved in one complete copy in
the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence.15 From a note at the end it
appears that the text was corrected according to a famous ancient manuscript
called the Hilleli Codex.

13 See Adri K. Offenberg, Some Remarks on the Date and Original Price of a Rare Iberian
Incunable, Zutot: Perspectives on Jewish culture 1, no.1 (2001): 11417 (with corrigendum in
Zutot [2002], 219). By the way, a nineteenth-century owner of the copy of Perush al neviim
aharonim in the British Library wrote a note on one of the fly leaves, stating that this book
was printed in Guadalajara and consequently the first Hebrew book printed in Mexico!
14 Abraham Yaari, Bibliography of the Passover Haggadah: From the Earliest Printed Edition to
1960 [Hebrew] (Jerusalem: Bamberger & Wahrman, 1960).
15 IGI, E 16; Iakerson Printing in Sepharad, no. 14; Offenberg, Census, no. 26.
318 offenberg

Finally, a small fragment of a Targum Onkelos, printed after 1481, is in private


hands.
Isaiah Sonne and Joshua Bloch assumed there must have been a close
relationship between Abraham ben Garton at Reggio di Calabria in southern
Italythe printer of the first dated Hebrew book in Italy, Rashis Commentary
on the Pentateuch of 1475and the press of Solomon ben Moses ha-Levi
Alkabez at Guadalajara. They suggested that the former could have urged
Alkabez to establish a Hebrew press and worked with him as a member of his
staff. However, Peretz Tishby has shown that these assumptions are without
any foundation.16 It is more than likely that Alkabez had never seen a copy of
the Reggio di Calabria edition of Rashis Commentary on the Pentateuch when
he started to print his own edition of this text.
In the English part of the splendid catalogue by Shimon Iakerson of the col-
lection of Hebrew incunabula in the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary
of America (JTS) in New York and in the Appendix of his contribution to
Biblias de Sefarad, the date of what generally is considered the first Hebrew
book printed in the Iberian Peninsula (Rashis Commentary on the Pentateuch)
is given as September 5, 1486(?).17 In the Hebrew part the date is correctly given
as 16 Elul 236, that is in the year 1476, albeit with a question mark. In a footnote,
it is stated that the chronogram can be read as Elul 231 (1471) as well. The year
1486 has regretfully been copied in the worlds two most influential publica-
tions in the field of incunabula, the German Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke
and the Incunabula Short Title Catalogue (ISTC) of the British Library.
There are at least three reasons why the year 1486 is very improbable. First,
16 Elul 5236 does not correspond to September 5, 1486, but to September 5,
1476. Secondly, the book was printed with Alkabezs types 1 and 2, which were
not in use after 1480 or 1481. And thirdly, the paper used in the book does not
correspond either to 1486 or to 1471.
Thanks to a beta-radiographic photograph of a watermark in the unicum
containing Rashis Commentary at Verona (fig. 12.4), a mano con corona
(hand with crown) described in 1988 by Peretz Tishby in Kiryat sefer,18 and to
the help of Mara Dolores Daz-Miranda y Macas of the project Watermarks

16 Peretz Tishby, Hebrew Incunables: Spain and Portugal (Guadalajara) [Hebrew], Kiryat
sefer 61 (19861987): 52829.
17 Shimon Iakerson, Catalogue of Hebrew Incunabula from the Collection of the Library of
the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (New York and Jerusalem: Jewish Theological
Seminary of America, 20042005): 2:31993, no. 81.
18 Tishby, Guadalajara, 525.
What Do We Know about Hebrew Printing ? 319

