Kennicott Bible

MS. Kennicott 1 - Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)

Alternate Titles:

Kennicott-Bibel

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Codiology

Alternate Titles

Kennicott-Bibel

Type
Extent / Format

922 pages / 32.0 x 26.2 cm

Origin
Date
1476
Style
Genre
Language
Patron

Isaac de Braga

Artist / School

Scribe: Moses Ibn Zabara
Illuminator: Joseph Ibn Hayyim

Illustrations

24 canonical book headings, 49 parashah headings structured with gold in different motifs featuring zoomorphic figures in many colours, 27 lavishly-illuminated arcaded pages framing the text of the Sefer Mikhlol, 9 fully illuminated carpet pages, 150 psal

Short description

The Kennicott Bible counts among the most significant medieval manuscripts from Spain. It is a noble, exceptional work containing a Hebrew Bible, which contains the text Sefer Michlol by Rabbi David Kihmhi alongside the Tanakh. As a special feature in the colophon at the end of the Kennicott Bible, the scribe immortalized himself: the famous Moses Ibn Zaraba, who completed the work in 1476 in La Coruna in Northwestern Spain. This Hebrew Bible, preserved in its original, gorgeous binding unites gloriously ornamental and figurative book decoration on 922 pages. It gained its name from the Hebraist Benjamin Kennicot, who researched the manuscript in the 18th century. A truly noble treasure!

Facsimile editions available

Description

Kennicott Bible

The Kennicott Bible counts among the most significant medieval manuscripts from Spain. It is a noble, exceptional work containing a Hebrew Bible, which contains the text Sefer Michlol by Rabbi David Kihmhi alongside the Tanakh. As a special feature in the colophon at the end of the Kennicott Bible, the scribe immortalized himself: the famous Moses Ibn Zaraba, who completed the work in 1476 in La Coruna in Northwestern Spain. This Hebrew Bible, preserved in its original, gorgeous binding unites gloriously ornamental and figurative book decoration on 922 pages. It gained its name from the Hebraist Benjamin Kennicot, who researched the manuscript in the 18th century. A truly noble treasure!

Noble Ornamentation in Consummate Execution

The adornment of the Kennicott Bible makes it something exceptional. 24 canonical book titles and 49 parashah titles are embellished with ornamental depictions. The ornamentation of this title is made up of zoomorphic figures, designed with glorious colors and splendidly gilded. An extremely noble appearance and very accurate execution characterize the style of the Kennicot Bible. This is particularly clear on the 27 pages of the Sefer Michlol, which is splendidly adorned all over with arcade architecture. The carpet pages, which additionally decorate the manuscript, round out this accomplished picture!

A Spanish Treasure

The Kennicot Bible was made in La Coruna, Spain in 1475 as a commission for Isaac, son of Don Salomon de Braga. A colophon at the end of the manuscript indicates the 24th of June, 1476 as the bible’s date of completion. This unusual detail for a Hebrew Bible is the work of the scribe Moses Ibn Zabara, who wanted to immortalize himself in this manner. Zaraba was supported in his work on the bible by the painter Joseph Ibn Hayyim. Together they created a true masterpiece of medieval Spanish illumination in the Kennicot Bible!

Tanakh and Sefer Michlol

Alongside the Tanakh, the Kennicot Bible contains the text Sefer Michlol, a grammatical treatise by Rabbi David Kihmhi. This composition is appropriately dignified through the employment of fine, fantastical ornamentation and precious gold leaf, which shines on all the pages. Benjamin Kennicott (1718-1783), an English Hebraist, made the bible famous through his study of it. Kennicot, who was employed as the canon of Christ Church in Oxford, pursued an intense study of Hebrew Bible texts and published these in a few standard references. As an acknowledgement of this, one of the most exceptional manuscripts of medieval Spain bears his name!

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