The Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts Section of the Index of Jewish Art was first established over thirty years ago.
Goal: The goal of our Section is to study and document Hebrew illuminated manuscripts located in libraries and private collections around the globe. Our study aims to extend the scope of knowledge relating to Jewish life and culture during the Middle Ages, and to shed light on the working methods of scribes and artists, both Jewish and non-Jewish.
Work Method: Each manuscript is studied in all its all aspects, beginning with its textual and technical data and continuing with an attempt to identify all the craftsmen who were involved in the production of the manuscript. Each illuminated page is then photographed and described in detail. Our documentation includes our conclusions relating to the manuscript, a summary of the scholarly literature and a comprehensive bibliography. The results of our documentation and study are gradually entered into the Jerusalem Index of Jewish Art and posted on the Internet for the benefit of students, scholars and the general public.
Achievements: Close to one thousand Hebrew illuminated manuscripts have been documented in various countries around the world. Our most recent documentation took place at the Austrian National Library in Vienna (UNESCO
Our section holds over 20,000 photographs and slides of manuscripts.
Future plans: During 2008-2010 the Section will document 50 Hebrew illuminated manuscripts in the Bavarian State Library (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek) in Munich.