in Incunabula printed in Espaa (WIES) (fig. 12.5), it was possible to identify


paper with an identical mark, used in 1478 at Sueca (Valencia).
Probably under the protection of Don Juan Fernndez, first duke of Hjar
and Cabrera (Aragon), Eliezer ben Abraham Alantansi was active in Hjar from
1485. Hjar was a small town with a small Jewish population. In contrast with
the editions from Guadalajara, which have been preserved in one single copy,
or even in fragments only, four of the five known editions of Alantansis press
exist in between fourteen and eighteen copies. He started with a signed edi-
tion dated Elul (August 12September 9), 1485, of Jacob ben Ashers Tur orah
hayyim, the first Hebrew book with a printers mark (a rampant lion on a
shield), printed in black and red-orange (fig. 12.6).19 This was followed in 1486
1487 by a signed Tur yore deah with the printers mark in black.20 (There is a
copy in the Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa in Madrid).
In Alantansis booksas is also the case later at the press of Eliezer
Toledano in Lisbon, as well as in 1493 and during the sixteenth century in
Constantinoplea system of double leaf signatures is used. This system is
rarely found in non-Hebrew incunabula. In Italy it occurs only in a few books
printed by Christians in Padua. The sheet numbers are counted in a consecu-
tive series, so doubling the last number will give the total number of leaves.
Another new element in his books is the use of compressed square types
together with expanded types, a phenomenon hardly addressed in the exist-
ing literature (although Shimon Iakerson refers to it in his JTS catalogue).
Apparently these compressed types were introduced in order to make for even
margins.
Also in 14861487 Alantansi printed an unsigned edition of the Neviim
aharonim, whose only known copy, missing about six leaves, is held by the
Biblioteca Oliveriana in Pesaro.21 There is little information on this book; only
the initial word of the first text (Isaiah) has been printed within a decorative
border.
Alantansis books display a high degree of aesthetic perfection. In an
undated signed Torah im haftarot ve-hamesh megillot he used decorated ini-
tials, panels, and a decorative border cut in metal (according to Haebler by
the silversmith and master printer Alfonso Fernndez de Crdoba), which is

19 Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 16; Offenberg, Census, no. 65.


20 Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 17; Offenberg, Census, no. 72.
21 IGI, E 21. Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 19; Offenberg, Census, nos. 3031. See
also Carlo Bernheimer, Eine neue, hebrische Inkunabel, Zeitschrift fr hebrische
Bibliographie 23 (1920): 3640.
320 offenberg

niversally regarded a masterpiece (fig. 12.7).22 A spread of two pages in the


u
center of the third quire contains the so-called Song of the Sea (Exod. 15:118),
both pages being enclosed within this border, characterized by Moses Marx as
moresque.23 Almost all fourteen known copies and fragments were printed
on vellum. (There is a vellum copy in the Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa in
Madrid).
Fernndez de Crdoba is known as a printer in Valencia from 1477. In 1483
1484 he printed in Murcia, then returned to Valencia where he entered into an
agreement to print the works of Juan Prez in 14841485, in which agreement
Solomon ben Maimon Zalmati, a Jewish banker and goldsmith from Murcia
was also involved.24 Probably in 1487 he published an unsigned manual for the
diocese of Saragossa, Manuale Caesaraugustanum at Hjar, for which he cut
the moresque border. Since this border also appeared in July 1489 in a book
published by Eliezer Toledano in Lisbon, Alantansis Torah can be dated to
about 14871488.25 As is the case in the Italian Hebrew books in which a deco-
rative border originally intended for a non-Hebrew publication was used, the
right-hand margin is wider than the left, although not so pronounced as in
Italy. Consequently, in the edition from Lisbon where the border was used at
the front of the books, it appears on the verso side of the leaf.

