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Obj. ID: 26349
Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts
  Vienna Moreh Nevukhim, Italy, 1491

© Center for Jewish Art, Photographer: Unknown,

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Name/Title
Vienna Moreh Nevukhim | Unknown
Object Detail
Date
1491
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Unknown (Unknown)
Origin
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community type
Unknown |
Congregation
Unknown
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Unknown|
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
Austria | Vienna | Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (ÖNB)
| Cod. hebr. 182 ( Schwartz , No. 136)
Material/Technique
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
Height
Length
Width
Depth
Circumference
Thickness
Diameter
Weight
Axis
Panel Measurements
Iconographical Subject
Unknown |
Condition
Good
Extant
Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
Present Usage
Present Usage Details
Condition of Building Fabric
Architectural Significance type
Historical significance: Event/Period
Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
Architectural Significance: Style
Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
Urban significance
Significance Rating
Languages of inscription
Unknown
Type of grave
Unknown
0
Ornamentation
Custom
Contents
Fols. 1-127v: Moreh Nevukhim (Guide for the Perplexed) by Maimonides (Rambam) in the translation of Samuel Ibn Tibbon. The first leaf is missing. The text begins with the conclusion, I, 54 ff. Fols. 128-135: Glossary by Samuel Ibn Tibbon to Moreh Nevukhim. End missing.
Codicology

 

Parchment, I + 135 leaves

 

Measurements

Full page:  (229-235) x (185-190) mm

Text space:  (155) x (130-132) mm

 

Scribes

The text is written by two scribes in similar scripts:

Fols. 1-127v – by Moshe ben Abraham

Fols. 128-135 – by Scribe B

 

Script

written in Ashkenazi semi-cursive script and Ashkenazi square script for initial words in brown (Moshe) and grayish (Scribe B) ink.

N

NNumber of columns

The text is written in two columns except for fol. 68 (one column: end of the second part), fol. 69v (three columns) Fol. 127v (one column: end of Moreh Nevukhim and colophon).

 

Number of lines

: Moreh Nevukhim

26-35 lines per page

: Glossary to Moreh Nevukhim

32-44 lines per page

 

Ruling

Fols. 1-103: Ruling by plummet for the margins and by ink for the lines for every page. There are 26-35 horizontal lines and 1+1 vertical lines. After fol. 103 the ruling is not clear: the scribe used stylus also for lines which can be seen on the hair side, but not on every leaf. For margins the stylus and plummet were used, sometimes one on the other, almost on every page. From fol. 120 just the frame is ruled by plummet (see Hebrew Palaeographical Project, J 32).   

 

Pricking

The pricking is located on the upper, lower, inner and outer margins (fols. 104-119). Double-pricks mark the longer lines which are the first and the last one. Sometimes the pricking is done for the frame only (e.g. fols. 24-31; see Hebrew Palaeographical Project, J 32).

  

Quires

18 quires of 8 leaves each except for I8-1 (The first folio with the text is missing); XVI8-1 (fol. 123 is single leaf, no text is missing); XVII6-1 (fol. 129 is single leaf, no text is missing); XVIII2).

Mostly the hair side faces the hair side, but not always (e.g. fols. 40-47). Hair side of the parchment is easily distinguishable from flash side.

 

Catchwords

The horizontal catchwords are written in the lower left hand corner on the final verso of each quire, till fol. 111v. Usually, they are enclosed within decorative frames.

 

Hebrew numeration

None

 

