Session1124
TitleHebrew Manuscripts and Their Margins, I: Paratext and Ornament in Iberia
Date/TimeWednesday 6 July 2022: 11.15-12.45
 
SponsorCentre for Jewish Studies, University of Leeds
 
OrganiserEva Frojmovic, School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies / Centre for Jewish Studies / Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
 
Moderator/ChairEva Frojmovic, School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies / Centre for Jewish Studies / Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
 
Paper 1124-a Different Scribal Hands in the Marginal Annotations of the Medieval Hebrew Bible Manuscripts
(Language: English)
Elvira María Martín Contreras, Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Madrid
Index Terms: Biblical Studies; Hebrew and Jewish Studies; Manuscripts and Palaeography
Paper 1124-b The Dark Mark: Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, Hébreu 20 and the Borders of Bible Illumination
(Language: English)
Julie Harris, Independent Scholar, Illinois
Index Terms: Art History - General; Biblical Studies; Hebrew and Jewish Studies; Manuscripts and Palaeography
Paper 1124-c Vernacular Translation in the Margins
(Language: English)
Esperanza Alfonso Carro, Instituto de Lenguas y Culturas del Mediterráneo y Oriente Próximo, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Madrid
Index Terms: Biblical Studies; Hebrew and Jewish Studies; Language and Literature - Spanish or Portuguese; Manuscripts and Palaeography
 
AbstractThe session will investigate the margins of Hebrew manuscript for paratext, annotation, censorship, and other uses that determine the margin's function as a visual-textual border area.

Paper -a: Traditionally, the set of annotations that appear next to the text of the Hebrew Bible in the margins of most of the extant medieval Hebrew Bible manuscripts, referred to as Masora, have been studied by their content, and any other elements has been ignored. In a previous study on the methodological approaches to the study of the Masora, I suggested placing the Masora itself at the center of the inquiry rather than studying it as a secondary element dependent on the biblical text. Shifting the focus from the biblical text to the Masora itself will take into consideration two new important aspects that were disregarded before: 1) the fact that the Masora is a medieval product, even if a few or even all the traditions contained in the Masoretic notes date back to previous centuries; and 2) the textual artefact that contains them, the codex. When this approach is adopted, the existence of different scribal hands becomes one of the important elements of the initial analysis of the Masora in a single manuscript. This was the starting point of my ongoing research, which aims to isolate and distinguish the different scribal hands in the Masora of different codices, to identify the marginal annotations written by those hands throughout the entire codex, and study not only their content, but also the way they are formulated, their format, their placement, and their relationship with the biblical text. In this paper, I will present the method I have proposed to characterize handwritings and distinguish between scribal hands in the Masora, the problems and benefits to conducting this palaeographic analysis, its implications for our understanding of the function of the Masora, and its value for the history of the transmission of the Hebrew Bible text.

Paper -b: This paper concerns an enigmatic mark found in BN Héb. 20 - an early 14th-century Bible codex associated with the workshop of scribe, masorete, and painter Joshua Ibn Gaon. The dull black ovoid shape (on folio 194v) precedes the bible portion which recounts the death of King David (1Kings 1). It is interesting for a number of reasons; most significant is its divergence both from the codex's extensive pericope marks (which likely served as aids to bible use and memorization) as well as from its marginal decoration which has been presented as nascent examples of the art of Bible illumination in manuscripts made for Jews. Here, the mark, which is placed above the chapter within the confines of the text column, may be understood as 'commenting' on the events described in II Samuel 24 - the previous chapter - as well as heralding David's imminent demise. Thus, in its placement, design,and purpose the mark can be said to have crossed a number of 'borders'.

Paper -c: Teaching the Hebrew Bible in the vernacular at early stages seems to have been the norm in medieval Jewish communities. This process, thought to have been essentially oral, has also left written traces which include scholia, glossaries, dictionaries, and either partial or complete translations of the biblical text. This paper focuses on translation of biblical lemmata in the margins of medieval Sephardic bibles, and brings under examination a collection of some 200 such glosses found in the margins of a manuscript currently held at the Real Biblioteca of San Lorenzo de El Escorial.