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Detailed record for Additional 11639

Part 1 ff. 1-739 
Title Miscellany of biblical and other texts ('The Northern French Miscellany' or earlier 'the British Museum Miscellany'): including the Pentateuch, Haftarot, Tiqqun Sofrim, Five Scrolls, prayer book for the entire year with Haggadah, legal texts, poetry, calendars, Book of Tobit in Hebrew, etc.
Origin France, N.
Date 1277-1286
Language Hebrew
Script French square and semi-cursive script, partially punctuated
Scribe Benjamin
Artists Various workshops of St Omer (Artois) and Paris. Biblical illustrations (ff. 114-122, 259v-260v, 516v-527v) are attributed to the Cholet Group, Master of Méliacin group and Master of Honoré groups, Paris, 1283-1285, see Yael Zirlin in The North French Hebrew Miscellany (British Library Add. MS. 11639) (London: Facsimile Editions, 2003), pp. 147-158. For dissimilar opinions see Zofia Amesienowa, 1971; Sed-Rajna, 1982; Mendel and Thérèse Metzger, 1986.
Decoration Numerous inhabited initial-word panels, and inhabited and decorated panels in colours and gold attached to initial words and numerous decorated initial-word panels with gold letters. 36 full-page miniatures (ff. 114, 115, 116, 117v, 118, 118v, 119, 119v, 120, 120v, 121, 121v, 122, 259v, 260, 260v, 516v, 517, 517v, 518, 518v, 519, 519v, 520, 520v, 521, 521v, 522, 522v, 523, 523v, 524, 525v, 526, 527v). 7 textual illustrations in colours (ff. 205, 205v, 206v, 207v, 208, 292, 309v). Micrography (in geometric form: ff. 124-168). Colophon in decorated panel with gold letters (f. 142v). 2 full-page diagrams of the celestial bodies and the zodiac signs (ff. 542, 542v).
Dimensions in mm 160 x 120 (90/80 x 65/55; with marginal text: 100/90 x 65)
 
Part 2 ff. 739a-744v 
Origin France, Central (Ile de France or Champagne)
Date Last quarter of 13th or first quarter of 14th century
Language Hebrew
Decoration Added quire including 6 full-page miniatures in colours and gold (ff. 740v, 741, 741v, 742, 742v, 743).
Dimensions in mm 160 x 120
 
