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Philology and Aesthetics

Figurative Masorah in Western European Manuscripts


Edited By Hanna Liss

European Bible manuscripts and their Masorah traditions are still a neglected field of studies and have so far been almost completely disregarded within text-critical research. This volume collects research on the Western European Masorah and addresses the question of how Ashkenazic scholars integrated the Oriental Masoretic tradition into the Western European Rabbinic lore and law. The articles address philological and art-historical topics, and present new methodological tools from the field of digital humanities for the analysis of masora figurata. This volume is intended to initiate a new approach to Masorah research that will shed new light on the European history of the masoretic Bible and its interpretation.

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Micrography Mounted Falconers: An Exegetic Text and Image (Dalia-Ruth Halperin)


Dalia-Ruth Halperin

Talpiot College of Education, Holon

Micrography Mounted Falconers: An Exegetic Text and Image*

Abstract: A singular figurative bas-de-page panel executed in micrography at the end of the Book of Ecclesiastes appears in Vatican Urb. Ebr. 1 fol. 817r, dated to 1294 in the German Lands. The panel depicts a complete hunt scene with a mounted figure blowing a horn, a falcon, and four hounds. Elsewhere, I have argued that mounted falconers executed in figured micrography are a representation of the Messiah. Reading the forming micrography in its entirety reveals the utilized text is an Okhla we’Okhla compilation that has no relevance to the main text. Analyzing the choice text in regards to the iconographical content indicates not only an intricate and learned manipulation by the scribe but also illuminates an encapsulated message of repent and redemption designed to engage the reader in visual and textual deciphering regarding the coming redemption of Israel.

Keywords: Micrography, Masorah, Masorated Bibles, Ashkenazi Bibles, Rashbam, Eschatology, Knight, Falconer, Armilus, Okhla we’Okhla, hunt scene

My fascination with mounted falconers, and specifically with those executed in figured micrography, began with my research on the Catalan Micrography Maḥzor held in the National Library of Israel (NLI Heb 8°6527), which is decorated entirely in micrography.1 On folio 10r of that ←59 | 60→manuscript, placed within two sets of double-line frames, is a mounted falconer facing left (Fig. 1). Although micrography is typically a component of...

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