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The Greatest Bible Ever Written: Kennicott no. 1, La Coruña, Spain, 1476

The Greatest Bible Ever Written: Kennicott no. 1, La Coruña, Spain, 1476

Paper by Gary A. Rendsburg

Given online by the Flint Institute of Arts on July 14, 2021

Overview: The Kennicott Bible is the crown jewel of all medieval Hebrew manuscripts, expertly written by a skillful scribe and beautifully illuminated by an ingenious artist. What makes the manuscript even more remarkable is the fact that it was written in 1476, just 16 years prior to the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, in the wake of the Alhambra Decree of Ferdinand and Isabella. In addition, printing (movable type) had just been invented, and in fact the Hebrew font was created just a few years earlier, sometime between 1470 and 1475, in northern Italy (though such technology had not yet reached Spain). Prof. Rendsburg will present a general background of Hebrew Bible manuscripts from before the age of printing, and then will focus on the Kennicott Bible, its layout, format, biblical text, and beautiful illuminations.

Gary A. Rendsburg serves as the Blanche and Irving Laurie Professor of Jewish History in the Department of Jewish Studies at Rutgers University. Professor Rendsburg is the author of seven books and about 190 articles; his most recent book is How the Bible Is Written. You can learn more about Gary on his Wikipedia page.

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Click here to learn more about the Kennicott Bible from the Bodleian Library.

Top Image: Wikimedia Commons

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