Rare Maimonides’ Manuscript Discovered in Library of Jewish Theological Seminary

Two leaves of the first draft of Maimonides’ famous Codes of Rabbinic Law, written in his own hand and containing notations by him, have been discovered in the E.N. Adler Collection in the Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, it was announced here today by Dr. Alexander Marx, Librarian at the Seminary and Jacob H. Schiff, Professor of History.

The identification of the writing on these leaves as that of Maimonides himself was made by Mr. Morris Lutzki, while engaged in manuscript research at the Library. Mr. Lutski’s familiarity with the handwriting of Maimonides derives from his discovery seven years ago of ten other leaves from this same manuscript in the collection of the Bodleian Library of Oxford. These twelve leaves constitute the only known samples of Maimonides’ handwriting in Hebrew.

The complete manuscript of which these leaves are remnants was preserved in Cairo, Egypt, where Maimonides spent most of his years and where he wrote the book. In the course of time, as the original manuscript was worn out, it appears that the few remaining pages were placed in the Genizah in Egypt, which was a room set aside in the Synagogue to hold sacred documents. It was this Genizah, containing more than 100,000 manuscripts, ‘which was discovered in 1897 by Dr. Solomon Schechter, second president of the Seminary.

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