22 Julin Martn Abad, Catlogo bibliogrfico de la coleccin de incunables de la Biblioteca


Nacional de Espaa (Madrid: Biblioteca Nacional de Espaa, 2010), B-114. Iakerson,
Printing in Sepharad, no. 18; Offenberg, Census, no. 15. A few fragments of this Bible on
vellum have been discovered among the mid-sixteenth-century documents of the Court
of the Inquisition of Calahorra-Logroo. Interestingly, one more leaf seems to belong to
an unidentified Hebrew Bible, printed by Eliezer Alantansi in Hjar. See Javier del Barco
and Ignacio Panizo Santos, Fragmentos de incunables hebreos en documentos inquisi-
toriales del Tribunal de Calahorra-Logroo, Huarte de San Juan: Geografa e Historia 17
(2010): 295308.
23 See the splendid illustration in the exhibition catalogue Books from Sefarad, ed. R. Weiser
(Jerusalem: Jewish National and University Library Publications, 1992), 3233, from the
copy in the National Library of Israel, Jerusalem.
24 Sheppard, et al., eds., Catalogue of Books, 10: lxviiilxix. See also Francisco Garca
Craviotto, La imprenta incunable de Alfonso Fernndez de Crdoba: Aportacin al
problema de Hjar o Valencia en su ltima poca atribuida, in El libro antiguo espaol:
Actas del primer Coloquio Internacional (Madrid, 18 al 20 de diciembre de 1986), ed. Mara
Luisa Lpez-Vidriero and Pedro Manuel Ctedra (Salamanca: Ediciones de la Univ. de
Salamanca, 1988).
25 Moses Marx, A Catalogue of the Hebrew Books Printed in the Fifteenth Century Now
in the Library of the Hebrew Union College, Studies in Bibliography and Booklore 1, no. 1
(June 1953): 27, no. 8.
What Do We Know about Hebrew Printing ? 321

Notwithstanding the fact that the two presses overlapped each other
chronologically, bibliographers have for many years thought that Eliezer ben
Abraham Alantansi and Eliezer Toledano were one and the same person, since
much of the typographic material of the Lisbon press had previously been used
at Hjar, and also because the name of Eliezer Toledanos father was unknown.26
However, recent research has shown that it is not so. A royal document of King
Manuel of Portugal in the Chanceleria of the Arquivos Nacionais da Torre do
Tombo, dated March 8, 1497, affirms that the possession of some houses in
the Judiaria Grande in Lisbon, which King Joo II had presented to the local
merchant Judah Toledano, was transferred upon the death of the latter to
Eliezer Toledano, his son, also known by his Christian name, Manuel. Since the
name of Eliezer Alantansis father was Abraham, and Eliezer Toledanos father
was Judah, they cannot be the same person.27 Remarkably, this document was
dated less than a fortnight before all Jewish minors in Portugal were forcibly
baptized and taken into custody to prevent their parents from attempting to
flee, followed soon afterwards by even more-extreme anti-Jewish measures
culminating in the total abolition of the Jewish religion in Portugal.
An unsigned edition of a Humash, targum ve-rabbenu shelomoh in three col-
umns came out between July 19 and August 17, 1490, corrected by Abraham ben
Isaac ben David.28 The financier was Solomon ben Maimon Zalmati, known
from the agreement with Fernndez de Crdoba in Valencia. The splendid dec-
orated initials and panels were used here too, although the border had been
moved to Lisbon by that time.
It is interesting that the large square types of Eliezer Alantansi were used
some years later in the first book printed by Samuel and David ibn Nahmias
in Constantinople, a complete edition of Jacob ben Ashers Arbaah turim, fin-
ished on December 13, 1493.29 Possibly they had been involved in the press at
Hjar in one way or another and after the expulsion in 1492 found refuge in the
Ottoman Empire, where they started a new press. We do not know of course

