13th Century

North French Hebrew Miscellany

 The north French Hebrew miscellany: British Library Add. MS 11639.   London: Facsimile Editions, 2003. 2v.
BM180 .N67 2003 Special Collections

The manuscript was written and lavishly illustrated in northern France in about 1280 at a time of upheaval for the Jews of Europe. It is almost a library instead of a book since it includes some 84 different groups of text. It includes Hebrew scripture, daily prayers, mahzor for all festivals including Rosh ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur, the Passaver Haggadah, Mishnah Avot, Piyutim, Yotserot, Selihot, Zemirot and other religious poetry, blessings, calendars, formularies for legal deeds, the earliest extant copy of the Hebrew version of the Book of Tobit, a wide range of medieval poetry and the earliest known copy of Isaac de Corbeil’s Sefer Mitsvot Katan, which was composed in 1277.  The breadth and scope of the elaborate illuminations are also important. Most of the 1,494 pages are decorated in the style of the High Gothic period. Most scholars agree that between three and five artists carried out the work collaborating with Benjamin the Scribe.  It is conjectured that the manuscript was created in or near the city of Troyes. It is now housed in the British Museum.

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