Under Reconstruction!


(VII) Img. ID: 19584 Munich Rashi's Commentary on the Bible , Vol. I, fol. 40v, Würzburg, 1232/33 edit  
Category: Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts

General Document

2 Name/Title Munich Rashi's Commentary on the Bible | Unknown
3a Object Biblical commentaries
3b Object Detail Vol. I, fol. 40v
4a Artist/ Maker Shlomo ben Shmuel,Joseph (Scribe)
5 Date 1232/33
5a Activity Dates
5b Reconstruction Dates
6 Period Unknown
6a Period Detail
7 Origin Germany | Bayern (Bavaria) | Würzburg
8 Community Ashkenazi
9 Collection Germany | Munich | Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB)
| Cod. hebr. 5/I-II (Steinschneider 1895, No. 5)
9a Documentation / Research project Unknown
10 Location Germany | Bayern (Bavaria) | München (Munich) | Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (BSB)
11 Site Unknown
12 School/Style Würzburg school of manuscript illumination in the 13th century|
13 Iconographical Subject Jacob blessing Ephraim and Manasseh
Initial word panel (Not used; see: Initial word panel, Illustrative, Initial word panel, decorative) |
14 Category
17 Photographer Unknown
18 Photograph Date 2008
19 Negative/ Photo. No.
19a Scan No.
20 Description

Vol. I, fol. 40v: The initial word Vayehi (ויחי, And Jacob lived) of this parashah (Gen. 47:28-50:26) is written above the illustration in gold leaf on a green ground, below the explicit of Vayiggash (חסלת ויגש אליו) and its haftarah (ומפטי' ביחזקאל ואתה בן אדם קח לך עץ אחד וגו').

The panel depicts Jacob blessing Ephraim and Manasseh (Gen. 48:13-20) on a magenta ground, illustrating the biblical text and the commentary (I:41, 3rd column).

Jacob is lying on a mattress, his head on a pillow and arms crossed, placing his right hand on the head of Ephraim and his left on the head of Manasseh the first-born who are kneeling before him. Joseph, on the left, is guiding Jacob’s right hand towards Manasseh, who is dressed in a green tunic. Joseph wears a short green tunic and Ephraim a red one. Jacob, portrayed with bluish beard and hair, wears a magenta garment with an uncoloured collar. 

The faces are uncoloured and the features of Jacob and Joseph are discernible.

Erroneous plummet inscription, hardly legible, by the later hand in Hebrew display script to the right of חסלת: ויהי (ויחי Vayehi).

21 Ornamentation
22 Custom
23 Contents
24 Codicology
24a Scribes
24b Script
24c Number of Lines
24d Ruling
24e Pricking
24f Quires
24g Catchwords
24h Hebrew Numeration
24i Blank Leaves

25 Material/Technique
Brown and black ink, gold leaf and green, magenta, red and blue.
25a Material Structure
25b Material Decoration
25c Material Bonding
25d Material Inscription
25e Material Additions
25f Material Cloth
25g Material Lining
25h Tesserae Arrangement
25i Density
25j Colors
25k Construction Material

26 Measurements
26a Height
26b Length
26c Width
26d Depth
26e Circumference
26f Thickness
26g Diameter
26h Weight
26i Axis
26j Panel Measurements 40 x 52 mm.
27 Direction/Location
27a Façade (main)
27b Entrances
27c Location of Torah Ark
27d Location of Apse
27e Location of Niche
27f Location of Reader's Desk
27g Location of Platform
27h Temp: Architecture Axis
27i< Arrangement of Seats
27j Location of Women's Section
27k Direction Prayer
27l Direction Toward Jerusalem

28 Coin
28a Coin Series
28b Coin Ruler
28c Coin Year
28d Denomination

29 Signature
30 Colophon
31 Scribal Notes
32 Watermark
33 Hallmark
33a Group
33b Subgroup
33c Hallmark Identification
33d Hallmark Group Classification
33e Hallmark Reference
34 Trade Mark
35 Binding
36 Decoration Program
36 Summary and Remarks

