Oxford Jewish Thought

Lectures, essays, questions & articles

by Rabbi Eli Brackman

Maimonides and the Menorah: Insights into an Oxford Manuscript

Menorah_Rambam.jpgOxford’s Bodleian library is known for its rare collection of Hebrew manuscripts including some of the most important manuscripts of the great Jewish legalist and philosopher Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, known as Maimonides (1138-1204). One such manuscript is Maimonides’ original handwritten manuscript in Judeo Arabic of his Commentary to the Mishnah[1], known as Pirush Hamishnayot, on the 3rd century Jewish legal work of the Mishnah.Menorah_Rambam.jpg


This rare manuscript was brought to Oxford by the collector of Hebrew and Arabic manuscripts in the East, Professor Edward Pococke (1604-1691), who was born and passed away in Oxford. Pococke was appointed to the professorship of Hebrew at Oxford in 1648 and had a collection of 420 or… Read More »

Rabbi Elijah of Oxford: The Most illustrious Jew of the Middle Ages in England

One of the most illustrious Jews of the Middle Ages in England was Rabbi Elijah Menachem of Oxford, known as Rabbi Elijah of London, where he lived most of his life. He was son of Rabbi Moses of Oxford and known in Norman medieval England as Magister Elias fil’ Magistri Mossei. Much has been written about the details of the life of this great rabbi of the 13th century, which served as the subject of a presidential address by Oxford Jewish historian Cecil Roth (1899-1970) before the Jewish Historical Society of England in December, 1943, subsequently published as an article in the Transactions of the Jewish Historical Society of England[1].


In this essay we will first present an outline of the life of this great Jewish persona… Read More »

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