Academic journal article Journal of Ecumenical Studies

The Monk's Haggadah: A Fifteenth-Century Illuminated Codex from the Monastery of Tegernsee with a Prologue by Friar Erhard Von Pappenheim

Academic journal article Journal of Ecumenical Studies

The Monk's Haggadah: A Fifteenth-Century Illuminated Codex from the Monastery of Tegernsee with a Prologue by Friar Erhard Von Pappenheim

Article excerpt

The Monk's Haggadah: A Fifteenth-Century Illuminated Codex from the Monastery of Tegernsee with a Prologue by Friar Erhard Von Pappenheim. Edited by David Stern, Christopher Markschies, and Sarit Shalev-Eyni. Dimyonot: Jews and the Cultural Imagination Series. University Park, PA: Penn State University Press, 2015. Pp. 199. $79.95.

This is the most fascinating book that I have been privileged to review. In the first chapter Stern introduces the codex as the product of collaborations both medieval and contemporary--indeed, it is. Stern was drawn to this codex on a microfilm by its Latin preface and occasional marginalia in what appeared to be a typical fifteenth-century Italo-Ashkenazi haggadah by an accomplished Jewish calligrapher. He then describes subsequent discoveries of its complex history with Christian scholar Markschies and art historian Shalev-Eyni.

Convincing evidence identified Dominican Friar Erhard Von Pappenheim as the author of the Latin preface and the translator of the proceedings of an infamous "blood libel" trial of Jews at Trent in 1475. Another record indicated that the Haggadah was a bequest to the Monastery of Tegernsee by the Rev. Paulus Wann from Passau, whose abbot Konrad Ayrimschmalz commissioned Erhard to clarify its contents. Chapters 2-4 explain the distinctive features of the codex, while the fifth chapter describes the manuscript. After the Latin Prologue and its English translation, a full-color reproduction of the Haggada (in Codex Hebrew 200) follows.

In "The Making of the Codex," (chap. 2), Shalev-Eyni claims it is "truly a unique work, different from every other haggadah known to scholars" (p. 19). She considers it the work of a master calligrapher with occasional Hebrew errors (some corrected by Erhard); three other hands completed the vocalizations. …

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