Jacob, who was nearly blind, crossed his hands, placing his right hand on the head of Ephraim, the younger of the brothers (Gen. 48:14). Joseph attempted to adjust his father's hands: "and he held up his father's hand to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head" (Gen. 48:17). Rashi explained how Joseph supported his father's hand (I:41, 3rd column): "He [Joseph] lifted it [Jacob's hand] off his son's head and supported it with his [own] hand". Indeed, the depiction illustrates Rashi's words (fig. 1). A shortened version of Jacob's blessing, without Joseph presence, is prevalent in Mosan metalwork of the 12th century, such as a plaque of 1160 (fig. 2) and a contemporary altar cross with biblical scenes in the British Museum (fig. 3). A conflated depiction which combines Jacob's blessing of his grandchildren (Gen. 48:14-20) while his sons are awaiting their turn (Gen. 49:1) is found in a cameo of c.1200 from the south Italian or Sicilian workshop of Friedrich II (1194-1250). Behind Joseph stand the eleven brothers. Joseph, who touches his father's right arm to remove it from his youngest son, protests "Not so my father" (Gen. 48:18). Jacob's answer is inscribed in Hebrew above: "I know it, my son, I know it" (ידעתי בני ידעתי, Gen. 48:19).

Fig. 1: Jacob blessing Ephraim and Manasseh, Munich Rashi's Commentary on the Bible, Munich, BSB Cod. hebr. 5, I:40v Fig. 2: Jacob blessing Ephraim and Manasseh, Enamel plaque, Mosan School, 1160, Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery (Morgan 1973, p. 264)


Fig. 3: Front of enamelled altar cross (centre), Mosan School, c.1160-70, London, BM (Kötzsche 1973 II, p. 206, fig. 20) Fig. 4: Cameo with Hebrew inscription: ידעתי בני ידעתי , South Italy, c.1200,  New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art  (Kugel 2000, no. 1)

 A similar conflated scene is found already in the 5th-century Latin Ashburnham Pentateuch from Italy, although the composition differs (fig. 5). Jacob is seated with hands crossed. Joseph on the left is pulling his father's right arm off Ephraim's head, recalling our illustration (fig.1). The eleven brothers on the right are awaiting their turn to be blessed.

Fig. 5: Jacob blessing Ephraim and Manasseh, Ashburnham Pentateuch, Italy 5th century, Paris, BnF Nouv. Acq. Lat. 2334, fol. 50 (Narkiss, facsimile 2007, pp. 114, 362) Fig. 6: The Golden Haggadah, Barcelona c.1320,  London, BL Add. 27210, fol. 8v (Narkiss, facsimile 1970)  

However, in a later version of the conflated scene in a Hebrew manuscript such as the Golden Haggadah of c.1320 from Barcelona (fig. 6), the presentation of the two boys is shown just before the blessing (Gen. 12-14). Only three brothers appear behind Joseph whose hands are outstretched, as he takes heed of his father's crossed arms. Jacob is not touching his grandchildren who kneel next to him.

Fig. 7: Jacob blessing Ephraim and Manasseh Feuillet Wittert verso, c.1150 Liège,

Bibliothèque de l'Université MS 2613, single leaf (Chapman 1980, fig. 6)



Jacob's blessing of Ephraim and Manasseh and that of his sons are two separate scenes within a frame depicted in a single Mosan leaf of c.1150 (fig. 7). Joseph stands with three brothers behind him, his right arm and index finger stretched out in warning while Jacob with hands crossed touches the heads of his grandchildren kneeling on either side of his bed. Below, Jacob is blessing his sons, gathered as a group on the left.

38 Suggested Reconstruction
39 History/Provenance
40 Main Surveys & Excavations
41 Condition
The features of the children are not noticeable; necks, hands, and Jacob’s pillow have turned grey.
42 Biography
43 Bibliography
43a Short Name
43b Full Name
43c Volume
43d Page

44 Type
45 Temp: Batch Number
46 Temp: Aleph Number
47 Temp: Sys. Number / Doc. Name
48 Temp: Addenda

Function: Name: Date:
49 Documenter 49a
50 Researcher 50a
51 Architectural Drawings 51a
52 Computer Reconstruction 52a
53 Section Head 53a
54 Editor 54a
55 Donor 55a