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(2,712 words)

Author(s): Tov, Emanuel | Olszowy-Schlanger, Judith | Teplitsky, Joshua | Schrijver, Emile
1. Dead Sea ScrollsThe term "scribes of the Dead Sea Scrolls" is as problematic as the term Dead Sea Scrolls itself because of the diversity of the scrolls and their scribes, but there is no better term. Some 2,000 fragmentary scrolls, mainly in Hebrew but also in Aramaic and Greek, on leather and papyrus, were found not only at the shores of the Dead Sea, but also inlands, in the Judean Desert. The most well-known among them are some 950 texts found in caves at Qumran. The texts were writte…
Date: 2023-11-20


(1,223 words)

Author(s): Olszowy-Schlanger, Judith
Sfardata is the name of a database created by the Israeli branch of the Hebrew Paleography Project (HPP), a project created to inventory and study all medieval Hebrew codices prior to 1540, which contain an explicit mention of their date of copy in a scribal colophon, or at least mention the scribe's name. ⸙Sfardata is the name of a database created by the Israeli branch of the Hebrew Paleography Project (HPP), under the direction of Malachi Beit-Arié. The Hebrew Palaeography Project was established in 1965 as a collaboration between the Institut …
Date: 2023-01-31

France, Book Production in

(10,174 words)

Author(s): Olszowy-Schlanger, Judith | Nahon, Peter | Baumgarten, Jean | Dreyfuss, Mathias
1. Manuscripts1.1. MedievalForthcoming.Judith Olszowy-Schlanger1.2. Post-MedievalIntroductionThe edict of expulsion of the Jews proclaimed in 1394 by King Charles VI, forbade the settlement of Jews in France. The edict remained officially in force until the French Revolution (1789). Nevertheless, as early as the 16th century, Judaism was being practiced within the territory that makes up modern France by three distinct cultural entities (Blumenkranz 1972):1The Spanish and Portuguese Jews of Gascony, descendants of former “New Christians” from the Iberian …
Date: 2023-11-20

Books within Books

(1,418 words)

Author(s): Olszowy-Schlanger, Judith
Books within Books: Hebrew Fragments in European Libraries (BwB) is the name of a multidisciplinary network of scholars, librarians and archivists whose overall aim is the inventory, conservation, research, and public awareness of the medieval Hebrew fragments reused in the bindings of other books and objects. ⸙Books within Books: Hebrew Fragments in European Libraries (BwB) is the name of a multidisciplinary network of scholars, librarians, and archivists whose overall aim is the inventory, conservation, research and public awareness of th…
Date: 2023-01-31

The Book as an Object: Material and Symbolic Values of Medieval Manuscripts

(17,818 words)

Author(s): Olszowy-Schlanger, Judith
As the embodiment of the text, the medieval Hebrew book is presented in this essay as a physical artefact. The books' archaeology, its material features, and visual components are discussed and shown to reflect the technical, economic, and aesthetic context of book production, and how they play a role in the modes of reading, learning, and transmission of knowledge. The book as a tangible object also acquired a symbolic status in Jewish ritual, spirituality, and culture and became a marker of Jewish identity. ⸙IntroductionBooks are indeed tangible, tridimensional objects spati…
Date: 2023-01-31

Saint-Victor’s Abbey in Paris

(701 words)

Author(s): Olszowy-Schlanger, Judith
In 1108 Guillaume de Champeaux, a master in the cathedral school of Paris, founded a hermitage dedicated to St. Victor on Mount St. Geneviève, on the left bank of the River Seine. Five years later, by an act of Louis le Gros, the monastery became an abbey and its members regular canons. Later in the 12th century, the abbey of St. Victor became an important center of learning and a place where a specific school of Bible exegesis was followed. The method consisted of literal exegesis. The literal …

Transcription into Latin Script: Pre-Modern England

(1,436 words)

Author(s): Olszowy-Schlanger, Judith
Works of Christian Hebraists in 12th- and 13th-century England are interspersed with Hebrew words transcribed into the Latin alphabet (Christian Hebraists: Medieval Period). The reason for such transcriptions was two-fold: on the one hand, it was a pedagogical device for teaching Hebrew, and on the other, it gave a certain minimal access to the Hebrew language to those who had not mastered it but wanted to use it (for example, in anti-Jewish polemics). It is often difficult to ascertain whether …

Karaite Legal Documents

(592 words)

Author(s): Olszowy-Schlanger, Judith
The Karaites used written documents to record and carry out their legal and business transactions. The Cairo Genizah collections contain some eighty legal documents (betrothal and marriage documents, appointments of a bride’s agent, financial provisions for children before childbirth, a certificate of circumcision, letters of divorce and deeds of release) from the 10th–13th centuries, written according to Karaite formulae. The most distinctive feature of the Karaite legal documents is their use …

Manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible in the Middle Ages

(2,520 words)

Author(s): Olszowy-Schlanger, Judith
In the Middle Ages, Hebrew Bible manuscript production underwent important changes. While the consonantal text and the canonical composition of 24 books had long been fixed, it was now provided with the textual apparatus of the Masorah and the system of written vowels and cantillation signs (טעמים ṭeʿamim), which followed three main traditions: Babylonian, Palestinian, and Tiberian. The books acquired a new shape: the codex form was accepted alongside that of the traditional scrolls, which continued to be used in liturgy. The material aspect…


(5,922 words)

Author(s): Olszowy-Schlanger, Judith
1. Introduction Codicology is a relatively new discipline, whose main purpose is the study of manuscripts as material objects in their own right. This study is complementary to, but distinct from the study of the textual contents and palaeography (script and handwriting) of manuscripts. In a narrow sense, codicology focuses on materials and techniques of handwritten book production. More broadly it deals with the relationship between these material aspects and the script and genre of the text, wit…

Christian Hebraists: Medieval Period

(8,999 words)

Author(s): Olszowy-Schlanger, Judith
1. Introduction The study of the Hebrew language and Jewish literature as undertaken by Christian scholars during the Middle Ages has been the subject of several modern works. This modern scholarship has often expressed a rather negative opinion of the achievements of medieval Christian Hebraists, contrasting them with the subsequent development of Hebrew studies during the Renaissance. However, recent studies of original manuscripts have revealed a hitherto unsuspected level of knowledge and impo…