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Microfilm

Key Facts

  • Format: Reel guides indicating the location of titles within the microfilm are available for all collections except for the History of Science, Maimonides, and Adler units. Separate indexes are available for these three units. Free with collection.
  • Media: 383 reels of 35mm microfilm. Each reel begins with a contents page.
  • Coverage Dates:
  • Sources Covered: Call for more information
  • Subject Area: Yes

Intended For

Overview

Scholars of Jewish history, religion, philosophy, language, and literature can access ancient manuscripts and valuable books on Hebraica and Judaica gathered from many of the important centers of Judaism in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and India in this comprehensive microfilm collection from UMI™. These documents are available nowhere else in America and represent essential source materials for researchers into Judaic history.

The 14 separate collections are described below. Separate title lists including introductions by eminent scholars are furnished free to libraries considering the purchase of one or more collections.

Hebrew Incunabula--includes 109 of the total 127 extant Hebrew books from the first half-century of printing (1453-1500) and documents the first experiments with Hebrew typeface and early printing history in general.

The Benaim Collection--Hebrew and Judeo-Arabic manuscripts by Moroccan Jews, including biblical and Talmudic commentaries, liturgical works, popular literature, and communal records.

The Liturgy Collection--one of the world's most important manuscript and codex collections of Jewish prayers from Germany, Spain, Provence, North Africa, Yemen, India, and Persia. The collection also includes Hebrew religious poetry and illuminated manuscripts.

Biblical Manuscripts--the Hebrew Bible itself, Aramaic and Arabic Bible versions, specific Massora and reading traditions manuscripts, commentaries on the biblical text, plus a selection of homiletic commentaries and exegetical works in Arabic.

The Steinschneider Collection--works written and edited by noted medievalist/bibliographer Moritz Steinschneider, including marginal notations in his own hand. Subjects covered include Jewish history and medieval writings in Hebrew and Arabic on medicine, mathematics, alchemy, and astrology.

The Rare Books Collection--more than 100 items, many of them unique copies, including valuable editions of the Bible and Talmud and their commentaries, prayer books, liturgical poems, religious customs, legal documents, Kabbalah, and philosophy.

Philological Manuscripts--150 manuscripts representing forty authors from as early as the thirteenth century, featuring grammars of biblical Hebrew, dictionaries of biblical or Mishnaic Hebrew, of the Talmud, and of Maimonides' Mishneh Torah.

Polemical Manuscripts--examples of anti-Christian polemics from Spain, Italy, and Germany, plus a few examples of Islamic-oriented refutation including the famous Ifham al-Yahud by al-Maghribi.

The Poetry and Belles Lettres Collection--378 manuscripts represent every part of the Jewish world. In addition to celebrated poets and dramatists, this collection contains lesser-known works by Italian Hebrew poets, Hebrew poets of the Arab-speaking world, and Jewish writers in Persia.

The Kabbalah and Mysticism Collection--700 manuscripts ranging from great classics of Jewish mysticism to kabbalistic commentaries on the Bible. This collection also presents several handbooks of occult practices and writings from various hasidic schools.

Philosophy Manuscripts--covers a wide spectrum of medieval Jewish thought in more than 300 manuscripts. There are also translations of Arabic and Latin philosophers and several manuscripts on logic.

History of Science--200 rare manuscripts covering more than 400 titles, many published for the first time. Most of the material dates from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and includes early manuscripts written in the Mediterranean Basin and other centers of learning worldwide. This collection is divided into four subject areas: Astrological, Astronomical, and Calendrical Works; Mathematical Works; Medical Works; and Miscellaneous Works (such as gemology and meteorology).

Maimonides' Mishneh Torah--the first comprehensive code of Jewish Law, encompassing all the intricacies of Talmudic learning and erudition. Of the seventy-one manuscripts in this complete Mishneh Torah, the largest number belong to the fourteenth century, with the latest from 1785. Many are dated by the Seleucid era (the counting for which begins in 311 B.C.) and are written in a square rabbinic hand.

The Adler Special Manuscript Collection--a selection of works assembled by E.N. Adler from his many trips to Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. Subjects included are Jewish homiletics, Jewish ethics, Jewish law, liturgy, and Biblical and Talmudic commentaries.

Individual reels may be purchased from this collection.

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