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Oxford Jewish Thought

Lectures, essays, questions & articles

by Rabbi Eli Brackman

The Mystery of The Bodleian Bowl: New insights into a 320 year old mystery

IMG_0163.JPGOne of the enigmatic items in the Department of Antiquities at the Ashmolean Museum is a medieval copper bowl with Hebrew inscription discovered in the 17th century in a moat in East Anglia. The bowl is commonly known as the ‘Bodleian Bowl’ - a simple, indistinctive name. Although there is Hebrew inscription indicating an origin and narrative of the bowl, its actual meaning and purpose has continued to perplex scholars up to the present day. In this essay I will discuss how the bowl was discovered and the history of the debate as to its purpose. I will then postulate through a new analysis of the inscription an alternative narrative. I will do this by offering a broader context and narrative regarding the name of the person… Read More »

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