Yesterday I went on a unique tour of Oxford’s Bodleian Library. The tour was organized and guided by a gentleman who works both with the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and with the Bodleian manuscript collection. It was an interesting look at the Jewish and Hebrew holdings of the library, but our guide became visibly excited when he began pulling out much older manuscripts. We looked at some Geniza manuscripts as well as a Maimonides autograph (the guide was enthralled with his erratic Judeo-Arabic). His favorite piece, however, was Maimonides’ premier Mishna text, which was evidently the standard against which he checked all subsequent versions. The text was written by a scribe, but it has a short signature at the end, which is shown in the accompanying photo. See if you can read what it says.
October 16, 2009