One of Spain’s most significant manuscripts: the Hebrew Bible by Moses Ibn Zabara

Kennicott Bible

La Coruña (Spain) — 1476

Kennicott Bible

Kennicott Bible

La Coruña (Spain) — 1476

  1. A Hebrew Bible in its original binding with breathtaking illumination named after the Hebraist Benjamin Kenicott

  2. The famous Moses Ibn Zabara completed the work in 1476 in La Coruna in Northwestern Spain

  3. Zabara was supported by the painter Joseph Ibn Hayyim and together they created one of Spain’s most beautiful illuminated manuscripts

Kennicott Bible

Alternative Titles:
  • Kennicott-Bibel
Kennicott Bible – MS. Kennicott 1 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Kennicott Bible counts among the most significant medieval manuscripts from Spain. It is a noble, exceptional work containing a Hebrew Bible, which contains the text Sefer Michlol by Rabbi David Kihmhi alongside the Tanakh. As a special feature in the colophon at the end of the Kennicott Bible, the scribe immortalized himself: the famous Moses Ibn Zabara, who completed the work in 1476 in La Coruna in Northwestern Spain. This Hebrew Bible, preserved in its original, gorgeous binding unites gloriously ornamental and figurative book decoration on 922 pages. It gained its name from the Hebraist Benjamin Kennicot, who researched the manuscript in the 18th century. A truly noble treasure!

Kennicott Bible

The Kennicott Biblecounts among the most significant medieval manuscripts from Spain. It is a noble, exceptional work containing a Hebrew Bible, which contains the text Sefer Michlol by Rabbi David Kihmhi alongside the Tanakh. As a special feature in the colophon at the end of the Kennicott Bible, the scribe immortalized himself: the famous Moses Ibn Zabara, who completed the work in 1476 in La Coruna in Northwestern Spain. This Hebrew Bible, preserved in its original, gorgeous binding unites gloriously ornamental and figurative book decoration on 922 pages. It gained its name from the Hebraist Benjamin Kennicot, who researched the manuscript in the 18th century. A truly noble treasure!

Noble Ornamentation in Consummate Execution

The adornment of the Kennicott Bible makes it something exceptional. 24 canonical book titles and 49 parashah titles are embellished with ornamental depictions. The ornamentation of this title is made up of zoomorphic figures, designed with glorious colors and splendidly gilded. An extremely noble appearance and very accurate execution characterize the style of the Kennicott Bible. This is particularly clear on the 27 pages of the Sefer Michlol, which is splendidly adorned all over with arcade architecture. The carpet pages, which additionally decorate the manuscript, round out this accomplished picture!

A Spanish Treasure

The Kennicott Bible was made in La Coruna, Spain in 1475 as a commission for Isaac, son of Don Salomon de Braga. A colophon at the end of the manuscript indicates the 24th of June, 1476 as the bible’s date of completion. This unusual detail for a Hebrew Bible is the work of the scribe Moses Ibn Zabara, who wanted to immortalize himself in this manner. Zabara was supported in his work on the bible by the painter Joseph Ibn Hayyim. Together they created a true masterpiece of medieval Spanish illumination in the Kennicott Bible!

Tanakh and Sefer Michlol

Alongside the Tanakh, the Kennicott Bible contains the text Sefer Michlol, a grammatical treatise by Rabbi David Kihmhi. This composition is appropriately dignified through the employment of fine, fantastical ornamentation and precious gold leaf, which shines on all the pages. Benjamin Kennicott (1718-1783), an English Hebraist, made the bible famous through his study of it. Kennicot, who was employed as the canon of Christ Church in Oxford, pursued an intense study of Hebrew Bible texts and published these in a few standard references. As an acknowledgement of this, one of the most exceptional manuscripts of medieval Spain bears his name!

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Kennicott-Bibel
Size / Format
922 pages / 32.0 x 26.2 cm
Date
1476
Style
Hebrew
Language
Illustrations
24 canonical book headings, 49 parashah headings structured with gold in different motifs featuring zoomorphic figures in many colours, 27 lavishly-illuminated arcaded pages framing the text of the Sefer Mikhlol, 9 fully illuminated carpet pages, 150 psalm headings, numbered and illuminated with gold and silver
Artist / School

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Kennicott Bible“

The Kennicott Bible
Kennicott Bible – MS. Kennicott 1 – Bodleian Library (Oxford, United Kingdom)
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The Kennicott Bible

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Facsimile Editions Ltd. – London, 1985
Limited Edition
550
Binding
Fine Italian morocco goatskin box-binding over specially prepared boards. Interlacing geometric designs on all six sides embossed with handmade dies. Facsimile edges gilt with 23 carat gold leaf. Facsimile and Commentary volume enclosed in velvet lined, portfolio box
Commentary
1 volume (97 pages) by Bezalel Narkiss and Aliza Cohen-Mushlin
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