Blank leaves

None

Scribes
Script
Number of Lines
Ruling
Pricking
Quires
Catchwords
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Direction/Location
Façade (main)
Endivances
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Coin
Coin Series
Coin Ruler
Coin Year
Denomination
Signature
Colophon
Colophon on fol. 127v, occupies the lower part of the outer column. It is written in semi-cursive Ashkenazi script in brown ink by the hand of the first scribe: Text: "תם ונשלם ע"י משה בר' אברהם זצ"ל [זכר צדיק לברכה] והיתה \ השלמתו ו' אדר רנ"א ליצירה לפ"ק ושהיתי \ בין ההתחלה להשלמה כמו כט' שנים \ ובין כך עברו עלי כמה טרדות ומבוכות \ עד שנכנסתי לימי הזקנה וברוך חילי \ אשר לא עזב [ני] \ וכשם שזכוני לגומרו לעמוד על \ סודותיו ורמיזותיו ויגלה לנו סודות תורתו \ כמאמר המשורר גל עיני \ ואביטה [ב]נפלאות (מ)תורתיך (תהלים קיט, 18)" "It is finished by Moses bar Abraham, the righteous, of blessed memory and its complement was at 6 Adar (25 February) 5251/1491 to the Creation, and when I was waiting between the beginning and the end about 29 years and during this time I passed few troubles and embarrassments till I entered the days of the oldness and blessed be my strength that did not leave me that make me finish (this work) and to decipher its secrets and hints and open to us secrets of his law, as the Psalmist says: "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law" (Psalms, 119:18)". The name of the first scribe "Moshe" is often highlighted at the beginning of lines. On fol. 54v it is surmounted by a pen work three-pointed crown probably by the scribe, In other cases but with weak ink strokes (fols. 10r, 18r, 32r-v, 34r-v, 39r, 45r, 54r, 55r-v, 59r, 60r, 74v, 84v, 86v, 97r, 101v, 108v, 110v, 131v).
Scribal Notes
The first scribe wrote final formulas to different parts of Moreh Nevukhim, as for example for the first part (fol. 22) in square and semi-cursive script: "בעזרת שדי \ נשלם החלק הראשון מספר המורה." "With the Lord's help/ the first part of the Book of Moreh is finished." On fol. 68 in large semi-cursive script is written: "חלק השני נשלם תהלה \ לאל [...]" "The second part is finished, glory/ for the Lord […]" Corrections and annotations on the margins of some leaves (e.g. fol. 18) seem to be made by the scribe himself. The numbering of parts in Hebrew letters on the upper margins was probably added by a later hand.
Watermark
Hallmark
Group
Group
Group
Group
Group
Trade Mark
Binding

Late 18th century half-leather binding. Wave-like backing with gold lettering and a signature plate made of paper with the inscription in brown ink: Maimoni / of / philosopher.

Decoration Program

The decoration was made in one stage by the scribe:

  1. Decorative penwork panels for initial words (in red and brown ink, filled with large foliate motifs, in two of them human heads and a dog are incorporated) (e.g. fols. 21, 26v, 29, 55, 55v).
  2. Catchwords surmounted by a gable-like decoration (e.g. fol. 55v).
  3. Pointing hand (fol. 35v).
Summary and Remarks

The text of the manuscript, Moreh nevukhim (Guide for the Perplexed) is a philosophical work by Maimonides (ca. 1135-1204). Shortly after its completion in the 1190’s it was translated from its original Arabic into Hebrew by Samuel ibn Tibbon and in this translation, it usually appears in different manuscripts, as well as in our manuscript.

The first scribe of our manuscript states in the colophon at the end of the text of Moreh nevukhim that he, Moses son of Abraham, finished the copying in 1491. He also mentions that he worked on it during 29(!) years, until his old days because of the bad things that he passed through.

Many initial words of Moreh nevukhim are enclosed within decorative panels executed in pen work. The second part of the manuscript, after the colophon, is Glossary by Samuel Ibn Tibbon to Moreh Nevukhim copied by another hand in less calligraphic script, but similar to the script of the main scribe, without any decoration.

Although the manuscript was copied in Ashkenazi semi-cursive script, its codicological features point to the North Italian origin (see Hebrew Palaeographical Project, J 32). As well, the pen works decoration, its motifs and style points to Northern Italy. Such panels appear in other Hebrew manuscripts from that region in the second half of the 15th century, as for example in Ferrarese manuscript produced in 1465 (London, Brit. Lib., Harley 5686).

 

   
Suggested Reconsdivuction
History/Provenance
On fol. 135v there are few inscriptions in Italian semi-cursive script of the 17th or 18th century. Among these inscriptions is the poem, copied twice by different hands: יצחק פאר הדור לרום עלית, written in honor of Isaac Gentili of Ceneda יצחק גנטילי מצנידה)). According to these, the book was in the possession of the Gentili family in Ceneda (see the family: E. Morpurgo. Corriere Israelitico 50, p. 146, 168). On the page there is also the short sonnet עלי באר עלי ספר. On 13 January 1866 the manuscript was purchased by the court library from Samuel Schönblum together with six other Hebrew manuscripts (Cod. Hebr. 177-181, 183) for 250 florins altogether (see Schwarz, Catalogue, No. 136).
Main Surveys & Excavations
Bibliography
Hebrew Palaeography Project in Jerusalem, J 32 Schwarz, Catalogue, No. 136 A.Z. Schwarz, Die hebraeischen Handschriften der Nationalbibliothek in Wien, Liepzig 1925, No. 136. Further bibliography: J. B. Kapah, Rabbenu Moshe Ben Maimon, Moreh ha-Nebukhim, Jerusalem 1972 (Hebrew)
Short Name
Full Name
Volume
Page
Type
Documenter
Karl-Georg Pfändtner Ilona Steimann | 2004 18.02.07
Author of description
Ilona Steimann Yaffa Levy | 2007 2009
Architectural Drawings
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Computer Reconsdivuction
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Section Head
Michal Sternthal | 2009
Language Editor
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Donor
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Negative/Photo. No.