Who are the heirs of the Hebrew Bible? Sephardic visual historiography in a Christian context

Sarit Shalev-Eyni*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)23-63
Number of pages41
JournalMedieval Encounters
Volume16
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2009

Keywords

  • Christian-Jewish debate
  • Haggadah
  • Illumination
  • Visual historiography

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