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New website showcases 1,300 works ranging from ancient Torah scrolls and prayer books to philosophical, theological and scientific works

British Library publishes treasure trove of Hebrew manuscripts (Times of Israel)
New online collection is venerable library’s first bilingual online project, letting users search among 1,300 items in English and Hebrew

The new site is the library’s first bilingual online collection, allowing users to search for scans of the manuscripts in Hebrew and English. “The British Library holds one of the world’s greatest collections of Hebrew manuscripts,” said Ilana Tahan, lead curator of the library’s Hebrew and Christian Orient Collections.

The works searchable on the site include the Hispano-Moresque Haggadah from 13th century Spain, an illustrated edition of Maimonides’ Code of Law from 15th century Portugal, and the Lisbon Bible from 1482, 14 years before the Portuguese Jews were expelled from their homeland.

“It is considered to be the most accomplished dated manuscript of the Portuguese school of medieval Hebrew illumination,” Tahan said of the three-volume bible.

The London-based library has been digitizing its collection of its approximately 3,000 Hebrew manuscripts, which dates back to the library’s establishment in the 18th century, since 2013. So far, about half are available for online viewing on the website, Tahan said.

Photo: Depiction of the finding of Moses in the Nile by Pharaoh’s daughter. Hispano-Moresque Haggadah, Spain 1275-1324 (courtesy British Library)

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