Original cardboard binding covered with natural coloured sheepskin (280 x222 mm). The spine has three double cords. On the edges of both covers are vestiges of leather straps, two on each cover, for fastening the manuscript. On the inside of the binding the quires are held together by glued rectangular pieces of parchment with Latin text. This kind of temporary binding could easily be removed and replaced by a permanent one. Many of Widmanstetter's Hebrew manuscripts survived in similar bindings (e.g. BSB Cod.hebr. 225, 280).
- Text illustrations: Menorah by the scribe Paulus Aemilius (fol. 211v), and Shewbread Table by the collector Widmanstetter (fol. 212).
- Kabbalistic schemes and diagrams by Widmanstetter (fols. 10v, 129v, 143v, 214v, 215v, 216v, 217, 217v, 218, 218v, 219).
- Floral motifs above the words of the final formula (fol. 169).
Note: Green folio number denotes it is described under "Illuminated Documents".
The manuscript is one of three Kabbalistic miscellanies copied by Paulus Aemilius Romanus (?-1575) for Johann Albrecht Widmanstetter in 1538. Our manuscript, copied between May and August and
Cod.hebr. 115, copied in September, were produced in Gradoli, in the province of Viterbo, whereas Cod.hebr. 103 was written inRome in March.
Paulus Aemilius was a Jew from thevillageofRödlseein Franconia who converted to Catholicism inRomebefore March 1538 (cf. colophon of Cod.hebr. 103). After his conversion he was employed by Widmanstteter in the copying of Hebrew manuscripts and as an agent for acquiring Hebrew books for his collection (see the letters of Paulus Aemilius and Widmanstetter: Perles 1884:154 ff.; Striedl 1984:333-356). In the 1540s Paulus Aemilius was also involved in the printing of Hebrew books inAugsburg(Künast 1996:157-171; Reske 2007:38). In 1547 he was appointed professor of Hebrew at theUniversityofIngolstadt, and in 1574 was engaged at the Munich Hofbibliothek in making and revising the catalogue of Hebrew manuscripts and books. The original catalogue written by Paulus Aemilius has not survived, but a copy (BSB Cbm Cat.36 m) made in the same year is housed in the library. Some researchers supposed that this is the catalogue written by Paulus Aemilius, but palaeographical evidence does not support this assumption (cf. Kellner 1996:4-5). The court librarian Wolfgang Prommer, who compiled another catalogue in 1575 (Cbm Cat. 37), referred in it to the catalogue of Paulus Aemilius (fol. 131).
Johann Albrecht Widmanstetter (1506-1557), the patron of the manuscript, was a humanist, orientalist and prominent collector of manuscripts and printed books (Hartig 1917:170-193; Striedl 1952:200-244; Striedl 1957:2-10). Hebrew manuscripts in Widmanstetter's collection were not just precious items, but served as material for his studies. Indeed, his hand features in marginal notes and comments in Latin and Hebrew demonstrating his wide knowledge in that field. The case of Cod.hebr. 112 is of special interest, since it reveals that Widmanstetter's role in its production was not limited to owner's notes, but that it was a collaborative work between him and the scribe Paulus Aemilius (similarly to Cod.hebr. 115). In his marginal annotations he often refers to "alternative version" ס"א (סברה אחרת), with regard to an alternative word, thus suggesting he had other copies of the same text to compare with (e.g. fol. 129). At times Widmanstetter intervenes in the text of Paulus Aemilius, as for example on fols. 77v-78, where Paulus Aemilius left three lines at the end of fol. 77v with the proper catchword חנוך (Hanoch) written at the bottom. Widmanstetter inserted a text, as he notes, of an "alternative version" ((נמצא בס"א in his quasi-Sephardi script beginning with that word, חנוך (Hanoch). He continues to the next fol. 78, writing twelve out of the space of fifteen lines allocated by Paulus Aemilius. It means that Paulus Aemilius and Widmanstetter were aware that the copying exemplar is corrupt, and that the former intentionally left empty lines to be filled in by Widmanstetter. Sometimes Widmanstetter added diagrams and schemes for which Paulus Aemilius left spaces within the text (e.g. fols. 10v, 214v, 215v, 216v). He also drew the Shewbread Table (fol. 212) and copied the text of fols. 222v-223.
Another example of Widmanstetter seeking optimal texts appears on fol. 56v. Paulus Aemilius, while copying the text of this page considered it incomplete and left eight empty lines at the bottom for Widmanstetter to complete. Widmanstetter, however, filled the space with a note: "up to here, I found (the text) in a copy I saw here, in the city of Castro of Duke Pierluigi from the house of Farnese, son of Alessandro Farnese called Paul III, the High Priest of the apostolic seat in the year 1538, 14th May; and at this time the Emperor Charles V, Francis I of France and Paul the High Priest entered Italy and Provence". The note relates to Duke Pierluigi Farnese (1503-1547), son of Pope Paul III (Alessandro Farnese,
1468-1549), who was appointed first Duke of the duchy of Castro established by the Pope in 1537 (Gamrath 2007: 91). Moreover, according to Widmanstetter's note, he was present in Castro at that time, probably in Pierluigi's Palace while working on that manuscript. Perhaps other copies of the same texts which Widmanstetter used for textual collation were housed in Pierluigi's library, since the Duke was interested in Hebrew manuscripts, and even applied for the privilege of establishing a Hebrew press in Rome (Amram 1909:248). His father, Pope Paul III, had also a significant collection of Hebrew manuscripts, today preserved in the National Library inNaples (Berliner 1889:46-51).
Additional information found in this note refers to the historical event known as the Truce of Nice. The truce, which was mediated by Pope Paul III, ended the Italian war (1536-1538) in which Emperor
Charles V and King Francis I of Francewere involved. Pope Paul III, Charles and Francis met in Nice on 18th June (Gamrath 2007:50; Cambridge 1902-1912:72-73), although Widmanstetter gives the date as 14th May, which probably marked the beginning of the preparations for the meeting.
Thus it seems that the process of copying and proof-reading Cod.hebr. 112 were carried out in three consecutive stages. In the first, Paulus Aemilius copied seven quires (fols. 1-56) in Gradoli, which is not far from Castro, and gave them to Widmanstetter to check and complete around 14th May (fol. 56v). In the second stage he finished four quires (fols. 57-88) on 26th May (fol. 87); and the last seventeen quires he completed (fols. 89-224) on 18th August (fol. 224). Thus the colophons in this manuscript do not reflect the completion of texts, but rather the copying of quires. Widmanstetter in turn, a scholar interested in the optimal version of texts, was responsible for choosing the exemplars and annotating the text copied by his scribe, through collation with others which he found in Castro and probably elsewhere.