The Schmooze

New Homes for Rare Maimonides Manuscript

A rare handwritten copy of the Mishneh Torah by Maimonides has been jointly acquired by the Israel Museum, Jerusalem and the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The manuscript was purchased from the collection of Judy and Michael Steinhardt, according to a statement put out by both parties.

“The Mishneh Torah is a rare treasure that unites Jewish literary heritage with some of the finest illuminations from the Italian Renaissance,” said James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. “On loan for display in our galleries in recent years, the manuscript now becomes a seminal addition to our extensive holdings in illuminated Hebrew manuscripts.”

The manuscript is a perfect example of the rich history of religious art from the Middle Ages, with “six large painted panels decorated in precious pigments and gold leaf, as well as forty-one smaller illustrations with gold lettering adorning the opening words of each chapter.”

Drawn up in Northern Italy around 1497, the Hebrew manuscript includes the final eight books of the first systematic codification of Jewish law. Originally conceived as two volumes, it has a tumultuous history.

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New Homes for Rare Maimonides Manuscript

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