Official foliation ff. 746 (+ 2 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the beginning, and 3 unfoliated paper flyleaves at the end). Hebrew foliation begins on f. 6.
Collation 82 (83) quires: i4 (ff. 1-4), ii14 (ff. 5-18), iii14 (ff. 19-32), iv16 (ff. 33-48), v16 (ff. 49-64), vi14 (ff. 65-78), vii12 (79-90), viii16 (ff. 91-106), ix10 (ff. 107-116), x6 (ff. 117-122), xi8 (ff. 123-130), xii8 (ff. 131-138), xiii6 (ff. 139-144), xiv10 (ff. 145-154), xv6 (ff. 155-160), xvi8 (ff. 161-168), xvii8-1 (ff. 169-175), xviii8 (ff. 176-183), xix8 (ff. 184-191), xx8 (192-199), xxi10 (ff. 200-209), xxii8 (ff. 210-217), xxiii8 (ff. 218-225), xxiv6 (ff. 226-231), xxv6-1 (ff. 232-236), xxvi8 (ff. 237-244), xxvii8 (ff. 245-252), xxviii8 (ff. 253-260), xxix8 (ff. 261-268), xxx8 (ff. 269-276), xxxi8 (ff. 277-284), xxxii8 (ff. 285-292), xxxiii8 (ff. 293-300), xxxiv10 (ff. 301-310), xxxv8 (ff. 311-318), xxxvi8 (ff. 319-326), xxxvii8 (ff. 327-334), xxxviii8 (ff. 335-342), xxxix8 (ff. 343-350), xl8 (351-358), xli8 (ff. 359-366), xlii8 (ff. 367-374), xliii8 (ff. 375-382), xliv8 (ff. 383-390), xlv8 (ff. 391-398), xlvi8 (ff. 399-406), xlvii8 (ff. 407-414), xlviii8 (ff. 415-422), xlix8 (ff. 423-430), l6 (431-436), li8 (ff. 437-444), lii8 (ff. 445-452), liii8 (ff. 453-460), liv8 (ff. 461-468), lv8 (ff. 469-476), lvi8 (ff. 477-484), lvii8 (ff. 485-492), lviii8 (ff. 493-500), lix10 (ff. 501-510), lx8-2 (ff. 511-515, 515a), lxi4 (ff. 516-519), lxii4 (520-523), lxiii4 (ff. 524-527), lxiv10 (ff. 528-537), lxv8 (ff. 538-545), lxvi8 (ff.546-553), lxvii14 (ff. 554-567), lxviii10 (ff. 568-577), lxix14 (ff. 578-591), lxx12 (ff. 592-603), lxxi12 (ff. 604-615), lxxii14 (ff. 616-629), lxxiii14 (ff. 630-643), lxxiv8 (ff. 644-651), lxxv12 (ff. 652-663), lxxvi10 (ff. 664-673), lxxvii12 (ff. 674-685), lxxviii14 (ff. 686-699), lxxix12-1 (ff. 700-707, 707a, 708-709), lxxx14 (ff. 710-723), lxxxi16-1 (ff. 724-739), lxxxii6 (ff. 739a-744), [lxxxiii2] (ff. 745-746). Catchwords. Quire lxxxiii consists of two separate leaves artificially conjugated. The missing folio from quire lxxxi is now bound after quire lxxxii as folio 745.
Form Parchment codex
Binding Pre-1600. Dark brown leather over wooden boards, gold tooled.
Provenance Illegible Hebrew inscription, undated (on the upper part of f. 1).
Written by Benjamin, the scribe: inscribed with his name (ff. 142v, 306v, 514, 535), the name Binyamin is marked in the text (ff. 24v, 26).
Between 1277 and 1286: it contains Isaac of Corbeil's Sefer Mitzvot Qatan which was composed in 1277; it mentions Yehiel of Paris, who died in 1286.
Includes a table of moladot (lunation-commencements) for the period 1279/80 - 1295/95 (f. 444).
Note of a loan: The manuscript was given on loan on the first of Nisan 186 [1426] (f. 745).
Samuel ben Hayyim: sold to Abraham ben Moses of Coburg: his record of purchase, [5]191 [1431] (f. 745).
Obituary entries: death of a later owner's two brothers and a nephew 1479, 1481 (f. 744).
M. Reina of Milan: sold to the booksellers Payne & Foss in Paris in 1838 or 1839 for the British Museum: note by Frederic Madden that it was 'Purchased of MM. Payne & Foss 13th July, 1839. It came from the collection of M. Reina of Milan, sold at Paris in 1839' (f. 746v).
Notes One of the most lavishly illustrated suriving Jewish manuscripts made in northern Europe.
It contains one of the earliest copies of Isaac of Corbeil's Sefer Mitzvot Qatan composed in 1277. This data provides a terminus post quem for the production of the Miscellany. The codex mentions Yehiel of Paris (d. 1286) as living, thus this date is a terminus ante quem (see Sed-Rajna 1982, p. 18). The date of the full-page illuminations is debated, on this see Zofia Amesienowa 1971, Sed-Rajna 1982, Mendel and Thérèse Metzger 1986, Zirlin 2003.
Yael Zirlin: the codex was commissioned by a certain Aaron; Malachi Beit-Arie: it was a user-produced codex made by Benjamin for himself, see The North French Hebrew Miscellany (British Library Add. MS. 11639) (London: Facsimile Editions, 2003), pp. 70-71, 124-125.
Select bibliography George Margoliouth, 'An Ancient Illuminated Hebrew MS. at the British Museum', Jewish Quarterly Review, 17 (1905), 193-97.

Israel Davidson, Otsar ha-shirah veha piyut: mi-zeman hatimat kitve ha- kodesh ad reshit tekufat ha-haskalah [Thesaurus of Mediaeval Hebrew Poetry] (New York: Bet midrash ha-Rabanim de-Amerikah, 1924-1933) [on the text].

Zofia Ameisenowa and W. F. Mainland, 'The Tree of Life in Jewish Iconography', Journal of the Warburg Institute, 2 (1939), 326-45 (p. 338).

Jacob Leveen, The Hebrew Bible in Jewish Art (London, 1944), pp. 72-83.

George Margoliouth, Catalogue of the Hebrew and Samaritan Manuscripts in the British Museum, 4 vols (London: British Museum, 1899-1935; vols I-III repr. 1965); IV, Introduction, Indexes, ed. by Jacob Leveen (London: British Museum, 1977), III, no. 1056.

Mendel Metzger, ‘Les illustrations bibliques d’un manuscrit hebreu du Nord de la France (1278-1340 environ)’ Melanges offerts a Rene Crozet (Poitiers, 1966), pp. 1237-53.

Joseph Gutmann, 'When the Kingdom Comes, Messianic Themes in Medieval Jewish Art', Art Journal, 27 (1967-1968), 168-75 (pp. 169-70).

Bezalel Narkiss, Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts (Jerusalem: Encyclopaedia Judaica, 1969), p. 86.

Zofia Ameisenowa, 'Die hebraische Sammelhandschrift Add. 11639 des British Museum', Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte, 24 (1971), 10-48.

Joseph Gutmann, Hebrew Manuscript Painting (New York: Braziller, 1978), pp. 78-81.

Gabrielle Sed-Rajna, 'Les manuscrits enluminés', in Art et Archéologie des Juifs en France Médiévale, ed. by Bernard Blumenkranz (Toulouse: Les Belles Lettres, 1980), pp. 159-86 (pp. 162-77).

Lois Drewer, 'Leviathan, Behemoth and Ziz: A Christian Adaptation', Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, 44 (1981), 148-56 (p. 153).

