The Brother Haggadah
A Medieval Sephardi Masterpiece in Facsimile
An illuminated Passover compendium from mid-fourteenth-century Catalonia in the collections of the British Library
- ISBN 9780500110294
- 32.60 x 24.40 cm
- Hardback in slipcase
- With 100 facsimile pages in full colour
- First published 2016
The first-ever facsimile edition of one of the greatest and most beautiful medieval Hebrew treasures, central to the celebration of Passover
‘Magnificent’ – Jewish Renaissance
The Haggadot commissioned by wealthy patrons in the Middle Ages are among the most beautifully decorated Hebrew manuscripts, and the Brother Haggadah – so-called because of its close relationship to the Rylands Haggadah in the collection of the John Rylands Library, Manchester – is one of the finest to have survived.
Created by Sephardi – or Iberian – artists and scribes in Catalonia in the second quarter of the 14th century, it sets out the liturgy and sequence of the Passover Seder, a ritual feast by which Jewish families give thanks for the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt as described in the Book of Exodus. The manuscript prescribes all eight days of the associated feast, and includes liturgical poems, most of the morning liturgy, biblical readings and a previously untranslated commentary on the Haggadah.
This finely produced facsimile edition includes an introduction by Marc Michael Epstein, who sets out the background to the Passover and provides an analysis of the manuscript’s iconographic scheme. Jeremy Schonfield focuses both on the texts and on how the manuscript was used as a physical object. Following are essays on the provenance of the Brother Haggadah by Ilana Tahan, and on the Shaltiel family, former owners of the manuscript, by Eliezer Laine. The book also contains a translation of the poems and commentary in the manuscript by the late Raphael Loewe.
Professor Marc Michael Epstein is the Mattie M. Paschall (1899) and Norman Davis Chair of Religion and Visual Culture at Vassar College, New York. His most recent book is 'Skies of Parchment, Seas of Ink: Jewish Manuscript Illumination', (Princeton, 2015,) which was the winner of the National Jewish Book Award for 2015. Raphael Loewe was Goldsmid Professor of Hebrew at University College London and Honorary Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge. Jeremy Schonfield is Mason Lecturer and Supernumerary Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies. Eliezer Laine is an independent scholar based in New York. Ilana Tahan is Lead Curator, Hebrew and Christian Orient Studies, at the British Library.