26 See, among many others, George D. Painter, Introduction to the Presses, in BMC 10, lxxiv.
However, on p. lxx he expressed some doubt.
27 The document has the reference number AN/TT, Chanceleria de D. Manuel, I. 31,
fols. 98r98v. See also Maria Jos Pimenta Ferro Tavares, Os judeus em Portugal no sculo
XV (Lisbon: Univ. Nova de Lisboa, 1984), 2:251.
28 Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 20; Offenberg, Census, no. 16.
29 Offenberg, BMC 13, lxvii, 1067, 24851. See Adri K. Offenberg, The Printing History of the
Constantinople Hebrew Incunable of 1493: A Mediterranean Voyage of Discovery, British
Library Journal 22 (1996): 22135.
322 offenberg

whether they produced their type material by means of matrices or punches


from Hjar or whether they had left Spain with a supply of cast types.
At Zamora, in Castile, shortly before the expulsion, Samuel ben Musa,
together with a certain Immanuel, printed in 14911492 Rashis Perush ha-torah,
known from one copy only, once belonging to the Italian scholar and collector
Leon Hai (Vita) Saraval (17711851) and formerly at Breslau, now in the Library
of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America in New York.30 For many years
this copy was believed to have been lost. During the Second World War it was
ransacked by the Nazis from Breslau, but in 1950 it was bought for the JTS. Most
probably the printer Samuel ben Musa can be identified with the scribe Samuel
ben Samuel ben Musa, who produced the text of the well-known Lisbon Bible
of 1482 in the British Library (fig. 12.8) and four other manuscripts, the earliest
copied at Lisbon in 1475. The Jewish date of the Perush ha-torah is sometimes
read as 1486/87, as a result of the uncertainty regarding how to interpret the
letter he in the chronogramwhether according to the full or the abbreviated
form of the era. Following a system discovered by Malachi Beit-Ari, based on
medieval scribal practice, it seems preferable to read it as 14911492.31
It is difficult to determine whether a number of Iberian Hebrew editions
without mention of place of printing were printed in Aragon, in Castile, or in
Portugal.32 Here, they have been assigned, with some reservations, to Spain,
since they are all unvocalized, a characteristic they share with the known
editions from Spain, whereas all Portuguese biblical and liturgical texts have
vowel points.
The place of printing is problematic for an edition of Jacob ben Ashers Tur
orah hayyim, sine nota. The book has been attributed to the Printer of the
Tur orah hayyim. Only two copies are known, one in the British Library, the
other in Cambridge University Library. There are also seven leaves in the Library
of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and twenty-one leaves in the
National Library of Israel in Jerusalem.33 Only one font of square type was used
(20 lines: 128 mm); in the British Library copy the blank spaces for initial words
were filled in by hand in contemporary Sephardi large square characters; blank
spaces for line figures were also filled in. At the end of many lines a stunted

30 Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 21; Offenberg, Census, no. 114bis; Iakerson, Catalogue,
37578, 45862, no. 97.
31 Malachi Beit-Ari, The Relationship between Early Hebrew Printing and Handwritten
Books: Attachment or Detachment, in Library, Archives, and Information Studies, ed. Dov
Schidorsky, Scripta Hierosolymitana 29 (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1989), 14, note 47.
32 See Offenberg, BMC 13, xi and lxiii.
33 Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 47; Offenberg, Census, no. 66.
What Do We Know about Hebrew Printing ? 323

aleph was used as a graphic filler to produce even line-ends. Ironically, these
alephs were corrected by an overzealous editor in Aron Freimanns Thesaurus
typographiae hebraicae saeculi XV.34 Both known copies are missing leaves at
beginning and end. There is no reason for attributing this edition to the press
of Eliezer Toledano as Van Straalen, Proctor, Haebler, and Oates have done,
nor to the Guadalajara press of Alkabez as Peretz Tishby did.35 Of the seven
different paper stocks used, two are identical with paper used at Guadalajara
between 1476 and 1482, and one is identical with paper used in 14861487 at
Hjar. This edition can be assumed to have been printed in Spain in about 1485
or a little earlier.
Two named printers cannot be assigned a location, but the material they had
in common suggests that they worked in the same place. The British Librarys
copy of Maimonidess Mishne torahsigned by Moses ben Shealtiel and from
the paper and typographical evidence probably to be dated about 1490, not
long before Bahya ben Ashers commentary of 1491 mentioned belowseems
to be the only known (almost) complete copy (it is missing two blank leaves).36
It comprises the first three (of fourteen) books of Maimonidess code, possi-
bly no other books having been printed. Using the same text type (20 lines:
118 mm), the same layout, and a similar paper stock, an edition of Bahya ben
Ashers Beur al ha-torah was completed on October 21, 1491, signed by Shem
Tov ibn Halaz, and edited by Samuel ben Abraham Perez. The most complete
copy of this edition is at the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of
America.37 It has been analyzed in full by Shimon Iakerson. In the colophon
(at the end of the commentary on Exodus) two of the printers sons, Judah and
Reuben, are mentioned as his assistants, followed by a complaint that in the
past the printer had published many books with the help of partners he later

