The library recently purchased a collection of Hebrew manuscript fragments from the former collection of Marvin L. Colker, professor of Classics at the University of Virginia. As manuscript cataloger at Trinity College, Dublin, he published the catalogue Trinity College Dublin Library: Descriptive Catalogue of the Medieval and Renaissance Latin Manuscripts (Dublin, 1991).
A number of fascinating manuscripts have been cataloged recently in Penn Libraries’ rare Judaica holdings, ranging from legal documents to a personal notebook. Here are some highlights.
Two of the recently cataloged manuscripts come from the former collection of Yosef Goldman (1942–2015). Goldman was a Hungarian scholar of American Judaica, a Judaica collector, and coauthor with Ari Kinsberg of Hebrew Printing in America, 1735–1926, A History and Annotated Bibliography (Brooklyn, 2006).
What does one learn when we avoid the gravitational field of a book’s content in favor of all the bits of history preserved in a book’s form? There is a rich tradition of studying books as material objects, and indeed there is much to learn from books as books, from the technology and economics of the book trade, to the ways knowledge is shaped or altered by page layout, to the ways the circulation of ideas may be subject to such apparently secondary factors as trade routes or family networks.
JQR 112.2 is now available, online* and in print.
In this issue:
A manuscript for the Sefirah counting recently cataloged in the Alfonso Cassuto Collection dates from 1839; it was written by Salamaõ Attias for Moses Buzaglo in Ponta Delgada.
In Penn’s Libraries, one can find a particular battle-scarred volume. It is a large folio, rebound in old leather, damaged by fire, with margins cut, pages torn out, others stolen but then replaced, marked by a few clever patches to the parchment. There are marginal notes in a variety of inks and handwritings representing many generations of readers and amenders. It is a late thirteenth–early fourteenth-century Mahzor, or Jewish prayer book for the high holidays, originating from the German Rhineland. (CAJS Rare MS 382).
With volume 110, JQR has emerged as an important platform for the publication of pioneering articles in the nascent field of visual Kabbalah.
A JQR Blog post
A Sofer is a Jewish ritual scribe, and Safrut is the ritual writing penned by a Sofer. Ritual writing follows a strict set of rules, and very small details can disqualify the item from ritual use. A misspelled word, certain misshapen letters, disorderliness, and even beginning certain columns with the wrong word can sometimes disqualify an entire scroll. Disqualified Torah scroll fragments, for example, are permitted for study purposes only, but not for ritual contexts.