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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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Masorah as Counter-Crusade? The Use of Masoretic List Material in MS London, British Library Or. 2091 (Hanna Liss)


Hanna Liss

Heidelberg Center for Jewish Studies/Heidelberg University

Masorah as Counter-Crusade? The Use of Masoretic List Material in MS London, British Library Or. 2091

Abstract: This paper deals with fol. 203r of MS London Or. 2091. It shows that the masora figurata found on this page is not an “alphabet soup,” but rather represents a sophisticated theological program. The article elucidates the masora figurata on the upper and lower part of the folio that displays the four figures, the lion, the ox, the man (as a knight), and the eagle as the four creatures of the Merkabah. The Masorete integrated, among others, various lists from the so-called Okhla we-Okhla-recensions and used it to set up a correspondence between the Biblical lemmata and the iconographic program with the Divine knight in its center. The theological message embedded in this folio is the desire for a Divine warrior during the dark ages of the crusades. The article proves that the iconographic program is revealed as a carefully arranged composition which utilizes the masora figurata in an exceedingly meaningful way.

Keywords: Western European Bible, Manuscripts, Art and Meaning of masora figurata;the Merkabah vision in the book of Ezekiel, church tympanums in Northern France

The following article deals with a thirteenth-century Ashkenazic Hebrew manuscript that presents the masora magna and other Masoretic list material in figurative design (masora figurata).1 The article has two strategic goals: In a first step, I will present...

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