Israel > Jewish Culture

Very old Hebrew manuscripts


I've got a bunch of old Hebrew manuscripts, mostly from Yemen and some going back 600 years.  If there is any interest, I could post some on the board for all to see.

Please post them. That would be interesting.

I'll post some in a few days, when I've got more time; my files are too big!  Never mind; I'd forgotten about imagebam!  My most interesting manuscript is the Shemoth volume of Midrash hadGadol.  The original was written around 600 years ago (I used to say 500 when I was younger :).  Over the generations, parts were lost and then filled in so that the center is the oldest.  The most recent pages were only added about 100 years ago.  The pages you see here (only a few of those I have scanned) are not the oldest and not the youngest.  Unfortunately, my other CDs seem to be in a format my current computer cannot read :(  Of course I could always scan them in again but it's a lot of work and time consuming:

As some of you may notice, some of the Adadta defisha (Agaddah of Pesah) is in Arabic as well as the entirety of another book.  In Yemen, Arabic was considered a "holy language" almost on par with Hebrew - possibly because the Rambam (who was held in very high esteem there) considered the two languages to be one in the same; just different dialects.

You might also notice that the "segol" and "Patah" vowel signs are interchangeable in the Agaddah.  This is because Yemeni Jews originally used the Babylonian vowel system (in contrast to the "Tiberian" system used today).  There was no distinction between these two vowels in the Babylonian system and, to this day, Yemeni Jews pronounce them both like a patah.  I have some manuscripts which actually show the Babylonian vowel system in use and I'd be happy to post some if there is interest.  The Babylonian system has the marks ABOVE the letters instead of below them.


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