Page 191 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 25

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Press, 1966). H e gives convincing proof that synagogue mosaics,
such as Beth Alpha, are undoubtedly rooted in rug designs or
perhaps in pattern books for either textiles or mosaics. T h e inter-
pretation of the portal motif on the Torah ark of the mosaic
is particularly important to him. Bringing together a rich array
of scattered source material, he tries to demonstrate that both
doors of the Torah ark on the upper panel of the mosaic are
“derived from the basic motif of the door as an embodiment o f
the celestial sphere and as the entrance to the dwelling place of
the D iv ine .” Hence, when in their prayers the worshippers
looked to the significant doors on the Torah ark, “they d id not
face death, but rather the fulness of life dedicated to the Law.”
A lthough these studies have greatly enriched our knowledge
of these synagogue mosaic floors, we still do not know the precise
Jewish meaning of the signs of the zodiac and such symbols on
the mosaic floors as the two menorot and the incense shovel.
G
utm a n n
— R
ecent
L
iterature
on
J
ew ish
A
rt
171
Illuminated, Hebrew Manuscripts
Much research has been devoted in recent years to the illumi-
nated Hebrew manuscripts of medieval Christian Europe. A
brief introductory survey of the many fascinating aspects of this
still to be explored field w ill be found in my
Im ages o f the J ew •
ish Past: A n In tr o d u c t io n to M e d ie v a l H eb r ew M in ia tu r e s
(New
York, Society of Jewish Bibliophiles, 1965). These manuscripts
come predominantly from Germany, Spain and Italy and date
from the early 13th century on. Facsimile reproductions of three
medieval Haggadot have recently appeared—
T h e K au fm an n Hag-
gadah
(Budapest, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 1957) of late
14th-century Spain with an introduction by Alexander Scheiber;
the famous
Sara jevo H aggadah
of mid-14th-century Spain with
an introductory essay by Cecil Roth (New York, Harcourt, Brace
and World, 1963), and
T h e B ird s H e a d H aggada
(Jerusalem,
Tarshish Books, 1966), one of the earliest Haggadot from medie-
val Germany, dating around 1300. Th is last Haggadah is mag-
nificently reproduced and comes very close to approximating the
original. The same can also be said of the first mahzor to be
reproduced in facsimile, the
M ach so r L ip s ia e
(Edition Leipzig,
1964). Th is early 14th-century facsimile reproduction is greatly
enhanced by the excellent introductory essay by Bezalel Narkiss,
which objectively discusses the style and iconography o f the
Leipzig mahzor and of mahzor illustrations in general. T h e inter-
ested reader who wants to explore the field of Hebrew miniatures
further may consult “Th e Illuminated Medieval Passover Hag-
gadah; Investigations and Research Problems,” an essay of mine
from
S tu d ie s in B ib lio g ra p h y an d B o o k lo re
(VII [1965]), and he