Oxford Jewish Thought

Lectures, essays, questions & articles

by Rabbi Eli Brackman

Maimonides on Prophecy according to an Oxford Manuscript: To grant understanding or inspiration?

A rare autograph of Maimonides exists at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, consisting of a brief text with Maimonides’ signature, authenticating an early copy of the first two books of his legal compendium Mishneh Torah:[1] Book of Mada (knowledge) and Book of Ahava (adoration).[2] The manuscript is known in the Bodleian Library as MS Huntington 80 and in rabbinic works as the ‘Book of the Signature’ (Sefer Hachatum).[3] The Bodleian Library bought this text in 1693 from Dr. Robert Huntington, who acquired it while serving as chaplain to the English merchants in Aleppo. The autograph states:[4] “Corrected against my own book, I Moses, son of Rabbi Maimon of blessed memory”. This manuscr… Read More »

The Menorah according Oxford's Maimonides Manuscript

Menorah Rambm.jpg

Oxford’s Bodleian library is known for its rare collection of Hebrew manuscripts including some of the most important manuscripts of the great medieval 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. 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… Read More »

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