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Philology and Aesthetics

Figurative Masorah in Western European Manuscripts

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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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Illustrated Secret: Esoteric Traditions in the Micrography Decoration of Erfurt Bible 2 (SBB MS Or. Fol. 1212) (Sara Offenberg)

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Sara Offenberg

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

Illustrated Secret: Esoteric Traditions in the Micrography Decoration of Erfurt Bible 2 (SBB MS Or. Fol. 1212)

Abstract: One of the large Erfurt Bibles, “Erfurt 2”, produced in the late thirteenth century is extensively decorated with micrographic masoretic notes. In this article, I concentrate on two scenes and relate them to the writings of Ḥaside Ashkenaz and Rabbi Neḥemiah ben Shlomo Troestlin, the Prophet from Erfurt, active in the first third of the thirteenth century: the first from the opening of the Book of Ezekiel, and the second from the Book of Proverbs.

Keywords: Erfurt 2; Ḥaside Ashkenaz; Masorah; Merkavah; Micrography; Rabbi Neḥemiah ben Shlomo Troestlin

One of the large Erfurt Bibles, “Erfurt 2” (Berlin, Staatsbibliothek – Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Or. Fol. 1212), produced in the late thirteenth century and measuring 554 × 390 mm, is extensively decorated with micrographic masoretic notes,1 not only on the opening pages of books or chapters but also with full-page decorations at the beginning and end of the manuscript.2 The Bible may have been copied by Shlomoh ben Shneʾur Efraim, whose name appears on folio 157b.3 Erfurt “Bible 2” was seized from the Erfurt synagogue by the municipal council in 1349, together with Erfurt “Bible 1” (Berlin, Staatsbibliothek – Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Or. Fol. 1211; ←177 | 178→produced in 1343).4 According to Annette Weber, both giant Bibles – “Erfurt 1” and “Erfurt 2” – were used within...

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