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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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The Interconnection Between Images and Texts. The Analysis of Four Masoretic Illustrations in MS Vat. ebr. 14 and Their Intertwined Relations (Hanna-Barbara Rost)


Hanna-Barbara Rost

Frankfurt University

The Interconnection Between Images and Texts. The Analysis of Four Masoretic Illustrations in MS Vat. ebr. 14 and Their Intertwined Relations

Abstract: The manuscript MS Vat. ebr. 14, written 1239 in Rouen by Eliyya ha-Naqdan, exemplifies the close interconnection between masoretical annotations and the illustrative programme. By selecting four out of numerous illustrations in MS Vat. ebr. 14, I would like to show the multi-layered connections between Masora and motif and their function. In this way, the figurative version of the Masora represents not only mere accessory of the biblical Obertext, but offers, in combination with the Masora used, further options of interpretation of text and image. Thus, the cycle illustrating the Flood as well as the architectural illustration of the construction of the Tabernacle represent Eliyya’s manifold references to the Temple. At the same time, we can clearly see his creative handling of the masoretical material, the recourse to commentary literature by means of pictures and finally, the opportunity of interpretations of the biblical text, the Masora and the illustration that go far beyond the biblical Obertext and the masoretical text itself.

Keywords: figurative Masora, Masora, biblical illustration, Flood, Noah’s Ark, Tabernacle, Northern France, Romanesque architecture, 13th century, Eliyya ha-Naqdan

The micrography of MS Vat. ebr. 14 is an extraordinary example of an illustrated Bible manuscript representing the linkage of Masoretic annotations, illustrative motifs, and the socio-cultural reality in which the manuscript is located.1 MS...

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