34 See Aron Freimann and Moses Marx, eds., Thesaurus typographiae hebraicae saeculi XV
(Berlin: Wilmersdorf Marx, 192431), plate B 33.
35 Samuel van Straalen, Catalogue of Hebrew Books in the British Museum Acquired during
the Years 18681892 (London: British Museum, 1894), 98; Robert Proctor, An Index to the
Early Printed Books in the British Museum from the Invention of Printing to the Year 1500,
with Notes of Those in the Bodleian Library (London: Paul, Trench, Trbner, 1898), no. 9837;
Konrad Haebler, Bibliografa ibrica del siglo XV, 2 vols. (The Hague: Nijhoff, 190317),
2: no. 332; J. C. T. Oates, comp., A Catalogue of the Fifteenth-Century Printed Books in the
University Library, Cambridge (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1954), no. 4225; Tishby,
Hebrew incunabula, no. 20.
36 Offenberg, BMC 13, 9091; 23839. Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 37; Offenberg,
Census, no. 89.
37 Iakerson, Catalogue, 43743 and 53138, no. 110; Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, no. 35;
Offenberg, Census, no. 7.
324 offenberg

found dishonest in business. Perhaps Moses ben Shealtiel was one of those
men whom Ibn Halaz charged with dishonesty. The printer speaks of printing
as an art new in the country (not an art in a new country, as some bibliogra-
phers have understood the text). The rest of the many books printed by Shem
Tov ibn Halaz seem to have completely disappeared.
A group of at least six early Iberian Hebrew books in a single square type
sine nota has been attributed to the presumably Spanish Printer of Alfasis
Halakhot. They have come down to us in fragments only. Supporting evidence
for dating and identification of the fragments is still lacking.
In his Appendix in Biblias de Sefarad, Shimon Iakerson mentions fourteen
editions, five of them not included in the First International Census of Hebrew
Incunabula.38 Because it is not yet possible to attribute those editions to
Aragon, Castile, or to Portugal, he uses Sepharad as the location.
Perhaps new studies of the typographical evidence and the paper used
by these printing presses may provide more certainty. This will be possible
now thanks to a very useful new tool, which I mentioned above: the large
collection of watermarks in Spanish incunables collected by the late Gerard
van Thienen from The Hague and known as WIES (Watermarks in Incunabula
printed in Espaa), available on the internet.39

38 Iakerson, Printing in Sepharad, nos. 36, 41, 44, 48, and 49; Psalms: Shem Tov ibn Halaz, ca.
1490; Maimonides, Introduction: Printer of the Tur orah hayyim, ca. 148090; Pentateuch
with Five Scrolls and Haftarot: Printer of the Tur orah hayyim, ca. 148090; Maimonides,
Sefer ha-madda and Sefer ahavah: no printer, ante ca. 1492; Pentateuch or Hebrew Bible:
no printer, ante ca. 1492. However, four of these editions have been mentioned in Adri
K. Offenberg, Wat niet in de Census staat: Een lijst van al dan niet terecht als incuna-
bel beschouwde Hebreeuwse uitgaven [Not recorded in the Census: A list of Hebrew
editions, rightly or wrongly considered as incunables], in For Bob de Graaf: Antiquarian
Bookseller, Publisher, Bibliographer; Festschrift on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday, ed.
Anton Gerits (Amsterdam: A. Gerits, 1993), 14451.
39 http://www.ksbm.oeaw.ac.at/wies. See Gerard van Thienen, Astrid Enderman, and Mara
Dolores Daz-Miranda y Macas, El papel y las filigranas de los incunables impresos en
Espaa a travs de los diversos ejemplares conservados en las bibliotecas del mundo,
Syntagma: Revista del Instituto de Historia del Libro y de la Lectura 2 (2008): 23961.
What Do We Know about Hebrew Printing ? 325

