Bodleian Library

The Dizzying Heights Of Genius

I don’t often swoon in public, but the Morgan Library’s current exhibition “Marks of Genius: Treasures from the Bodleian Library” left me breathless.  It was dizzying, standing before 57 magnificent artifacts representing 2,000 years of intellectual and artistic accomplishment, from cultures, countries and religious traditions that ranged from around the world in place and time.  And among them are several of particular Jewish interest.

The Kennicott Bible, Corunna, Spain, 1476; The Bodleian Library, Oxford. Courtesy of The Morgan Library & Museum

‘Cultures Are Talking Through The Books’

Jewish, Christian and Islamic manuscripts, side by side, at The Jewish Museum.

Jewish Week Book Critic

To see the Rambam’s handwriting up close is astonishing. Two of his handwritten works are behind glass, part of The Jewish Museum’s new exhibit, “Crossing Borders: Manuscripts from the Bodleian Libraries.” His autograph draft of his comprehensive legal code, or Mishneh Torah, dates back to around 1180. Its black Hebrew letters are written in a cursive Sephardic script, with many letters joined, as though the philosopher, rabbi, doctor and leading figure in the medieval Jewish world were writing in a hurry, without lifting the pen very often.

A page of commentary on Jewish law, from Provence, Italy, 1438.
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