Binder's Fragment of Mishneh Torah, Sefer Mishpatim

Binder's Fragment of Mishneh Torah, Sefer Mishpatim

Collection ID

MS.000885

Type

Manuscript

Date

ca. 1300s

Geography

Italy

Language

Hebrew

Medium

Ink on parchment

Dimensions

10.6 × 7.1 × .1 in. (27 × 18 × 0.2 cm)

Exhibit Location

On view in The History of the Bible, Translating the Bible


This binder’s fragment contains portions of Moses Maimonides’s well-known work, the Mishneh Torah. Completed in 1180, the Mishneh Torah is a systematic guide of the Written and Oral Torah, designed to make the entire Torah more accessible. Maimonides organized his work thematically into fourteen main books divided into sub-sections. This organization revolutionized the study of Jewish law, and the Mishneh Torah is still revered and studied today. The section preserved in this bifolium is part of the Sefer Mishpatim, or “Book of Judgments,” and contains Jewish laws related to borrowing, depositing, creditors, and debtors.

Created in the 1300s, probably in Italy.[1] Purchased in 1980 in Israel by David Sofer, London;[2] Privately purchased in 2017 by Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, under the curatorial care of Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] The museum’s associate curator of medieval manuscripts made this assessment regarding the fragment: “This binder’s fragment was used as the spine for a book containing works by three ancient authors of history: Livy (Titus Livius), Arrian (Lucius Flavius Arrianus), and Polybius. The spelling of the names indicates that the maker of the binding was likely from Italy or, possibly, Spain.” The paleography of the Hebrew script also suggests that the original manuscript was written in Italy. [2] There is no ownership history from its date of creation to its purchase by David Sofer in 1980.

Description

This binder’s fragment contains portions of Moses Maimonides’s well-known work, the Mishneh Torah. Completed in 1180, the Mishneh Torah is a systematic guide of the Written and Oral Torah, designed to make the entire Torah more accessible. Maimonides organized his work thematically into fourteen main books divided into sub-sections. This organization revolutionized the study of Jewish law, and the Mishneh Torah is still revered and studied today. The section preserved in this bifolium is part of the Sefer Mishpatim, or “Book of Judgments,” and contains Jewish laws related to borrowing, depositing, creditors, and debtors.


Provenance

Created in the 1300s, probably in Italy.[1] Purchased in 1980 in Israel by David Sofer, London;[2] Privately purchased in 2017 by Green Collection, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, under the curatorial care of Museum of the Bible, Washington, DC.

Notes: [1] The museum’s associate curator of medieval manuscripts made this assessment regarding the fragment: “This binder’s fragment was used as the spine for a book containing works by three ancient authors of history: Livy (Titus Livius), Arrian (Lucius Flavius Arrianus), and Polybius. The spelling of the names indicates that the maker of the binding was likely from Italy or, possibly, Spain.” The paleography of the Hebrew script also suggests that the original manuscript was written in Italy. [2] There is no ownership history from its date of creation to its purchase by David Sofer in 1980.


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