Therese and Mendel Metzger, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages: Illuminated Hebrew Manuscripts of the Thirteenth to the Sixteenth Centuries (New York: Alpine Fine Arts Collection, 1982), p. 303.

Gabrielle Sed-Rajna, 'The Paintings of the London Miscellany', Journal of Jewish Art, 9 (1982), 18-30.

Léon Pressouyre, 'Tradition chrétienne et iconographie juive: le Serpent d'Airain dans le ms. Add. 11639 de la British Library', in Les Juifs au regard de l'histoire; mélanges en l'honneur de Bernhard Blumenkranz, ed. by Gilbert Dahan (Paris: Picard, 1985), pp. 185-94.

Mendel and Thérèse Metzger, 'Les enluminures du MS. Add. 11639 de la British Library, un manuscrit hébreu du nord de la France (fin du XIIIe siecle - premier quart du xive siecle)', Wiener Jahrbuch fuer Kunstgeschichte, 38 (1985), 59-290; 39 (1986), 221.

Joseph Gutmann, 'The Sacrifice of Isaac in Medieval Jewish Art', Artibus et Historiae, 8 (1987), 67-89 (pp. 85-86).

Gabrielle Sed-Rajna, La Bible hébraïque (Fribourg: Office du Livre, 1987).

The North French Miscellany (British Library MS. Add. 11,639): Studies of the Manuscript and Its Illumination (London: The British Library, 1996).

Marc Michael Epstein, Dreams of Subversion in Medieval Jewish Art and Literature (Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997), pp. 143-44, 148.

The North French Hebrew Miscellany (Add. Ms. 11639): a Promotional Brochure (London: The British Library, 2001).

[Malachi Beit-Arie and Yael Zirlin] The North French Hebrew Miscellany (British Library Add. MS. 11639) (London: Facsimile Editions, 2003) [fascimile and commentary volume with additional bibliography].

Deirdre Jackson, Marvellous to Behold: Miracles in Medieval Manuscripts (London: British Library, 2007), pp. 16-17, 23, 63-65, 121, 128-29.

Sacred: Books of the Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam (London: British Library, 2007), p. 148 [exhibition catalogue].

Ilana Tahan, Hebrew Manuscripts: The Power of Script and Image (London, British Library, 2007), pp. 119-23.

Joe Flatman, Ships and Shipping in Medieval Manuscripts (London: British Library, 2009), p. 56.


Images

Part  1   ff. 1-739
Miscellany of biblical and other texts ('The Northern French Miscellany' or earlier 'the British Museum Miscellany'): including the Pentateuch, Haftarot, Tiqqun Sofrim, Five Scrolls, prayer book for the entire year with Haggadah, legal texts, poetry, calendars, Book of Tobit in Hebrew, etc.
* * *
 
Folio with illegible inscriptions on the upper part

f. 1
Folio with illegible inscriptions on the upper part
Genesis

f. 5v
Genesis
Genesis

f. 5v
Genesis
 
Inhabited initial-word panel

f. 20v
Inhabited initial-word panel
Leviticus

f. 51v
Leviticus
Leviticus

f. 51v
Leviticus
 
Dragons

f. 68v
Dragons
Dragon

f. 68v
Dragon
Birds

f. 107
Birds
 
Aaron as High Priest

f. 114
Aaron as High Priest
Palmistry

f. 115
Palmistry
King Solomon

f. 116
King Solomon
 
King David

f. 117v
King David
Scenes from the life of Abraham

f. 118v
Scenes from the life of Abraham
The Tree of Life

f. 122
The Tree of Life
 
The Tree of Life

f. 122
The Tree of Life
The Bread of Affliction

f. 205
The Bread of Affliction
Inhabited panel

f. 217v
Inhabited panel
 
Hananyah, Mishael and Azaryah

f. 259v
Hananyah, Mishael and Azaryah
Esther and Ahasverus

f. 260v
Esther and Ahasverus
Inhabited initial-word panel

f. 306v
Inhabited initial-word panel
 
Vision of Ezekiel

f. 354v
Vision of Ezekiel
The zodiac cycle

f. 516v
The zodiac cycle
Celestial bodies

f. 517
Celestial bodies
 
Bar Yokhnai

f. 517v
Bar Yokhnai
Leviathan

f. 518v
Leviathan
Aaron's rod

f. 519v
Aaron's rod
 
Temptation

f. 520v
Temptation
Noah's Ark

f. 521
Noah's Ark
The Sacrifice of Isaac

f. 521v
The Sacrifice of Isaac
 
Cherubs

f. 522
Cherubs
Moses and Aaron and Hor

f. 525v
Moses and Aaron and Hor
Samuel beheading Agag

f. 526
Samuel beheading Agag
 
Diagram in the calendar

f. 542v
Diagram in the calendar
Brazen Serpent

f. 742v
Brazen Serpent
Moses hitting the rock

f. 743
Moses hitting the rock
 

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