Discover the remarkable history of the Codex Valmadonna I — the only extant Hebrew manuscript dated to medieval England — through an in-depth look at this fascinating artifact, which is currently on display in Museum of the Bible’s newest exhibit, Magna Carta: Tyranny. Justice. Liberty. This story involves both the history of Jews in England before their expulsion in 1290 as well as the origins of the Ḥumash, the Synagogue Bible. Taken together, the extraordinary features of this Bible show how a manuscript can bring both a text and history to life.
David Stern is a scholar of Jewish literature and its production from the post-biblical period to the modern day, with a special interest in rabbinic and medieval Hebrew literature as well as the material history of the Jewish book. Among his many publications are: Parables in Midrash: Narrative and Exegesis in Rabbinic Literature (Harvard University Press, 1991), Midrash and Theory: Ancient Jewish Exegesis and Contemporary Literary Studies (Northwestern University Press, 1996), The Monk’s Haggadah: A Fifteenth-Century Illuminated Codex from the Monastery of Tegernsee (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2015), and Jewish Literary Cultures (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2015). Currently, he is completing The Jewish Bible: The Material Histories of the Torah Scroll and the Hebrew Bible as a Book.