New Publication: Sephardic Book Art of the Fifteenth Century, Edited by Luís U. Afonso and Tiago Moita

The current volume presents ten different studies dealing with the final stages of Hebrew book art production in medieval Iberia. Ranging from the Farhi Codex, copied and illuminated in the late 14th century, to the Philadelphia Bible, copied and illuminated in Lisbon in 1496, this volume discusses a wide scope of topics related with the production, consumption and circulation of medieval decorated Hebrew manuscripts. Among the issues discussed in this volume we highlight the role played by three distinct artistic languages (Mudéjar, Late Gothic and Renaissance) in the shapping of 15th-century Sephardic illumination, the codicological specificity of some solutions in terms of layout and the relation between the layout of these manuscripts and Hebrew incunabula, the use of geometric decoration in scientific diagrams, or the afterlife of these manuscripts in Europe and Asia following the expulsion of the Jews from Iberia.

Table of Contents

Calligraphy and Decoration in the Farhi Codex (Sassoon coll. Ms 368, Mallorca, 1366–83) — Katrin Kogman-Appel

From Castile to Lisbon: The Sephardic Biblical Codex and Mudejar Visual Culture, Mid-Thirteenth to Late Fifteenth Centuries — Sarit Shalev-Eyni

Typography, Layout and Decoration: The Printed Hebrew Book in the Iberian Peninsula and its Origins in Illuminated Manuscripts — Shalom Sabar

Some Sephardic Bibles from the Fifteenth Century in the Bodleian Library — Maria Ortega Monasterio

Shirat ha-Yam and Page Layout in Late Medieval Sephardic Bibles — Javier del Barco

The Portuguese Hebrew translation of Gerard de Solo’s Commentary to Book IX of Rhazes’s Almansor and the Manuscript at Reynolds-Finley Historical Library (Birmingham, Alabama) — Tiago Moita

Mudéjar Decorations within Calendrical, Geographical, and Mathematical Tables and Diagrams in a Fifteenth-Century Sephardic Manuscript of Isaac Israeli’s Yәsōd ʿŌlām from the British Library (MS Add. 15977) — Ilana Wartenberg

Manuscripts and Evidence of Jewish Astrology and Medicine in Fifteenth-Century Portugal: An Overview — Helena Avelar, Luís C. Ribeiro

Wandering Books: The Migration of Fifteenth-Century Sephardic Manuscripts and their ‘New Life’ Outside Iberia — Andreina Contessa

Jewish Networks, Books and Early Protoglobalisation: Investigating the Route of BNF Hébreu 1314–1315 — Luís U. Afonso


The Editors:

Luís U. Afonso is Professor of Art History at the University of Lisbon. He is author of several studies on Portuguese Late Medieval and Renaissance art.


Tiago Moita has recently concluded his Ph.D. at the University of Lisbon on 15th-century Portuguese Hebrew illuminations.

More information and order here.

259 p., 3 b/w ills, 111 colour ill., 220 x 280 mm, 2019
ISBN 978-1-909400-59-7, Hardback

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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