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Elisha ben Abraham Cresques

(1,548 words)

Author(s): Kogman-Appel, Katrin
Elisha ben Avraham Cresques, a native of Majorca (1325-1387) was a Hebrew scribe and illuminator, and a cartographer in the service of the Crown of Aragon. His most outstanding works are the Farhi Bible and the Catalan World Map. His significance for the study of Jewish book culture also lies in the fact that the former includes a series of texts reflecting in a way Elisha's own book collection. It is also likely that he was acquainted with the library of Judah Mosconi of Majorca.⸙Elisha ben Avraham Cresques (July 18, 1325–March 1387) was a scribe, illuminator, and mapmaker in …
Date: 2023-11-20

Book Illustration

(622 words)

Author(s): Kogman-Appel, Katrin | Wiesemann, Falk
1. ManuscriptsPainted miniatures appeared in Hebrew manuscripts for the first time in Egypt in 929; in Europe they became common beginning in the 1230s. In Ashkenaz the first illuminated manuscript appeared in Würzburg, in 1232/33, where a copy of Rashi’s Bible commentary was illustrated in the Christian workshop of Heinrich the painter (Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, MS heb. 5/I–II). Several communal maḥzorim were richly decorated in Franconia and the Lower Rhine region in the mid-1200s, a…
Date: 2023-11-20

Sarajevo Haggadah

(623 words)

Author(s): Kogman-Appel, Katrin
The Sarajevo Haggadah held today by the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina surfaced in 1894 and immediately raised scholarly attention inciting, thus, a relatively broad academic interest in Jewish book art. A typical representative of a group of 14th-century haggadot from northern Iberia, it displays a detailed narrative picture cycle of biblical history from the Creation to Moses on Mount Nebo.⸙The Sarajevo Haggadah (Sarajevo, National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina) surfaced in 1894 when a Jewish family in Sarajevo turned to the National Museu…
Date: 2023-11-20

Mosconi, Lleó Judah ben Moses

(952 words)

Author(s): Kogman-Appel, Katrin
Lleó Judah ben Moses Mosconi (1328-1377) was a widely travelled physician and rabbinic scholar from Byzantium. During his travels, after which he settled on the Island of Majorca, he accumulated a collection of 156 books of varied rabinic and scientific interests. Two inventories of the collection survive to this day.⸙Lleó Judah ben Moses Mosconi (1328-1377), a native of Ohrid in the Byzantine Empire, was a rabbinic scholar and physician, who, after extensive travel in Greece and Egypt, settled in Majorca around 1350 (his name is mentioned …
Date: 2023-11-20

Joseph ha-Ṣarfati

(538 words)

Author(s): Kogman-Appel, Katrin
Joseph ha-Ṣarfati ( fl. c. 1300) was a miniaturist who is known from only one manuscript, which he decorated in Tudela. Perhaps an immigrant from France, he introduced into the tradition of Hebrew Bible decoration a wealth of Gothic motifs and figural elements. ⸙Joseph ha-Ṣarfati was a Jewish illuminator active in Tudela, Navarre. Our knowledge about him comes from an unusual colophon in a Sephardic Bible commonly known as the Cervera Bible (Lisbon, Biblioteca nacional, MS Il. 72, fol. 449r), which was copied between the summer of 1299 and the spring of 1300 by Samuel ba…
Date: 2023-01-31

Joshua ibn Gaon

(1,174 words)

Author(s): Kogman-Appel, Katrin
Joshua ibn Gaon, a scribe from Soria, Castile, was active between 1299 (at the latest) and c. 1310 in both his home town and in nearby Tudela, Navarre. He signed several Bible manuscripts as either a scribe or a masoretor. While his designs are fairly well known from micrographic patterns, in one of the manuscripts he explicitly states that he also painted the decoration. ⸙Joshua ibn Gaon ( fl. 1299–1310) was a scribe, masran (masoretor), illuminator, and micrographic artist, active in Soria, Castile, and Tudela, Navarre. As he noted in one of his colophons, he was “…
Date: 2023-01-31

Joel ben Simeon

(1,126 words)

Author(s): Kogman-Appel, Katrin
Joel ben Simeon was a scribe and illuminator, active in the German Lands and Italy from c. 1445 until his death after 1490. His personal, distinct drawing style is easily recognizable in about 30 manuscripts, among them numerous haggadot demonstrating that he contributed much to establish a popular repertoire of haggadah illustration. ⸙Joel ben Simeon was born in c. 1420, perhaps in Cologne. When the Jews were expelled from that city in 1424, his family may have moved to Bonn, as he later named one or the other of the two cities as his place of o…
Date: 2023-01-31

Nuremberg Haggadah 2 and Yahuda Haggadah

(1,018 words)

Author(s): Kogman-Appel, Katrin
The Second Nuremberg Haggadah and the Yahuda Haggadah are a pair of very similar haggadot from Franconia, datable to the early 1460s. Produced just a few years after the introduction of print, they are typical specimens of late medieval book culture in an era of media change. Both are heavily illustrated and show clear signs of a division of labor. ⸙ The Second Nuremberg Haggadah (London, David Sofer Collection, formerly in the German Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg) and the Yahuda Haggadah (Jerusalem, Israel Mu…
Date: 2023-01-01

Mantua Book Lists

(1,593 words)

Author(s): Kogman-Appel, Katrin
In 1596 and 1605 the Jewish households of Mantua were ordered to deliver lists of their books to the censors of the Inquisition authorities for inspections. The lists survived in the archives of the Jewish community of Mantua and are a valuable source for the study of Jewish reading trends and the dynamics of book collecting. ⸙On August 27, 1595, Francesco Gonzaga, the Bishop of Mantua appointed three censors (Censorship and Censors), most famously among them the convert Domenico Hierosolomitano (or Domenico Yerushalmi), to examine Jewish books for f…
Date: 2023-01-31

Jewish Book Art and the Art of the Jewish Book in Manuscript Culture

(13,360 words)

Author(s): Kogman-Appel, Katrin
The first section of this chapter offers a brief chronological framework of medieval Jewish book art introducing the most common forms of decoration and presenting several known professionals of the trade of book production. It is followed by a discussion of the role Jewish art played in the cultural spaces shared by medieval Jews, Christians, and Muslims. The chapter concludes with a survey of different book types and a brief discourse about how decoration and illustration functioned in the manifold uses of these books. ⸙IntroductionThroughout late antiquity and the early Midd…
Date: 2023-01-31