FIGURE 12.1 Page from the Guadalajara Rashi 1476. Ligatures indicated in green, kerning
(overhanging) types in red.
326 offenberg

FIGURE 12.2 Page from Massekhet Qiddushin, Guadalajara [ca. 1480]. London, British
Library, C.50*.b.2, fol. 3r.
The British Library Board.
What Do We Know about Hebrew Printing ? 327

FIGURE 12.3 Reconstruction of the contents of a case of Alkabezs semi-cursive type 1 (in the
upper left corner, an illustration of a stepped punch, to produce ligatures).
328 offenberg

FIGURE 12.4 Beta-radiographic photo of FIGURE 12.5 Line drawing of a Hand-with


a watermark Hand-with Crown mark, used in 1478 at
Crown from the unique Sueca (Valencia), enlarged.
Guadalajara Rashi.. Courtesy of Mara Dolores
Courtesy of P. Tishby, z.l. Daz de Miranda Macas.
What Do We Know about Hebrew Printing ? 329

FIGURE 12.6 Printers mark of Alantansi at Hjar, 1485.


330 offenberg

FIGURE 12.7 Decorative border in Alantansis Torah edition (148788?).


Courtesy of Valmadona Trust, London.
What Do We Know about Hebrew Printing ? 331

FIGURE 12.8 Page from the Lisbon Bible, (1482). London, British Library, MS Or. 2626, fol. 1v.
The British Library Board.
332 offenberg

Appendix

TABLE 12.1 List of copies from Guadalajara, Hjar, and Zamora preserved in public collections

Guadalajara: Solomon ben Moses ha-Levi Alkabez

type 1 & 2

Rashi, Perush ha-torah Sept. 5, 1476 (?) 1 copy, Verona, Biblioteca


Capitolare

Jacob ben Asher, Hoshen Dec. 2430, 1480 1 copy, Vatican, Biblioteca
mishpat Apostolica; New York, JTS, 21 fols.

Jacob ben Asher, Yore deah [ca. 1480] 1 copy, El Escorial, Real Biblioteca;
Cincinnati, Hebrew Union
College, 48 fols.; New York, JTS,
17 fols.

Berakhot [ca. 1480] fragm., Cambridge Univ. Library;


New York, JTS, 1 fol.

Yoma [ca. 1480] London, British Library (BL);


Cambridge Univ. Library; New
York, JTS, 12 fols.

Betsah [ca. 1480] fragm., Cambridge Univ. Library;


New York, JTS, 2 fols.

Taanit [ca. 1480] London, BL

Moed qatan [ca. 1480] fragm., Cambridge Univ. Library

Hagigah [ca. 1480] London, BL; Cambridge Univ.


Library; New York, JTS, 5 + 1 fols.
What Do We Know about Hebrew Printing ? 333

Qiddushin [ca. 1480] London, BL; Oxford, Bodleian


Library, 5 fols.; Jerusalem, National
Library of Israel, 10 fols.; New
York, JTS, 14 + 1 fols.; Amsterdam,
Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, 2 fols.

type 3 & 4

Ketubbot [ca. 1482] fragm., Cambridge Univ. Library;


New York, JTS, 7 fols.

