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Look Inside Hebrew Manuscripts of the Middle Ages

Hebrew Manuscripts of the Middle Ages


  • Date Published: November 2008
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521090230

£ 42.99

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About the Authors
  • Hebrew manuscripts are our most important source of knowledge about Jewish intellectual, religious and everyday life in the Middle Ages, and anyone wishing to engage with medieval Jewish history needs to know about the manuscripts themselves, how to study them, and the literary genres to which they belong. Colette Sirat offers a comprehensive overview of these subjects in this illustrated introduction to Hebrew manuscript culture. This 2002 work is a considerably re-structured, extended and updated version of an earlier presentation in French. It now encompasses all aspects of Hebrew manuscripts - textual, codicological and palaeographical - combining different disciplines to give an all-embracing view of the subject. The volume has been translated from the author's revision of her earlier French book, and edited for an English readership, by leading Hebrew scholar Nicholas de Lange, who worked closely with Professor Sirat in the preparation of the new book.

    • Offers a panorama of texts studied by Jews in the Middle Ages
    • Describes material characteristics of manuscripts and the scripts used
    • Shows how to use manuscripts in the construction of history
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'From the mundane to the sublime - there is something for everyone … in these well-illustrated pages … an elegantly produced and superb introduction to the study of Hebrew manuscripts, their scribes, and their contents that will enlighten students and scholars alike … a book written by a master of the material with a sensitive eye and a sharp reed … a tribute to the book making craft and Cambridge University Press should be praised for its aesthetic production.' The Jewish Studies Newsletter

    'Hebrew Manuscripts of the Middle Ages covers all aspects of the subject.' Geoffrey Khan, The Times Literary Supplement

    'Any medievalist will find it well worth reading … If widely read in medieval studies circles, this book will contribute to a lessening of the marginality of Jews to the study of medieval culture as a whole.' Ira Robinson, Bryn Mawr Review

    'Sirat's work is clear and direct, combining a fresh, approachable body-text with full scholarly footnotes … an elegant, eloquent key text in this as yet under-explored field.' Jewish Culture and History

    'Thanks to Sirat's profound erudition and rich experience in dealing with Hebrew manuscripts, her new book offers a treasury of information … this comprehensive introduction and useful manual is highly recommended.' European Association for Jewish Studies

    '… an authoritative introduction … we are constantly reminded throughout this book of the many common characteristics shared by Hebrew book production and those of the surrounding culture, be this Muslim or Christian European. This book therefore has an application wider than an introduction to only Hebrew manuscripts. The book is beautifully produced … We congratulate Cambridge University Press on this handsome book. CUP has justly acquired a fine reputation for Hebrew bibliographical studies, being the publisher of the prestige series University of Cambridge Oriental Publications …'. Novum Testamentum

    'C. Sirat's Hebrew Manuscripts of the Middle Ages is a long-awaited English introduction to the study of Medieval manuscripts in Hebrew script … a mature and thoroughly researched account of the unique cultural and intellectual enterprise of manuscript making, illustrated by highly relevant and striking examples of individual books and scribes from different periods and parts of the Medieval world … Hebrew Manuscripts of the Middle Ages is an important, full and fascinating introduction to the study of Hebrew book-making in the Middle Ages, and it can be recommended to students, scholars and all those interested in Hebrew manuscripts, as well as in Jewish literature and intellectual history in general.' Journal of Jewish Studies

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2008
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521090230
    • length: 368 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.59kg
    • contains: 169 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Texts:
    1. Before the Middle Ages
    2. The Middle Ages
    Part II. Books:
    3. Codicology
    4. Writing: calligraphic and personal subjects
    5. The scribe
    Appendix. Abbreviations, acrostics and the meaning of the Hebrew letters
    Part III. The History of Books and Texts:
    6. The life and death of manuscripts
    7. Libraries
    8. Questions of method: codicology and palaeography
    9. Texts, copies and text-editions
    10. Judgement on readings and the edition of texts
    Part IV. Some Manuscripts:
    11. Ten manuscripts: pictures and detailed descriptions.

  • Author

    Colette Sirat
    Colette Sirat is Professor at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, Department of History and Philology, and head of the Hebrew Department, Institut de Recherche et d'Histoire des Textes, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris.

    Editor and Translator

    Nicholas De Lange

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