Manuscript Studies: Volume 7, Issue 1

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  • Publication
    MS Bodley Or. 621 as a “Study Psalter” for Christian Hebraists
    (2023-05-02) Pan, Celeste J.; Pan, Celeste J.
    Because of its diminutive size, unconventional decorative scheme and total lack of built-in translations, MS Bodley Or. 621 is an anomaly among the nine “Hebrew Psalters for Christian Use” listed by Raphael Loewe. It has received scant attention principally because, as a book that appears to have been intended for Jews only to be later appropriated by Christians, it seems to be of lesser relevance to discussions of thirteenth-century English Hebraism than those psalters that were unambiguously custom-made for gentile scholars. This article challenges this premise and this conclusion. By re-examining and synthesising the paleographical and codicological evidence presented by the text proper, I suggest that the psalter may indeed have been commissioned by a Christian according to his specific needs. By considering the form, content, and distribution of the marginal annotations, especially those that contain not only Latin and French translations but also Hebrew roots, I highlight the remarkable and unique method of learning Hebrew adopted by one of the scholars, which is not unlike the modern notion of learning a language through immersion. By approaching the all-Hebrew psalter with an imperfect grasp of the language, he transforms the experience of reading into a learning process, and the psalm text into a type of textbook. This agrees well with the short and fragmentary nature of surviving Hebrew grammars from thirteenth-century England, and perhaps explains why there was no need for more comprehensive works.
  • Publication
    Multiple Hands in the Marginal Annotations of the Hebrew Bible Codex Madrid M1 (Biblioteca Histórica Marqués de Valdecilla, BH MSS1)
    (2023-05-02) Martín-Contreras, Elvira; Martín-Contreras, Elvira
    This article presents a paleographical analysis of the marginal annotations that appear next to the biblical text in the Hebrew Bible codex known as Madrid M1. In order to do so, a new methodology has been developed. The ensuing analysis has identified a great number of annotations, largely located in the outer and intercolumnar margins, written by multiple hands. These later interventions have different aims and produce diverse results. The systematic additions associated with different Masoretic textual phenomena reveal an interest in organizing the information differently and offering the information on each phenomenon consistently by adding cases that are lacking. The non-systematic additions seem to be more the result or reflection of later revisions, readings, and uses of the manuscript. The annotations of both types show a clear intention to complete and expand the already abundant information found in the margins of Madrid M1, rather than an effort to correct it.