Jacob ben Asher, Even [ca. 1482] 1 copy, Oxford, Bodleian Library
ha-ezer

David Kimhi, Perush Aug. 25, 6 copies


neviim aharonim 1481Jan. 4,
1482

Targum Onqelos [ca. 1482] fragm. (priv. coll.)

Haggadah etc. [ca. 1482] 1 copy, Jerusalem, National


Library of Israel

Torah, haftarot, megillot [ca. 1482] 1 copy, Florence, Biblioteca


Medicea Laurenziana

Hjar: Eliezer ben Abraham Alantansi

Jacob ben Asher, Orah Aug. 12Sept. 9, 16 copies


hayyim 1485

Neviim aharonim 148687 1 copy, Pesaro, Biblioteca


Oliveriana

Jacob ben Asher, Yore deah 148687 19 copies incl. Madrid, Biblioteca
Nacional de Espaa

Torah, haftarot, megillot [148788?] 14 copies incl. Madrid, Biblioteca


Nacional de Espaa (vellum)
334 offenberg

TABLE 12.1 List of copies (cont.)

Torah, Onqelos, Rashi July 19Aug. 17, 18 copies, 6 vellum


1490

Zamora: Samuel ben Musa and Immanuel

Rashi, Perush ha-torah 149192 (?) 1 copy, New York, JTS

Bibliography

Manuscripts and Archival Documents


Lisbon, Arquivos Nacionais da Torre do Tombo, Chanceleria de D. Manuel, I. 31.
London, British Library, MS Or. 2626 (Lisbon Bible).

Primary Sources
Bahya ben Asher. Beur al ha-torah. s.l.: Shem Tov ibn Halaz, 1491.
Berakhot. Guadalajara: Solomon ben Moses ha-Levi Alkabez, n.d.
Betsah. Guadalajara: Solomon ben Moses ha-Levi Alkabez, n.d.
David Kimhi. Perush al neviim aharonim. Guadalajara: s.n., 1481/82.
Haggadah, with Megillat antiokhos and Tefilat ha-derekh, etc. Guadalajara: s.n., 147681.
Hagigah. Guadalajara: Solomon ben Moses ha-Levi Alkabez, n.d.
Humash, targum ve-rabbenu shelomoh [Hjar]: s.n., 1490.
Jacob ben Asher. Arbaah turim. Constantinople: Samuel and David ibn Nahmias, 1493.
. Tur even ha-ezer. [Guadalajara]: s.n., n.d.
. Tur hoshen mishpat. Guadalajara: Solomon ben Moses ha-Levi Alkabez, 1480.
. Tur orah hayyim. Hjar: Eliezer ben Abraham Alantansi, 1485.
. Tur yore deah. [Guadalajara]: s.n., n.d.
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Maimonides. Introduction [Hebrew]. s.l.: Printer of the Tur orah hayyim, ca. 148090.
. Sefer ha-madda and Sefer ahavah. s.l.: s.n., ante ca. 1492.
Manuale Caesaraugustanum. [Hjar: Fernndez de Crdoba], 1487?
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Neviim aharonim. [Hjar: Eliezer ben Abraham Alantansi], 148687.
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ca. 148090.
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Psalms [Hebrew]. s.l.: Shem Tov ibn Halaz, ca. 1490.


Qiddushin. Guadalajara: Solomon ben Moses ha-Levi Alkabez, n.d.
Rashi. Perush ha-torah. Guadalajara: Solomon ben Moses ha-Levi Alkabez, 1476.
. Perush ha-torah. Zamora: Samuel ben Musa, 149192.
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Targum Onkelos. [Guadalajara]: s.n., post 1481.
Torah im haftarot ve-hamesh megillot. [Guadalajara]: s.n., 147681.
Torah im haftarot ve-hamesh megillot. [Hjar]: Eliezer ben Abraham Alantansi,
[ca. 148789].
Yoma. Guadalajara: Solomon ben Moses ha-Levi Alkabez, n.d.

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