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Full Access Who are the Heirs of the Hebrew Bible? Sephardic Visual Historiography in a Christian Context

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Who are the Heirs of the Hebrew Bible? Sephardic Visual Historiography in a Christian Context

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The sumptuous Sephardic haggadot produced in the fourteenth century include a prefatory cycle of full-page miniatures depicting events from the book of Exodus, sometimes with additional episodes from Genesis. Scenes depicting preparations for the feast and the ritual ceremony of Passover were placed at the end of the biblical episodes. This paper considers the cycles as historiographical sequences, beginning in the biblical past and concluding with fourteenth century Jews celebrating the Passover. As I shall argue, these sequences may have been designed as a response to anti-Jewish polemic, in a local version defined by the Catalan Dominican friar Raymond Martin. By comparing the Hebrew examples to Christian devotional books, we shall show how despite their polemical intention, these cycles also point to the deep integration of the Jewish designers and patrons within local Christian culture and society.

Affiliations: 1: The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Jerusalem, Israel, Email:


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