New Publication: Jewish Treasures from Oxford Libraries, Edited by Rebecca Abrams and César Merchán-Hamann

Representing four centuries of collecting and 1,000 years of Jewish history, this book brings together extraordinary Hebrew manuscripts and rare books from the Bodleian Library and Oxford colleges. Highlights of the collections include a fragment of Maimonides’ autograph draft of the Mishneh Torah; the earliest dated fragment of the Talmud, exquisitely illuminated manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible; stunning festival prayerbooks and one of the oldest surviving Jewish seals in England. Lavishly illustrated essays by experts in the field bring to life the outstanding works contained in the collections, as well as the personalities and diverse motivations of their original collectors, who include Archbishop William Laud, John Selden, Edward Pococke, Robert Huntington, Venetian Jesuit Matteo Canonici, Benjamin Kennicott and Rabbi David Oppenheim.

Saved for posterity by religious scholarship, intellectual rivalry and political ambition, these extraordinary collections also detail the consumption and circulation of knowledge across the centuries, forming a social and cultural history of objects moved across borders, from person to person. Together, they offer a fascinating journey through Jewish intellectual and social history from the tenth to the twentieth century

Rebecca Abrams is Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Brasenose College, Oxford and author of The Jewish Journey: 4000 years in 22 Objects.

César Merchán-Hamann is Hebrew and Judaica Curator in the Bodleian Library and Director of the Leopold Muller Memorial Library at the University of Oxford.

  • 288 pp, 259 x 237 mm
  • 136 colour illustrations
  • 9781851245024 HB
  • £35.00 May 2020

Published by Roisin Astell

Roisin Astell received a First Class Honours in History of Art at the University of York (2014), under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Lugli. After spending a year learning French in Paris, Roisin then completed an MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford (2016), where she was supervised by Professor Gervase Rosser and Professor Martin Kauffmann. In 2017, Roisin was awarded a CHASE AHRC studentship as a doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, under the supervision of Dr Emily Guerry.

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