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385 Printed Books Of The Fifteenth To Eighteenth Centuries, Bound With Medieval Hebrew Manuscripts In The Estense Library In Modena

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Chapter Summary

The curious custom of recycling medieval Hebrew and non-Hebrew manuscript parchment folios during the second half of the sixteenth century until the end of the seventeenth, and in some cases up to the eighteenth century, is well known to scholars working in the field of the history of book production or in that of medieval Hebrew manuscripts. The 385 volumes we found in the Biblioteca Estense in Modena are examples of this practice: in most cases they have a standard binding, with ribs in half-skin incised, and the handwritten folios were coloured by a yellowish picture after erasing the Hebrew text. This chapter formulates two questions: (1) How did so many Hebrew manuscripts come into the hands of Christian bookbinders? (2) What does this impressive quantity of fragments contain?.

Keywords: eighteenth century; medieval Hebrew manuscripts; printed books



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