Page 79 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 46

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RICHLER / HEBREW MANUSCRIPT COLLECTIONS
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p o r tan t . In B erlin , th e S taa tsb ib lio thek has a bou t 500 MSS, most
o f which w ere acqu ired tow ards th e end o f the 19th cen tu ry
an d th e b eg inn ing o f th e 20 th . Moritz S te in schne ide r , who com ­
p iled the ca ta logue th a t describes abou t h a l f th e collection, was
respons ib le fo r th e acquisition o f a la rge n um b e r of m anu sc r ip ts
in the fields o f m ed ic ine , a s tronom y an d ph ilosophy . T h e li­
b ra ry was am o n g th e firs t in E u ro p e to acqu ire Y em en ite m a n u ­
scripts, many o f them in Jud a eo -A rab ic , from M.W. Shap ira .
O n e o f the m ost fam ous m anu sc r ip ts in the collection, however,
is a ta lm ud ic tex t, the ‘E r fu r t T o s e f ta ,’ one o f the two ex tan t
MSS o f this work.
T h e Bayerische S taa tsb ib lio thek (fo rm e rly the Royal L ibrary)
in Mun ich is sim ilar in size to its B erlin sister. T h e co re o f the
collection da tes back to th e 16th cen tu ry and most o f its MSS
de rive from C h r is tian collectors o r were confiscated by the state.
While it is richest in scientific an d ph ilosoph ica l works, the most
fam ous m anu sc r ip t in th e collection — an d p e rh ap s in all o f
G e rm any — is the ‘Mun ich T a lm u d , ’ the only surv iv ing com ­
plete m edieval m an u sc r ip t o f the Babylonian T a lm u d .
T h e Staats- u n d Un iversitae tsb ib lio thek in H am b u rg is based
on th e collections o f Ch ris tian H eb ra is ts from the 17th and 18th
cen tu r ies an d on the collection o f H .B . Levy pu rch a sed a t the
b eg inn ing o f the p re s en t cen tu ry . It is p e rh ap s r ich e r th an the
o th e r G e rm an libraries in halakh ic an d liturgical MSS, some
o f them illum ina ted . O th e r libraries in G e rm any with substan tial
collections o f H eb rew m anu sc r ip ts a re fo u n d in F ran k fu r t ,
w here the M e rzbacher collection is hou sed , in D a rm stad t,
S tu t tg a r t an d ove r a dozen o th e r cities an d towns.
T h e only lib rary in A us tr ia with a large collection is the
N a tiona lb ib lio thek in V ienna , fo rm e r ly the Royal L ibrary . From
u n d e r fifty MSS in 1690, the collection grew un til it reached
its p re sen t size o f ove r 200 MSS, most o f them d a t in g back
to the M iddle Ages, as well as several h u n d r e d fragm en ts o f
H ebrew books rem oved from b ind ings o f volumes o f non -
Jew ish books.
ITALY ’S TREASURES
Since th e 17th c en tu ry Italy has been the m a rke tp lace o r h u n t ­
ing g ro u n d fo r H eb rew m anusc rip ts . A d isp ropo r tion a te ly large
n um b e r o f the m anu sc r ip ts ex tan t in E u ro p e and N o r th Am er-